VIDEO Nation Sows Evil, becoming a Godless Nation on path to National Insanity

Can a totally secularized people even know right from wrong?

The Godless Nation.

Vic Biorseth, Wednesday, January 09, 2013
https://www.catholicamericanthinker.com/

It’s all so simple.  A Godly people knows right from wrong.  They recognize simple, straight-forward life-guiding principles, such as sin, virtue, vice, charity, protection of the weak, care for the widow and the orphan, the beatitudes, the Commandments, cleanliness, opposition to abomination, chastisement, repentance, forgiveness, eternal reward and eternal punishment, etc., etc., etc.  They recognize these things individually, and as a group; they gather with like-minded Godly people, and they hold the ungodly in anathema, avoiding all contact. 

But all of that goes out the window when you remove God from the equation. 

America is undergoing a secularization process, driven by the Democrat Party, which stands in opposition to the American Constitution and in favor of the false “justice” and “fairness” and “equality” described in Marx’s Communist Manifesto.  The Democrat push is to drive God out of every aspect of human knowledge and behavior and replace Him with global, absolute Social Sameness, which they believe will bring about a wonderful, perfect, man-made worldly Utopia – heaven on earth, made (and enforced) by man.   This is, of course, an impossibility.  Having abandoned God and even opposed Him, the Democrat Party has become demented.  Democrat Politicians support religion only with their false political words; if any of them still believe in God, they have a damned funny way of showing it. 

The “In The Know” elite among the Democrats know, of course, that the drive to Communist Utopia is and always has been quite impossible, and that the real goal is to replace our form (and all forms) of government with absolute dictatorship.  To take charge.  To command the world.  Achieving global dictatorship is the challenge taken up by powerful ungodly men such as Maurice Strong, George Soros, Warren Buffet, Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and, of course, Comrade Obama, peace be upon him. 
Organizations such as labor unions, the Democrat Party, various revolutionaries, anarchists, Socialists, Jihadists, Jihadist-sympathizers and so forth are mere manipulable tools to such men; they are what Lenin and Stalin referred to as Useful Idiots of occasional temporary use in accomplishing their larger goals. Included among these manipulable tools is the SLIMC1 , the first letter of which stands for Secularist. The Mainstream Media is perhaps the most important tool in the elimination of God from all human thought, public discourse and decision making.

Marxism was a “natural” direction for “enlightened” elitists to move in, once the ground had been prepared by Darwinism and Freudianism

Darwinism, whether Darwin originally intended it or not, eventually provided grounds by which secularists could divorce nature from the Divine author of nature, and then ignore if not deny God Himself.  Darwinism “proved” (with absolutely no empirical evidence) that everything that is and everything that happens is merely natural; in other words, nature is all that there is. 

Freudianism, whether Freud originally intended it or not, eventually provided grounds by which secularists could eliminate all notion of “sin” and “guilt” and “inhibition” brought about by religion, and “free” man to seek and find self fulfillment and self actualization and concentrate less on social restrictions and more on self

Marxism – and Marx intended it from the start – used the “naturalism” of Darwinism and the “uninhibited” freedom from sin of Freudianism to build his fraud: the dream of the perfect world collective in Communist Utopia, and the path to get there, even through bloody revolution if necessary.  It was a hoax from the start.  What he wanted was absolute worldly dictatorial power.  True believers in Marxian theory are all – no matter how learned and lettered – absolute suckers. 

This now Godless Nation, or this now nearly Godless nation, has built, upon the provably false foundations of Darwinism, Freudianism and Marxism, a “new” house, made out of falsehood piled upon falsehood, stacked up and leaning on supports of falsehood.  It is a house of cards.  This newly Godless nation is a virtual insane asylum built and run by lunatics.  The lies and falsehoods never end.  All of them, without exception, insist on federal government regulation, restriction, taxation, control, monitoring, more bureaucracy, more bureaus and departments, more people working for the government, less in the private sector, and a general migration of power from the people to the central government.  

Just trying to count the lies that are now generally accepted axiomatic truths in the dumbed-down public square can test your adult judgment and patience.  The ice caps are melting.  The polar bears are drowning.  Oil is running out.  Oil is poluting the planet.  SUVs are causing global warming.  Silly little legislated light bulbs can save the planet.  Plastic going into land fills is dooming the planet.  If you don’t get your flu shot you’re going to die.  The American Constitution is causing children to die.  Heterosexuality is perverse (it must be, because homosexuality is natural.) This problem – whatever it is – is too big for anyone but the federal government to solve.  This problem – whatever it is – is too big for just one federal government to solve. 

All problems – including non-problems invented for political reasons – become simple if you put God back into the equation.  A thing is either right, or it is wrong; a statement is either true, or it is false. 

Today you will hear and see and read government sponsored, tax paid commercials for such things as, getting your little children vaccinated against the HPV venereal disease, which is transmitted by any skin contact in the genital area.  Now, why would your little children need such an inoculation unless they were being taught in school to seek skin contact in the genital area?  That would be a sin.  Remember?  Once upon a time little children, if they were taught anything at all about sex, what they were taught was chastity and sexual purity. 

Very simple; nothing to it.  HPV is a historically new venereal infection, along with a host of other new ones, thanks to government controlled mal-education, mal-information and a purposeful program of disinformation and propaganda.  The goal is a Godless nation, because when a strong man draws his strength from God, his belief in God must be reduced.  Morality comes from religion; therefore religion must be destroyed. 

The death of anathema.  Once upon a time, good men gathered with God, and others scattered.  The obstinate unrepentant sinner was anathema; he made himself an outcast by his own free will choice.  Because it was a Godly nation, ungodliness was discouraged, called to repentance or, ultimately, anathematized. 

No more. 

Today, Roman Catholic priests who are military chaplains have been ordered to perform Catholic marriages of open sodomites.  The National Cathedral in Washington DC is now performing Protestant marriages of open sodomites.  Religious schools, hospitals and other institutions are now ordered by law to provide contraception and abortion insurance coverage to employees. 

As I said in the Freudianism page, the APA has been instrumental in this sea change of our culture; let me quote myself:

The American Psychiatric Association, or APA, for instance, and their creation and periodic revision of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) used to qualify or disqualify sexual perversions. The 1952 DSM classified homosexuality as a sociopathic personality disturbance. In 1968, DSM II re-categorized it as a sexual “deviation.” In 1973, DSM III declared that homosexuality was only considered a problem when the homosexual was bothered by it, or considered it to be a problem, which is to say, it was only a disorder if the disordered person felt it was a disorder.

Subsequent versions of the DSM manual do not mention homosexuality at all; homosexuality has been officially cured by APA redefinition. The members probably all congratulated each other, shook hands and drank a toast. The 1994 revision of the manual, DSM IV, tells practitioners that pedophilia, meaning sexual child molesting, is not a disorder unless it bothers, not the victim, not the parents of the victim, not potential future victims, not society, but the perpetrator.

It is not sufficient for actual acts of sexual child molestation or fantasizing about sexual child molestation to be considered to “cause clinically significant distress or impairment or social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.” In other words, it’s not a real personal or social problem unless it bothers the pervert; if he isn’t bothered by it, he’s healthy. See? This is Freudianism today.

Even sadomasochism is no longer considered a disorder. How an abnormal person feels about what he is is more important than what he actually is; there is no more abnormal, unless the abnormal one feels bad about being abnormal. The American Psychiatric Association, collectively, is nuts. The proper, full, unabbreviated term may be Nutsie-Cuckoo; while I’m pretty sure that’s not a good technical term, every one of us regular people know exactly what it means, which is, that the judgment of the APA cannot be trusted even with very simple, unimportant things; their thinking is clouded and their judgment is therefore always suspect.

So it isn’t just entertainment, Hollywood and celebrity news that is degrading society and becoming increasingly degenerate in public.  The field of medicine is deeply involved in it, thanks to the degeneration of upper academia, where they all earned their medical degrees. All of American society now stands aside for the open professed unrepentant sodomite.  No one speaks a word against them.  In fact, they are praised and well established on the public stage, and children are taught that they are good and not evil. They enjoy legislated and regulated special rights and protections under the law. 

Did all the Scriptural prohibitions change while you were sleeping?  If belief or interpretation of the Word of God changed, then, by what authority did it change?  Is there no such thing as sin any more?  Are we still Christians and Jews?  Is there anything – anything at all – worthy of anathema?  Why not? 

The Koran instructs all faithful followers of Islam to lay in wait for us, to ambush us, to make a wide slaughter among us, to strike off our hands and feet on opposite sides, or to crucify us entirely so that the birds may feed on our heads.  Islam demands, by decree of their prophet, that we stop believing in God, submit to Islamic religion and law, or, pay a tax (50% of all that we have) and submit to Islamic law, or, die, perhaps horribly.  And, fools that we have become, we tolerate this absolutely intolerant “religion” that seeks our eventual doom. 

We have already gone nationally insane. 

The US government attacks on the Constitution are increasingly numerous and relentless.  It is clear that the Democrats despise the Constitution and that they mean to destroy it, or at least sideline it and ignore it.  It’s in their way.  It’s a hindrance. 

My faith in the Republican Party leadership, and the “establishment” Republicans, is long gone.  In trying to determine whether such men as John Boehner might be a deep-cover evil man, like Chief Justice Roberts, or a useful idiot, I have to come down on the evil side, because it defies credulity that he could possibly be so stupid as his actions have indicated.  He must be evil; no one could be that imbecilically stupid and be Speaker of the House.  We’re talking suicidal stupidity here. 

But when you look at the rest of the leadership and the “establisment” types, and even most of the so-called conservative editorialists, commentators and pundits, you are looking at, either pure evil, or, deep, deep stupidity.  They say – as if they actually believe – that, now that taxes have been raised, further tax raises are “off the table.”  The hell they are.  They’ve only begun to be raised.  There will be no spending cuts; there will be more tax increases.  The goal, after all, is the economic destruction of America.  Anyone who still cannot see that no longer transparent Marxist strategy is just plain stupid.  No one, from either side, ever proposed one single specific spending cut. 

The best that many conservative detractors and opponents of the “economic cliff” resolution talk of how the new tax increases will only raise umpty-ump billion or so, a drop in the bucket of the now annual $1.5 trillion or so spending deficit.  But, the new tax won’t raise a single dollar, in net revenues to the government.  It will decrease government revenue, and everyone, on both sides, knows it.  Business will cut back, producing less and being taxed less, employment will shrink and there will be less taxpayers paying taxes, and the whole tax base will shrink. 

At this point in the game the only possible way to raise revenues through a tax change is to cut taxes, and everyone, on both sides, knows it.  Business will expand, producing more and paying more taxes, employment will grow and there will be more taxpayers paying taxes, and the whole tax base will grow. 

They know this; they are doing it on purpose.  Government revenue will now shrink, and spending will increase even more.

Watch and see.  The real Marxist goal here is national bankruptcy. 

The last hope of turning from a Godless Nation back to a Godly Nation rests with the lowly ordinary citizenry.  If you are a veteran, of past or current service, you need to remember something you once said.  Before you put on that uniform, you raised your hand and swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic

You swore it.  You are your word. 

There was no time limit and no expiration date on that oath; once taken, it was taken for life.  You are duty bound, and you are honor bound, to disobey any order that violates the Constitution you swore to defend.  You are duty bound, and you are honor bound, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. 

Of course, such things as duty and honor are meaningless to the Godless man, and the given word of a Godless man is worthless. 

To return to the status of a Godly nation, we must become worthy; we must return to being a Godly people. 

It is now up to us.  We will gather, or we will scatter. 

I am going to pray now; I suggest you do the same. 

=====

Sarcastic Acronym Hover-Link Footnotes: For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links. (If you don’t have a mouse, you can’t “hover” it over a link without clicking just to see the simple acronym interpretation. Click any footnote link to see the acronym and a detailed explanation; hover over it just to see the simple interpretation.)SLIMC1 Secularist Liberal Intellectual Media Complex
GESGOEAEOT2 Gradually, Ever So Gradually, Over Eons And Eons Of Time
PEWAG3 Punctuated Equilibrium’s Wild-Assed Guess
TTRSTF4 Them There Real Scientifical-Type Fellers
TTRSPTF5 Them There Real Smart Perfesser-Type Fellers
TTRSJTF6 Them There Real Smart Journalistical-Type Fellers
SNRTACBT7 Surely No Right Thinking Adult Could Believe Today
STNSEACPB8 Surely Today No Serious Educated Adult Could Possibly Believe
WDN9 We Don’t Know
BMDFP10 Baboons, Mongrel Dogs, Filthy Pigs and …
HBAACOTE11 Human Beings Are A Cancer On The Earth
ACLU12 Anti-Christian Litigation Union
FLORMPORIF13 Flagrant Liar, Or, Mindless Parrot, Or, Innocent Fool
MEJTML14 Marxist Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar
IEJTML15 Islamic Ends-Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar
MPAV16 Marxist Principles And Values
WBESSWG17 Wise, Benign, Elite, Super-Scientific World Governance
TRMITM18 The Reason Man’s In This Mess
IYI19 Intellectual Yet Idiotic
TTRSCBTF20 Them There Real Smart Catholic Bishop Type Fellers
IACMPVND21 Illegal-Alien-Criminal Marxocrat-Party-Voting Nation-Destroyers
PEJTML22 Palestinian Ends-Justify-The-Means Liar
PSYOP23 “Psychological Operation” Mind Trick
CDC24 Covid Developmentally Challenged

Reference Material

[All Web Pages listed in Site Map by date-of-publication;
oldest at the top, newest at the bottom of the list.]

