How Christians Should Prepare and Endure Through Religious Persecution
According to Scripture, becoming a genuine Christian means facing some kind of persecution. In this message, Adrian Rogers shares how we can prepare for persecution, so that we don’t conform to his world.
- 1. Expect Persecution
- Enlist Persecution
Christ stooped down from heaven to be born in a manger. He stooped down to be mocked, betrayed, beaten, and even crucified. He didn’t have to. He could have said, “Father, I’ll pass on this assignment. Let Me stay up here on high.” But for your sake and mine, He said, “I’ll stoop down. I’ll go low, so low that I’ll be buried in a grave. So low that the enemy will think I’m defeated. So low that forces of darkness will have a celebration.” But the good news is He didn’t stay down. He stooped for a moment, but He got back up again. He defeated death, hell, and the grave for you and me.
I wanna speak to you today about how to prepare for persecution.
For as surely as I am standing
here, The church will
know more and more and more persecution.
And there is no way No way that you can be a genuine Christian
and be exempt.
Profound truth simply stated. This is love worth finding with pastor, teacher, and author Adrian Rogers.
Would you be finding, please, match you chapter five in your bible.
We’re gonna be talking about one of the signs of the last days, and that is the persecution of the church.
Did you know that’s one of the signs that we’re living in the last days?
I wanna speak to you today about how to prepare for persecution.
For as surely as I am standing here, the church will know more and more and more persecution.
And there is no way no way that you can be a genuine Christian and be exempt.
For example, the Bible says in second Timothy, yay, and all that will live godly.
In Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. That’s a pretty clear statement. Hall and shall.
No ifs ands and buts about it.
The new whipping boy in the world today is the Bible believing Christian.
He may be the most hated and persecuted person on this earth.
Bible Christians today indoor everything from the limitations of their freedoms, their civil rights, scorn and ridicule in the media, and many are going through prison.
And many through death. What does the Bible have to say about that?
Well, Look, if you will, please, in Matthew, chapter five, and hear the words of Jesus.
Verse ten, blessed, are they, which are persecuted for righteousness sake? I’m glad that’s there. Aren’t you?
I’m glad that’s there. Jesus said, blessed.
Lessett are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Lessett are ye? When men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.
For so persecuted they, the prophets which were before you.
Are the salt of the earth.
But if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It stands forth good for nothing.
And may I suggest that we have too many good for nothing Christians?
It is since fourth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men.
Yee are the light of the world.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Now there is a way that you can escape, uh, persecution. Just fail to be salt and light.
Just compromise. Uh, rub shoulders with this whole world. Be conformed to this world.
You won’t get any. Persecution, when I was going to college, I had a job as a construction worker, Carpenter’s helper.
And, uh, they asked me those carpenters on that job. So what are you gonna do, son?
I said, god’s called me to preach.
I began to get it in the neck from that time on, all the preacher jokes and all of the dirty language and so forth.
And then one man called me aside and he looked at me very seriously.
He said, man, if you’re gonna be a preacher.
She said, let me tell you how to be a good one. He said, I know a preacher.
Everybody loves him. He said he never talks about politics or religion.
So he said, if you just be a preacher, Never talk about politics and religion.
You can be loved. Just rub shoulders with this old world.
And everybody perhaps will love you. Let me tell you something.
In the Christian life, Joy is the thermostat.
You can set the thermostat and decide that you’re going to live with joy because, uh, joy is internal, and it doesn’t depend upon circumstances.
But if joy is the thermostat, Persecution is the thermometer.
It shows how you are living for the lord Jesus Christ.
Now there are three things I want to lay on your heart today. And they come out of this passage.
And I pray god as you prepare to live in these last days.
And by the way, These are things you better write indelibly upon the hearts and minds of your children.
Now you may make it. They may not, unless you write this upon their hearts.
Three things about persecution, As we get closer to the second coming of the lord Jesus Christ, number one, we should expect persecution.
Now, why are we persecuted? Why will Bible believing Christians be persecuted?
And why have they been persecuted for two thousand, uh, years. Three reasons.
Number one, the lifestyle we show. We are different. Look, if you will, in verse ten.
