Believers are made to handle persecution and abuse

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The words of Jesus in Matthew 5:10-12 are not a new truth. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

It has always been true that anyone who stands with the LORD can expect hostility from the “many” in this fallen world. For over 150 years the Jews discovered this back during the days of Zerubbabel, Ezra, Esther and Nehemiah.

In 539 BC the Jews were not only released by the Persian King Cyrus from their God-ordained 70 years of captivity, but they were assigned a mission: REBUILD GOD’S TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM. Zerubbabel led 50,000 Jews back to Jerusalem for the project. They no sooner rebuilt the sacrificial Altar and started on the Temple, when the surrounding pagan neighbors began their schemes to interfere and prevent the Jews from rebuilding God’s holy Temple.

Ezra chapter 4 records the pagan’s interference and persecution during the days of several Persian Kings: Cyrus (539-530 BC), Darius (521-486 BC), Xerxes (485-465 BC) and all the way to ArtaXerxes (464-424 BC). And during Esther’s time under Xerxes, Haman even tried to wipe the Jews from the earth. For over a century the surrounding pagan nations did their best to destroy the Jews, prevent them from re-building the Temple and stop their re-building of the city of Jerusalem and it’s walls.

However, when believers are faithful to the LORD, pagans have met their match. At the end of that 115 years of persecution: the Jews were still in Jerusalem, the Temple had been re-built, the sacrifices were being offered, the city of Jerusalem had been repopulated, the buildings/houses in Jerusalem had been erected and the city walls of protection were in their place. GOD WINS! Which means GOD’S PEOPLE WIN!

Christians today need to remember that this truth remains truth.

Rom. 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

1 Jn. 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Ps. 56:11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Jer. 1:19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you,

Jer. 20:11 But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble;

they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten.

Conclusion

1- Genuine followers of God can always expect interference and persecution from the world.

2- That interference and persecution is a sign of being on the right track with the LORD.

3- The unbelievers in darkness cannot win.

4- The unbelievers in darkness can cause us pain and can even “delay” our mission, but they cannot win.

5- GOD ALWAYS WINS! THEREFORE HIS FAITHFUL CHILDREN ALWAYS WIN!

Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at pawdad@nts-online.net.

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