Culture=Religion+Politics;  Who Are We?  Vic Biorseth

The Brilliantly Conceived Organization of the USA;  Vic Biorseth

https://www.catholicamericanthinker.com/Godless-Nation.html


John MacArthur : When a Nation Sows Evil


Fighting evil in a modern world

By Hedieh Mirahmadi, Exclusive Columnist| Thursday, August 12, 2021

Hedieh Mirahmadi
Courtesy of Hedieh Mirahmadi

In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul is writing to a church that just came out of a very depraved lifestyle, so when he gives these warnings, they relate to it. It is astonishing how these words still resonate over 2,000 years later.

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator… Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another… Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1: 24-27, 32)

The most alarming aspect of how similar we are is that “those that know the righteous decree” are either foolishly or knowingly supporting precisely the kind of immorality we are warned to avoid. Modern ideas of the “woke culture” — gender fluidity, legitimizing same-sex relationships, and humanism are not biblical principles.  According to the American Humanist Association, “Religious Humanism is without a god, without a belief in the supernatural, without a belief in an afterlife, and without a belief in a “higher” source of moral values.” How then can a Christian then find common ground with such ideals?

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lord also commands the church to be as one body, united in faith under one Spirit. However, unity is impossible without agreement. The Body of Christ must be unified around the ultimate truth that is contained in the Bible. Though we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s ideals, the Church should not condone immoral principles. All of humanity needs salvation, but it requires repentance from sin, the desire to turn away from it, and the acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior.

These seemingly contradictory principles leave Christians with the difficult task of reconciling the commandment to avoid evil and achieving unity within the Body of Christ. We must be wise enough to distinguish between people simply acting foolish or naive instead of espousing wickedness. Being wise is not as the culture defines it but being wise in the ways of God means following His commands. Through knowledge of God’s word and prayer, we will gain the discernment and wisdom to know the difference.   

Kids are being indoctrinated to believe that if it feels good, do it. They are being taught there is no absolute truth — not their gender, the notion of marriage only being between a man and woman, and even rejecting the founding principles of our country.  

Professors say you can’t legislate morality, but of course, you can! That is why we do not drive 100mph in a school zone, and child pornography is a crime. Morality isn’t something you invent; it comes from God. Tacit support by the Church of principles that stem from a denial of God’s law leads to the destruction of our youth, our families, and eventually the moral fabric of our country. God can and does gives such a society over to its wicked desire.

“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity.” (Romans 1: 28-29)

Sometimes, believers are following trends in our culture out of ignorance. We extend grace and compassion for them until it becomes clear they are unwilling to relent in support of depravity. As God says in Jude, “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”

Other times, Christians have a hero mentality, thinking they can “save” people, but we must understand that some people do not want to be saved. They are filled with unresolved trauma, anger and resentment that only the Lord can change if He so chooses.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Notice again, Paul warns that the threat will come from those claiming a “form of godliness,” but he does not say to pursue them relentlessly. We simply have to avoid them.

We should not be too proud of ourselves or so enamored with our civilization that we do not heed God’s warnings. If we accept modern principles that defy God’s law, purposely or unwittingly, it leads to a debased mind where God no longer reigns over our lives and the lives of our families and communities. Yes, we love our neighbors and pray for their salvation, but we cannot compromise the Gospel to please them.

Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel.  She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/fighting-evil-in-a-modern-world.html


VIDEO Straight Talk On Dungeons and Dragons

By William Schnoebelen
Reproduced by permission

Dungeons and Dragons is a tragic and tangled subject. It is essentially a feeding program for occultism and witchcraft. For Christians, the first scriptural problem is the fact that Dungeons and Dragons violates the commandment of I Ths. 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Much of the trappings, art, figurines, and writing within D&D certainly appears evil-to say the least of it.

On top of that, the second issue is that the materials themselves, in many cases, contain authentic magical rituals. I can tell you this from my own experience. I was a witch high priest (Alexandrian tradition) during the period 1973-84. During some of that period (1976-80) I was also involved in hardcore Satanism. We studied and practiced and trained more than 175 people in the Craft. Our “covendom” was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; just a short drive away from the world headquarters of TSR, the company which makes Dungeons and Dragons in Lake Geneva, WI. In the late 1970’s, a couple of the game writers actually came to my wife and I as prominent “sorcerers” in the community. They wanted to make certain the rituals were authentic. For the most part, they are.

These two guys sat in our living room and took copious notes from us on how to make sure the rituals were truly right “from the book,” (this meaning that they actually came from magic grimoires or workbooks). They seemed satisfied with what they got and left us thankfully.

Back in 1986, a fellow appeared on The 700 Club who was a former employee and game writer for TSR. He testified right on the show that he got into a wrangle with the management there because he saw that the rituals were too authentic and could be dangerous. He protested to his boss and was basically told that this was the intent—to make the games as real as possible. He felt conscience-stricken (even though he was not a Christian at the time), and felt he had to resign from the company.

Now, the question becomes—if a person “innocently” works an authentic ritual that conjures up a demon, or curses someone; thinking that they are only playing a game-might not the ritual still have efficacy? I think we know the answer to that question. If you play at shooting your friend in the head with what you think is an unloaded pistol and don’t know a shell is in the chamber, is your friend any less dead because you were playing?

People need to understand that God’s universe runs on laws no less real in the spiritual realm than the laws of physics that propel a bullet out of a gun-and those laws are just as irreversible. God says that if you tamper with magic and the occult, you are stepping out from under His will and His protection (assuming you are a Christian). If you are not a Christian, then you are REALLY playing with fire. Some verses which clearly teach this are found in Exod. 22:18, Lev. 19:31, Lev. 20:6, Deut. 18:10, 1Sam. 15:23, 2Kgs. 21:6, Is. 8:19, Gal. 5:20, Rev. 21:8, Rev. 22:15.

Deadly Games?

To quote an old proverb, “Though the boys throw stones at the frogs in sport, the frogs die in earnest.” Just because the people playing D&D think they are playing a game doesn’t mean that the evil spirits (who ARE very real) will regard it as a game. If you are doing rituals or saying spells that invite them into your life, then they will come-believe me! We have prayed with enough people our age and younger who were former D&D fans, and they were totally in bondage to it.

This brings us to other unsavory aspects of the game. One pro-D&D psychologist wrote that “There is hardly a game in which the players do not indulge in murder, arson, torture, rape or highway robbery1 In fact, the Dungeon Master’s Guide gives the celebrated Adolph Hitler as an example of a real historical person that exhibited D&D charisma! The values contained in the game are, at the very best, “might makes right.”

Additionally, much of the game contains overtones that reek of illicit sex and sexual violence. For example, the cover of one D&D supplement, called Eldrich Wizardry, shows a naked woman reclining on an obviously satanic ritual altar. This tragic scene is compelling because it is really what is done in genuine satanic groups all over the nation.2 It is extremely sado-masochistic because the fate of such a woman is to be either raped, gang-raped, tortured or sacrificed to a demon god. This kind of imagery can be very provocative and seductive to adolescent males or even adults.

Additionally, male characters in the game often try to seduce female characters; and references abound to things like venereal disease and satyriasis (a male condition of permanent sexual arousal). Can these sorts of things be appropriate for Christians or even for any decent person of whatever faith?

Do-It-Yourself Brainwashing

Additionally, Fantasy-Role-Playing (FRP) games like D&D do employ brainwashing techniques:

  1. Fear generation-via spells and mental imaging about fear-filled, emotional scenes, and threats to survival of FRP characters.
  2. Isolation-psychological removal from traditional support structures (family, church, etc.) into an imaginary world. Physical isolation due to extremely time-consuming play activities outside the family atmosphere.
  3. Physical torture and killings-images in the mind can be almost as real as the actual experiences. Focus of the games is upon killings and torture for power, acquisition of wealth, and survival of characters.
  4. Erosion of family values-the Dungeon Master (DM) demands an all-encompassing and total loyalty, control and allegiance.
  5. Situational Ethics-any act can be justified in the mind of the player, therefore there are no absolutes of right or wrong; no morality other than “point” morality needed to ensure survival and advancement. There are no win-win situations and good forces seldom triumph over evil forces.
  6. Religion-values and belief systems (see below) are restructured from traditional Judeo-Christian ethics (which most people in Western culture adhere to) to belief in multiple gods and deities. Players align themselves with specific deities they select; patron deities are strongly urged. These are not fantasy deities, but are drawn from genuine ancient religions and beliefs! Only occult gods are included. In addition, defilement is urged in many ways, such as excrement or urinating to “defile a font.”
  7. Loss of Self-control-authority over self is surrendered to the DM. Depending on the personality and ego-strength of the player, this loss can be near absolute.
  8. Degradation-pain and torture are heavily involved in sadistic, sexual situations that graphically appeal to visceral impulses. Much of the material (as mentioned above) is well into pornographic areas and stresses the defilement of innocence.3

A Clash of World Views!

This is another, broader issue here. The values of the game are not only pro-violence and death; they also entrain the player in an entirely different way of looking at life: what is called by anthropologists the “Magical World View(MWV).” This MWV is far outside the cultural norms of most societies, and certainly outside the realms of Biblical values. Let me explain:

  1. The MWV teaches that there exists in the universe a neutral force, like gravity, which is magic. In this worldview, there is no sovereign God; but rather the universe is run like a gigantic piece of machinery. Magic’s application is the understanding of how to manipulate the universe to get what you want. The analogy would be of putting a right coin in the slot of a vending machine and pushing the button. You automatically get your candy-assuming you used the right coin and pushed the right button. The MWV is like that. If you know the right technology (spell, ritual, incantation, etc.) the universe must respond-just like the light must go on if you flip the switch. It is automatic, and scientifically repeatable.
  2. The Judeo-Christian Worldview (i.e. from the Bible, and held by most cultures in the Western world to some degree) teaches, on the contrary, that the universe is in control of a sovereign Person, God. To get “results,” He must be asked. Thus, it is more like a child going up to a parent and asking for candy, than getting it from a vending machine. The parent may say “yes,” “no,” or “Wait till later.” Similarly, in the Bible, there is no way to automatically manipulate God to get what you want, because He is an omnipotent Person. Additionally, God says that magic is deep and abominable sin (see above).

Now obviously, these two worldviews cannot exist in the same moral universe. Either one is true and the other false or vice-versa. Thus, one cannot be a Christian and believe in the MWV and not be some sort of hypocrite or deceived person. The reason is that in the “universe” of Dungeons and Dragons magic is neutral, and can be used by “good guys” or by “bad guys.” It is like “The Force” in the Star Wars movies. This magical morality pervades D&D, and it is utterly in opposition to the Word of God and even common sense.

Now the question becomes, can a person play the game without subscribing to the worldview? It is possible, but considering the high level of emotional and intellectual commitment that the game requires, is that really realistic? D&D is not like chess or Monopoly. It is a game that engages the whole person at deep levels, and it can last months if well-played. How can a person, Christian or not, immerse themselves in a reality view so deeply and not have it impact the rest of their lives? This is difficult to imagine, especially considering the highly demonic and magical content of much of the game. As the saying goes, “if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

As the apostle Paul warns us, (1Cor. 15:33) “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” If games and manuals which extol black magic, rape, sado-masochism, murder and violence are not “evil communications,” then I do not know the meaning of the terms!

A D&D “Hall of Shame”

This provides us with a spiritual explanation of why the following tragic litany of evil keeps growing around players of Dungeons and Dragons. The psychological explanation buttresses this as well, for we now understand the D&D can readily be a form of mind-control which also uses real occult techniques to foster possession by evil spirits.

