“Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9
“And all these things they will do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. John 16:3
Classic books like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and more recent books such as Jesus Freaks have documented a wide variety of past heroes of the faith who would rather be ostracized, tortured and killed than deny their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Worldwide persecution of believers is multiplying. From the murder of the Bible Society’s bookshop manager Rami Ayyad in Gaza, to attacks by Salafi Muslims on Christian school children in Egypt riding home on their bus, to beheadings of believers by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, to treachery by witches against believers in the workplaces of America, the venom of Satan is being spewed out profusely against those who follow Christ.
Thousands of men, women and children are being attacked, tortured, raped and slaughtered in northern Nigeria by Boko Haram. Demonically inspired Imams in the U.S. and abroad are stirring up hatred and rage against believers in Jesus.
A few weeks ago Fox News reported the words of Rev. Canon Andrew White, Vicar of Baghdad: “Every day we think that the crisis here cannot get worse and every day it does. Yesterday over 1500 people were killed. Hell has broken out here and no one cares.”
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) told Congress before they left for their summer break, “Christianity as we know it is being wiped out. I believe what is happening is genocide. Where is the West? Where is the Obama Administration? Where is Congress? The silence is deafening.”
Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries recently wrote, “Let a Koran be burned and there is world uproar. Let entire Christian cities be uprooted or their people slaughtered and there is very little response.”
It’s really nothing new. Hatred for Christ has been, is now, and will increasingly be unleashed against His people John 15:20. Suffering and persecution for righteousness’ sake simply goes with the territory of our faithfulness to the Lord and His redemptive cause II Timothy 3:12-13; I Peter 4:12-19.
We have been born into a war! What we have to keep in mind is our real enemies are not human beings, but we wrestle “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
If you are a believer in Christ, please do what you can to stay informed about our brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution around the world. Some of them may be right next door to you or in your very own family. Check out ministries like Voice of the Martyrs and News Service 2000 which are reliable sources of information to help us provide prayer and other types of support for those in other nations.
Be sure to pray for their persecutors, and yours, as well. Remember that a man who was formerly one of the most violent persecutors of the church (Paul) was totally transformed by the grace of God, preached the gospel with amazing power and wrote 13 books of the New Testament!
Of course, the true Church of Jesus will never be wiped out Matthew 16:18! In fact, it often grows best amidst the raging fires of persecution. If you are one of His true followers, persecution for Christ will surely come your way in one form or another. When it does remember and keep the words of our Savior:
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall 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 who were before 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;”