“Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.” Ephesians 4:1-3
My favorite definition of patience is the length of endurance in an unappealing circumstance without a negative internal or external response. Many times, the Lord intentionally places difficult people and situations in our path to progressively stretch and lengthen the amount of time it takes for negativity to present itself. Development of patience by the Holy Spirit allows for us to bear with one another. In this development, comes the recognition and acceptance that everyone is not the same. We are not perfect. We are not at the same level of maturity. We are not at the same level of growth. The Lord is working patiently with each of us individually. When we recognize the patience the Lord has with us, we become more patient with others.
10/4 – Taco Day!!!
10/17 – CLRC Fundraising Dinner (serve opportunity)
10/21 – NPCC Health Faire (serve opportunity)
10/31 – Trunk or Treat (serve opportunity)
Remember to take attendance through the email you receive weekly and before the end of the night. Thank you!
Please make it a priority to be at the wherehouse by 6:30pm to go over the details of the evening and to pray together. Send a message through GroupMe or text Kevin at 217-4784 if you’ll be late or won’t be there.
Story: Daniel and the Lions’ Den
Topic: What do you really believe? Do you believe it enough to suffer for it? Will you stand for Christ even in the midst of persecution?
Scripture: Daniel 6:1-24, 1 Peter 4:16, 2 Corinthians 12:10, John 15:20
Story: Steven Being Stoned
Topic: How well do you know God, the Bible. Will you stand against false beliefs, and compromises in faith?
Scripture: Acts 7:1-60, 2 Timothy 4:1-5
Week 3 – Standing Under Persecution
For the past few weeks, we have been talking about how we take stands as Christians, how to be a Christian when the world wants us to go one way and God is telling us to go a different way. We’ve talked about how to stand against a culture that doesn’t follow God’s ways. Last week, we talked about how important it is to stand for God and not bow to other gods, or idols. Today, I want to talk about standing during persecution. Standing when you are being targeted or facing obstacles because of your faith.
We have been talking about Daniel and some of his friends who were taken as captives from their home. They were brought into a new country, around new people who didn’t follow or listen to God. It was very tough for them, and yet they continued to stand for God no matter what happened.
Over time, the Mede-Persian armies came and defeated Babylon. Daniel was taken from there and was sent with Darius, the ruler of the Mede-Persian army. Daniel soon found favor with this king and continued to live under God, as well.
Every day, Daniel would pray to God and follow his commands. Some of the officials grew jealous of Daniel and tried to find something wrong he had done. Instead, all they found was his prayer time. So they convinced Darius to pass a law that no one could pray to any other god but Darius. Darius agreed, and the law took effect.
Daniel 6:10-18 (NLT)
10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12 So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?”
“Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.”
13 Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.”
14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.
15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”
16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.
The big question this leaves me with is … What would I do under those circumstances? What would you do?
I would love to think that if faced with the choice of ignoring God or death, I would choose death. But the truth is, we can think brave thoughts like that, but the real answer only comes when we are actually placed in a life-or-death situation. We only see who we really are in those tough moments. Instead of living for God no matter the sacrifice, we hide away.
Romulo Saune was a pastor in Peru. He was important to his people because he translated the Bible into his people’s language. He was coming back from an anniversary celebration for a church his grandfather had planted. At the celebration, he handed out Bibles to all that needed it, as well as food and clothes. Now, on their way from the celebration the mood quickly changed. Their vehicle was stopped, and the pastor immediately knew it was not good.
A Marxist terrorist group called Senderistas had pulled over several buses that were now burnt with dead bodies on the ground. As they boarded his bus and pulled everyone out, Pastor Romulo was suddenly filled with a burden to reach these men. He began to tell these terrorists how much God loved them. Soon they were paying attention and listening attentively. Then, the leader of the group came out, yelled at his men and opened fire on the pastor and his group, killing them.
What is amazing about this story is that it didn’t take place hundreds of years ago. This was just 24 years ago. He did it for Christ.
We are blessed and cursed with the freedom of religion. I say cursed because what I noticed is that great persecution often develops strong Christians. In countries like China where it’s illegal to be part of any church that isn’t run by the church, they have people that come from all over to be part of a Bible study. In countries where Bibles are illegal, you find people doing whatever they can to read just a page of the Bible. They read it until it’s memorized and then hand it off to another.
In some persecuted countries, people who get baptized are literally signing a death certificate, because if a spy is there or they are found to be baptized into Christianity, they will be killed. Yet they know that according to Jesus, after becoming a Christian, baptism is the next step. It signifies their walk with him. It’s a public display of the change that happened inside of them. Because of that, there are often 30 to 40 people being baptized at a time … because they know what they are signing up for and do it willingly.
Here in America, we can read our Bibles freely. At my house, I have like five or six different types of Bibles. But what happens to these Bibles? Often, they just sit on a shelf collecting dust. We don’t read it because we tell ourselves it’s too boring. We think about Bible studies and church services and say, “I’ll make it if there no game on TV, or if I can wake up on time.” As for getting baptized, it’s like some people are scared of water.
I love our country and I pray for God to bless it, but I think not having persecution has made us lazy in our faith.
So how do we stand up for Christ in the face of persecution? You prove it by standing up for Him even when you aren’t persecuted.
What do you believe?
Know what you believe, and really believe it. During this series I’ve shared with you stories about Christian martyrs who were killed for what they believed. Even now, there are people being killed for the gospel. But they willingly lay their lives down.
66 At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. 67 Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”
68 Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. 69 We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
They know what they believe and are willing to back it up with their lives if necessary. They do it because of what Peter said right there. You have the words that give eternal life. Translation: there is no other way. Christ is life.
Why do you come to church?
Here’s one question I had to ask myself a long time ago. Am I coming to church, or youth group, because I am forced to? Do I come here just because I want to hang out with people? Or do I come because it’s where I learn more about God, where I get to worship Him, grow closer to Him, and lift up others?
Will you stand for Him? Then the question is, do you stand up for Him now?
Do you come to church for more of God? Do you read your Bible? Do you pray? Are you baptized? Do you really live for Christ now?
19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den.20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
In the end, Daniel was fine. The bad people got what was coming to them. But Daniel lived for God no matter the outcome. Can you say the same? Will you stand for Christ under persecution? Do you stand for him now?
Close in prayer