Bless, are they which are persecuted for what? For righteousness sake, that’s why you’re persecuted.
For righteousness sake, do you know what the word righteousness means?
It comes from a Greek word, which means to divide.
To be different, we live in a world that breeds on conformity.
Inclusivity. The world does not like people being different.
And the world does not like the difference.
If we’re righteous, They will try to dumb us down.
They’ll try to reach out and claim us.
Now when I’m talking about persecution, you must understand there’s a difference between persecution and punishment.
Some of us are getting what we deserve. It’s just simply punishment. What is what is what is punishment?
Punishment comes from good people when we do bad. Persecution comes from bad people when we do good.
Now some of us, uh, we’re getting what we deserve.
Uh, you know, Jesus said we’re to be persecuted what for righteousness sake and for his namesake.
Let me just put in your margin what Simon Peter had to say about that in first Peter chapter four.
Now listen listen to what Peter said.
But if you be reproach for the name of Christ, Happy are ye for the spirit of glory and god resteth upon you.
On their part, he, that is Christ as evil spoken of, but on your part, He is glorified, but now listen to the caveat that he put here.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or as a thief or as an evildoer or as a busy body in other men’s matters.
The reason some of us are being persecuted is we have simply earned it.
Full of ego, a Messiah complex, arrogance, laziness, bad manners, and sometimes bad breath.
And and we’ve got it coming to us. No.
I’m not talking about punishment. I’m talking about persecution. Some of us try to witness like a prosecuting attorney.
Jesus didn’t say you’ll be my lawyers. He said you’ll be my witnesses.
If we’re being if we’re being persecuted, number one, it’s gotta be false.
And number two, it’s gotta be for his names, say. Do you know what the word persecute literally means?
It means to pursue. To pursue.
That it it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna put you an doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna pour boiling oil on you.
They are going to be pursuing you. And the idea is of pursuit to find something that you’re doing wrong.
Do you remember one day, uh, that Jesus was going through the wheat fields and his disciples were hungry and they got some wheat and rubbed it in their hands and began to eat that wheat?
The pharisees said, look, it’s the Sabbath Day.
He’s threshing wheat on the Sabbath.
Jesus reminded them that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath, but here’s the interesting thing.
What were a bunch of pharisees doing out in the wheat fields anyway? The corn fields.
You think about it. You see him down there?
Uh, yeah, like hee haw, you know, they’re rising up out of the cornfield.
Following him, watching him, trying to find something that they could blame him with.
One of the reasons we’ll be persecuted is the lifestyle we show.
Another reason that we will be persecuted, friend, is not only the lifestyle that we show but the lies that we’ll suffer.
Look, if you will, again. He says in verse eleven, blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you And say all manner of evil against you falsely for my namesake.
I’m gonna surprise you. It may shock you, but do you know they’ll tell lies about you?
They will tell lies about you. How did Jesus manage to get crucified false witnesses?
Is that right? False witnesses.
What started the first persecution about Christians on Christians in Rome?
It was Nero, who told
a big one.
Nero burned Rome, according to history. He needed a scapegoat.
He was in a a vast remodeling project, and he wanted to get rid of the slums.
So he said, here’s a good way to do it, a match. Well, not a match. They didn’t have matches.
However they got fire started. And they burned, rolled. It backfired on him. No pun intended.
It backfired on him. And he’s he he’s trying out to put the blame. He said, blame those Christians.
They’re the ones talking about setting the world on fire. Blame those Christians.
Now you might as well get ready for a signal to lie about you. They lie about anybody.
They lie about me. Don’t believe everything you hear about any Christian. Okay?
They will say all manner of evil against you falsely when my name’s saved.
The lifestyle we show, that’s one reason. We’re different. Uh, the lies the lies that we suffer.
Here’s the third reason, and here’s the main reason. The lord that we serve.
The lord that we serve is not primarily. Uh, the devil didn’t primarily engineer it against you.
He’s just trying to get a Jesus by getting at you because you’re his representative. Notice what he says here.
