Persecution for the word’s sake

bible and cross

Commitment to God's word is apart of the cross that every Christian must carry.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, one of our commissions is to be good stewards over the word of God. Not only does God charge us to study the word for the sake of others (Colossians 3:16) but for our own benefit as well.

Psalm 119:104-105 reads, “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

The word of God literally shows us the path that we are supposed to tread. In acknowledging the word’s preeminence in our lives, we therefore declare that the course the word does not outline is the wrong one. We should not entertain taking this wrong path (Proverbs 3:7) because it is surely dangerous (Matthew 7:13-14).

Our attitudes, then, should reflect that of Peter. When many of Jesus’ disciples had deserted him, Jesus asked the twelve if they were going to leave also.

John 6:68 reads,  “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”

For the believer there is no alternative. The word of God is life to us. It sanctifies us (John 17:17), regenerates us (1 Peter 1:23) and gives us wisdom (2 Timothy 3:15). We must be mindful of this, then, when we experience persecution for the word’s sake.

In the fourth chapter of Mark, Jesus tells the parable of the sower, where the seed that the farmer sows represents the word of God. Jesus details four different terrains where the seed falls in this parable: along the path, on rocky places, among thorns and on good soil.

He says this in Mark 4:16-17: “Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”

One fact that Jesus does not ignore or neglect to tell us is that we will experience persecution because of the word. He assures us that we will have trouble, but encourages us because he has overcome the world (John 16:33).

A lot of times, the troubles that we experience are a result of our own doing. There have been times that we all have deviated from God’s commands. Because he loves us, God does not allow us to stray away (Romans 8:38-39), but corrects us according to his word (2 Timothy 3:16).

Psalm 119:67 reads, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.” Furthermore, verse 71 states, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”

The Lord will use persecution in order that we draw closer to him.

When Israel was in error, he commissioned the Assyrians as agents of judgment to send Israel into captivity. When Judah was out of line, he sent the Babylonians to invoke punishment upon them.

God, however, always rebukes us in order to restore us and bring us to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). So was the case with Israel and Judah.

Jeremiah 33:7-8 reads, “I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.”

Affliction, then, is good, as it leads to obedience to God’s word. What circumstance has God sent your way to realign you with his word?

Was it a bad relationship? Public failure? Experiencing defeat?

Whatever the case may be, it is a good thing to be punished by God because, “the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6).

Hebrews 12:11 offers this commentary: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Other times, we experience external persecution—opposition that results from obedience to God’s word.

When these instances emerge, we have to make it up in our minds that we are committed to God’s word.

Psalm 119:50-51 articulates this commitment, stating, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. The arrogant mock me without restraint, but I do not turn from your law.”

We cannot give up on God’s word in times of trouble. The devil realizes how powerful the Church would be if we all diligently studied the word, so he does what he can to discourage us.

The early church was persecuted for the word’s sake. Acts 5:40-42 details this account:

They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

After persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, Acts 8:4 tells us, “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”

Come what may, the Christian commitment to God’s word must be unwavering. God has been so faithful to us and has revealed to us the words that give life (John 6:63).

1 Peter 4:12-14 encourages the believer with these words:

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

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~ by christianballenger on July 1, 2011.

7 Responses to “Persecution for the word’s sake”

  1. This is awesome……..you could read a book if you wanted to:)

  2. Well Written! I have been inspired!

  3. Hey Christian, I really like the Cross & Bible pic. Where did you get that?

  4. Excellent word brother! I was doing some research on what “on account of the word” in Matt. 13:21 meant, and came across your writing. Thanks for your careful and complete exegesis. I now “see” much better.

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