Persecuted But Not Destroyed
Matthew 5: 10
4Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of God”
I have lived long enough in this world to know that some people cannot be pleased. No matter what you do, they are never satisfied unless they are complaining and griping but they are never willing to help find a solution.
They want to control the money but never give to the fund. I for one would rather be criticized for doing the right thing than for doing the wrong thing.
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name sake. “Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you
To begin this hub we need to realize that there are two things in this world that cause conflict, war and divorce. You can trace every ministry, marriage and even businesses that has failed to these two things and I will list them for you.
- Pride (God says he hates a proud look)
There is much here we do not understand, but what is very obvious is that a spiritual war is taking place between evil spirits and angels of God.
This reveals that in the world which is unseen by us there is a conflict going on, a conflict of the ages between good and evil, light and darkness, God and Satan. The bible reveals that there are satanic forces and heavenly forces engaged in warfare.
The bible also reveals that we are smack dab in the middle of the whole thing.
The US has been involved in many different conflicts including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars 1 and 2, The Korean War, Vietnam, The Gulf Wars and literally hundreds of other conflicts throughout our history as a nation.
Some of you have fought for your country and know war firsthand. Those who are engaged in military conflict have no doubt who their enemies are and have developed a plan to defeat them.
Dear reader, there is another battle being waged all around us in the spiritual realm. Unfortunately, those engaged in spiritual warfare most often do not know who their enemies are, have no plan for victory, and have little, if any, training to confront their enemy.
There has been a war going on since before the fall of Satan that many are not even aware of.
Paul gives us this instruction about spiritual warfare that we need to take to heart.
Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
1. There Is An Invisible World That Is Just As Real As The Visible World
Paul ended his life stating that he had fought a good fight and he was not talking about the church down the street.
For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.
Are We Alone
While we exist in this present visible world, we also exist simultaneously in the unseen world that Paul describes here. The unseen world is described as the place where evil beings exist, but it is also the place Christ, and all believers exist.
2. We Are Involved In An Invisible War, A Cosmic Conflict That Has Eternal Implications
The Bible tells us that once Daniel had been praying to God and not receiving an answer to his prayer suddenly an angel came to him and explained the delay in terms of spiritual warfare: Then he said, "Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.
Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them.
We are human beings but in this war we don’t wage war with human plans and methods.
We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil’s strongholds.
With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ.
John Osteen's Putting on the Armour of God 1990
It Takes Power Go Upstream
I want to sound the message loud and clear that God is calling His church to engage Satan in warfare so that we will be strong in the Lord and will be able to break satanic strongholds. Our weapons are not of this world nor are they visible, but are mighty unseen weapons like prayer, the Word of God, and other things that Satan is terrified of.
Our Foe Is Formidable And His Goal Is To Destroy Us And Discredit The Cause of Christ.
Not everyone that says they are a Christian is a Christian but Jesus said we can know those that are because of their fruit. Their fruit is embedded in their character. He said we will know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.
Daer reader, we can find in the history of the church that persecution always brought revival.
When Paul was in Ephesus which was in Asia, it seemed as if he had gained nothing from the mission but defeat and shame.
Paul gave us no details except there was some kind of trouble that erupted in this city. He had just escaped death and now this journey seemed hopeless. Paul spoke of being under such intense pressure that he and the men with him were despaired even of their own lives.
It could have been a sickness or it could have been some kind of mob violence. It appears that the Corinthian people knew what the trouble was. Paul informed the people with him that they needed to trust God which could raise the dead.
Paul stated that they were pressed beyond their human strength and the only hope they had was God. This is what pressure will accomplish in us. It will press us out of our selves. The pressure must be great enough to press us beyond our human strength and any out side source of hope we may be hanging on to. It needs to be powerful enough till we see no hope and if God does not intervene, we will surely suffer defeat.
This is how we grow in the walk of faith. We must come to the end of ourself until we have no hope but the living God.
When we come to the end of ourself and sink down until we have no hope in human strength, this is when the victory of the cross comes into shining view. God never promised any of us that after becoming a Christian that our lives would be without discomfort, discouragement even depression.
Everyone one of us will experience one or the other and sometimes all at once! It’s through these times of difficulty that Jesus becomes more real to us all. Even if you feel like the ship you are on is sinking, God offers faith to us all through the exampled life Jesus Himself lived. 1Peter 4:12-14 Paul describes the persecution and suffering one can expect for being a follower of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4-12“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; 13But rejoice, insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 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.(kjv)
1 Corinthians. 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
This can be better said that because of God’s grace, if you seem to be tempted to an incredible extreme -- take comfort that ye may be able to bear it and rejoice that He could lay such suffering on you because you are able.
We have all of the resources we need, so let's be on the alert; let's know the enemy and his tactics; let's exercise our faith in resisting all attacks, and let's draw support from the Christian community and the God of all Grace.
Remember that no matter how much trouble we have such as heartaches or sorrows, there is a reason and purpose for it and our God is at work behind the scenes.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together (good and bad) for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.
We find that the Christian race is exemplified as that of not embracing the swift or strong as the winner but all who win this race are those that endure to the end.
This tells us that to be a winner in this race; we must have a spirit of endurance.
We already know that when we attempt to do anything for the kingdom of God that we will meet opposition and victory does not come easy but it should help us to know that he is with us and he said in his word that “his Grace is sufficient for our every need”.
Paul would not allow himself to quit, turn back or give in to the pressure of others but stated “He pressed toward the mark of the high calling of God which was in Christ Jesus”.
Dear reader, “You cannot do what you say you can’t until you attempt to do what you can”.