The Master’s Class, Summit Church
A BEASTLY BEAST (Revelation 17:10-18)

A BEASTLY BEAST (Revelation 17:10-18)

February 25, 2018

There is coming, with ever increasing rapidity, a world religion and a world government. As a reborn child of God, you don't belong to this world government; you belong to Jesus Christ. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. You don't belong to the harlot church; you are the bride of Christ. And in these days, though we are not yet in The Tribulation, nor will we be when it does come, coming events cast their shadows ahead of time.

Our loyalty to our Lord and Savior is going to be tested severely, and we will need to double down and remain loyal to the heavenly bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. As the body of true believers, we are the bride of Christ. We cannot flirt with false religions. There have been many who have told me that they need to study other religions in order to better defend our faith. I believe that is true for some special warriors, and if you are one of these, then God will provide.

But, for me, and the vast majority of Christians, I believe that there is so much that I do not know about the depths of the Word of God, that I could spend the rest of my life digging into it, learning the Mind of God, and barely scratch the surface. I have made up my mind to spend every moment I can learning more about God, rather than waste a single moment learning about a false religion. I will defend the gospel of God not by my own words, not by using the words of a false religion that I have studied, but by the Word of God.

Luke 21:12-15
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
KJV

We are going to be persecuted, and during this persecution, there will come a time for us to give a testimony of our faith. We are to always be ready to defend our faith.

1 Peter 3:15
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
KJV

We are to do this by diligent study of the Word of God.

2 Tim 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
KJV

And when that time comes for you to give your testimony about the God you serve, to those who persecute you, let God lead you, “Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom.” The Bible says that we are to be true to Jesus. We are to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Any time that we spend studying, or playing with, a false religion is like flirting with a married woman. It is called spiritual iniquity. We are to remain spiritually pure to our Lord Jesus. I challenge you to get a bulldog grip on the truth because there is going to come a time when we will be under great pressure if we dare to say that Jesus Christ is Lord.

And if you are not saved, my best advice to you is to give your heart to Jesus Christ, for the time is coming when you will believe the lie, and not the truth.

Click on the link below to learn how there is coming a beast to dominate the world, as Bible believing Christians we cannot be ignorant of the coming events that are told to us in God’s Word.

Amen.

GAINING VICTORY OVER SATAN (Revelation 12:11-17)

GAINING VICTORY OVER SATAN (Revelation 12:11-17)

December 10, 2017

We are studying a period in the future called the Tribulation Period. It is a time which begins after the church is raptured out to meet the Lord in the air. It is a seven-year period of great tribulation and chaos. It is filled with war, disease, famine, and overwhelming demonic activity. During this Tribulation Period, Israel has many earthly foes, but Israel’s biggest enemy is Satan. John describes him as the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan. He is called a dragon, because he is so fierce. He is called a serpent, because he is so subtle. He is called the devil. The word devil means accuser because he is the accuser of the brethren. He is called Satan. The word Satan means adversary. Israel is in a spiritual fight with Satan.

As believers in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are also in a spiritual fight with Satan. Satan has a plan to destroy your witness. He has a battle strategy to defeat you as you do the work that God has given you to do.

In our message today, John speaks of the saints of the Tribulation Period when he says, And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Satan, who is cast out of heaven once and for all, now is here upon the earth. He is filled with violent rage. He knows that things are closing in on him. He's like a cornered animal. He begins to fight against the saints with an intensity that he's never known before, and so there is a battle on earth during the Tribulation Period.

And even though, Satan and his minions, the Antichrist and the false prophet, slaughter untold millions upon millions of people, Satan does not defeat these saints. Instead, the saints gained victory over Satan. And what I want you to see in our message today is that John gives us the three-part formula that the saints used to gain this victory over Satan. And the wonderful thing about this message is that you can use that formula today in this age, or in any age to lead a victorious Christian life by defeating Satan’s plan for your life.

Click on the link below to hear a message on how you can gain victory over Satan in your life by the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and loving not your life even if it means you must die for Christ.

Amen.

DEALING WITH PERSECUTION (Revelation 11:5-13)

DEALING WITH PERSECUTION (Revelation 11:5-13)

November 12, 2017

The Bible says that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If you live for Jesus, and your life is in obedience to the will of God, it is fruitful for God, and you are sharing the light of the gospel to a dark world, then the Bible says that you will suffer persecution.

