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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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STANDING IN THE FACE OF PERSECUTION

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. (Acts 5:19-21 ESV)

Apostles in jailThe High Priest envied the popularity of the Apostles and resented them for teaching in the temple. Therefore, he ordered them to be arrested and locked up in the public jail. However, an angel came during the night and set them free. Some of the Apostles may have wanted to run and hide at this point. After all, they were human like us.

The angel spoke to them and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” Despite whatever fears they may have had, they risked the possibility of punishment and even death by deciding to enter the temple at daybreak and teach the words of life. These men were convinced in their hearts that it is better to obey God than men. They trusted in Jesus Christ. Do you?

J. C. RYLE ON THE WORLD’S REWARD

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Laughter, ridicule, opposition and persecution are often the only reward which Christ’s followers get from the world.”

 

I AM A CHRISTIAN

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“I would sooner be a toad under a rock than be a Christian who tries to conceal his Christianity…It is not life to have to ask another man’s permission to think. If there is any misrepresentation, if there is any scorn, if there is any contempt for being a Christian, let me have my share of it, for a Christian I am, and I wish to be treated like the rest.” (1887, Sermon #1996)

“These are days when we need men of principle—men who can put their foot down and keep it down—men who cannot be turned aside. They call this firmness, ‘bigotry.’ It is, however, only another name for Christian manliness! If you dare to do right and face a frowning world, you shall have God’s commendation, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” (1892, Sermon #2272)

PERSECUTED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ SAKE

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

There is singular consolation, moreover, when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For our thought should then be, How high the honour which God bestows upon us in distinguishing us by the special badge of his soldiers. By suffering persecution for righteousness’ sake, I mean not only striving for the defence of the Gospel, but for the defence of righteousness in any way. Whether, therefore, in maintaining the truth of God against the lies of Satan, or defending the good and innocent against the injuries of the bad, we are obliged to incur the offence and hatred of the world, so as to endanger life, fortune, or honour, let us not grieve or decline so far to spend ourselves for God; let us not think ourselves wretched in those things in which he with his own lips has pronounced us blessed, (Matth. v. 10.) Poverty, indeed considered in itself, is misery; so are exile, contempt, imprisonment, ignominy: in fine, death itself is the last of all calamities. But when the favor of God breathes upon us, there is none of these things which may not turn out to our happiness. Let us then be contented with the testimony of Christ rather than with the false estimate of the flesh, and then, after the example of the Apostles, we will rejoice in being “counted worthy to suffer shame for his name,” (Acts v. 41.)

The Obnoxious Christian

Quoting David Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because they are objectionable.’ It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are having a hard time in their Christian life because they are being difficult.’ It does not say, ‘Blessed are those who are being persecuted as Christians because they are seriously lacking in wisdom and are really foolish and unwise in what they regard as being their testimony.” (Studies in the Sermon on the Mount)

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