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7 Ways God Responds to the Persecution of His People

Discussion in 'Persecuted Christians' started by Mark Corbett, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I thank God for this forum, where members strive to obey the command:

    Hebrews 13:3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

    I pray that the thoughts I share here will help to fuel and guide your prayers for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

    In considering this topic my primary resource is God’s Word, where God Himself reveals His response to persecution. My thoughts are also shaped by the incredible privilege the Lord gave me and my family to live in Indonesia for fourteen years, from 1996 to 2010. Many Christians were killed for their faith on the island we lived on. We personally knew Christians who were beaten for their faith by their own families. Nearly every Indonesian Christian we knew had a family member or close friend who had witnessed violent persecution against Christians. We listened to many stories and spent many hours in prayer with our brothers and sisters in Christ. As a result, I was constantly thinking and praying about issues related to persecution. I also was frequently discussing these issues with others, both locally, and through a worldwide network of Christians serving in similar circumstances. And, perhaps most relevant to this post, I was constantly alert to the vast amount of material in God’s Word which addresses persecution.

    Based on all this, I have summarized below seven of God’s responses to the persecution of Christians.

    1. Protection from evil

    And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:2 NIV)

    In answer to our cries for protection and because of His great love, God protects His people from evil. He does this at two levels.

    In many ways and places, God works to allow His people to escape harm. Many times there were plots to kill the Apostle Paul, and through various providences God allowed him to escape. Sometimes working through governments, sometimes through other Christians, sometimes through sympathetic neighbors, and occasionally through angels, God protects His people. And yet, we know that on many other occasions He allows His people to experience persecution, sometimes even unto death.

    At a deeper level, God allows nothing to harm His children (Luke 10:19). The promise “nothing will harm you” refers to God’s guarantee that in the end persecution will do no eternal harm to any of His children. Even if we are killed, we are totally safe in His loving arms.

    2. Provision of strength and courage to persevere

    But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3 NIV)

    God gives us the strength and courage we need to face whatever persecution we experience. Sometimes, this comes in the form of a miraculous feeling of peace and security in the midst of dangerous situations. At other times, we feel fear and trembling, yet underneath the fear we are anchored by a deeper and stronger hope.

    3. Use of persecution to increase gospel witness

    Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
    (Philippians 1:12-14 NIV)

    One of the beautiful and surprising ways that God uses the persecution of Christians is to spread the gospel of Christ. Hearing about the courage of persecuted believers gives all of us greater courage and motivation to share God’s love and truth. And those directly involved in carrying out the persecution have many times been moved to accept the Lord.

    4. Providing guidance to His people

    Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16 ESV)

    Christians serving God in a hostile and dangerous world must constantly make difficult decisions. Do I flee or stay put? Is this an occasion to wait quietly or to speak up boldly? Who do I trust with what information? God provides guidance. He gives us principles in His Word. He speaks to us through other believers. His Holy Spirit guides our thoughts. His holy providence directs our paths.

    5. Dreams and other supernatural help

    One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, "Cornelius!" (Acts 10:3 NIV)

    I was blessed with the opportunity to hear the stories of quite a few Muslims who had become followers of Jesus. Many of these courageous believers shared that at some point they had a dream which helped them to accept Christ. I believe that God gives extra help to people who are facing the greatest dangers and opposition. Some of this help comes in the form of supernatural dreams and other miracles.

    6. Future vengeance which promotes current perseverance

    God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you (2 Thess. 1:6 NIV)

    We are called to pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). We forgive. We seek their salvation. Knowing that God will eventually settle all scores, paying back those who never repent and never find forgiveness in Christ, frees us from worrying about revenge ourselves.

    7. Focusing His people on His promises for future glory

    Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
    (Matt. 5:11-12 NIV)

    A close friend of mine who also was blessed to serve among persecuted Christians shared with me a dream he once had. I may not get the details perfectly right, but I remember the gist of his dream. He was in a crowded room full of people in Heaven. All of a sudden they all shouted, “It sure was worth it -- following Jesus!”

    The suffering we experience is being used to prepare us for glory. Sometimes in our weak moments we may wonder if it is worth it. But ten thousand years from now no Christian who has suffered for Christ and the gospel will doubt for a single second that it was worth it. We will be rewarded and God will be glorified.

    This post is slightly modified from a post which originally appeared on my blog.
     
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  2. Roseonathorn

    Roseonathorn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have been thinking about this bibleverse, when I was in prison You visited me not. How should a christian do If He or She wants to visit people in jail if they do not know them personnally. I know some say well You should stay away from trouble. I have visited jails with christians before in other countries but not in my own and interns have mostly liked it. It does not seem like christians or denominations has taken the step to visit jails. They are human inside the walls as well as outside the walls. Saying I am not mature enough will not hold grounds because a visit is a visit and it does not have to be ultrareligious. Sometimes they might need something else than a bible, maybe hope in another form. Some have not seen real flowers for a long time or their children or spouses and are a bit scared of life outside. I am not planning any jailvisit but if anyone has any info on how it usually is done or can be done or what is appreciated by interns I would be happy to know. I know that some are dangerous and some are less dangerous and some just made wrong decisions and some was falsely accused and some really should be on a hospital instead but I am no judge, all I know is that everybody needs hope in life.
     
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  3. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Great question. I really appreciate your heart's desire to minister to people in jail. I have limited experience in this area. I was involved in two types of prison ministry over a period of 2+ years, but that was more than 20 years ago. Still, I'll share what wisdom I have and pray that the Lord will guide you:

    1. Find a church or group that is involved in a jail ministry and work with them. If you don't know of such a group, contact the chaplain at a prison near you and ask what groups are doing ministry and how you can help.
    2. You will want to work with inmates of the same sex. Let men visit the men.
    3. One type of ministry I was involved with consisted of a teaching/sharing time with a group of inmates (maybe 20 or 30). The other type of ministry consisted of me meeting with one inmate in a mentor program every week for an extended period of time. Both types of ministry were good, but I feel that the second type may have had a deeper, more lasting impact. In my case, I was working with juveniles (high school age).

    May God lead and guide you in all you do for Him!
     
  4. Roseonathorn

    Roseonathorn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank You for that answer.
     
  5. Roseonathorn

    Roseonathorn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Today I watched a documentary. The reality in the world today in Prisons is that America puts lifesentences on children. That means that children that do armed robbery where noone dies at age 14 get 4 life sentenses and the main reason the 14 age old kid participated was because a 24 year old participant threathened his family if He would not participate in the crime. This is sick. Kids grow up and change. 70 % of all child lifesentence cases did the crimes together with an adult and it is quite easy to understand who was the leader in the crime then. Who threathened the kids family etc. The 24 year old got 1 life sentence. A few years later the 14 year old was a man and was a christian and so was His mom and now He asked if he could get free because he was a changed man He said. He had been on rehabilitation. But that was worth nothing for the judge. So His remorse counted for nothing, His hope was not lit out however. My last suggestion for the fearful Americans would be to create a prisoners village to the prisoners to prove good conduct. In that "village" with walls, or no walls, they could live in their own home, have a job, home, pay bills, do hobbies, go shopping, just like a military camp village or similar but they would have some freedom perhaps with a footwatch like a tracker. This could be the last way to freedom. Kids grow up and one have to understand that if a kid gets threathened by an adult, that they are going to harm His family then He might do a crime, especially if the parent or both parents are having drugproblems or are absent in His life. His mom has quit the drugs and bocome a christian too. I think it is wrong that kids should rot in prison in America because they have been lured into crimes and threathened or adults have threathened their families. Or You could ask if they could be nice Mexican or Canadian citizen if America is too harch.
     
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