Sunday, November 14, 2010

No Laughing Matter

By Bill Crowder

Read: Philippians 1:12-20
All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. —2 Timothy 3:12
Bible in a year:
Lamentations 3-5; Hebrews 10:19-39

As my wife and I were walking through a shopping mall, we came to a T-shirt stand. While browsing the shirts and their often humorous sayings, I noticed one with a disturbing message. It read, “So Many Christians, So Few Lions.” That shirt, with its reference to the first-century practice of throwing Christians to the lions in the Coliseum in Rome, wasn’t at all funny.

Persecution is no laughing matter. Not long before those brave Christians faced death in Rome’s cruel sport, Paul wrote, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Persecution is inevitable, and it should be a matter of serious concern for all believers. In fact, at this very moment fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world are suffering in Jesus’ name.

What can we do about it? First, we can pray that God will comfort them in their suffering. Second, we can aid families left without support when loved ones are imprisoned. Third, we can pray now for courage should we face persecution. When the apostle Paul was put in jail for his faith, his courage led others to be bolder in their witness (Phil. 1:14).

Want to encourage the persecuted church? Pray. Then proclaim the message for which believers suffer.

The church of Christ can’t be destroyed,
Though many enemies have tried;
Whenever persecution comes,
The church is spread and multiplied. —Sper

We find courage to stand when we kneel before the Lord.

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