To know that this is true, all you have to do is read the headlines of the news today. Christians are suffering severe persecution in countries all around the world. So, the question that we will look at today is, How do you deal with this persecution? What are the Biblical truths that we must apply to our lives, if we are to be successful in dealing with persecution on both a physical and spiritual level?

Click on the link below to learn the five factors that the Bible tells us in the book of Revelation about the two witnesses for God, and how they dealt with persecution. These are important lessons that we must settle in our hearts and mind if we are to be victorious in our witness for God.

Amen.

GOD’S TWO WITNESSES (Revelation 11:1-4)

GOD’S TWO WITNESSES (Revelation 11:1-4)

November 6, 2017

Let me begin this post by asking a question, are you being persecuted for Jesus? If not, why not?

How about other Christians, in countries around the world, are they being persecuted today? Yes, they are, Christians are being killed in our world today in greater numbers than ever before. Yet, in the U.S., up until the last 15-20 years, to be recognized as a Christian was generally a positive thing. In fact, until recently, 80% of the country’s population identified themselves as a Christian. Now, to be certain, in the last 8 years we have had a dramatic shift in people’s attitude in this country towards the morals and values of the Judeo-Christian faith that most of us grew up with. Christians are quickly becoming the targets of ridicule and persecution in our country. Not on the scale of the rest of the world, but even that is not far off. Declare yourself to be a Christian today at most of our major universities, and then stand for your beliefs by speaking out, and you may not even be able to graduate. You will certainly be ridiculed and attacked by both the staff and the other students.

So, the question is, why are some Christians persecuted while others are not? The Bible says in 2 Tim 3:12, Yea, and all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. This says that all shall suffer persecution if they are living godly in Christ Jesus. This would mean that if you are not living godly in Christ Jesus, then you are not going to suffer persecution. Now, persecution can come in many forms, Jesus tells us that,

John 15:20
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
KJV

Jesus tells us that if you stand for Him, even in the U.S., you will face persecution. Click on the link below to hear the first part, of a two-part, message on the lessons we can learn about dealing with persecution from God’s two mighty witnesses that rise up during the Tribulation period.

Amen.

WE SERVE A MIGHTY GOD (Revelation 7:13 to 8:6)

WE SERVE A MIGHTY GOD (Revelation 7:13 to 8:6)

September 17, 2017

If you become a believer, will God reward you?

How will God reward you? Will you have lots of money? Lots of power? A happy life?

Why will God reward you? Do you have to meet certain standards of goodness?

When will God reward you?

Where will God reward you? Here on earth? In heaven?

A mistake that many people make when they become believers is that they expect God to give them their rewards while they are alive on this world, and that may be true for some, but not for the majority of believers. Your life will not magically turn into all happy, pleasant, problem-free moments. There will be problems in this life. A Christian’s life is not measured by the problems that they receive, but by Who you face those problems with.

Many people view, preach, and teach, about the Christian life in the negative. They say, accept Jesus because you may die, and if you don’t you will go to hell for all of eternity. While this is certainly true, and I have said these words myself, it is only part of the truth, and we must teach all of the truth, if it is to be the truth.

The other half of this truth is that one of the great rewards of being a Christian, is being alive with Jesus in your heart, living each moment with Him supporting you, strengthening you, and loving you. Each moment with Christ in my life is sweeter than any secular reward that I could receive. The gospel message is truly a positive message, accept Jesus and you shall live.

But, without question, I look forward to the rewards that we will receive in heaven. A believer’s most fervent hope is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, because we will be with the Lord for the rest of eternity. A believer’s most gracious reward will be eternal life with God in the new heaven and the new earth.

Click on the link below to learn that we serve a mighty God, who has a plan for this universe, and that plan is right on time.

