Persecution of The Church is Nothing New

reading[1]

We have a new statistic that just came out that global persecution of Christians is on the rise. Persecution has always been the norm for the church and for those who call Jesus Lord and Savior. The result of the persecution of the early church is that the gospel spread from Jerusalem to Samaria and beyond. The significance of the persecution that came on the early church expanded it from Jerusalem to the known world.[1] I’ve heard it said that the persecution forced the church to expand; that the early church was too complacent staying in Jerusalem so God sent persecution to create the need and desire to leave Jerusalem and in doing so expended the church and the gospel. I’m not 100% sure if this is correct or not but the end result of the persecution of the early church is that God’s name and Jesus’ work on the cross was spread throughout the Roman Empire. The first recorded incident of the opposition of the gospel is the arrest and trial of Peter and John for preaching the gospel, after they healed the lame beggar who was begging in front of the temple gate in Acts 3.[2] In the case of Peter and John’s arrest and trial, persecution of the church is usually not for the bad things done; most of the time it is the good things that bring opposition. One of the reasons for this is that the evil works of the world are put in the light of the righteous works of the church.[3]

Suffering persecution is normal for a Christian. Jesus promised his disciples that they would be persecuted because He was persecuted; John 15:20 says, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also (NASB).”[4] Persecution has always made the church stronger. It burns impurity out of the church. It drives away the nominal, worldly attenders, and separates the church from the world. It drives the church to prayer. It unites the church in brotherly love. It often causes the church to expand numerically.[5]

 

 

 

 

[1] Darrell L. Bock, Acts. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 411.

[2] Robert L. Deffinbaugh, “Opposition to the Gospel in the Book of Acts,” Bible.org, February 16, 2007. https://bible.org/seriespage/opposition-gospel-book-acts

[3] Ibid.

[4] New American Standard Bible (NASB). The Lockman Foundation, 1995. Print.

[5] Steve J. Cole, “How to Respond to Persecution (Acts 4:23-35),” Bible.org, August 17, 2013. https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-13-how-respond-persecution-acts-423-35

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