Persecution is a word that is seldom used in our culture. Instead we hear words such as bullying, disrespect, bias, prejudice. The list goes on. These are little persecutions. These are the ways average people deal with annoyances today. These little persecutions break down the barriers to larger and more brutal persecutions. We don’t see these yet in the U.S. but if we look beyond our safe little bubble we’ll see that there are much larger wrongs in the world.
Persecution exists. It is thriving in our world today. Religious persecution happens every day, in every country of the world. The persecution of Christians in Muslim countries is growing with the rise of Islamic jihad. People pay dearly to worship Jesus and the one true God. They pay with the loss of their families, their homes, their jobs. People pay with their lives. In some communist countries Christians aren’t allowed to worship God at all. The penalty for being caught? Death. Over 4,000 Christians have been killed this year and 245 million are estimated to be living in areas of extreme persecution.
So what is this that is worth dying for? According to the Apostle John, Jesus said, ” I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Jesus was explaining that the only way to eternal life and heaven is through believing in Him. He went on to explain that those who believe in Him would surely be persecuted, as He was. In John 15:18-21 He says that because the world hated Him, it would hate His followers also. The reason for this hatred stems from not knowing God.
People who don’t know God look to themselves or other people to determine what is right and good, as well as what is evil. Anything we don’t understand can, and often is, termed evil. This is how persecution is born.
Are you interested in something that’s worth dying for? Is there an emptiness within you that nothing has filled? Join us Sunday morning at 10:55 a.m. in the sanctuary (964 W. Hwy 190 Copperas Cove, TX) or on our Facebook live-stream. Pastor Ann will be delving deeper into the persecuted church.
Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. we’ll be checking out a movie about the church in Iran! Please come learn with us.