A FAITH FORGED IN THE FIRES OF PERSECUTION (Revelation 2:5-11)

A FAITH FORGED IN THE FIRES OF PERSECUTION (Revelation 2:5-11)

April 30, 2017

The word Smyrna is translated from a Greek word that is also translated as the word myrrh in other parts of the Scripture. It stands for a sweet perfume that came from being crushed. It was also a substance used for medicinal purposes. What did the wise men bring to the baby Jesus? Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It was also given to Christ when He hung on the cross. The Bible says that they gave Him wine mixed with myrrh. It was also used at the burial of Christ, where they scented His burial clothing with myrrh. Myrrh and Smyrna are translated from the same Greek word and they have the same meaning.

It is the providence of God that the suffering church would be in this city that has the name of such a perfume that was extracted by crushing it. This was a church suffering great persecution, but the Lord says I know what you are going through. It is encouraging when we are facing our darkest hours, to know that Jesus is right there with us. Jesus doesn’t promise to keep us out of persecution, but He does promise to get us through it. There is no heartache, pain, or fear that we might face that the Lord does not share. He has faced every kind of suffering, to a much greater degree than anything, that we might ever have to face. He knows about it, and He knows how to get us through it.

Click on the link to hear a sermon on a church that was poor in the eyes of men, but rich in the eyes of the Lord. The first part of this lesson we finish up our discussion from last week of the church at Ephesus, and then in the focus of this lesson, we cover the suffering church of Smyrna. Join us as God blesses the reading of His Word. Amen.

I AM NOT ASHAMED TO BE A CHRISTIAN (1 Peter 4:16-19)

I AM NOT ASHAMED TO BE A CHRISTIAN (1 Peter 4:16-19)

September 11, 2016
1 Peter 4:16
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
KJV

The name Christian is actually only used three times in the New Testament.  Early believers called themselves brothers, believers, disciples, and saints.  The name Christian was given to the early believers by unbelievers.  It was a name of derision, ridicule, and mockery.  However, it gradually became a name of honor.  In time, the believers came to see the suitability of this name.  It reminded them that they were committed, not to a creed, a religion, or a set of rules, but to Christ.  When Peter says, “but let him glorify God on this behalf,” he is saying that no believer should ever be ashamed of the fact that he is a Christian.  He is to take a stand for Christ and stand firm.  He is to glorify God by standing up for and honoring the name of Christ.  We cannot be silent in our world, or evil is all the world will hear.  

How many of us can look back on our lives before becoming a Christian and marvel at how lucky we are that God chased after us and convicted us of our sins in order that we might be saved.  A lost person does not seek God.  In fact, they are usually running as fast as they can from God.  We are fortunate indeed that God can run faster than we can, that His Holy Spirit can convict of us of our sin, and that Jesus Christ has died to make our salvation possible.  A Christian is nothing but a miracle that God has created.  It is something we should marvel at and realize that we just barely made it.

We became a Christian because we believed in Christ, and Christ has a mission for us as His followers.  We are to share the gospel message with a world that is going to face a day of judgment and condemnation to an eternity in Hell separated from God.  There is only one hope, there is only one way of salvation.  The Lord Jesus said: 

John 14:6
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
KJV

If you reject Christ, what hope can you have come judgment day, and that day of judgment really is coming.  The world does not want to hear this gospel message and so they persecute the messengers of God, and yet Christians must not be fearful of this persecution, nor should they be ashamed of the Lord that they serve.  If you have truly accepted Christ as your Lord, then your soul has been committed to Him.  

You probably have a safety deposit box in which you keep your valuables.  When you go to sleep at night, you don’t worry about them at all.  They are locked up tight in a bank vault that will keep them safe.  Let me tell you something, I went to sleep last night, and I didn’t worry one bit about my soul.  Do you know why? I went to sleep last night in peace because Christ has taken care of all that.  I’ve made my deposit with Him, and I trust Him today.  

So let me ask you, have you made a deposit with Christ? Have you committed your soul to Him?  If you have done that, then even when trouble comes to you, even when the dark day comes, even when you are called to go down through the valley, you can do it knowing that He will take care of you, and it this faith that Christ will take care of us that allows us to share the gospel message with the lost.  It allows us to suffer persecution in order to get this message out.  