  1. The “Freeway Killer,” Vernon Butts, who committed suicide in his cell in 1987 while being held as a suspect in a string of murders was an avid D&D player.4
  2. D&D player (14 years old) commits suicide by hanging, 1979, name withheld by parents’ request.
  3. D&D player (17 years old) Michael Dempsey, Lynnwood, WA. suicide by gunshot wound to the head, 5/19/81. Witnesses saw him trying to summon up D&D demons just minutes before his death.
  4. D&D player (? years old) Steve Loyacano, Castle Rock, CO., suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, 10/14/82. Police report satanic writings and a suicide note liked the death to D&D.
  5. D&D player (21 years old) Timothy Grice, Lafayette, CO., suicide by shotgun blast, 1/17/83. Detective reports noted, “D&D became a reality. He thought he was not constrained to this life, but could leave [it] and return because of the game.”
  6. D&D player (18 years old) Harold T. Collins, Marion, OH., suicide by hanging, 4/29/83. Collins was noted to be “possessed” by D&D as if he were living the game.
  7. D&D player (16 years old) Daniel Erwin, Lafayette, CO., murder by brother’s shotgun blast to head, 11/2/84 (right after Halloween). Death was apparently the result of a death pact as part of the game.
  8. D&D player (12 years old) Steve Erwin (see above) suicide by gunshot, 11/2/84. Detective report: “No doubt D&D cost them their lives.”5
  9. D&D player (no age given) Joseph Malin, Salt Lake City, UT., pled guilty to first degree murder 3/2/88 and was sentenced to life in prison. He killed a 13 years old girl while acting out the fantasy-role game. The girl had been raped, her throat cut, and she had been stabbed twice in the chest. Police said his “violent urges were fed by ‘extreme involvement in the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons.'”6
  10. D&D player (14 years old) Sean Sellers was convicted of killing his parents and a convenience store clerk in Greeley, Oklahoma (1/11/87). He is the youngest inmate of death row in the country as of this writing (22 now). His involvement in hard-core Satanism began with D&D, according to his own testimony. Praise the Lord, he is now a Born Again Christian!7
  11. D&D player (14 years old) Tom Sullivan, Jr. got into Satanism and ended up stabbing his mother to death, arranging a ritual circle (from D&D) in the middle of the living room floor and lit a fire in its midst. Fortunately, his dad and little brother were awakened by a smoke detector; but by then, Tom, Jr. had slashed his wrists and throat with his Boy Scout knife and died in the snow in a neighbor’s yard.(1/19/88, Amarillo, TX)8

Of course, just like everything else, some people (young or otherwise) will say, “Those people were just weird or losers to begin with. I’m too together to fall into stuff like that. It’s just a game!” Yeah, and an H-bomb is just a firecracker! Like the people who think they can play around with crack or pre-marital sex and not get burned by death, AIDS or pregnancy, the person who thinks they can mess with D&D without getting burnt is whistling in the dark. The evidence is definitely stacked against them! The game is too carefully crafted a trap for many people to elude.

Conclusions

Quoting Dr. Thomas Radecki MD, a psychiatrist at the University of Illinois School of Medicine: “The evidence in these cases is really quite impressive. There is no doubt in my mind that the game Dungeons and Dragons is causing young men to kill themselves and others. The game is one of non-stop combat and violence. It is clear to me that this game is desensitizing players to violence and also causing an increased tendency to violent behavior.”9

Thus, in my mind, and in the minds of most who have come out of this background as I have (occultism and Satanism); there is no doubt that Dungeons and Dragons and its imitators are right out of the pit of hell. No Christian or sane, decent individual of whatever faith really should have anything to do with them.

Should a Christian play D&D?


Endnotes

  1. Peter Leithart & George Grant, A Christian Response to Dungeons and Dragons, Dominion Press, Ft. Worth, TX. 1987, p.5.
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  2. Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible, Avon Books, 1969, p.135.
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  3. Pat Pulling, quoted in File 18 Newsletter, 10/24/86, from CCIN, 222 N. Latah St. Boise, ID. 83706-2657, 208-336-9950.
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  4. Leithart & Grant, op. cit., p.5.
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  5. Statistics 2-8 courtesy of Yvonne Peterson, EXODUS S.A. Occult Awareness Program, P.O. Box 700293, San Antonio, TX. 78270; 1987, p.9.
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  6. Salt Lake Tribune, 3/2/88.
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  7. File 18 Newsletter, op. cit., 2/22/87. Since this article was originally written in 1989, it is now my belief that Sean Sellers was executed for his crimes and is now (thanks to the mercy of Jesus and Sean’s faith in Him) in heaven.
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  8. cf. Amarillo Globe Times, 1/19/92
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  9. Peterson, ibid.
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https://chick.com/information/article?id=Straight-Talk-On-Dungeons-and-Dragons


Is Dungeon and Dragons Evil? *60 Minutes 1985 special *SHOCKING*


Related

https://www.exposingsatanism.org/dungeons-and-dragons/

Love does not think evil of others

April 29, 2021Author: Nehemiah Zion

Love does not think evil of others.
Nor keeps a record of evil.

Are there people in your life you really want to take revenge on? You still have feelings where you want to get back at them. Even in a small way? Like, maybe, “when I get a chance I will show her ” types?

  • Joseph’s brothers conspired against him
  • King Saul was desperate to kill King David
  • Hamaan had evil desires against Mordecai
  • The Jews looked for ways to bring Jesus down

Joseph’s brothers were irritated by his constant tattling and showing off (Jacob expressed great love for Joseph). Eventually their harmful thoughts against Joseph led to evil.

King Saul loved David initially. When David would play the harp and drive the evil spirit away. Overtime, as David was being used by God and praised greatly by the people, Saul began to hate him and plotted evil against him.

Haman hated the Jews. He wanted them all killed. Haman had hatched an evil plan against Mordecai, only to fail miserably. The very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai became his death sentence. (Esther 6)

The Jews were plotting to kill Jesus (John 7:1). The Jews claimed to be superior in their religiosity, though they followed the law, they did not understand the love in the law.

Love does not think evil of others

The power of resurrection is the power of love that raised Jesus from the dead. How blessed we are to receive such a great love. Are we living the love powered by the Holy Spirit? Time to examine our lives and live these last days being fruitful for the kingdom of God, till the very end.

Let go now; do not host evil thoughts against anyone. The Love of God always heals the hearts and minds of those who trust in God. The end is near. Maranatha, Praise God and Amen.

How To Stay In One New Normal Rather Than Many?

March 5, 2021Author: Nehemiah Zion

Are you in the new normal the world is talking about or in the new normal since you were born again?

The world keeps moving to newer enhancements with technology. Body upgrades that are attempting to do better than what God already did. We are slowly entering into a bionic world. Where humans and artificial intelligence is merging.

Prosthetic limbs, brain-machine interfaces, bionic organs, are all in the works. Some have already begun identifying themselves as cyborgs. Tens of Thousands of employees have chip implants, ushering in a new way of life. Sadly, enslaving themselves in a way never to return to God.

What is the believers new normal?

For believers the new normal is heaven on earth, a new walk that begins on earth and leads into eternal life. While innovations are useful, nothing is new under the sun.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

The word of God will always remain a decisive truth for mankind to escape from the machinations of greedy men unwilling to submit to God.

We are in a time of great uncertainty. But, we have a God whose every word is certain and everlasting. When we gave our lives to Jesus, we stepped into the glory in which Adam and Eve enjoyed before sin. Let’s stick to the truth found in Jesus alone. The truth that sets us free from wickedness and evil religious people.

The truth that will help us enter into a normal which is possible only by the true creator, God Himself. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but His word will never fail. His very Word keeps us joyful and hopeful no matter what happens on earth. For believers, to live is Christ and to die gain.

Maranatha, Praise God and Amen!

The Days Are Evil

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 / MULYALE MUTISYA

‘Be careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil’ ~ Ephesians 5:15

Humans are governed by time, but in the spiritual realm there is only day and night. As we live in a fallen world, though there is light from the sun to distinguish day and night, spiritually speaking, the days are considered night. In other words, the days are evil. A darkened humanity, comes to a darkened world to exist in dark days, evil days. Jesus says, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light’ (John 11:9). In our default mode, we walk in darkness and have no spiritual light. We stumble because the world radiates to us no inner light. In other words, humanity is ‘darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the blindness of their hearts’ (Ephesians 4:18). Paul notes that ignorance is the main cause of us walking in darkness, fuelled by our natural state of blindness as we enter into the world.

It is only by coming to a true understanding can we have our spiritual eyes opened and walk in the light. Walking in the light means that we avoid stumbling in our own darkness and in the world’s darkness. By coming to an understanding of the magnitude of the world’s darkness and more importantly, the source of light, can we then be reconciled with God and truly walk in the light. Understanding the magnitude of our darkness does require any telling or training because ‘The acts of the sinful nature are obvioussexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like’ (Galatians 5:19-21). Paul just scratches the surface mentioning deeds and acts that we encounter in these evil days, some of which we ourselves have even practised at one point of our lives. This list is not exhaustive, but exposes the magnitude of the darkness. ‘For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret’ (Ephesians 5:12).

Once we lift the cover and behold the extent of the darkness within and around us, we are presented with two options; accept the darkness and remain in it, or turn to the light. Those who do not like the darkness start to search for the light. Unfortunately, in these evil days, many sources promise light, and many turn to counterfeit lights. Some search for the light in science, religion, creation, wealth, occult, worldliness, apathy, sensuality (whatever feels right), and all sorts of falsities. However, these counterfeit lights do nothing to rid the darkness. Jesus remarks, ‘If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’ (Matthew 6:23). Only those with understanding from the right source can receive the true light. So what is the true light? Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12).

Amidst other claims of light, one may wonder how sure that Jesus is in fact the One and Only light. But Jesus simply responds, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going’ (v14). So, we only need to walk with, and observe Jesus through His Word to see for ourselves that He is the true light of the world, because the light is infectious. Only those who get knowledge and understanding from the right Source soon make the realization that, ‘The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit’ (Romans 8:16) that Jesus is indeed the true light. Of course, many have discredited the Bible without even flipping a page of it, leave alone reading it from cover to cover, and so remain in ignorance, in darkness. Jesus even notes, ‘This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the lightand will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God’ (John 3:19-21).

Jesus knows that the verdict is settled, because many ‘refuse to come to me to have life’ (John 5:40). Although it is God’s will for ‘all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4), man has free-will to choose between ‘life and death’ (Deuteronomy 30:19). Believing and accepting Jesus means that we are born anew so that ‘all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12). We then become ‘light in the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:8) and so ‘Live as children of light’ (for the fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth)’ (v8-9). Living as children of light is wise-living because it is not conforming ‘any longer to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). Because then, one will be able to ‘test and prove what God’s will is – his good, acceptable, and perfect will’ (v2). And it is only by living in the will of God, by faith and obedience in Christ Jesus, can we escape the wrath reserved for the dark and evil world, because we ‘shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

Those who refuse to come to Jesus, the Light, continue to walk in darkness of their minds and in darkness of the evil days. For ‘the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The repercussion of walking in darkness is that ‘there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen’ (Luke 8:17-18). This is because ‘everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible’ (Ephesians 5:13-14). When Jesus, the Light, comes to uncover the darkness and rid it once and for all, He ‘will give to everyone according to what he has done’ (Revelation 22:12). Those who loved their darkness and that of the world because they lingered in it will be ‘cast into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 22:13). They will be sent to the outer darkness for eternity. ‘Blackest darkness is reserved for them’ (2 Peter 2:17), a darkness darker than what is in these evil days.

‘As long as it day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work’ ~ John 9:4

https://carolynemutisya7.wordpress.com/2021/05/14/the-days-are-evil/

Twisted Theology Is Protecting a Man Who Enjoys the Torture of Children, Says Rachael Denhollander

By Jessica Lea -May 7, 2021

josh duggar

Editor’s note: This article about Josh Duggar contains disturbing reports of sexual violence.


The alleged crimes of Josh Duggar, who was just released on bail pending trial, are  unspeakable. But what makes his story even more appalling, says victims advocate Rachael Denhollander, is the theology that is cushioning Duggar from the cost of those crimes.

“Everyone – EVERYONE else, from Josh’s own children, to a woman afraid to have him in the home, to his own wife, are bearing the risks and costs of his behavior,” said Rachael Denhollander in a Twitter thread. “And they are being told it is godly and right to do it.”

Denhollander is known for being the first woman to speak out publicly after filing a report against USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, one of the most prolific sexual abusers in history. Denhollander has shared she was groomed for Nasser’s abuse by being molested as a child in an evangelical church. She is now an attorney and advocate for abuse survivors. 

Rachael Denhollander: What Pastors Need to Know About Sexual Abuse

“I don’t even know where to begin with what we need to learn from this situation with Josh Duggar,” said Denhollander. “If you haven’t paid attention to updates, you should, because it is a glaring example of the problems we have in our legal system, and especially in conservative culture.” 

