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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Praying for persecution

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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

I believe it is wise and biblical to seek to be prepared for persecution. That's why I loved reading the Principles book. I believe it is good to pray for our hearts to be prepared for persecution be it mild or severe, that we may not deny His name when that time comes.

I also believe it is our duty to pray for the persecuted church around the world.

However, I do not believe it is wise nor biblical to pray for persecution or to focus that much attention on it, or to elevate the persecuted church above all other churches or Christians.

As has been stated on this thread, The Bible makes it clear that persecution is inevitable if we seek to truly live a godly life in Christ Jesus. I think a good prayer in light of that truth would be, "Lord, help me to live godly in Christ Jesus, and to prepare for inevitable persecution that comes with that."

A passage of Scripture that came to mind is 1Cor.7:17-24
"But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches. 18 Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 20 Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. 21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord's freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called."

Verses 21 and 24 especially stand out to me here. God tells us in verse 21 that we are to take advantage of any opportunity we have to be outwardly free, so in light of that it wouldn't make sense to pray for persecution.

I'll post Matthew Henry's take on those two verses since I think he does a good job at breaking them down:

Verse 21
"Now," says the apostle, "art thou called being a servant? Care not for it. Be not over-solicitous about it. It is not inconsistent with thy duty, profession, or hopes, as a Christian. Yet, if thou mayest be made free, use it rather," v. 21. There are many conveniences in a state of freedom above that of servitude: a man has more power over himself, and more command of his time, and is not under the control of another lord; and therefore liberty is the more eligible state. But men's outward condition does neither hinder nor promote their acceptance with God. For he that is called being a servant is the Lord's freed-man—apeleutheros, as he that is called being free is the Lord's servant. Though he be not discharged from his master's service, he is freed from the dominion and vassalage of sin. Though he be not enslaved to Christ, yet he is bound to yield himself up wholly to his pleasure and service; and yet that service is perfect freedom. Note, Our comfort and happiness depend on what we are to Christ, not what we are in the world. The goodness of our outward condition does not discharge us from the duties of Christianity, nor the badness of it debar us from Christian privileges. He who is a slave may yet be a Christian freeman; he who is a freeman may yet be Christ's servant. He is bought with a price, and should not therefore be the servant of man.

Verse 24
"He sums up his advice: Let every man wherein he is called abide therein with God, v. 24. This is to be understood of the state wherein a man is converted to Christianity. No man should make his faith or religion an argument to break through any natural or civil obligations. He should quietly and comfortably abide in the condition in which he is; and this he may well do, when he may abide therein with God. Note, The special presence and favour of God are not limited to any outward condition or performance. He may enjoy it who is circumcised; and so may he who is uncircumcised. He who is bound may have it as well as he who is free. In this respect there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free, Col. 3:11. The favour of God is not bound."


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Oracio

 2014/5/5 16:04Profile









 Re:

Oracio writes.......

"However, I do not believe it is wise nor biblical to pray for persecution or to focus that much attention on it, or to elevate the persecuted church above all other churches or Christians."

I could not agree more. Men who follow other men do this, those who are focused on Jesus are the prepared ones...........bro Frank

 2014/5/5 16:47
havok20x
Member



Joined: 2008/9/14
Posts: 785


 Re:

"Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."

"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."

"And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved."

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake."

"“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."

 2014/5/5 17:25Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
"However, I do not believe it is wise nor biblical to pray for persecution or to focus that much attention on it, or to elevate the persecuted church above all other churches or Christians."



There is only One Church. But I believe the only reason some brethren esteem some countries where there is a better testimony of the Church under persecution is that, there is a better testimony. Another way to look at praying for persecution is simply praying for Christians to be salt and light and be bold witnesses, such always brings opposition and persecution. The reason we do not have persecution in the West is that there is "little" to persecute.

Growing true Christianity is opposed, stagnant (lukewarm) Christianity is tolerable by the world.

Revelation 3 (New International Version)
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17

So I do see it Biblical and right to desire the Church to grow, be a witness (Acts 1:8). Though there are times of peace given to the Church and the world will admire the testimony at times of the true Church, mostly there will be persecution, mis-understanding and a opposed spirit against the true testimony of the Church.





