Not Ashamed of the Gospel, No Matter the Danger, No Matter the Cost and No Matter the Consequences

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1849_-_Karikatur_Die_unartigen_KinderCurrent headlines, or lack thereof, seem to indicate that persecution of Christians is on the rise. In reality, believers have been paying a very high price for their faith for 2,000 years.

Some countries no longer allow the physical torture of Christians because this is “cruel and unusual punishment,” yet these same societies have no problem with denying tenure to a PhD who expresses doubt about whether evolution is scientific. Highly intelligent men and women are losing their jobs at an alarming rate.

A Two Star General in the United States Air Force is harshly disciplined for expressing his support for a  former classmates, a Christian running for political office. The Pentagon positively affirms that military employees could be prosecuted for discussing their beliefs. Military chaplain reprimanded for offending atheists.

Christian valedictorians are forbidden to notify their audiences that they attribute their scholastic success to the creator of all that exists. An entire High School Track Team is disqualified when a runner gestures thanks to God.

Former NFL tailback, Craig James testifies that Fox Sports fired him for acknowledging Bible based beliefs.  University Banishes Master’s Degree Student for Her Biblical Beliefs.

A fortune 100 company tells a businessman who merely answered questions about his faith that his actions are an “act detrimental to the company” leaving Americans to question whether it is legal to discuss things they believe in the workplace or in public.

For more examples of how Christian Americans are persecuted please see addendum below.

Hatred for Jesus, without a cause started long before His public ministry began in the second decade of the first century. This hatred has been on-going from the earliest days of His life through the current year. Though the accounts of these horrifying atrocities are sure to stir emotions, people must realize that such ill treatment comes as no surprise to Christians who are reminded of Jesus’ own words in Matthew 10:21–28:

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved… Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell… Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. “But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”

Scripture provides tremendous understanding about the reasons for which men and women, for thousands of years have not denied God for the sake of their own creature comforts. God always uses persecution for His greater glory; many persecutions result in others coming to Christ for eternal salvation because the persecuted are not ashamed of the gospel of God no matter the danger, no matter the cost and no matter the consequences.

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).

Babies murdered for having been born about the same time as Jesus

Le_Brun,_Charles_-_The_Massacre_of_the_Innocents_-_Google_Art_Project

Jesus was born to His virgin mother Mary twenty-eight generations after King David (Matt 1:17) reigned over Israel compelling the “King of the Jews, Herod the Great” to seek the death of this tiny infant (Matt 2:13).

Since Herod’s plan to kill Jesus fails, out of his wickedness and in fulfillment the 700 year old prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer 31:15), he commands all the baby boys two years and under to be put to death in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas (Matt 2:16–18), thus launching the persecution and killing of millions of people associated with the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ to this very day.

These infants are brutally seized from their mothers and fathers simply for having one thing in common with Jesus; their age. Upon hearing the news from the Magi that the “King of the Jews” is born, Herod possess a question to the Jewish religious leaders about the expected location of the Messiah’s birth; citing Micah 5:2 the men inform Herod of the prophecy stating that the Messiah is to be born in Bethlehem.

As an Edomite, Herod wants Jesus dead because he is illegally named the “King of the Judah,” a title that does not rightfully belong to Herod because he is a descendent of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob (Gen. 25:25-26). Esau sold his birthright to his younger brother Jacob (Gen 25:29–32). The kingly line does not belong to Herod the Great; it only belongs to the descendants of Jacob, twenty-nine generations removed from Jesus.

When Herod hears the Magi saying, “where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” He, along with “all of Jerusalem is troubled” (Matthew 2:2–3). Herod stands to not only lose his kingdom, but also his life; therefore, baby Jesus must die because he alone held the legal right to the Kingdom. John MacArthur explains:

To assure his continued rule, he slaughtered all male infants who could possibly be considered legal heirs to the throne. His wife Mariamne also became a victim… By 7 b.c., Herod had both of these [his] sons put to death. Of Herod it was said, “It is better to be Herod’s pig (hys) than to be his son (huios).” As Herod became increasingly ill, an intense struggle for succession to his throne emerged within the family. His 10 marriages and 15 children virtually guaranteed such a struggle.

The good news is that Jesus, the savior of the world, is born; such news should lead Herod to repentance and to eternal life. Instead, the birth of Jesus turns out to be catastrophic for him because he rejects the savior, apparently even to the moment of his death.

There is no telling how many lives have been brutalized subsequent to these precious little ones; estimates are well into the multiple millions paying the ultimate price of death simply because they lived for Christ.

Writing about Old Testament Saints, the author of the book of Hebrews reminds his readers that,

“… others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”

Millions of martyred men, women and children who do not deny their Lord and Savior are not ashamed of the Gospel of God (Romans 1:16) no matter the danger, no matter the cost and no matter the consequences.

The temporal price of placing ones faith in Christ is sometimes considered worse than death. Christians throughout the ages are hounded for the sake of their salvation in Christ.

Paul ans silas in stocksMany are tortured to within the last signs of life only to be revived for additional torment. Some have been forced to observe the brutalization of family members and friends at the hands of those who commit such horrifying atrocities because they, like Herod, do not know the one who sent Jesus.

As Christians, we must continue praying for those who do not know the one who sent Jesus so that they too will glorify Christ. We must diligently bring before the Lord even those who are in the act of persecuting us so that they, like Saul in Acts 9, will turn from hatred for Jesus (John 3:19) to serving Him for His glory.

Addendum

A Christian judge is fired from his job because he posts the Ten Commandments in his court (which forbids such things as murder). A beauty queen is deprived of her crown because she holds fast to God who condemns same sex relationships. Army chaplain assistant threatened with reduction in rank and pay for her biblical comments.

The Inventor of the MRI was Denied the Nobel Prize. High School Cheerleaders in Texas are forbidden to display quotations from the Bible.Saeed, an American Pastor in an Iranian prison, who despite torture and torment, refuses to deny Christ. University defends crackdown on religious groups.

10-Year-Old Banned From Writing About God By Memphis Teacher, Told to Remove Paper From School Property. Co-chair of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy has called for the resignation of every Southern Baptist chaplain who doesn’t support same-sex relationships.

American, Tony Miano is arrested for reading 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 aloud on a street in London. And in San Francisco a police officer arrests a street preacher.

 

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  • Cyril Florita

    Thank you for these reminders. Yes, we are called to pray for the salvation of even those who persecute us because that is the heart of our Master, just as it happened to Paul. May our hearts be inline with His.