Christians will face persecution in this world, but God will help us overcome it!
Today’s believers are in no way different from early day Christians that were severely persecuted by their opponents.
Early believers survived their trial moments; they also had effective evangelism.
Many new souls were added to the faith on a daily basis when early Christians were severely persecuted.
A young lawyer called Saul spearheaded the persecution of early Christians.
He was obsessed with his Judaism (religion) and persecuted Christianity.
He persecuted Christians from door to door, and from town to town.
Eventually, Saul met with the Lord and became saved.
(Saul converted to Christianity and changed his name to Paul).
Jesus Christ saved Paul and turned him to his fisherman – an evangelist! (Acts 9).
The conversion of Paul from Judaism to Christianity infuriated the Pharisees who considered him as their effective agent.
They attempted to kill Paul, however, God protected him.
God exposed the anti-gospel individuals that wanted to kill Saul as the scripture reported,
“… So he (Saul) was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus” (Acts 9:28-30).
Important Lessons on Persecution of Saints
1. Persecution of saints is inevitable
People who have professed their faith in Jesus Christ will suffer persecution in this world, but Jesus will help us prevail.
The persecution of saints would come in different forms, and make believers experience pain.
However, believers ought to maintain focus and serve God effectively.
2. Resolute faith will help Christians overcome persecutions
Christians must maintain confidence in God and hold on to our profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 cor 15:9-10).
Christians must be courageous to find motivation in our persecutions.
As we endure in faith, we must allow the Holy Spirit of God to rule us.
We must let God’s light shine through us to make Satan ashamed.
God will utilize our irresistible faith to conquer Satan.
That is, believers should proclaim the faithfulness of God while we are being persecuted.
The evil wall of the enemy will crack and ultimately collapse as we affirm the faithfulness of God.
Satan cannot withstand God’s light; he will cave in and yield to God’s light to shine as we maintain irresistible faith in God.
3. Christians to preach gospel while under persecution
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you” (2 Corinthians 4:7-12 KJV).
A Christian who suffers persecution should endeavor to live a pious lifestyle like Apostle Paul.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).
Despite repeated persecutions that Paul suffered from his opponents during his time, he was determined to remain an active Christian.
He traveled far and wide to preach the gospel.
Paul traveled beyond the border of his country and visited various remote countries to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He reached out to many gentile nations and led many unbelievers to Christ.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of Apostle Paul is that he wrote many inspiring letters to early Christian churches that were sparsely located around the globe.
Paul’s letter edified early Christians worldwide!
Those letters of Paul eventually became part of the manuscripts that were canonized into the bible.
Today, Christians throughout the world continue to find motivation and inspiration from the letters that Paul wrote to early Christian churches!
Christians to Pray for Power to Endure Persecution
Christians to pray for God’s strength to endure persecution; we need to ask God for strength to turn our adversity into a motivating factor to preach an effective gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dear Jesus Christ, I appreciate your word that states, “In this world you will be of much tribulation, but be of good shares, I have overcome the world” (Acts 16:32-33).
Please give me the strength to find motivation in any persecution that I suffer.
Help me to stand firm in faith and preach your gospel under whatever circumstance!
Endow me with strength to maintain stable faith in you always!
Please subdue the power of my enemies, and let your Holy Spirit energize me to remain faithful to you, so that I can reign with you in heaven.
Please God help me! For the in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.
King Hezekiah upheld the scepter of righteousness in the land of Judah, and God prospered him.
The scripture reported Hezekiah’s courageous decisions that turned out to become his achievements.
It is reported,
“Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke the sacred pillars in pieces, cut down the wooden images, and threw down the high places and the altars—from all Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh—until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned to their own cities, every man to his possession” (2 Chronicles 31:1).
King Hezekiah lived a victorious life and he was honored till the sunset of his life. His end was reported, “… So Hezekiah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the upper tombs of the sons of David; and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem honored him at his death. Then Manasseh his son reigned in his place” (2 Chronicles 32:33).
Lesson on Righteousness Upholding
God’s rewards of goodness are bound to manifest in believers’ lives. Sweet and befitting testimonies will pursue people who are determined to walk in God’s ways, just like they happened in the life of King Hezekiah in the Bible.
The king excelled his predecessors because he feared God, and all things worked out well for him. He began his life story by enforcing God’s laws in his land.
Unlike his predecessors, Hezekiah ensured that idol shrines were destroyed in the land of Judah (2 Chronicles 31:1).