Listen to this podcast to learn how your testimony can bring glory to God.  
THE CAUSE AND EFFECT OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:12-15)

THE CAUSE AND EFFECT OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:12-15)

September 5, 2016
If you work at a manufacturing facility, or a refinery, someplace that uses heavy machinery to make things, you know that accidents occur.  These accidents are sometimes minor, and sometimes they are fatal on a large scale such as an explosion.  When an accident occurs, there is usually an investigation, either internal or by a regulatory agency.  One of the many tools that corporations use to get to the true cause of the accident is called the TapRoot® system.  Now this is a tool that has been around for a while, and it has survived because it can be fairly effective in finding out the real cause of what happened.  Almost with every incident there are two immediate reactions, there are those who claim to have no idea how it happened, and those who know exactly what the cause of the incident was.  Both groups are usually wrong, and so the value of this tool is that it is an education for both groups in finding the true cause of the accident.  

Essentially, you are walking back through various set questions that dig deeper into what caused the failure, was it training, was it equipment failure, was it a systematic problem, or was it a people problem.  We know the effect; it is the accident that occurred.  Our goal is to find the cause of the accident, correct it, and stop such accidents from occurring again.  Now we know accidents, or failures, will continue to happen, it is almost impossible to eliminate them, but there is a way to stop the self-inflicted failures, the ones caused by something that we do, or fail to do.  

In our lesson today, Peter is going to do something similar to this process with his discussion on the cause of a Christian facing suffering.  We know the effect, it is suffering and persecution.  Peter is going to help us understand the cause of that suffering.  He is going to tell us that we cannot stop all suffering.  In fact, some of our suffering is allowed by God to cleanse us and to make our faith stronger, but we can stop the self-inflicted suffering that we bring on ourselves by the things that we do, or fail to do.

Listen to this podcast to learn the cause and effect of the suffering we face as a believer.  
HOW SHOULD A BELIEVER REACT TO SUFFERING? (1 Peter 4:7-11)

HOW SHOULD A BELIEVER REACT TO SUFFERING? (1 Peter 4:7-11)

August 28, 2016
Do you remember your parents telling you that a little bit of suffering will do you some good?  Mine did, and their intent was that I should learn how to react to tough situations.  My father would say things like, “Life is hard, and you need to be tough to get through it.”  “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  “Iron sharpens iron.”  The reaction of a person to hardships will say a lot about their character.  If you want to succeed in the secular world, your reaction to suffering must be to get tough, to use suffering to build tenacity, and determination, as well as confidence in your ability to face hardships.  You become more self-confident and less dependent on others. 

This is the opposite of the reaction that God wants from His children.  As a believer faces persecution, God wants them to become more dependent on Him, and less dependent on themselves.  God knows our weaknesses better than we do, and He wants to use our weakness to bring glory to His name.

2 Cor 12:9-10
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
KJV

Paul says, “for when I am weak, then am I strong,” meaning I am strongest when I am leaning on God.  So the answer to the question that I started the lesson with, How should a believer react to suffering, is they are to lean more on God.  

What happens to our concern about persecution when we lean on God to carry us through persecution?  Our concern becomes less and less the more we lean on God, and as my worry goes down, my heart is filled with joy in Christ.  This is why Paul can say, Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Rejoicing in being persecuted for Christ’s sake is the theme that Peter has for us in the last half of this chapter, but he doesn’t go there yet.  First, he builds the foundation that a believer needs in order to truly be able to rejoice when persecution comes.  

Listen to this podcast to learn how the believer can use prayer to connect them to the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and it this power, God’s power, that will carry you through persecution. 
THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:3-7)

THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:3-7)

August 23, 2016
Last week we began this section on why we suffer for our faith.  Peter has told us that we are in enemy territory, and we cannot expect to get through it unscathed.  Jesus tells us that since He was persecuted even unto death, then His servants will be persecuted as well.  But the wonderful good news of this chapter is that we can get through it victoriously, and in fact, God expects us to do just that.  We are not to spend the rest of our lives giving way to our flesh or to our fears.  We are to live in harmony with God's will, whatever that may be.  We preach the gospel message of Christ because of the coming Great White Throne Judgment, where all of those who reject Christ will be judged.  It is God’s desire that this gospel is preached to each person before they die, and if they don’t respond to the Gospel, then God makes it very clear that they are already dead in “trespasses and sins.” But if they accept Christ, they can then “live according to God in the Spirit.”  The Bible repeats this message of death and life over and over again.  When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we pass from death to life.  

