Standing Firm in the Face of Persecution

Sermon Recap from Yesterday Regarding Persecution

Yesterday my wife and I participated in a child dedication at church for our 9 month old. He is usually the most well behaved child, but on stage yesterday he decided that he should blow chunks all over himself and my wife. Of course, the associate pastor who was sitting in front of us could not hold back his cackling laughter! But our pastor’s discussion of persecution was the most memorable part of the service.

Towards the end of the sermon, Pastor Harrell started discussing persecution in the west. As I have discussed before, persecution is headed to the west and we are unprepared as a nation. He agreed with that sentiment and he fears that many “Christians” will scatter with the wind when the government starts coming for us.

Persecution in Acts

As I was reading this morning in Acts 3 and 4 I cam across the jailing of Peter and John. As the beginning of Chapter 4 states:

“As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.” – Acts 4:1-4

On the next day facing the rulers, elders, and scribes, Peter had an interesting and amazing response to the accusers:

“When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this? “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead-by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders , but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:7-12

Persecution and Imprisonment in the 21st Century

It is inevitable that we will face some type of persecution in our lifetime here in the United States. As I look at the political climate, it is foreseeable that we will face persecution. This is not necessarily due to one political party but the fulfilling of the prophecy and second coming of Christ.

As we highlighted here in Acts 3 and 4, Peter and John did not back down when they faced imprisonment. For bringing thousands to Christ and healing a lame man, Peter and John were sent to prison and were later forbidden to us the name of Jesus (since everything was being done in His Name).

It is hard telling what percentage of proclaimed Christians will face this persecution boldly.

Brought before a judge, will we proclaim His Name? Will we cower facing punishment? Friends, the reward waiting for us in Heaven is infinitely greater than any promises in this world.

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Biblically Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in tongues is one of the most controversial “gifts” of today. We have all seen or heard various pastors claiming that they have the power to speak in tongues and others around them having the power to interpret the speech. Most of it just sounds like jibberish or baby talk to us. Is there a point to where this false teaching becomes blasphemous and heretical? Yes.

It is evident, especially in the book of Acts, what the gift of speaking in tongues meant. The gift has stopped, but the Biblical examples of speaking in tongues is vastly different than it is used today.

Some people believe that you do not truly have the Holy Spirit in your heart, guiding your life, if you cannot speak in tongues. In fact, my good friend actually dated someone that believed this. She believed that he was not truly a follower of God because he could not speak in tongues.

Why do false teachers decide to teach this false gospel? Usually it revolves around the money that they can receive through their televangelism.

While reading the Holy Bible I am engulfed in the thought of what it would have been like to live back during these times. What an amazing and scary time. Would I have been a follower of God, or would I have been one of the people in the crowd mocking him? For all of us today we would have been those in the crowd. If we were followers of God, he would have elected us to live during this time for His will. Oh what an amazing thing that God has spared us! A life where we can be used for His will and be promised eternal life in Heaven.

In the book of Acts, it is recorded how speaking in tongues was used on the day of Pentecost. While the disciples were all together in a meeting, a “violent rushing wind” came in and filled the house of the meeting place, giving them the power to speak in tongues.

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

An amazing thing ensued after this occurrence. The Jews living in Jerusalem, from all different nations and languages, gathered around and started hearing the disciples speak in their own individual languages. Imagine this in today’s terms. That would be as if a group of people gathering around the disciples who spoke spanish, english, french, german, dutch, chinese, russian, and swahili, all being able to interpret and understand what was being spoken to them. This is VASTLY different than the supposed speaking in tongues today.

5Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 

This feat was so amazing and astonishing that some in the crowd even charged the disciples with being “full of sweet wine”. This, of course, was false as they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

So what do you do if you are following a false teacher that professes he can speak in tongues today? You run. This individual is a false teacher and we are warned to denounce these people and flee from them, as they can lead us away from God and the true gospel.

God Bless