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VERSE OF THE DAY
Yield Not to Temptation!
July 30, 2017
Previous: Why Are the Lost, Lost?
"Persecution" means many things to many people. The official definition is, "1: to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief 2: to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (such as attacks, pleas, or importunities) : pester" (Merrium-Webster.com).
Fortunately, the only part of that definition most Christians in America have experienced is, "to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (such as attacks, pleas, or importunities) : pester." But many in other parts of the world have experienced much worse. Many have experienced imprisonment, torture, and even death for their Christianity.
We are all familiar with the atrocities of Isis, Al Qaeda, and other Muslim groups. Those who take the lives of Christians are not doing so in violation of the Muslim holy book, the Quran. The Quran commands that "unbelievers" (non-Muslims) be killed. It states, for example, "So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]" (Surah 47:4). Surah 4:251says, "Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment."
Most of us have experienced some degree of persecution. What should be our response to persecution? That will be the topic of this lesson.
Persecution Is Inevitable
Paul encouraged Timothy, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Tim. 2:3). According to Thayer, the word from the original language means, "1) To suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); 2) to be afflicted." The life of the preacher of the gospel is not an easy life. There are hardships to endure. What hardships?
Jesus said in in His explanation of the Parable of the Sower, or Soils (Mat. 13:20-22):
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
In 2 Timothy 3:11, Paul mentions that the Lord had delivered him out of the persecutions that he endured at Antioch. But it is the next verse that is most important for this study. Paul writes, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim 3:12).
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus speaks of "tribulation and persecution" as it is inevitable that they will occur. It is not if, but when. The question is how will the child of God respond to persecution when it comes. Now Paul writes that the godly in Christ "shall" suffer persecution.
Every faithful child of God will experience some degree of persecution. For most, it is in the form of mocking, verbal attacks on our faith, etc. Most of us have been mocked or teased because of our faith. But many will experience severe persecution, such as being shunned by family, denied employment, imprisonment, torture, and/or death.(Continued on page 2).
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