John 5:24
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
KJV

Jesus is the resurrection, and the life.  When we believe in Him, we are no longer dead, instead we have life.  

John 11:25-26
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
KJV

We know that we are raised from the dead to walk in the newness of life.

Rom 6:4
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
KJV

Paul continues with this message in

Eph 2:5
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
KJV

In other words, before you and I were saved, we were dead in trespasses and sins.  We were spiritually dead.  Peter is saying the same thing here in this verse.  The gospel is being preached, and when the gospel is being preached, two things happen.  Some accept it, and if they accept it, they are going to live for God and live throughout eternity.  Others reject it, and those who reject the gospel are the men who are dead in sins and are dead to God throughout eternity; that is, they have no relation to Him whatsoever. 

The cause of suffering for a believer is the sinfulness of the world that we live in.  We are not of this world, and because we stand against the sin of this world, we will be persecuted.  We will have lies told about us.  We will face judgment at the hands of the ones in leadership positions of this world.  Peter did.  Paul did.  Jesus did.  Therefore, we will also.  The wonderful good news is that on the other side of the grave is a Savior with His hands outstretched saying “Welcome thou good and faithful servant.”  

Listen to this podcast to learn the true cause of the suffering that a believer encounters as he stands for Christ.
WHY WE SUFFER (1 Peter 3:21 to 4:2)

WHY WE SUFFER (1 Peter 3:21 to 4:2)

August 14, 2016
A large part of this book has been addressed by Peter to people who are undergoing incredibly severe torture and death for their faith in Christ.  It is easy to understand how people who are facing this type of constant persecution would be discouraged, even asking God why He is allowing this to occur.  Peter understands this and he is writing this section of the letter to help them deal with it.  So God has provided these lessons to us, as believers, in order to show us how we are to deal with the persecution that we face, in whatever form that it takes.  

Christ has told us to expect persecution.  

John 15:18-21
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
KJV

Peter dedicates this whole section to helping believers know why we are being persecuted for our faith in Christ, and how to deal with that persecution.  Our faith is in Christ, and we know that our Lord will provide for our needs during this time.  He will provide the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us, strengthen us, and encourage us.  This is our faith.  Christ will not fail us. The wonderful good news is that Jesus Christ is alive and enthroned at the right hand of God! It is an unfortunate fact that the history of mankind is full of monsters like Nero.  They each have their day, but no matter how strong they are, no matter how evil they are, nothing they do can alter the fact that Jesus now sits on the supreme throne of the universe.  The mystery of the suffering of God's people is a mystery as great as the mystery of iniquity.  All we see down here are the seemingly tangled threads on the reverse side of the tapestry of life.  When we get to heaven, we shall see the magnificent picture on its other side.  Meanwhile, Christ is on the throne.  That certain fact is the foundation of our promise, our hope, and our faith.

We are in enemy territory.  We cannot expect to get through it unscathed.  But we can get through it victoriously.  God expects us to do just that. We are not to spend the rest of our lives giving way to our flesh or to our fears.  We are to live in harmony with God's will, whatever that may be.  

Why do we suffer?  God says that He will use suffering in your life in order to keep you from sin, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”  This means that we no longer take life for granted, for we have suffered, and that God will use that suffering to keep us from sin.
THE GOD-PLANNED PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING (1 Peter 3:16-20)

THE GOD-PLANNED PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING (1 Peter 3:16-20)

August 7, 2016
Certainly, the best example we have of how to prepare ourselves to endure the suffering and persecution for our faith in Christ, is Christ Himself.  Christ is not asking us to do anything that He Himself has not endured.  In fact, the persecution and suffering that Christ endured was far greater than anything we can imagine.  But there was a God-planned purpose in Christ coming to this world knowing that He would be persecuted even unto death, just as there is a God-planned purpose in our suffering as well.  The fact that the Son of God entered into human life and became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief is truly an awesome thing to consider.  

1 Peter 3:18
18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
KJV

This verse explains exactly what Christ did when He died on the cross.  It tells us why Christ died and what the death of Christ does for man.  It is so clear, that it leaves the reader without an excuse.  Why did Christ have to suffer and die?