Duggar was arrested on April 29 for receiving and possessing material depicting the sexual abuse of children. He faces up to 20 years in prison for each, and has pleaded not guilty. He is currently under house arrest while awaiting his trial, set to begin July 6. 

Josh Duggar Planned and Premeditated 

In November 2019, Homeland Security Investigations raided Josh Duggar’s business and confiscated three password-protected devices. On those devices were dozens of images depicting nude minors and child sex abuse materials. In a hearing Wednesday, Special Agent Gerald Faulkner testified that one of those devices contained files that were among the “top five worst I’ve ever had to examine.” Faulkner has been an agent for 11 years and worked over 1,000 child exploitation cases. 

“The images and videos Josh downloaded for his own sexual pleasure were of toddlers and babies being sexually assaulted,” said Denhollander. “18 months to 3 years old. He literally found sexual gratification in watching the sexual torture of babies and toddlers…The FBI agent who conducted the investigation said it was some of the worst material he’s ever gone through. Josh searched for it, and enjoyed it. Sit with that reality. Absorb what that means.”

Investigators found that Covenant Eyes, a porn accountability software, had been installed on one of the devices, but that Duggar allegedly bypassed it by partitioning his hard drive into two sections. Faulkner also testified that Duggar used a TOR browser to access the dark web anonymously.

“This wasn’t an accident,” said Denhollander. “This was planned, premeditated, and probably going on for a long time.” She believes it is highly unlikely that Josh Duggar’s wife, Anna, was unaware that he was looking at porn. “Out of every woman I’ve ever walked with whose husband had a porn problem,” said Denhollander, “it was NEVER a surprise…It’s pretty much guaranteed that somewhere along the way Anna knew Josh still had a porn addiction, but she was left to deal with it and fix it in silence and on her own, because that’s how we counsel couples in Christian circles. ‘Submission’ becomes a catch-phrase to protect.”

Denhollander sees Anna Duggar‘s silence about her husband’s sexual proclivities as  symptomatic of certain evangelical teachings about the proper role of wives. Denhollander referenced several concepts promoted in some conservative circles, including the complementarian teaching that wives need to respect and submit to their husbands. Some conservative Christians emphasize the idea that “God hates divorce” so much that they encourage women to stay in abusive situations. And it is not unusual for Christian women to be taught they are responsible for men’s lust. If they are married, women are encouraged to make sure to have regular sex with their husbands so that the men will not be unfaithful.

“[Anna] certainly couldn’t tell anyone, because that would not be respectful,” said Denhollander. “That’s how we counsel wives in these marriages. But she was certainly taught to have sex more to fix it. Her own mother-in-law wrote blog articles that said as much.” 

Denhollander went on to point out how Josh Duggar’s family and community, despite facing shocking and plentiful evidence that he sexually preys on children, is bending over backwards to make life easier for him. 

Josh Duggar’s father, Jim Bob Duggar, called people in his church to see if any would be custodians for his son when Josh was released on bail. “[Jim Bob] found a man willing to take [Josh] in,” said Denhollander. “Except that man’s wife teaches piano lessons to children, and she was not comfortable having Josh home with her all day, because she would be alone with him while her husband was at work. That didn’t matter to the husband, however. She has to find a new place to teach all those children because her husband wants Josh to live with them.”

The couple who have agreed to take Josh Duggar in are LaCount and Maria Reber. The Rebers have two children, including a 22-year-old daughter. The family hosts piano lessons out of their home, but have agreed to move the students to another location

Maria Reber has said that she is uncomfortable being alone with Josh Duggar and is also uncomfortable with her 22-year-old daughter being alone with him. However, at Wednesday’s hearing, Reber testified, “My husband has made the decision and I’m here to support that decision.”

“Every single family who takes piano from her, and the wife herself, has to uproot their routine, livelihood and the child’s music education, because Josh,” said Denhollander. “Everyone is expected to bear the cost, except Josh. And the wife’s own very reasonable fears about being alone all day with a man who enjoys the sexual torture of toddlers didn’t matter to the husband either. The men in the situation are the leaders making the decisions while the women are expected to ‘submit.’”

Denhollander suggested that the Christians in this situation are living out twisted teachings on manhood and womanhood. And what is even more disturbing is that these teachings are pervasive. “The cost and impact is being born by everyone but the perpetrator, and the men given free reign to be ‘leaders,’” she said. “This is abusive culture. This is toxic Christianity. This is not manhood. This is not womanhood. This is depraved. And the worst part is, I know literally hundreds of women on the receiving end of this garbage. Josh, and this situation, aren’t the anomaly. They are the norm. Because we actually don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Denhollander concluded:

Women are taught as the cause and solution to men’s sexual perversions. Until our theology changes to actually reflect Scripture, we shouldn’t be surprised at any of this. It’s a story I see every single day. It’s wicked. It’s evil. And it’s long past time that we called it that – not just the abuse, but the twisted theology that fuels it.


Christ and the Churches: Part 2 (Revelation 2:12-29)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

We are still listening to what Christ has to say to the churches because these messages belong to our day as well as to the first century.

III. Pergamos, the Compromising Church (Rev. 2:12–17)

1. Approval (v. 13)

Like their brothers and sisters in Smyrna the believers in Pergamos had suffered persecution, and one of their men had died for the faith. Pergamum was called the city “where Satan has his throne.” Surrounded by worship of Satan and the Roman emperor as god the church at Pergamos refused to renounce their faith, even when Satan worshippers martyred one of their members. In spite of intense suffering, this church had remained true to God. They refused to drop incense on the altar and say, “Caesar is Lord.”

The Lord’s description of Himself (“He who has the sharp, double-edged sword,” Rev. 2:12) would surely encourage the people. It was more important the church fear Christ’s sword than the Roman sword (Rev. 2:16). Just as the Romans used their swords for authority and judgment, Jesus’ “sharp, double-edge sword” represented God’s ultimate authority and judgment.

2. Accusation (vv. 14–15)

Despite their courageous stand against persecution the believers in Pergamos were not faultless before the Lord. Satan had not been able to destroy them by coming as the roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), but he was making inroads as the deceiving serpent. A group of compromising people had infiltrated the church fellowship, and Jesus Christ hated their doctrines and their practices.

These infiltrators are called “Nicolaitans,” whom we met already at Ephesus (Rev. 2:6). The name means “to rule the people.” What they taught is called “the doctrine of Balaam” (Rev. 2:14). The Hebrew name Balaam means “lord of the people” and is synonymous with Nicolaitans. Sadly, this group of professed believers “lorded it over” the people and led them astray.

Understanding the story of Balaam helps us interpret this insidious group more accurately (Num. 22–25). Balaam was a true prophet who prostituted his gifts in order to earn money from King Balak, who hired him to curse the people of Israel. God prevented Balaam from actually cursing the nation—in fact, God turned the curses into blessings—but Balak still got his money’s worth. How? By following Balaam’s advice and making friends with Israel, and then inviting the Jews to worship and feast at the pagan altars.

“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” was their philosophy. The Jewish men fell right into the trap and many of them became “good neighbors.” They ate meat from idolatrous altars and committed fornication as part of heathen religious rites. Twenty-four thousand people died because of this disobedient act of compromise (Num. 25:1–9).

The Lord accused the Christians in Pergamos of sinning, of committing “spiritual fornication” by saying, “Caesar is Lord.” Of course, this compromise made them welcome in the Roman society and protected them from Roman persecution, but it cost them their testimony and their crown. A group in that church said, “There is nothing wrong with being friendly to Rome. What harm is there in putting a pinch of incense on the altar and affirming your loyalty to Caesar?” Antipas refused to compromise and was martyred; but others took the “easy way” and cooperated with Rome.

Believers today also face the temptation to achieve personal advancement by ungodly compromise. The name Pergamos means “married,” reminding us each local church is “engaged to Christ” and must be kept pure (2 Cor 11:1–4). We will see later in Revelation that this present world system is pictured as a defiled harlot, while the church is presented as a pure bride. The congregation or the individual Christian that compromises with the world just to avoid suffering or achieve success is committing “spiritual adultery” and being unfaithful to the Lord.

3. Admonition (vv. 16–17)

Antipas had felt the sword of Rome, but the church at Pergamos would feel the sword of Christ—the Word (Heb. 4:12)—if they did not repent. This is not a reference to our Lord’s return, but to a present judgment that comes to a church when it is disobedient to the Word of God. The Lord had presented Himself as a “sharp, doubled edged sword” (Rev. 2:12), so the church could not have been ignorant of its danger. As with the previous churches the closing appeal is to the individual: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says” (Rev. 2:17).

corrupt church

IV. Thyatira, the Corrupt Church (Rev. 2:18–29)

The longest message was sent to the church in the smallest city! Thyatira was a military town as well as a commercial center with many trade groups. Wherever societies were found, idolatry and immorality—the two great enemies of the early church—were almost always present too.

The city boasted a special temple to Apollo, the “sun god,” which explains why the Lord introduced Himself as “the Son of God” (the only time in Revelation this title is used). John had to deliver a message of severe warning and judgment to this congregation, which explains the description of the Lord’s eyes and feet.

1. Approval (v. 19)

The believers in Thyatira were commended for growing in good deeds. They were involved in sacrificial ministry for the sake of others. What’s more, their works were increasing and characterized by faith, love, and patience; so the church was not guilty of mere “religious activity.”

2. Accusation (vv. 20–23)

The Lord found much to expose and condemn in the assembly at Thyatira. No amount of loving and sacrificial works can compensate for tolerance of evil. The church was permitting a false prophetess to influence the people and lead them into compromise. It is not likely this woman was actually called “Jezebel,” since such an infamous name would not be given to a child. The name is symbolic: Jezebel was the idolatrous queen who enticed Israel to add Baal worship to their religious ceremonies (1 Kings 16–19). The seductive teaching of Jezebel was similar to the “doctrine of Balaam” which the Lord condemned in the church of Pergamos (Rev. 2:14). She taught believers how to compromise with the Roman religion and the practices of the society, so Christians would not lose their jobs or their lives.

It is interesting to contrast the churches at Ephesus and Thyatira. The Ephesian church was weakening in its love, yet faithful to judge false teachers; while the people in the assembly at Thyatira were growing in their love, but too tolerant of false doctrine. Both extremes must be avoided in the church. “Speaking the truth in love” is the biblical balance (Eph. 4:15). Unloving orthodoxy and loving compromise are both hateful to God.

Not only was the church at Thyatira tolerant of evil, but it was proud and unwilling to repent. The Lord gave the false prophetess time to repent, yet she refused. Now He was giving her followers opportunity to repent. His eyes of fire had searched out their thoughts and motives, and He would make no mistake.

In fact, the Lord threatened to use this assembly as a solemn example to “all the churches” not to tolerate evil. Jezebel and her children (followers) would be sentenced to tribulation and death! Idolatry and compromise are, in the Bible, pictured as fornication and unfaithfulness to the marriage vows (Jer. 3:6; Hosea 9:1). Jezebel’s bed of sin would become a bed of sickness! To kill with death means “to kill with pestilence.” God would judge the false prophetess and her followers once and for all.

3. Admonition (vv. 24–29)

Not everyone in the assembly was unfaithful to the Lord and He had a special word for them. They had separated themselves from the false doctrine and compromising practices of Jezebel and her followers, which Christ denounces as “the depths of Satan” (note the contrast in 1 Cor. 2:10). The Lord had no special demands to make; He simply wanted them to hold fast in their resistance to evil. “Until I come” refers to Christ’s return for His people, at which time He will reward them for their faithfulness (Rev. 3:3; 16:15; 22:7, 17, 20). This is the first mention in Revelation of the Lord’s coming for the church, the event we commonly call the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:13–18). In contrast, the reference in Revelation 1:7 is to Christ’s return to earth in judgment, to defeat His enemies and establish His kingdom (Rev. 19:11).

The believers in Thyatira are promised authority over the nations, which probably refers to the fact God’s people will live and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4). When the Lord sets up His kingdom on earth, it will be a righteous kingdom with perfect justice. He will rule with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:8–9). Rebellious men will be like clay pots, easily broken to pieces!

As we review these first four messages to the churches, we can see the dangers that still exist for the people of God today. Like Ephesus, we can be zealous and orthodox, but at the same time lose our devotion to Christ. Like Thyatira, our love can be increasing, yet lacking in the kind of discernment that is necessary to keep the church pure (Phil. 1:9–11). Like Pergamos and Thyatira, we may be so tolerant of evil that we grieve the Lord and invite His judgment.

Would we have selected Smyrna as the most spiritual church of the four? Probably not, yet the Lord did! We need to remind ourselves not to judge God’s people by wrong standards because only the Lord can see the heart (1 Cor. 4:5).