Look at it again. He says, uh, in verse eleven, blessed are ye when men shall revile you and prosecute you and say, all manner of evil against you falsely watch it now for my sake.
The lord that you love. If you love Jesus, You’re going to be persecuted.
The name of Jesus is the name always, a point of offense.
Now it may surprise you also to know that this world hates Jesus. Or you say not the world.
The world doesn’t hate Jesus. What? The world does hate Jesus. Now now, wait a minute.
I have to qualify this and tell you which Jesus the world hates.
The world does not hate the baby Jesus in the manger.
All the world loves Christmas, most all the world.
I mean, Here’s a little baby in a manger, uh, dimple feet on straw, and here’s a mother nursing a baby.
Why the merchants love that? Hey, folks. Uh, let me tell you something. At Christmas is a big business.
It is a big business. The world doesn’t hate the baby Jesus. I’ll tell you something else.
The world does not hate the Jesus that fed the multitudes and open blind eyes and heal the sick.
That’s not why the world hates Jesus. Do you wanna know why the world hates Jesus?
Well, let me tell you why the world hates Jesus.
The world hates Jesus for why he came, and that was to destroy the works of the devil.
To destroy the works of the devil.
Jesus and his kingdom is against liquor against abortion, against pornography, against pride, against racism, against hatred, against selfishness.
The works of the death. That’s why they hate him.
Here’s what Jesus said in John chapter fifteen, Getting in verse nineteen, if you were of the world, the world would love his own.
But because you are not of the world, But I have chosen you out of the world, therefore, the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord.
If they have prosecuted me, they will also prosecute you.
If they have kept on my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you, listen for my name’s sake.
Because they know not him that sent me. So here’s the first point.
Here’s here’s what I’m trying to lay on your heart. Uh, we should expect persecution.
Here’s the second point. Not only should we expect persecution, we must endure persecution.
Because there’s no way really that we’re going to get around it.
Let me tell you how it’s going to come as you endure it.
First of all, it may be personal insult. Look again if you will in verse eleven.
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you. They love to revile you.
You’re gonna be made the butt of jokes. You’re gonna be ridiculed.
And now, you know, it’s it’s actually reviling Christians as big business.
There will be There will be this this this reviling.
There will be this personal insult, but there’ll be something else.
Not only will there be personal insult, there will be physical intimidation.
Notice again as to what he says. Bless are ye when men shall rebuy you, and persecute you.
Now I said, persecute means to follow, but it means sometimes to follow in order to imprison.
They’re people in prison right this moment because they’ve stood up for the unborn.
I mean, they are in jail right now. Don’t get the idea that the martyrs lived in yesterday.
Uh, we’re we’re going to find physical intimidation in China.
If Christians will not, line up behind a state run church. They face prison, torture, maybe death.
I’ll tell you what else are we going to face. Social injustice.
He says they’re going to say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.
Know what the devil is doing now.
He has leveled all of the artillery of hell against the home.
But some of you some of you in this building today sit here with a broken because you have a husband, a wife, father, mother, son, or daughter who persecutes you for the very fact that you come here.
On Sunday morning. It’s a fight just for you to get out of the house.
And when you come back home, you’ll get some smart remark about that church down there and what you believe.
Folks, it’s a part of being saved. It is a part of being a Christian.
And don’t think it’s strange. You’ll say, oh, man, something has gotten wrong. Nothing has gotten wrong.
Peter said concerning the fiery trial. He said, don’t think that some strange thing has happened to you.
As though some strange thing has happened to you, it comes with the territory.
So the first thing, there is the persecution. Listen.
There is the persecution we should expect There is the persecution. We must endure.
You don’t get out of it. Not if you live for Jesus. Here’s the third thing.
There is the persecution we can enlist. You know, we can use it.
We can use it for the glory of god. Notice if you will as to what our lord says.
Here, he says in verse twelve, rejoice. Uh, rejoice. Be exceeding glad.
For great, here’s your reward in heaven. For so persecuted they, the prophets which were before you.
How do you enlist persecution.
How do you how do you take what the devil meant for evil and turn it into good?
Well, number one, just continue to reign in life.
