We are starting to see persecution of Christians in America. It is not at the level we see in countries in the Middle East, but it has started. The Bible has warned us to expect this.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12
We, as Americans, have been blessed to live in a nation that was pro-God and pro-Christians. Our founders gave us this heritage. Sadly, we have squandered it away. In some ways we have been like the prodigal son. We took the inheritance that our Father gave to us and used it in riotous living. We are now left where we have to eat the corn husks with the pigs.
In America we see a new normal. The new normal is the persecution of those who will stand with Christ. Our views have been ridiculed for some time. Now we are starting to pay a price for those views. Look at what has happened to those who have said no to same-sex marriage in their businesses. A photographer, a baker, and a florist have been prosecuted for refusing to partake in same-sex weddings.
They did not discriminate against a person, they discriminated against an event. It is my understanding that this is not illegal in America. In these three cases they did not stop the people from getting married, they refused to be part of the weddings.
When Christians are forced to participate in an event that they consider to be wrong, it is not the homosexual couple that is discriminated against, it is the Christian. The Christian’s right to believe and practice his religion is being discriminated against. We can expect to see more and more of this.
I believe that this is happening because Christians in America have been living substandard lives. They have not been living up to the standard of godliness God expects of His children. When we read how the power of God was upon the churches of the first century, it should show us that something is wrong in our churches today. The power that was seen in those churches seems to be completely lacking in ours. They turned the world upside down, and we hardly make a ripple.
Most of the churches today are impotent. They lack the power of God upon them. The reason for this is that they have turned from normal Christian living to subnormal Christian living. The world has become the standard for the lives of most “Christians” instead of the Bible.
We keep saying we need revival, but do we even know what revival is? To understand revival, let’s first look at revival in the physical sense.
Some of you may have been trained in CPR. A person that has passed out has passed from a normal state to a subnormal state. CPR is then performed to revive them. Your purpose would be to bring them back to their normal healthy state. This is the physical idea of revival.
Now let’s consider spiritual revival. If we are seeking spiritual revival, we are admitting that we have fallen from the normal spiritual state to a subnormal spiritual state. We have been in this subnormal spiritual state for so long it has become normal to us. We have lived in this state for so long that we think that we are living a normal Christian life.
True revival is taking a Christian from subnormal Christian living to normal Christian living. It is bringing us back to a state where the power of God can move through us. We have lived in the subnormal state for so long that when we see someone living what should be a normal Christian life we think that the person is abnormal.
The normal Christian life is a life that allows God to work through the Christian. It is a life where the manifestation of God’s power is normal, not abnormal.
What has caused us to slip into this subnormal state? I believe it is because we have left our first love, we have allowed worldliness to enter our lives. I often say that Christians are supposed to be the salt and light in this world. The Bible tells us that salt is not good for much if it loses its savour.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:13
How does salt lose its saltiness? It happens when it is mixed with other compounds.
Let me draw your attention to a passage in the Book of James:
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:2-4
We want to say “God bless America,” but we have become a carnal people. How can we expect God to bless our nation when we are chasing after the things of the world? Listen to what John has to say about this.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:15-16
We are not to love the things of this world. If you are a friend of the world, you are an enemy of God.
I know that I talk about a lot of negative things. I talk about judgment and persecution. I expose what Islam is doing and how I believe that Islam is being used as an instrument of judgment by Jehovah God. I say that God has raised up Islam to bring judgment because of our sin, and rightly so. We deserve God’s wrath because we have lived ungodly lives. I am talking about Christians, not the lost world.
It is one thing for the world to do what they are doing because they don’t have Christ in their hearts. We should expect them to live ungodly lives.
The Bible tells us that judgment must first begin in the house of God.
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17
I believe that we are going to see increased persecution begin upon Christians. God’s purpose in allowing it is to turn us back to our God.
There are benefits in persecution. You are probably asking what I am talking about. Listen carefully to what I am going to say.
First of all, persecution brings eternal reward.
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 which were before you. Matthew 5:11-12
Luke takes it a step farther.
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. Luke 6:22-23
Notice that he says we should leap for joy when this happens. We can rejoice in the coming reward.
Another benefit is that persecution brings God’s glory on us.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 1 Peter 4:14
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 1 Peter 4:16
When a Christian suffers persecution for the name of Christ, God’s glory is revealed in him.
Another benefit of persecution is that it strengthens the spiritual man. We all have a struggle with the old man, the flesh. The Bible tells us that the secret is walking in the spirit.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
When we suffer persecution we realize that we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength. Persecution causes us to run to God for His strength.
Another important thing to consider is how it influences the lost world. During times of great persecution many people were saved. It was the faithful testimony of Christians that drew people to Christ. Our faithfulness in persecution shows that we really believe what we say. When the lost see that we have something they don’t have, they pay attention and seek to find it.
American churches have been impotent for too long. If we take the persecution seriously it will restore the power of God upon the churches.