God’s exhortation to these churches (except Smyrna) is, “Repent!” It is not only lost sinners who need to repent, but also disobedient Christians. If we do not repent and deal with sin in our lives and in our assemblies the Lord may judge us and remove our lamp stand (Rev. 2:5). How tragic it is when a local church gradually abandons the faith and loses its witness for Christ! “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches!”

In Part 3, we will look at Christ’s message to the next church.

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/christ-and-the-churches-part-2-revelation-212-29/

Seven Reasons Why Church Leaders Abuse People

By Dr. James Scott, Jr. -March 11, 2021

abuse

Seven Reasons Why Church Leaders Abuse People

It’s easy to throw stones at all the things that aren’t so good about the internet and social media, but we don’t nearly as often hear about the wonderful things that also come from using technology to connect with others.

Like, for example, being able to connect with some terrific people you otherwise would never meet!

Just recently, one of those terrific people I’ve recently met through social media reached out to me about the topic of why church leaders abuse people. This fellow is a devoted Christian, a sharp guy who has seen abuse happen by church leaders, and is concerned about it. He leads a ministry that has a popular website, and wanted to talk about why leaders abuse others and see how his website might be able to do something on the topic.

I pointed out to my friend that, like any other problem, it’s important to identify the root cause(s) of a problem in order to effectively address or resolve it. First, we started with this premise: When God calls a godly man, who meets His biblical standard, and follows the biblical model for church and ministry, then the fruit of that will not be someone who purposely hurts others. So our discussion turned to the question of why church leaders abuse other people, and here are seven key reasons we discussed:

1. The practice of sin; the presence of evil. Where there are patterns of abuse, there is the practice of sin.

2. Wrong people in the ministry. More than 1,700 pastors quit each month. We tend to automatically think it’s because these ministers have burned out, etc., but several of the pastors who quit should never have been ordained and in vocational ministry in the first place. That’s because some of them do not meet the biblical qualifications to be pastors; for others who do, many go into ministry inadequately equipped, some who even have never been personally discipled. New attention needs to be given to churches and denominations about their examination process for those they are ordaining into ministry.

3. Wrong method of how we structure a church. Many churches today are structured in such a way as to place all “power” into the hands of a single individual, usually a senior pastor. Instead of structuring a church by biblical example, with a plurality of elders, many churches are structured as if they are a pastor’s personal fiefdom. Instead of elders or deacons, we have “management teams” who serve at the whim of a charismatic or controlling pastor, with little to no accountability to others. This kind of power position is a breeding ground for abuse.

4. Corruption from a broad-based addiction to leadership. Leadership, leadership, leadership. That’s almost all you hear about in church leadership circles. What leadership books are you reading? What leadership conferences are you attending? How many new leaders are you developing? And sadly, much (most?) of what is written about leadership, and taught at church conferences as leadership, are business leadership models and principles, NOT biblical teaching about servant leadership. One outcome is many church leaders would rather spend their time with other church leaders than with the flock they’re supposed to be shepherding. When you adopt a worldly model, you’ll be working from the flesh, not walking, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. That’s why many of today’s leadership structures in the church are based on the pastor as CEO and leading an “organization,” not a structure of an under-shepherd serving the family of God. This corruption of leadership is also a breeding ground for abuse, as CEO pastors see church members as volunteers there to accomplish their vision. To get them to do that, manipulation, control, and other abuse can occur.

5. Pride. So many who “mentor” ministers teach church leaders to create their own platforms and promote it broadly and constantly. That makes “being a leader” about pursuing and achieving “success.” Using people to achieve that often results in abuse.

6. Sin. This isn’t the practice of sin, which was the first item mentioned, this is that occasional fall that any and all of us can have in our lives. A pastor can become so over-worked, under-rested, and under-appreciated he could snap at someone or otherwise exercise poor decision-making. This can be rectified quickly with confession and repentance, and usually isn’t an ongoing problem unless the minister fails to fix the things in his life that led him to this momentarily lapse in sin.

7. Mental health issues. Just like the general population, many ministers struggle with mental health issues, from things as simple as temperament weaknesses and dealing with stress, to working from patterns of irrational thinking or developing habits of cognitive distortions. These can lead to conflict and, if not handled properly, may lead to abuse. Also like the general population, a sizable percentage of ministers say they do suffer, or have suffered, from a diagnosed mental illness. These can include anything from narcissistic tendencies, depression, and chronic anxiety, to bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. If a minister doesn’t receive appropriate treatment for a mental illness, his illness could contribute to inappropriate treatment of others.

There are other reasons why church leaders abuse people, these are some of the primary reasons. When you identify a root cause to a problem, you can then identify some of the ways to fix a problem. For the issues shared above, some things to do to fix some of these issues include:

  • The personal holiness of those who claim to be called to church leadership of any kind. Have they been discipled, trained, and equipped? Is their covenant relationship with Jesus Christ authentic and mature enough to move into ministry?
  • So the assessment process for licensure or ordination of ministerial candidates must be explored and addressed.
  • How churches are structured must be explored and addressed.
  • How to address falls (not a practice) of sin must be learned.
  • The plight of leadership addiction must be addressed in the church. We must change what it means to be a leader in the church.
  • Whether there are mental health issues or illness needs to be identified and treated.
  • All Christians need to be discipled to spiritual maturity.

Just as there are other causes for church leaders abusing people, there is more to be done to resolve such issues as well. Abuse of any kind, by anyone, anywhere is not acceptable, but it certainly must never be tolerated in the church among church leaders. We need to look closely at why some church leaders abuse people, and take every necessary action to stop the abuse, see to healing of the abused, aim for restoration and discipleship of the leader, and be proactive in preventing any opportunity for abuse to occur in the church by its leaders.

This article originally appeared here.

Dr. James Scott, Jr., is a minister, former church planter, Christian clinical therapist, certified Personal Trainer, and author. He currently serves as Founder and President of Scott Free Clinic, an international parachurch ministry. Follow him at ScottFreeClinic.org.

How to Handle Persecution, Part 2

Oct 1, 1972 John MacArthur

Let’s bow in prayer as we come to our study. Father, we do thank You for the wonderful opportunity that is ours to look into Your book, and to see what it is that the Spirit would teach us this morning. Make us to be open, and help us to be teachable, and not that we only learn it in our heads, but that we translate it into our lives. Bless our time, Father. May Jesus be lifted up, we pray in His name. Amen. Take your Bible, if you will, and look at Acts, chapter 4, which will be our passage for this discussion this morning.

And we are dealing with the subject how to handle persecution, and this is our second and concluding study of these verses in this particular section. In our continuing study of the early church, we have come in chapter 4 to the first persecution. The book of Acts, as you well know if you’ve been with us at all in our study, records for us the life and times of the early church, from its birth through the early years of its growth and its spread to the world. Now, along with the birth of the church, we were to anticipate a reaction from the world.

In John, chapter 15, Jesus Himself had warned by saying, “Don’t be surprised if the world hates you; they hated Me. And they will kill you eventually,” chapter 16 of John tells us. So, Jesus warned that there would be hostility to the church, just as there was hostility to Him; that it is to be expected, that it is inevitable. And so, it comes in chapter 4, in the very early days of the church. The church has been born in chapter 2; through chapter 2 and chapter 3, the great sermons of Peter, the church grew.

And by the time we come to chapter 4, verse 4, it is likely that there were probably at least 20,000 people involved in the early church. The 5,000 of verse 4 has to do with men; in addition to that, women and children would be included, or young people. And so, the threat to the Jews is very serious. They had attempted to get rid of Jesus Christ by executing Him, and now they are having to live with people going all over everywhere proclaiming that He rose from the dead, and it isn’t a handful anymore.

It’s probably between 10,000 and 20,000 of them that are doing this in Jerusalem, so, they’re scared, and opposition naturally comes, politically and religiously. Now, the event that teed off the persecution is recorded in chapter 3. Now, you’ll remember that Peter and John went for the afternoon prayer time down to the temple, and coming through the gate called Beautiful, they came across a lame man, who for 40 years had been lame, and was probably a fixture at that particular gate, where he would daily beg for alms.

At that point, they healed the man; he jumped up and hopped all over everywhere, praising God. And such a thing drew the crowd into the courtyard; so startling was the miracle, and so familiar was the man, that everybody gathered around. And Peter and John jumped on Solomon’s porch, and with the man standing between them, Peter preached a great sermon on Christ. Announced that their Messiah was Jesus of Nazareth, that they had rejected their own Messiah and executed Him; and he indicted them for that, and then offered them salvation through the grace of God.

Now, as a result of this, many believed, and the number came to be about 5,000 men, as we see it in verse 4. In response to this sermon and to the growth of this new faith in this Jesus, there came to be a tremendous antagonism on the part of the leaders of Israel, and in chapter 4 that breaks out. And it progresses to be more severe as we go through Acts, even as it did in the case of Jesus. Now, the persecution in Acts takes the form of physical abuse. Although there is some threatening in the beginning of this persecution, it finally finds its way to personal abuse.

And in most cases, you might say, “Well, that really doesn’t relate this text to me very well, because we don’t have that kind of persecution.” Well, I’m not sure we wouldn’t if we didn’t – if we did confront the world in the same way that they did. But aside from that, I think Satan is subtle enough to know, that as we said last time, the kind of persecution that gets to your ego may be more severe than that which gets to your body.

The kind that hits you in the area of status, or acceptance, or pride, or makes you fearful of losing your reputation or your position in the community, may be the most subtle and devastating of all. I think that Christians are wont to depreciate their testimony, and to back off from naming Christ as they ought to, because of the fear that somebody might not like them. Or the fear of being ostracized from their society. Or the fear of being fired from their job. Or the fear of being shut out of a community of people that they’d like to be a part of.

Or the fear of being ignored as some kind of a strange commodity. I think we fall prey to the temptations and the persecutions in the area of ego, and acceptance, and pride, more than anything else, and if I’m honest in examining my own heart, I think that’s what gets to me. Now, there have been several occasions where physical abuse has been a reaction in terms of my preaching Christ, and that didn’t have a negative effect at all; it had a positive effect.

But there are times when I feared to name the name of Christ because I’m afraid of being an outcast, or looked down upon, or spurned, or being shut out, or being thought to be some kind of a weird individual, or a religious nut, or a freak, or whatever. But one way or another, a Christian who really confronts the world is going to get some reaction from the world, and we went into that a little bit last time. In 2 Timothy 3:12, we took a key from that, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

It’s just a known fact, revealed in the word of God repeatedly, that if you live for Christ in the face of the world, you’re going to get some flack. That has to happen, because you’re running cross-grain to the system. It can’t be smooth. The apostle Paul recognizes this, and in Philippians 1:29, he says this – now, listen: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” That’s part of being a Christian. That’s not a foreign element to the Christian life.

That’s a natural response to the Christian who really lives his Christianity in the world. And he says in verse 30, “You should have the same conflict which you see in me, and hear to be in me – if you’re doing what I’m doing, then suffering is a part of it.” And so, when you say to somebody, “You ought to suffer for Christ’s sake,” that doesn’t mean run out and, you know, do something masochistic, beat on your head with a hammer or something, so you can – it simply means, “If you confront the world as I do,” Paul’s saying, “you’re going to get what I got when I did it.”

It’s the measure of your commitment, you see. Now, as we saw last time, the persecution begins in the first part of chapter 4. But the great instruction that we want to look at is in verses 5-31, because this gives us principles for handling persecution, and that’s what we began to study last time. But let me just preface it by giving you a kind of a little picture of persecution that maybe you’ve never seen before. If handled right – now watch it – if handled right, persecution is a blessed experience.

It is a wonderful experience. It is a plus, not a minus. It is a positive, not a negative. I’ll show you what I mean. Look at James, chapter 1, to begin with, and we’ll just kind of pick up a couple of points there. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” When you have problems, whether persecution or whatever, consider it a great joy. Why? “Knowing this, that the trying” – or the testing – “of your faith works patience.” God has a plan. He wants to make you patient. “But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.”

Don’t avoid the persecution. Don’t get away from it, because in it, God’s going to bring you to maturity. Let it have its perfecting work, you see. In your life, God has a desire, and His desire is to bring you to maturity. That’s very clear. The plan of God is that you be perfected, or made mature. And there are really two things that bring you to maturity. Number one is the Word of God, 1 Peter 2:2; this is what makes you grow. But number two, trials; and under the area of trials, persecution, suffering, problems, whatever.

These two things are to bring you to maturity. And so, you must allow for persecution as part of the process of spiritual growth. So, if you’re going to grow, you’re going to have to be confronting the world and getting persecuted. That’s part of growing. You don’t run away from it, you accept it; verse 12. “Blessed is the man that endures temptation” – or trial or testing – “for when he is tried, he’ll receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.” So, what do we learn from James?