Rain, r e I g n, not r a I n. To reign in life. Notice what he says.
Look at it. Go back to Matthew five. He says blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake?
For theirs is the what? The kingdom.
We’re in the kingdom. There are three levels of life.
There is the hellish level. There’s the human level. There’s the heavenly level.
What is the hellish level? That’s when when good people are persecuted.
By bad people for doing good. That is returning evil for good. That’s the hellish level.
Has a lot of hellishness around. Then there’s the human level. You know what the human level is?
Good for good and evil for evil. That’s what that’s that’s the human level.
What is the heavenly level?
The heavenly level is those who are children of the king, and that is we return what.
Good for evil.
Good for evil. Now look, you’re in chapter five. Just fast forward over there to diverse forty four.
Look at it. Oh, this is tough, but we gotta believe it.
Because it’s it’s it’s it’s in the word. Jesus said. Well, let’s start in verse forty three.
You’ve heard that it hath been said thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. That’s the human level.
That’s the human level. But I say unto you, love your enemies. Bless them that curse you.
Do good to them that hate you and pray for them.
Which despitefully use you and persecute you that you may be the children of your father, which is in heaven, for he maketh his son to rise on the evil and on the good on sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
People persecute you. Don’t get even. Don’t get even. Why? Where are you?
You’re reigning with the lord. You’re in the kingdom. Where are they?
They’re either on the human level or the hellish level. Now watch it.
You say I’m going to get even. Here you are, here they are. So you get even.
You see what you did? You get even. You get even?
No. Don’t get even
rain rule. You’re in the kingdom. You’re in the kingdom.
God help me, not to stoop.
To come down to their level, but not only reign in life, rejoice in the lord.
Look if you will in verse twelve. Rejoice and be exceeding glad.
Why do you rejoice in the lord? Well, listen, folks.
As I said, you have to earn persecution.
You’re not going to get in if you don’t live for Jesus.
But if you’re getting it, you say hallelujah
hallelujah, they see Jesus.
Do you remember when they took those apostles there?
And they told them they warned them said, don’t you preach anymore in the name of Jesus?
We’ll put you in prison. You saw what we did to him.
You know what we can do to you. The Bible said.
They departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy.
To suffer shame for his name. Rechoicing that they were counted worthy.
To suffer shame for his name, reign in life, rejoice in the lord if it comes.
And thirdly, release love. Just release love. Just keep loving. This is not sympathy.
This is love. And and and you know, if we’ll do this, we’d be like the prophets.
He said that’s the way they persecuted the prophets, but thank God for the prophets.
Did you know that the word martyr and the word witness are the same word, the Greek language?
There was a man who was being persecuted.
His name was Steven. He was a deacon.
Have he was being persecuted? They were stoning him.
And you never heard such loves to come out of a man’s life, out of a man’s mouth.
He began to pray. I asked there stonium. He began to pray. And he said, Lord,
don’t lay this sin to that char.
And he prayed for those who were persecuting him and stoning him.
Bible says his face shone like an angel.
He said, I see heaven open. I see Jesus standing there.
I thought he was seated. He might have been seated most of the time, but he’s standing, say, welcome home, son.
Welcome home. Welcome home. Stephen?
You weren’t ashamed of me. I have a son named Stephen.
You were not ashamed
There was a man there standing there who watched all of that.
As a matter of
fact, he was holding the clothes for everybody. His name was Saul. He hated Christians.
But he never got that sight out of his mind.
Later on the road to Damascus. Jesus appeared to him and said, saul.
It’s hard for you, isn’t it?
It’s hard for you to kick against the gold.
He’s talking about the ox gold because there was something joking him. You know what it was?
A face like an angel. A bloody face. Shining like an angel.
A man who showed supernatural love.
We’re gonna be persecuted, but you know what?
Not only should we expect it and endure it. We ought to enlist it.
For Jesus. Amen. Amen. Father.
Help us to stand up,
stand up for Jesus
as soldiers of cross.
The lift high his royal banner.
That it must suffer loss.
Lord, Jesus, help me never, never dear safety, to be ashamed of you.
Who died for me.