This week, Life Groups at Real Life Church are talking about being a church that faces persecution. Many of you have faced “trials of many kinds” far more severe than anything I have gone through. Others have been tested in ways that, as the author of Hebrews says, “the world is not worthy of them”. I am NOT one of those people. But in studying for a message, God brought this outline together before my eyes and I thought it might encourage you as much as it does me.
How do we be a church that faces persecution?
- Desire godliness
- 2 Timothy 3:12 – “In fact, everyone who wants to live a GODLY LIFE in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
- We don’t desire persecution.
- We don’t go looking for a fight.
- Hebrews 12:2 – “Fix your eyes on Jesus”.
- We face persecution by desiring godliness.
- Don’t be surprised
- John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble.”
- When don’t you have peace?
- Before getting on a roller coaster?
- When a child or loved one is very sick?
- When a job is up in the air? Or gone?
- Tax day?
- We don’t have peace when we don’t know what will happen.
- Jesus tells us what will happen. We WILL be persecuted.
- We face persecution with peace, because we aren’t surprised.
- Consider it joy.
- James 1:2 – “Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”.
- Persecution is a sign of our closeness to Jesus and the “prophets who were before you”. (Mathew 5:12)
- Do your Life Group homework to be inspired by the lives of people who know what it means to have joy in the face of persecution. (Or check out the Persecution Blog by Voice of the Martyrs.)
- We face persecution by considering it joy.
- Preach the word.
- Acts 8:1 & 4 – “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria….Those who had been scattered PREACHED THE WORD wherever they went.”
- What is the goal of our preaching? To produce more people who desire godliness… who will have peace… who will consider it joy… who will preach the word…
How do we face persecution? Desire godliness. Have peace because you aren’t surprised. Consider it joy. Preach the word!