In our Christian life we often go through persecutions in some form or another.
Be it from family, relatives, colleagues, neighbourhood, our past church and religious community, government or even fall away Christians.
Our Lord was persecuted, so if we are committed disciples we will also have to face persecution (2 tmothy 3:12) as our lord has foretold.
2 Timothy 3:12
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
We will examine and prepare our hearts scripturally.
1. Family and relatives
One way our family can subtly persecute us is to make us feel guilty that we are neglecting them.
This might especially happen if you donot stay with them but make a visit.
As we go to the meeting they will tell us that your just came, hardly spoke to us and again you are off.
17 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?"
19 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."
20 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "The Christ of God."
21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.
22 And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.
29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
30 Two men, Moses and Elijah,
31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.
32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.
35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."
36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.
37 The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
38 A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
39 A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.
40 I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not."
41 "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here."
42 Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
43 And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,
44 "Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men."
45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.
47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.
48 Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest."
49 "Master," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us."
50 "Do not stop him," Jesus said, "for whoever is not against you is for you."
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him;
53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?"
55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them,
56 and they went to another village.
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
58 Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."
59 He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."
60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
61 Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family."
62 Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
Jesus said as disciples we should give 1st priority to the Kingdom! even though God does not want us to neglect them but should provide for our families.
34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--
36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Jesus talks about more blatant persecution.
Members of our own house will be our enemies as we do what's right.
We should love Jesus more than our family us he gave his life for us.
Sometimes our family and relative may make fun of us by saying we are mad or have been brain washed.
Rememebr that's what they did to Jesus.
20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat.
21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind."
We should still love them but obey God first and his people as Jesus.
31 Then Jesus' mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.
32 A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, "Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you."
33 "Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked.
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers!
35 Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother."
20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.
21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
Talks about the rocky soil. People leave church and stop coming to the meetings because of troubles and persecution.
Ask yourself what can stop you from coming to church?
Are you the rocky soil?
1 Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples.
2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. "Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
3 Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him.
4 Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Jesus was not believed in his own village by his relatives and neighbours. Prepare your heart for such an occasion so it will be not a surprise for you.
2. Friends colleagues & Neighbourhood
1 Peter 4:1-4
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
4 They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.
Your Friends, Colleagues and Neighbours always knew you in a certain way. When you become a disciple they think it is strange that you do not participale in the same things may be religious pujas, festivities or drinking, gossiping etc.
As it says in Ephesians 5:6 people will try to deceive us with empty words and make fun of us. They will laugh at us.
The neighbours might laugh at you when you become a committed disciple our colleagues at office might ask us why we now don't work overtime.
Our old friends get upset with us because we don't spend time with them in their activities.
3. Religious Community
One of our main opposers is often the religious community.
Instead of being happy we have changed for the better, our old church leader is upset that he is loosing a member.
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together.
54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.
56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
People were jealous of Jesus and the following he had.
Our old church will persecute us. Its leader may visit our house and spread false rumors about the church.
This happens when we start getting committed and change.
All this time they probably did not realize we existed !
9 "You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.
10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
Its possible as it says that the government will be against us.
For example the present government may be against Christains.
In some places in India, Christians have heen killed for professing their faith.
What will you do if people come against God or persecute your children?
Still love Jesus or pretent you are not a Christhain !
In 1st century AD millions of Christians were killed because of persecution by the Roman emperors.
Families were separated and then killed. Are you ready for this?
5. Fall Away Christians
We can even be persecued by past Christians.
Judas (he had fallen away in his heart) was the one who betrayed Jesus to death.
Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
He brings a crowd against Jesus.
Its possible that someone we discipled or was in the church before has a bad attitude towards us, now turns against us.
Will we still love them and be committed to the church?
Let us prepare our hearts for all these types of persecution.
As we face these let us trust God and fix our eyes on lord Jesus as he had endured the cross so we can have eternal life if we die faithful.