It was for the sins of all mankind that He died.  Man is sinful, he stands guilty before God.  Man has to be judged; he has to bear the punishment for his sins.  

What is that punishment?  Death and separation from God forever.  

But this is the glorious gospel; this is the declaration of this great verse: Jesus Christ died for our sins.  He took the sin and guilt of man upon Himself and bore the judgment and punishment for man.  Note one other fact: Jesus died once for our sins.  His death never has to be repeated.  His death upon the cross satisfies God completely and covers the sins and death of believers forever.  Notice carefully that I said believers.  Christ died for the sins of all mankind so that the question is no longer have you sinned or not?  

If you wish to have eternal life with Christ in heaven, the question is now, did you accept the free gift of grace that God has offered you by sending Christ to die in your place?  Have you made Christ your Lord and Savior?  Once you have said yes to this, then nobody can take your salvation away from you, and you cannot do anything to lose it.  For if you could, Christ would have to die again for your sins to be forgiven.

Christ died so that he might bring us to God.  It is our sin that separates us from God.  It is our sin that makes us imperfect and unacceptable to God.  But note the most wonderful truth, when Jesus Christ took our sin upon Himself, sin was removed from us.  Therefore, as believers we stand before God in the righteousness and sinlessness of Christ.  We are made righteous in Christ.

The vicarious atonement accomplished for us by Christ on Calvary's cross is the great God-planned reason for His sufferings.  
HOW DO YOU FACE PERSECUTION? (1 Peter 3:13-15)

HOW DO YOU FACE PERSECUTION? (1 Peter 3:13-15)

July 31, 2016
How we face suffering and persecution is one of the defining characteristics of the Christian faith that sets us apart from the world.  Let’s be honest, it is not hard to face the good times, when things are going your way, and when the people around you support your words and actions as they relate to living for Christ.  Christians look at the source of those blessings differently than the rest of the world does, but how they react to them is very similar to everyone else.  

Being persecuted for your faith comes in many forms, from simple disrespect on the part of someone you meet or the government that rules over us, to being excluded from something or somewhere, to serious physical harm to your body by torture, death, and imprisonment.  All because we stand and identify ourselves as Christians and live our lives accordingly.  The world reacts to these kinds of persecutions by saying “That’s not fair, I want justice!”  They get angry, they march in violent protest, or they take the baker or the florist to court and have the government shut them down.  We are going to learn in our lesson today that God wants His children to face this kind of suffering with joy in our hearts.  

Now, my first reaction to suffering is often the same as the world’s, shouting “That’s not fair,” and wanting someone to do something about setting that injustice right.  My thoughts run immediately to the fact that this nation was founded on Judaeo/Christian beliefs and the constitutional guarantee we have of freedom of religion.  So where is my government that is to support me and defend me?  Well, as we all know, that government has long gone and now believes that we are to be free from religion, instead having freedom of religion.  They now willingly persecute Christians for saying what they believe.  In many other countries, the government violently attacks and kills Christians for living a life for Christ.

The secular world turns to those around them, or to their own brand of religion, or the government for help.  As a Christian we are to turn to God and say “Lord, what am I to learn from this,” or, “Lord, who am I to be witnessing to?  Who do you have watching me to learn how a Christian faces persecution?”  The truth is that not all suffering is a lesson for the believer, sometimes it is a lesson for the persecutor, and sometimes it is just the face of evil doing everything it can to destroy Christianity.  Satan hates mankind, but he has a special hatred for Christians, and there are times that he uses evil people to do great harm to the people of God.  

The difference between how a Christian faces persecution and all others comes from their personal relationship with, and their knowledge of, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master.  They know from personal experience that God is in control of all things.  His hand of protection is around His children, and His Spirit is in the believer’s heart providing the strength, courage, faith, and hope, to deal with whatever Satan and the world can dish out.  It is not easy, but the focus of the Christian is not to be on the short term of our lives on this earth, but on the eternity that we are going to have with Jesus Christ in heaven.  That is our promise from our Lord, and that is the reason we can face persecution and suffering with a God-given joy in our heart.  That is the defining difference in how a Christian faces persecution.  This is what sets us apart from the world.  This is what identifies us with our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  We have the promises of the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, in our hearts.

Listen to today’s podcast to learn how a Christian is to face persecution.