We learn that persecution, number one, brings maturity; persecution, number two, brings reward; maturity and reward. Now, I want you to listen to Peter. Now Peter knew a lot about persecution. In 1 Peter 2:20, listen to this – interesting. “For what glory is it, if, when you are buffeted for your faults, you take it patiently?” In other words, you know, if you’re being punished for your sins, that’s not persecution, that’s punishment for your sins. No glory in that. “But if when you do well” – you serve God – “and you suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.”

Verse 21: “For hereunto were you called.” You were called to suffer. Now, some people have gotten it all twisted around, and there are some people who have become concerned with making themselves suffer. There’s a certain order of the Catholic Church, for example. I met a man in that order, who desired to suffer. Therefore, this man wears around his waist a belt that has inserted into it sharp, pointed nails. He wears it all the time, because he does not understand what it means to suffer. He thinks that to suffer itself is redemptive.

And there are other people in Europe, and you’ve seen them on television at certain periods of time, called flagellants who go down the streets, and with cords filled with bits of glass, beat themselves until the blood runs out of them. And they do this in the name of Jesus Christ, because they are feeling that they must suffer. But you see, they are suffering by a masochistic effort to suffer, not as a result of confronting the world with the truth of the gospel, and getting the reaction that God has naturally promised will happen.

You see, to suffer independent of proclaiming Christ is ridiculous. And some people would go around and say, “Well, my husband is my suffering. Well, I bear my cross, it’s my son.” That is not your cross. Now, that may be one of the problems, but to suffer for Christ is to get the response of the world to an open proclamation of Jesus by your life and your lip. And that’s the only kind of suffering that pleases God. The kind that comes as a result – in terms of persecution – that comes as a result of your active, aggressive, living godly in Christ Jesus in the face of the world.

And that is exactly what Peter is saying. “This is what you were called to, but suffering apart from that kind of life has no significance in terms of persecution.” Now, look at chapter 4 of 1 Peter, verse 13. Now, here’s his attitude in persecution. “But rejoice” – isn’t that terrific? In verse 12, he says, “Don’t think it’s some strange thing when fiery trial comes. Rejoice, inasmuch as you’re partakers of Christ sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.

“For if you be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” Isn’t that wonderful, to get persecuted? The Spirit of Glory and the Spirit of God rests on you; glory is connected with persecution. You want to really experience glory? Persecution brings it. Back in chapter 1, he said, “The glory of man fades as a flower of the grass.” If you put yourself in a culture, and you try to accommodate yourself to the culture, and accommodate yourself to the society, you may grab a little temporary glory, but it’ll fade like the grass.

But you accommodate yourself to Jesus Christ, you confront the world with your message, boldly proclaim Jesus Christ, and you may get flack from the world, but you get glory from God. And so, he simply says, “If you suffer, happy are you,” because glory is involved. In verse 16: “Yea, yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God.” So, what do we learn? Persecution is wonderful. It brings growth, it brings glory, it brings joy, and it brings reward; terrific.

And I warned you by what I said earlier, that that doesn’t mean you run out and suffer, and then say, “Boy, am I racking them up with God. I’m beating myself.” No. Something else Peter says in 1 Peter 5:10, “That the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus” – there’s glory, again connected with suffering. All through Peter, he connects glory with suffering, because first the suffering, then the glory – “unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

You want to be established, strong, settled, and perfect? How are you going to be it? Say it. Suffer. That’s hard to say, isn’t it? That’s part of growth, you see. That’s part of maturity. That’s part of arriving where God wants you. And as I say, it’s not masochistic; it’s the proclamation of Christ by your life and your lip that sets up a reaction in the world by Satan, and you get it. And yet, there’s nothing negative about it, you see? There’s nothing negative at all about suffering. It’s entirely positive, from beginning to end.

You say, “Well, I get scared out there. What happens if I get out there, and the Lord leaves me?” That’ll never happen. I’ll read you – you know this passage – Romans 8:35. It says this: “What shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or” – what? – “persecution?” No. And he says in the next verse, “As it is written, ‘For thy sake we are killed all day long.’” We’re expendable. “’We’re counted as sheep for the slaughter.’ But in all these things we are more than” – what? – “conquerors.”

That’s victory, you see? I mean, to go through persecution is a fantastically wonderful experience. It’s growth, it’s glory. It’s joy. It’s reward. It’s conquering. It’s all those things. Listen to Paul’s attitude. Second Corinthians 12:9. And here he’s kind of saying, “Lord, I’ve got a thorn in the flesh, and Satan buffets me with it, and it could be possible that I could rid of it, if You’d like, Lord. But, he says in verse 9, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

I like you weak, Paul, because then you lean on Me. Then he says this, “Most gladly therefore will I glory” – there’s that word again – “in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Now, listen to this; this is a statement that is strange, apart from what we have said. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmity, in reproach, in necessities, in persecutions.” You say, “He really enjoys his persecutions. Why?” “For when I am weak, then I am” – what? – “strong.” You see, when I’m being persecuted, I lean on Jesus.

God save us from a placid life where we never get persecuted, because then we can hack it on our own. But when the going really gets tough, and we are weak, and we are incapable, and we can’t make it, that’s when we lean on Him. And so, we pray that God would bring us trials, and God would bring us persecutions, that in our weakness, His strength may be made perfect. And so, you see, all the way through this thing, persecution is a plus. It is never a minus.

Paul said – and this is good – in Philippians 2:17 – I’ll give you two more things that he said, and then just take off from here. But 2:17. “Yea,” and he says, “if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” That is terrific. Now, Paul didn’t suffer for his own sake; he was already saved. He could have grabbed his scrolls, tucked them under his arm, and taken off for the hills, you know? Sure. I mean, he could have said, “Look, people, I don’t need to do this.

“I mean, I don’t need to go into town and get stoned” – with rocks, of course, you understand. He could have said, “I – this – I don’t need this. I’m saved. I mean, I know what the Spirit-filled life is like. I don’t have to do this.” But he said, “Look, if I can be offered for your joy, I get a joy out of it. If my life is a sacrifice, if I have to die to reach you, man, that’s a great thing.” And Paul considered persecution a blessing, because he was getting persecuted in order that others might hear about Jesus.

He’d go into town, and he’d preach Jesus. People get saved, and they’d throw him in jail, and he’d say, “Hey, you know something? I got thrown in jail for preaching Jesus, and people got saved; why don’t I do more of this?” Because, you see, his life was expendable. This is the whole point. As a Christian, as we said last time, your life is expendable. You can spend your life on somebody else, and if you die in doing it, what a blessing if you’ve brought somebody to Christ. We’re expendable.

We have to look at persecution as an opportunity to suffer for the sake of somebody else. You know, you might have an opportunity to preach Jesus or to talk about Jesus somewhere, and you’ll clam up to protect your ego, and because of that somebody won’t hear the message of Jesus Christ. And therefore, you have considered your own pride, and your own status, and your own selfish comfort, above the salvation of that individual. True? True? You see, it’s only when you recognize that you are expendable, and that you, like the apostle Paul, will say, “I will sacrifice myself for you.”

That is when you understand the blessing of persecution. It is not because you get some intrinsic joy in suffering; it is because you know that you’re suffering, number one, so somebody else can know Jesus. That’s a blessing. Listen, there’s a second reason that Paul suffered, and this is beautiful. Colossians 1:24. This verse confuses a lot of people, and they find it difficult to understand it. It isn’t really that difficult. Let me see if I can open it up to you a little bit. Colossians 1:24, here’s another way Paul looked at his suffering.

This is beautiful. He says, “I, Paul” – verse 23, he’s talking about himself – “am made a minister” – and then he goes on – “Who now rejoice in my sufferings” – what are the next two words? “for you.” You see? But that’s the first thing about it is, I’m not doing this for me, it’s for you. I’m expendable. And this is the whole point of Paul’s life. “If I live, I live unto the Lord; if I die, I die unto the Lord. So, if I live or die, I’m the Lord’s, and it’s for you.”

But he says this, “I rejoice in my sufferings for you” – and here’s a second thing he loved about his sufferings – “I fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, the church.” Now, there’s two things he’s saying here; number one, I do it for you. I suffer for your sake, for your sake, for your sake. But secondly, I have the wonderful opportunity of filling up in my flesh the afflictions that are meant for Christ. Now, watch what he means by this. Beautiful thought.

Since the time the world began to persecute Jesus, they haven’t stopped. Today, the world is still hating Jesus. And you know what it is about you and me that the world hates? It is not us, it is Jesus. True? So that when we are persecuted, who is it that they are really persecuting? It’s Jesus Christ. They don’t even know us. I mean, I may go into some place and proclaim Jesus all over everywhere, and they may attack me, and they don’t understand that just personally I am a nice guy. You know? I mean, I am not that bad.

I mean, I’m not a warmonger. I’m not a murderer. I’m not there to assault anybody, but they’ll get infuriated, and they may pounce upon me, and it has absolutely nothing to do with me at all. Who is it that they’re after? It’s Jesus. And you see, since the time the world began, they finally got so far that they killed Jesus, but that didn’t stop it anyway. They’re still trying to kill Him again and again and again. There are people in this world, and there always have been, who are after Christ constantly.

All the false systems in the world are after Christ, persecuting Christ. And when any Christian, standing really in the place of Jesus Christ, gets persecuted, he is really getting that which is directed at Jesus, but Jesus isn’t around anymore to get it, so we get it instead. True? That’s exactly what he’s saying. “I fill up that which is still left behind of the afflictions meant for Christ.” You see? In other words, “In my body I bear” – Galatians 6 – “the marks” – of whom? – “of Jesus.”

These aren’t meant for Paul. They’re meant for who? You see, people are still trying to kill Jesus. They’re still trying to get rid of Jesus. And because He’s not around anymore, those who stand in His place are the ones who get it. And so, Paul says, “You know something, folks? Persecution is so wonderful, because after my Lord suffered so much for me, can I do less than suffer some for Him? I mean, He bore all my reproach. Can I bear a little of His? I mean, He died and provided all that for me. Can I take a few of the darts meant for Him?”

He endured because it was necessary, to be a blessing to the church to endure, and secondly, because he loved the fact that what he was suffering was meant for Jesus. You know, I think that there are some people in your life that you might suffer for. I’ve often thought that – and you have too, probably – that if one of your children went through something extremely painful, you might have thought to yourself, “You know, I’d have gone through that for them. I wish it had happened to me.” Ever thought that?

Or some pain and anguish that somebody went through, and you thought because you loved them so much, “I wish it had happened to me, and not them.” You don’t say that about too many people, do you? But the ones you deeply, deeply love. Now, that’s how much Paul loved Jesus. He said, “You know what, I’ll take it all for Jesus. If He can just be up there in glory, getting what He deserves, I’ll stick around down here and I’ll take it. I’ll fill up in my body the afflictions meant for Jesus.”

So, persecution is a good thing. It’s good for the sake that Paul says, that we are allowed the wonderful privilege of taking in the arrows of Satan meant for Jesus. So, it is in this sense that all true believers who live godly stand in the place of Jesus Christ, and get the afflictions that are meant for Him. That’s what Mark 13:13 means when it says Jesus said, “You shall be hated of all men for My sake.” See? “Not because they hate you, but because they hate Me in you.” Second Corinthians 1:5, Paul said this: “The afflictions of Christ overflowed toward us.”

You see? “That which the world had meant for Him came to us.” He says, “I’m always bearing in my body the putting of Jesus to death,” you see? The world is always trying to kill Jesus, and they can’t get to Him, and they keep getting to me. “I’m always bearing in my body the putting to death of Jesus.” What a tremendous testimony. “I’m out there confronting the world, constantly face to face with the world, and I am so representative of Christ that I keep getting what they mean for Him.” And he says, “Oh, what a joy.”

And he even prayed further in Philippians 3:10: “Oh that I may know Him and the fellowship of His” – what – “of His suffering.” I get to share in what is His to suffer. You see, that’s great joy. So, for the Christian persecution is a wonderful thing. It produces growth. It produces glory. It produces reward. It produces joy. It produces blessing. It produces salvation and encouragement to those whom we reach. And it produces the privilege of identification with Jesus Christ, to fill up the sufferings that are meant for Him.

Now, maybe you don’t love Jesus enough to want to do that, but Paul did, and so did Peter and John. And so here, as we look at Acts, chapter 4, we see this kind of spirit. And here we’re going to find – that’s the introduction; now I’ll get to the sermon. You say, “Boy, MacArthur, I never thought of persecution like that.” I know. That’s the way to think about it, though. That’s the only way. And if you really live Godly in the world, and confront the world, you’re going to have the wonderful opportunity of getting persecuted, and having all those blessings come to pass.