As a gesture for his steadfastness, God blessed Hezekiah with wisdom and strength. The king was brave to frustrate a powerful invading King Sennacherib of Assyria.
King Hezekiah devised an engineering scheme to frustrate his enemies by terminating watercourses that could have sustained them; meanwhile, he secretly rerouted the water courses through underground tunnels.
In addition, King Hezekiah was also able to supervise an invention of a storage system that stored temple articles.
The king ensured that God’s priests and their families were well cared for.
However, the greatest achievement of King Hezekiah is yet to be mentioned: He was humble enough to put Satan to shame when the enemy was determined to waste his life through pride.
God helped King Hezekiah to finish his earthly race well. He died at a very old age to receive an expensive royal honor in Jerusalem. God will reward us!
Prayer on Upholding of Righteousness for God’s Reward
O dear Lord please teach me how to love you with all my heart. Help me to be loyal to you. Let me serve you with honesty so that I can merit your lasting blessings.
Anoint me through your Holy Spirit to remain fit for your kingdom. For in the name of Jesus Christ I make my requests. Amen.
Serve God and reap the reward. King Jotham reigned when the act of wickedness was persistent in the land of Judah; however, the king chose not to follow the footsteps of the wicked kings that preceded him.
Jotham served God well in righteousness, and since he was so different, God honored him specially.
God helped Jotham to be exceptionally great among other kings in his region. The scripture reported,
“He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord, and he built extensively the wall of Ophel.
Moreover, he built cities in the hill country of Judah, and he built fortresses and towers on the wooded hills. He fought also with the king of the Ammonites and prevailed over them so that the Ammonites gave him during that year one hundred talents of silver, ten thousand kors of wheat and ten thousand of barley.
The Ammonites also paid him this amount in the second and in the third year. So Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 27:3-6 NASB).
Lesson on Dare to Be Different: Serve God In Righteousness
It is a good thing to serve God. Anyone who honors God especially will also receive special treatment from God.
Meanwhile, an effort to take the extra steps for God may be challenging sometimes.
Different kinds of pressure may rise to challenge our decisions to specially honor God; people may hate us, and we might be abused.
Meanwhile, since our God deserves nothing but special honor, we should not yield to the pressure of any kind.
Instead, we should transform our trials to become motivating factors that would make us honor God at all costs.
If we demonstrate unwavering faith, Jehovah will honor us beyond measures, and he will make his face shine on us.
Prayer On being Different and Serve God In Righteousness
Dear God, please help me to focus on serving you according to expectations.
Help me to make serving you a true God my priority!
Guide me through your Holy Spirit to make decisions that will make you smile with me. Help me not to compromise my decision to faithfully serve you.
Enable me with the grace to honorably walk before you always, so that I can qualify for your special honor.
For in the name of Jesus Christ I make my requests. Amen.
God challenged Judah inhabitants to stand up for righteousness and stop abusing the weak and the less privileged people. Judah would be blessed if they care for others, but they would suffer terrible consequence if they act otherwise.
Jeremiah prophesied, “
“Thus says the Lord: Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
For if you indeed do this thing, then shall enter the gates of this house, riding on horses and in chariots, accompanied by servants and people, kings who sit on the throne of David. But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself,” says the Lord, “that this house shall become a desolation’” (Jeremiah 22:3-5).
Lesson on Standing for Righteousness
Children of God are required to fairly treat others – with respect, and without prejudice. To demonstrate that we are truly God’s children, we must not violate the right of others.
We must not take advantage of other people, and we must abstain from selfish ambitions. However, our behavior (as God’s true children) must be to care for the less privileged people.
We must consider the needs of others. We must provide for orphans, widows, and other people in position of need. Jehovah will delight in us if we carefully observe these things.
Once he is satisfied, we should be expecting him to be bless us – he will lift us above our limitations. Jehovah will ensure that we do not suffer lack!
Pray to Stand for Righteousness
Dear God, please help me to care for others. I do not want to be a selfish individual who is only obsessed with his/her personal needs. Help me to have empathy for others, and help me to do my best in meeting their needs.
Please fill be with your divine Holy Spirit to do what is just; empower me with grace to demonstrate good heart towards others.
Let me be your true ambassador on earth, so that people can be happy and praise your holy name. After all these things, please bless me, and meet me in every area of my needs. For in the name of Jesus Christ I make my requests. Amen.