The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.
Before you read the rest of this blog post, spend a few minutes reading Acts 3-4.
Did you read it? Okay …
Up to this point in the church (Acts 1-2), there really hadn’t been any hostility or opposition to the church or the Gospel. Everything had been running smoothly.
And then Peter and John had to go and heal this man who was lame from the day he was born. They were met with an arrest by the priests, captain of the Temple and the Sadducees. These groups were still “steaming” from the resurrection of Christ and now they were once again blamed by Peter for killing Christ.
When Peter and John appeared before these groups, they brought astonishment because they were speaking with brilliance as uneducated men. They were commanded to not ever speak about Christ again.
How do you think that went over with these apostles? Well, you should remember if you read it a few minutes ago. They, with great conviction, refused to obey man rather than God.
These two chapters are a learning lab for us on the subject of persecution. In fact, I believe we can learn how to handle persecution by taking a closer look at the examples of these apostles.
So how do you handle persecution?
#1 – If you don’t run from the world, you will be able to handle persecution. Neither Peter nor John run from this arrest or hatred. They willingly embraced the consequences for their faithfulness.
#2 – If you are filled with the Spirit, you will be able to handle persecution. It is no mistake that Luke mentioned they were filled with the Spirit (vs. 8). They were walking in obedience to the Lord and it empowered them to face any animosity and hatred.
#3 – If you are committed to testifying about Christ, you will be able to handle persecution. That is what Peter did. When the arrows came from the Sanhedrin, what did he do? Defend himself? Preach one of his soapboxes or stump sermons? No, he pointed them to Christ. He used his persecution as an opportunity for a bolder testimony.
#4 – If you love to obey the Lord, you will be able to handle persecution. Nothing swayed these men. They chose God rather than their own comforts and securities. And be thankful they did. Imagine if they “caved to pressure” at this point. Perhaps the church never would have grown or expanded. Perhaps we would not be privy to the Gospel today!
#5 – If you have a community of believers you are involved with, you will be able to handle persecution. It is true that there is strength in numbers. They were in one accord and had one purpose and because they agreed there, they were able to mutually and corporately resist the temptation to compromise.
#6 – If you beg God for more boldness, you will be able to handle persecution. That is what Peter and John did. They didn’t trust in their own resources for the ability to resist the evil. They prayed for God to strengthen them.
Can persecution be managed? The answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” Why? Well, if Christ is your Lord, He is also your Shepherd and Protector. Why should be fear anyone?