But the beauty of this passage – now, understanding that the persecution began – was how they handled it, and there are seven principles here for handling persecution. Last week, we looked at the first three. And here we’ll look at the remainder, reviewing briefly. Seven principles involving how to handle persecution. Now, they got it, Peter and John did, and here’s what they did. Number one principle – you have an outline in your bulletin, which we’ve changed a little bit from last week, so you might want to follow along.

Principle number one in handling persecution: be submissive to it. Remember that from the beginning of chapter 4 clear through verse 7, to the time they got set down in the middle of the hall of hewn stone where the Sanhedrin met together, they hadn’t resisted at all. They had just willingly gone right along. And they weren’t cowards, and they weren’t afraid; they were submissive. They said this in their minds: “God brought us this far, He must have some reason. Let’s see what He’s going to do.”

And they didn’t fight against it. They – when persecution came, they willingly submitted to it. You never hear Paul doing anything but that. In the Philippian jail, when the jail started to fall apart at the earthquake, what did he do? Say, “At last we’re free, and wheem.” And no, he didn’t. He just stayed in there. He submitted, because he knew God had purpose. It’s a good thing he stuck around, too. God wasn’t finished with what He wanted to do in that place. But you see, they were submissive.

Whenever God brings you into a situation of persecution, stick around and see what God’s going to do. Don’t fight it, be submissive. That’s principle number one. And we went into that in detail, and you remember that Paul and Silas stuck around in the Philippian jail, and they could have gotten away. They could have gotten out of there fast, and they stuck around, and who got saved? The jailer and his whole family. Now, do you know what? The key to the salvation of that jailer, apart from the theology, the circumstantial key to the salvation of the jailer was persecution, right?

They got persecuted. They got thrown in jail. They were having a great time singing songs in there. The place got all rattled. Everybody was panicky. The man was going to fall on his sword. Paul introduced he and his whole family to Jesus, and it all came about because of persecution. Again, a classic example of Satan doing his best, and being overruled by God. Second principle we saw last week, not only be submissive to persecution, but secondly, be filled with the Spirit. Verse 8, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit.”

You get into a situation like that, and you’re going to have to lean on some power other than your own. And so, he yielded to the Spirit of God, he and John. And that was victory in itself, right there. They didn’t try to handle it in their own strength, and develop their own techniques, and their own cunning. They yielded to the Spirit. Third principle, boldly use it as an opportunity to present Christ. And this dynamic. They got into this situation, and they saw an open door to present Christ right in the middle of a persecution.

And it would have been so easy to say, “Boy, am I scared and we may never get out of this.” See? And they didn’t really have any historical precedence as a church either. This was brand new stuff. And they could have panicked at that point, and just kind of faded away, and just clammed up, but they didn’t. They – and they could have watered down their message, and as I told you last week, they could have come out with a few little religious platitudes that would have been innocuous and inoffensive to anybody, and just kind of gently accommodated themselves, but not them.

They used it as an opportunity to present Christ. Jesus had told them “I want you to go into all the world to preach the gospel to” – whom? – “every creature.” And here was some “every creatures,” sitting right there. They may have had a big sign on them, Sanhedrin. Boy, that didn’t make them not “every creatures.” And so, Peter and John say, “Hey boys, we’re here; we’ve got to do it.” Off Peter went. Verses 8-13, he preaches Jesus. And he even indicts them for crucifying Him.

And then in verse 12, he says, “You know there’s no salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” He lays it on the line. He says, “Guys, this is the only hope, is Jesus. This man was made well by Jesus physically, and you will be made well by Him spiritually, or you will not be made well at all.” No other name but Jesus. And so, they are bold, unbelievable boldness, in the face of persecution, and to the Sanhedrin, the highest court in Israel.

That’s how to handle persecution: be submissive, be Spirit-filled, boldly use it as an opportunity. Now, what was the effect of it? Look at verse 13, and we’ll move into our study for this morning in terms of this text. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant” – which means that they were not educated in the rabbinical schools, not versed in prevalent Jewish theology, and the word ignorant means they were amateurs as opposed to pros – “they saw that they were unlearned amateurs, they marveled.”

They were shocked. I mean, how could you explain two unlearned amateurs handling a disputation with the Jewish high supreme court, and coming out on top? “And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” See, only the Ph.D.s were supposed to be able to handle these tougher matters, but these two guys had such poised assurance and bold confidence that they were shocked. And the boldness is unbelievable in the face of possible death. And it says in verse 13 – I love this: “They took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

Now, I’m not going to spiritualize that, because I don’t think it needs to be spiritualized. It’s not some foggy ethereal thing. It simply means this: they kept remembering that these guys had been associated with Jesus, and what reminded them of it was the fact that they were doing what He did. Because it was exactly what Jesus did, that they were doing. What do I mean? Just this. The thing that shocked the Jews about Jesus was this: “He taught them as one having” – what? – “authority.” And He had never been to the rabbinical schools.

He didn’t go to the right school. In fact, He came out of that cruddy place, Nazareth; would anything good come out of there? Not only that, He was an amateur. He wasn’t one of the pros. “He taught them as one having authority.” Well, what happened? Not only that, what else had Peter and John done here? They’d done a miracle, hadn’t they? And what did Jesus always do? Miracles. Another thing that Peter and John had done so well is in verse 11, handling the Old Testament, and Jesus was the master at handling the Old Testament and applying it.

And they had done the same thing, just as masterfully as Jesus did it, because they did it directly under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They were like Jesus, in the fact, number one, that they had authority; number two, that they did miracles; and number three, that they interpreted the Old Testament. They were just like Jesus. And they were saying, “Wow, it’s obvious that these guys have been with Jesus. Here we go again. We’ve got this same problem all over again.”

None could equal Jesus in person, but they were the equal of Jesus in the miracles and the message, because it was Him speaking through them. And so, they took notice of them, that they had been with Jesus, because they had the same pattern that He had. And they marveled. And then that brings us to the fourth feature in handling persecution: be obedient to God at all costs. Verses 14-22, be obedient at all costs. In this little simple narrative, you’ll see how obedient they are.

Verse 14: “And beholding the man who was healed standing with them, they couldn’t say anything against him.” Well, what are you going to say? The guy’s been 40 years a cripple. All of a sudden, he’s jumping around, having a great time. And he’s standing there, and everything seems to be in great order, you know. His legs are doing terrific. And if I read my Bible right, he’s been standing for at least three hours. Now, if you haven’t stood in 40 years, standing for three hours is pretty good. And he’s still hanging on to Peter and John; they haven’t gotten rid of him yet.

Not that they wanted to, but he’s hanging on. And so, what happens is, it says in verse 14, “And beholding the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.” I guess not. What are you going to say? They really didn’t have any argument. It’s a tough problem. What are you going to do? But it’s interesting that though they couldn’t argue about it, and they couldn’t deny it, they wouldn’t accept it either. This is the blindness of sin. Here they were face to face with truth, with power, with all of these things, and they blindly had their eyes shut.

And John 3:19 tells us that it’s simply that, “Light has come into the world, but men love darkness rather than light” – why? – “because their deeds are evil, and they don’t want to come to the light, because if they come to the light, their deeds will be reproved.” So, they know the truth, but they avoid the truth. And Jesus hit it right on the head in John 8 when He said this: “You are of your father” – whom? – “the devil, and from the beginning he was a liar. And so, because I speak the truth, you don’t understand.”

Now, if I talked lies you’d read Me clear. And so, they know the truth, but they reject it. Boy, that’s the character of unbelief. In the face of absolute evidence, they reject. People say, “Well, if – I’ll believe if God will do a trick. Do a trick, God, and I’ll believe. Do a miracle.” Oh, you hear that all the time. “If there’s a God, why doesn’t He do a miracle?” Listen, in the case of Lazarus, you remember, and the rich man? The rich man said, “I want to go home and tell my brothers.” And it was said to him, “If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither would they believe that one rose from the dead.”

And you know something, somebody did rise from the dead, and they don’t believe. It’s not a miracle that brings people to belief. It’s that brokenness of spirit, and that conviction of sin, and the knowledge of the truth. Now, a miracle may have a part in it as a sign, but miracles alone don’t do it. They have a very limited use, even in the life of Christ. And so, they simply do not do anything positive about it at all. They’re going to figure out what to do negative.

Verse 15: “When they had commanded them to go aside out of the council” – they sent Peter, John, and the man outside; they had a committee meeting – “they conferred among themselves, saying, ‘What shall we do to these men?’” Now, that is a stupid question to begin with. What had they done to deserve you doing anything to them? “What shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle has been done by them, is manifest to all those who dwell at Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.”

Now, if that doesn’t give you some insight into the terrible plight of the blackness of their unbelief; they had a miracle that was obvious, they could not deny it, there was no way they could set it aside, and yet they were intent on rejecting it and getting rid of these people. Now, that is the character of unbelief in its hardest type. And so, they have to have a meeting as to what to do with these people. I mean, they didn’t have any laws against doing miracles. And they didn’t have any law against good deeds, either.

And Peter and John were now popular heroes, you see. I mean, they were – they had healed a guy, and so everybody – it would have been disastrous to the public relations department of the Sanhedrin if they had pulled off some deal and punishment for Peter and John, because they were heroes. So, they had to find a compromise without starting a reaction among the people. And here’s their decision, verse 17: “But that it spread no further among the people, let us threaten them.” They say, “We’ll lay it on them with our authority.”

“And that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.” And they all decided “Yea, we’ll do that.” So, they brought them in, verse 18, “And they called them, and they commanded them not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus.” “That’s it. Do not speak and do not teach in the name of Jesus.” They command them never to mention Jesus again. And I’m sure they put all their authority behind it. Isn’t it an interesting thing that the early church had to be commanded to be quiet, and the modern church has to be commanded to speak?

Boy, we’ve come a long way. I’m not sure in what direction. So, they desperately wanted to be rid of the name of Jesus. You know, they still can’t get rid of the name of Jesus. You know, it’s such a strange thing, but they had thought they might get rid of Him when they killed Him, but they didn’t. Now there’s 20,000 people running all over Jerusalem proclaiming Him. And it just got worse.

And you know, even today, as I was in Israel, the thing that struck me the most, I think, the most – the clearest thing that I could see in terms of just kind of identifying certain factors, the thing that overwhelmed me every day, was that right in the middle of Judaism, which rejects Jesus, are all of the things that relate to Jesus. I mean, just think how much easier it would have been if Jesus had been a Chinese individual, and it just cleared away – of course, then it wouldn’t have started the conflict.

But just imagine having to live in Israel, and one bus load after another of pilgrims coming to see the places where Jesus was. “There goes another one.” They’re all over the place. And everybody’s carrying around little olive wood New Testaments, and little Jesus symbols, and everywhere you go in the midst of Israel there are churches with crosses and Jesuses everywhere. They cannot get rid of Jesus, no matter how they try. They can’t. And here, they hope that they had gotten rid of Him when they killed Him, and now they hope they can get rid of Him by shutting up Peter and John.

Do you realize that if they had shut them up at this point, that church history would have been totally different? What a disaster. I mean, it all boiled down at this point to two guys who were really the ones. Boy, am I glad they were faithful. So, they said, “We don’t allow you to speak.” And the word they use for speak there in verses 18, 17 and 18, is an unusual Greek word, used only one other place in the New Testament. It means to speak publicly, to speak aloud, public speaking. So, they put a ban on preaching; no more preaching about Jesus.

And they put all their authority behind it. And they hoped this would shut them up, and it didn’t. Peter and John recognized a higher authority. Jesus had said “Go into all the world and” – do what? – “preach the gospel to every creature.” So, you know, if they had been like me, and like most of us, they’d have probably said, “Now, look let’s not say anything. Let’s just play it real cool, and we’ll get out of here and do what we want.” See? But no, they’re so bold. Verse 19: “Peter and John answered and said unto them” – now, I don’t know if they had this memorized so they could do it unison, but anyway.

“Peter and John answered and said unto them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” Whoa, what a bomb that is. He says, “You’re the supreme court of Israel. You judge this. Here’s the decision. Is it right to listen to you or God? Help.” If they say, “Listen to God,” then they can’t say anything to them. If they say, “Listen to men,” they reject their faith in God. They’re stuck. They’re not only on the horns of a dilemma, but it has also been determined that they and God are at opposite ends of the world.

And so, with holy courage, they don’t sneak away. They don’t cower away. They simply say, “We have a higher authority.” You say, “But doesn’t Romans 13 say, ‘Be subject to the powers that be, for they are ordained of God?’” Sure, and I think in the general rule and the general principle, this is absolutely accurate. Peter himself, in 1 Peter 2, even says that we’re to be subject to the king, and the governors, and those that rule over us. But when it comes into conflict with a higher command from God, then that’s different.

Do you remember Daniel? The king said, “You will not pray, that’s a new edict.” What did Daniel do? Prayed. Somebody may come along and say, “You will not read the Bible,” but the Bible says it needs to be read. Somebody will come along and forbid you to proclaim Jesus, but Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Somebody may come along and command you to do something that is wrong, and against the direct statement of God and the word of God. Don’t do it. You see, there comes a point when you must be obedient to God.

Peter and John knew that they were to be subject to authority. Christians should be the finest citizens possible. But at the same time when it comes to violating the command of Jesus Christ, that’s when we obey Christ and disobey the government. And they don’t argue, and they don’t hassle, and they don’t make a big deal out of it. They simply say, in verse 20, “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” We must do what God says. Now, here they are, obedient at all costs.

They realize they’re expendable by putting their life on the line, but they want to be obedient. Over in chapter 5, verse 29, they said the same thing, “we ought to obey God rather than men.” And so, they don’t snivel around, and they don’t sneak out, and they don’t hide. They courageously state who they will obey. Somebody said the trouble with most Christians is that the voice of their neighbors is louder in their ears than the voice of God. But not in the case of Peter and John. They knew to whom their allegiance belonged.

You know that historically there have been great times in the history of God’s dealing with Israel that disobedience has been important, and I mean disobedience to governments. In Exodus 1:17, you know that they want to get rid of the Hebrew babies in Egypt, and so there was an edict sent out. but it says in verse 17 of chapter 1, “The midwives feared God and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.” You know, it’s a good thing they did that. It’s a good thing they did that.

It’s a good thing they disobeyed the king and saved the children. For they are the progeny of the race. Then there was an interesting command: “And Pharaoh” – verse 22 – “charged all his people, saying, “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river.” Well, that’s a pretty good – you say, “Well, did they disobey that?” Well, sort of, they threw Moses into the river, but they had a boat, you see. But they disobeyed and isn’t a good thing that they disobeyed because Moses was God’s chosen instrument.

You see, whenever conflict arises between the command of God and the command of men, whom do we obey? We obey God. And this is all, you can trace this all the way through the Old Testament, suffice it to say, at that point. So in the great tradition of men of God, they obeyed God, even though they knew it could mean their lives. And I love it in verse 20: “For we” – what is the next word? – “cannot.” Remember what Paul said, “woe is unto me if I” – what? – “preach not the gospel.” I can’t do anything else but speak this.

“We can’t be silent,” they said; “we have to speak this.” And so, the Sanhedrin lays a heavier threat on them. Such obedience. It would be so convenient, you know, to get into persecution, and say, “Well, I’m going to obey you and not preach Jesus, because I’m going to subject myself to the powers that be. Romans 13:1, see, I’m all right.” They knew who their higher command was. Verse 20 – 21, they had threatened them more. “So when they had further threatened them” – they really laid it on now – “they then let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people.”

You see, they were all involved in politics. All involved in prestige in keeping their position. “For all men glorified God for that which was done.” Why? Because the man was 40 years old in whom the miracle of healing was shown. So, they were afraid of the people, and so they just had to let them go, after they’d really put the heavy threats on them. And so, we see here complete obedience to God’s will. Persecution breaks out, but it doesn’t break them. They remain obedient in the middle of it.

You don’t ever want to stop doing what you’re doing just because you get persecuted. No bribes, no threats, should ever tame our spirits, should ever steal our zeal. No claims, mental or physical, against us, no chains that would bind us, should ever make us violate the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ. I love the statement of Chrysostom, the great Christian of the early years. He was summoned before the Roman emperor Arcadius, and he was threatened with banishment. And he didn’t – he had preached Jesus, and Arcadius said, “If you do not cease to preach Jesus, you will be banished.”

And this is what he said: “You cannot banish me, for the world is my Father’s house.” “Then I will slay you,” exclaimed the angered emperor. “No, but you cannot, for my life is hid with Christ in God.” “Your treasures will be confiscated.” “Sire, that cannot be, my treasures are in heaven where none can break through and steal.” “Then I will drive you from men, and you will have no friends.” “That, you cannot do either, for I have a friend in heaven who has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’”

Ultimately, he was banished to Caucasus, which is on the edge of Armenia, but when he got there, he was so greatly influential by the letters that he was writing all over the world, that his enemies determined to banish him further away, to a place called Pityus, and he died on the journey getting there. Couldn’t stop him; couldn’t stop him. No threat broke his spirit. No threat broke his obedience to God. He knew his priorities. And so we are to be obedient; obedient. How do you handle persecution?

Be submissive, be Spirit-filled, boldly use it as an opportunity, and be obedient at all costs. Skip some thoughts here, the time is gone. Number five, bind yourselves closer together. And this is beautiful, look at verse 23: “And being let go, they went to their own company.” They got together with their friends. They went – you know, persecution drives us together. We often talk about the unity of the body, but persecution is such an important ingredient.

If we all confronted this world, and if we all had to live in a hostile world, and if the world was persecuting us, it would drive us together. You know, I think sometimes Christians get so tied up in picayune little dumb things, you know, and we all sit around, and our whole Christian life boils down as to what we wear to church or, you know, “Well, lookit, there’s Mrs. So-and-so, she’s had some terrible things to say about Mr. So-and-so.” And you know? And we live in these little, really dumb little things, that we get all involved in.

And we spin our wheels on piddlies, you know? When, if we’re really out there confronting the world, we’d be getting so much heat back that we wouldn’t have time to mess with all that stuff. And we’d be driven together for the common love and security of the body. If we really confronted the world, there’s a key to our unity. It would drive us to each other. As it is now, we don’t confront the world, so we live a kind of a placid, innocuous existence, and there’s not enough trouble so that we need anybody else.

We can buy our way out of our problems, you know? Because everything’s so nice. But they were persecuted, and they bound themselves together. Over in 32-35, it talks about the fact that they had one heart and one soul, and if anybody needed anything, somebody else provided it. The next thing, the sixth one – and this is what they did when they got together – is bless the Lord. This is the next reaction to persecution. Verse 24: “And when they had heard that” – they reported to them, all the chief priests and elders, it said.

“And when they heard that” – it says – “they fell on their face and cried, and said, ‘O God, save us.’” Is that what it said? No, it doesn’t say that. It says, “They raised their voice to the Lord in one accord, and said, Lord thou art God.” Isn’t this terrific? “And you made the sea, and the heavens, and the earth, and everything that’s in it.” They acknowledge God. “God, You’re in this. You made everything. You’ve allowed this to happen.” They didn’t come back in a state of mental depression.

They came back rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus. I mean, they had just been filled with the Spirit. They had just preached to the Sanhedrin. What greater thing could have happened? And they all might have come back with the attitude, you know, better a live chicken than a dead lion. But they didn’t. They were a whole gang of Joshuas and Calebs, you know; they believed it could be taken for the Lord. Their reaction is PTLA, Praise The Lord Anyhow, and they’re happy.

And they address the Lord as Lord, and the Greek word there is the word that – it’s a very unusual word for Lord; it’s a word that translates into English, despot. It’s the most severe kind of dictatorship. They recognized their absolute bondage to Christ. “Lord, You’re running the show, and if this is what You want, great, we’re in it.” They praised God for His sovereign power. “You’re on it. You made the sea, You made the heaven, You made the earth. You made us, You made the situation, You know what’s going on.

“It’s Your deal, and we’re going to go right in it with You.” Praise the Lord. And then they quote the Old Testament, Psalm 2, verse 25, and I’ll give you the translation of this. “Who by the Holy Spirit through the mouth, of thy servant David” – that phrase should be in there – “has said, ‘Why did the nations rage and the people imagine vain things. The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers are gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.’” And here, they say, “Hey Lord, clear back in Psalm 2, You said the world would persecute Jesus.

“Clear back in Psalm 2, You said the world would kill Jesus. You said all the nations are going to get together against Him. We know that. So this whole persecution deal, You know all about that, don’t You, Lord? For a truth, boy, it happened, against Thy Holy servant Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed or made a Messiah. Herod, Pilate, the nations, and Israel gathered together, Lord, just like you said: persecution.” But when it was all over, look at verse 28: “They did whatever” – Whose hand? – “Thy hand and”- whose counsel? – ”Thy counsel determined before to be done.”

Isn’t that something? The world gave its best shots to Jesus and was all done. You know what they had accomplished? They’d accomplished salvation. Psalm 76:10 simply says, and gives us the principle, “He maketh the wrath of men to do” – what? -”praise Him.” And see, they’re comforted in the fact that Jesus got persecuted, but when His persecution was over, through His death, salvation was provided for the world. And again, Satan had overdone himself. And that’s exactly the point right here. This is their comfort.

The God who turned the persecution of Jesus to salvation can certainly turn their persecution into something wonderful. Now, you see, that’s what you need to recognize when you’re getting persecuted. “Hey Lord, what wonderful thing are you going to do out of this? Why, when Jesus got persecuted, You brought the redemption of all men. What are you going to do about this?” So, they’re just praising God and having a wonderful time. That’s trust.

I’m reminded of the story of Joseph. You remember Joseph got persecuted, first of all by his own brothers. Genesis 37:8, he got persecuted by his own brothers, remember, sold into slavery? Then he got into Egypt, and he went to work for some guy name Potiphar, and he got persecuted by them. And they – his wife told all kinds of lies about Joseph, and had his coat to supposedly prove it. And Joseph got persecuted by Potiphar. Next thing you knew, he got into jail, and he was in there and he got – he had done his best to help some people, you remember the butler and the baker situation? He got persecuted by them.

He got nothing but persecuted, persecuted, persecuted, and when it was all over with, he got exalted didn’t he? To the highest place next to the king in Egypt, and he was able to supply everything for everybody that they needed, even those who persecuted him. And the book of Genesis wraps up with a fantastic statement in chapter 50, and the statement is in verse 20: “But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it this day, to save many people alive.”

You meant it for evil, God meant it for good. And this is the principle of these verses. They’re praising God and saying, “Bless the Lord, because look at this evil coming that God can turn into good.” That’s the only way to look at persecution. So what’s the principles, then? To handle persecution, be submissive, Spirit-filled, boldly use it as an opportunity, be obedient, bind yourselves together, and bless the Lord, the last one. Beseech God for greater boldness. You say, “Are you kidding?

“You mean, they want to go back into the thick of it again?” Sure. Verse 29: “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants” – slaves, connected with that same word, Lord – “to Thy bond servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word.” With how much boldness? All boldness. “We want to go right back out and speak again.” You say, “Oh, they told you not to do that.” See? Well, we need power to do it. “And then, God, stretch forth Your hand to heal; and do some signs and wonders in the name of Jesus.”

“Let’s really give it to them, both barrels, God. I mean, they’re talking against You. Let’s go.” That’s exciting. They prayed, and they didn’t pray for the Lord to smash their enemies. It was too good. Why eliminate the joy, right? “Lord, don’t – just let them do what they’re doing, we love it.” So, they were looking not for an out, but an in. They were looking for not an escape, but a power. And so, they said, “God, give us power.” You think God will answer prayer like that? Yeah, He did, in verse 31.

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled.” Some of you can relate to that. You know what that experience is like. Can you imagine when that whole thing’s shaking? “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.” There they go, He answered their prayer. You know what persecution did? Did it have its effect? You better believe it did, but its effect wasn’t the one Satan meant it to have. They flew out of that place, and verse 32 says, “And the multitude of those that believed were of one heart and one mind.”

They went out of there, and people got saved all over the place. It doesn’t even tell how many; so many, they didn’t even count. They asked for more power, and God gave it. This could be your experience, beloved, if you live godly in Jesus Christ. Now, some of you have never experienced this, because you’ll never really live a godly life. You may be a Christian, but you’ll never confront the world, so you’ll never know this. Others of you will live godly, and persecution will come, and you’ll crumble, and that’ll be it.

A few of you will live godly, you’ll suffer persecution, and in the midst of it, you’ll be submissive, you’ll be Spirit-filled, you’ll boldly use it as an opportunity, you’ll be obedient at all costs, you’ll bless the Lord, and you’ll beseech God for great boldness, and yours is the victory, and the growth, and the glory, and the reward, and the joy. Let’s pray. Father, we thank You this morning for teaching us again how it is that we’re to be responsible to confront the world with the claims of Christ.

O God, we pray that we might be bold for Jesus. And even as we go from this place, Father, we pray that we might put into practice in our own hearts and lives those things that You’ve taught us by Your Spirit this morning. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

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https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/1715/how-to-handle-persecution-part-2