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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2014/5/5 17:28Profile
Oracio
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Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

In the book of Acts we see a certain pattern which I believe would be good for us to model in these last days. We see that the bold preaching of the gospel brought severe persecution to the early church. They did not pray for persecution. They prayed for boldness to preach the Word and God answered that prayer and filled them with the Holy Ghost and they spoke the Word of God boldly-Acts 4:30-31. Persecution was a by-product of the bold preaching of the gospel.

Just like the early church, we should pray for the Lord to fill us with the Holy Spirit and to grant us boldness to unashamedly preach the gospel as a lifestyle. That kind of bold proclamation of God’s Word will inevitably bring persecution our way, trust me.

The reason we’re not seeing much persecution in the West is because we’re not seeing much bold gospel-proclamation by the Body of Christ.

The moment you and I start taking a stand and proactively seek to share our faith verbally with the lost, get ready! Satan will come in full force and seek to attack you in various ways including physical persecution at times.

As has been pointed out, the focus needs to be on Jesus Christ, and on bringing Him the most glory by doing what He has called us to do.


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Oracio

 2014/5/5 17:48Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Amen brother Greg as soon as I posted my post I saw yours.


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Oracio

 2014/5/5 17:50Profile
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

There are a lot of holy brothers and sisters in this country. I have known many who love the Lord with all their heart. I would dare say most of us are among those, and have all known a small measure of momentary light affliction and persecution as a result.

I don't think it is right for you brother Greg, to slight the church as you have, simply because you don't think we aren't persecuted hard enough. Consider in your damning remarks that the church isn't the only religion actively persecuted in China. Other religions are too.

So, before you falsely exalt our Chinese brethren to a level of spirituality that we have not somehow obtained in the Americas, please consider people of other religions, and even false prophets themselves, are persecuted in China along with the church. Are these people more spiritual than us too?

Or consider the great saints in this nation who have come before us. Tozer and others lived very comfortable lifestyles with little to no persecution. They endured some social stigmas from time to time. But to my knowledge his life was never in peril. Was Tozer compromised? Or what of Ravenhill? No gang banger ever shot him while wandering around the ghettos of New York at night. Same with Wilkerson.

Consider that at the moment we are simply experiencing a measure of grace in which, like our Lord did at times, we are having great favor with men because of the measure of grace given to us at this present time. Things won't always be this way. Great darkness is coming, and soon. The early church experienced the same at times in Acts and elsewhere. It is not a strange thing to see in the Bible and church history.

But if you think God is going to start allowing people to cut our heads off to make us more spiritual and saintly, I think you are mistaken. Saints rejoice in persecution. Some even fall away. Things get glorious, but they also get messy.

God will cause us to grow because of grace, and the inward work of the Spirit. This happens in good times and bad.

Let us not blaspheme the blood of the martyrs. They pursued peace with all men. They do not pray or invite persecution on themselves. When they had opportunity, like the Puritans, they fled, just as our Lord instructed.


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Jimmy H

 2014/5/5 18:03Profile
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

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 Re:

Quote:
The reason we’re not seeing much persecution in the West is because we’re not seeing much bold gospel-proclamation by the Body of Christ.

The moment you and I start taking a stand and proactively seek to share our faith verbally with the lost, get ready! Satan will come in full force and seek to attack you in various ways including physical persecution at times.

As has been pointed out, the focus needs to be on Jesus Christ, and on bringing Him the most glory by doing what He has called us to do



Amen brother, well said. Yes let us keep our example from the Book of Acts and try and stay there. So your emphasis is right to pray for boldness.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2014/5/5 18:04Profile









 Re: There is no glamor

If you read the reports I read you will see there is nothing glamorous about the persecuted church. Only saints who are trying to live out the reality of Jesus Christ in heart wrenching situations. These precious saints need our prayers.

Blaine Scogin

 2014/5/5 20:10
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

I do also believe it is good for us to be aware of the hardships of our persecuted brothers and sisters, for a number of reasons. For one, it is good so that we can better know how to pray for them. Also, the Lord uses their testimonies to stir us up unto good works and to help us see what is most important, which is our relationship with God and one another.

In all these things we must keep a proper balance or we will go to unhealthy and unbiblical extremes that will hinder rather than help us in our walk.

We are all growing in His grace and knowledge and I am thankful that the Lord is patient with me in all my misunderstandings. I am thankful that we do not have to have it all figured out to be His blood-bought children.


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Oracio

 2014/5/5 21:24Profile





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