4 Things Christians Can Do In Persecution

ENGLISH

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.— Acts 11:19-26

So this is one of those summary statements in Acts where Luke will step back for a moment and give us a little larger picture of what's happening. Like anyone who is telling a story, he is going to zoom in on an important event and then zoom back out to give us a larger picture.

Here he reaches back to chapter seven and gives us a larger look at what happened after Stephen was killed. And this persecution launched evangelism northward from Jerusalem. Actually, north about 300 or more miles along the coastline into modern-day Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey.

Here is why I love knowing this history. We learn that in Christian persecution, God gave them unique opportunities. Opportunities to advance the message of Jesus in new ways. And while persecution was still painful, it pushed Christians to innovate. drove new Christians out of their comfort zone. We watch as they speak more publically about their faith, find new ways to explain the message of truth, engage new people groups like the Greek-speaking non-Jews (Hellenists), and even invite radical new converts into their community like Saul, who formerly persecuted Christians.

I know a lot of us right now are very concerned about the direction the world is moving. Even how Christian beliefs are being dismissed, canceled, and attacked by people in media, entertainment, government, and education. But maybe, like Luke reminds us here, we need to see the opportunity. The opportunity to join with the great disciples of the past by:

  1. Speaking more publically about our faith. Maybe right now is the time for us to stop being so private about our faith like we have in the past. Maybe it's time for us to develop new courage and open our mouths about the things that others have shamed us for, for which we should not be ashamed.
  2. Finding new ways to explain our faith. Giving explanations for the truth in a time of twisted propaganda and blatant untruth, which we are being exposed to daily.
  3. Engaging new people groups. Right now, new people are flooding into our countries. I know right now there are hundreds of thousands of people from Afghanistan and Mexico flooding into the U.S., giving Christians a huge opportunity to reach unreached people right here at home.
  4. Praying for those who persecute us. In this text, that man was Saul. I believe God can still change the hearts of those who adamantly oppose us. And might even change them and use them as an influence for the advancement of the gospel. Just imagine how our world would be different if Kim Jung-Un professed a genuine belief in Jesus Christ? I mean, it could happen, right? It did with Saul. Maybe Jesus will show up for him and drop him to his knees!

So fellas, today I want you to change your mindset. I want you to see what Luke is showing us here. That persecution might be the best thing that's happened to us in a long time. Today reflect on this. And then consider which one of these four things you need to start doing a little more. Speaking more publically. Find new ways to explain your faith. Engaging new people groups. Praying for those who persecute you. And then do me a favor today. Share below which one has convicted you. And then, as always, share this devotional with someone else you know.

ASK THIS: Which point above are your convicted about?

DO THIS: Do it. Literally do something about this right now, before the conviction goes away. It does not matter how small the action is. It could be as simple as sharing a link to this post with someone else.

PRAY THIS: God, give me courage today to act. And together, may everyone who reads this devotional be convicted and called to act.

PLAY THIS: Sweet Conviction — Ronnie Mangrum.

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4 Things Christians Can Do In Persecution

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29 thoughts on “4 Things Christians Can Do In Persecution

  1. Eddie Ackerman says:

    speaking more publicly about my faith. not that i am afraid to speak about it publicly, but between working from home and COVID-19, I just don’t get out as much INTO the public.

  2. John Comstock says:

    I am doing number 3—being in a new group. In fact, I have been doing this for a month now, going from a Celebrate Recovery group to a Men’s Prayer Group. I am now getting more out of the new group than being stagnant for the last few months at C.R. I was in C.R. for 10 years, but God lead me to a new season and this new group. I am thankful for his love, grace and mercy.

  3. Nick says:

    What has always but home with me is praying for those who persecute me or harm me. I think we all struggle with this, as Christians we’re called to love and pray for everyone, including enemies. But it’s also so difficult to pray and love someone who clearly doesn’t love us. I am grateful for the sacrifice and love of our lord Jesus and his mercy. Lord help us be more like him. Thank you pastor Vince.

  4. Cory B says:

    Speaking more publicly. Every day things have gotten easier to speak up, but I still hesitate in certain situations.

  5. Dennis James says:

    Great Devotional Vince! My Zoom small men’s group just finished up your Thirty Devos that Build a Faithful Man and the last chapter was Opportunities. We discussed these very topics that are in today’s Devotional. God is calling his Warriors to become active and develop ways to defeat the enemy. #2 Finding new ways to explain our faith is what I have been working on.

    • Dennis James says:

      Hey Jeff, may I suggest that while you are out in a store shopping that you start out by just saying hello to a person you pass in an aisle and smile. Then ask them how they are doing. People today are overwhelmed and hurting and you will be surprised how easy it is to engage someone.

  6. