Persecution – Bible Promises Spoken (Audio)
Note: Credit for the YouTube video goes to www.hearingGod.tv ministries.
Being brave and smart to tackle danger (Part 1)
One must know very well how to tackle danger to life and limb. It requires bravery and smartness to cope up with such situations. Most of all you need the grace of God to overcome them all.
Since this topic is quite vast I decided to break down in parts so that the critical points are not skimmed over and missed out. It won’t be a daily feature so that we don’t miss out on other things of the Bible. Now, to begin with lets focus today on knowing and asserting your rights. Now not just your earthly or civil rights, it also about exercising your rights as a believer in Christ. Let’s read Acts 22: 22-29 where the Apostle Paul took advantage of his rights to avoid getting flogged (whipped) by the Romans:
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”
23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and interrogated in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?”
“Yes, I am,” he answered.
28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a lot of money for my citizenship.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
29 Those who were about to interrogate him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.
If you notice in the above passage, Paul wouldn’t have escaped the flogging for preaching the Gospel unless he told the Roman centurion that he too was a Roman citizen. So without exercising his right to a fair trial he would have got harmed greatly by the Roman soldiers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about avoiding martyrdom or acting like a coward in face of persecution and I know full well that Paul did suffer martyrdom later on in his life. He was brave in face of danger even then. However, he did what he did at the time of Acts 22 because his time to die had not yet come. Why must you die before the appointed time? Will getting harmed just for the sake of getting harmed truly give any glory to God?
Do you realize that you have a right to exist? Then a right to live in freedom and happiness? Some call these as human rights and this not wrong to say.
When faced with imminent danger you must exercise your rights. Don’t keep all quiet, get bruised up and then start pondering on your rights later. Sometimes there won’t be a later.
You have a right to protection by the police and also the military if needed. So if you are in danger of being harmed in any way by robbers, terrorists etc then please go ahead and invoke your right to be protected. Call them, text them or whatever other means you have them alerted so that they rush to your safety. Absolutely no hoaxes please!
Sometimes you need to invoke your right to self-defense. Depending on which country you live in there might be self defense laws like the Section 3(1) of Criminal Law Act 1967 or the Second Amendment. So do your homework to find what laws go out in your region and act accordingly. You might wonder what when do you need to actually act in self defense. Let me give you a situation. For instance there’s a madman on a shooting spree in your office and you know the police will be over there in 30 minutes but you are on 18th floor while the murderer is on the 4th floor of the building. Then for that half an hour, do whatever you can to be out of sight and out of range of the madman. If you can safely and effectively tackle him with some weapon or with your bare hands then do so without putting yourself or the innocent bystanders in danger. You will need to think on your feet in such situations. Don’t try to be a hero!
As a believer in Christ you too have rights. You are worth more than sparrows in the eyes of God. The Devil tries to steal your rights or sometimes keeps you ignorant of them. By doing this the Evil One tries to prevent you from living your life for God or if he can’t do that then just make you suffer a lot.
If shall cover a few of those rights. For instance, the Devil tries to keep away from you that you can cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus. Remember that Jesus himself said this of those who believe; “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues” (Mark 16:17). Jesus was not referring to only the Apostles or pastors or miracle, he was referring to every who has the faith. The Devil is vary of this so he tries to put exorcism or purging out of demons as a myth or old-fashioned thinking. Sometimes he will even beguile preachers to come up with stupendous doctrines that will try to brain wash their flock that casting out evils spirits is either irrelevant or not their portion. And lots of people fall prey to such deception.
You have a right to pray for your healing. You have a right to ask for protection in face of danger from evils spirits, murderers, thieves etc. So you can also ask for protection against diseases. Such things are not just for you, alright. You can pray such things for your family, your co-workers, your local church and also for Christians who are being persecuted and face death for their faith in Christ. You have a right to stand in the gap for others before Christ. Now, these rights are just a small glimpse of your rights in the spiritual with Christ Jesus. I encourage you to be aware of all your rights whether civil, legal or spiritual and use them to keep away from harm for the glory of God.
Dimensions of salvation to be revealed in the future
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3–5)
Salvation comes from Christ Jesus alone. There is not other source of salvation. Right now in the world many Christians suffer persecution especially in Africa and the Middle East, so we must pray for them. Even the early Christians face tremendous persecution. They were killed without mercy. Their were subject to horrible tortures. Yet they held on their faith in the Lord Jesus. Because they knew that their salvation is secure is heaven. They knew that is better to die than give up on their faith. They knew that they could be killed but their salvation will never die. Therefore, they could face trials and sufferings knowing that all of it is temporary but their salvation is permanent.
This salvation as mentioned in 1 Peter 1:3–5 is not a salvation that is different from the salvation of the Gospel. It’s a revelation of the dimensions of same salvation that are yet to be manifest. For instance when you are on earth you may face various temptations to sin. It can be annoying! But once you die while in faith and go to heaven it’s a different thing. You won’t be tempted anymore. For heaven is a place where sin is not allowed and neither is temptation.
Another dimension to this salvation. A person who believed in Christ may have died due to old age. However he is totally healthy in heaven forever. For sickness is not welcome in heaven. None of God’s angels fall ill at all.
The following scriptures show an interesting facet of salvation that is yet to be manifest, as mentioned in Revelation 21:1-8 :
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; 3 and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; 4 he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the fountain of the water of life without payment. 7 He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.”
The above verses show the glory of salvation in the future. Blessed are those who remain faithful to Christ for they will surely get it. This also is a warning for those who think of salvation as a joke. Those who reject the salvation which comes from Christ will have an eternally unhappy ending. But those who trust in Christ will forever have comfort and rest from God.
Remember my friend, that salvation is not ‘say a prayer and get your ticket to heaven and forget about it’. You’ve got to value it. Great was the price that Jesus paid to obtain your salvation for you. This cannot be bought by money. It’s a free gift from God which is given to those who believe in Christ. Your works cannot get you saved. You have to continue to believe in the Gospel even unto your last breath. Rejoice therefore and wait in all eagerness for the complete manifestation of your salvation which comes from Christ alone. Amen to the Lord Jesus.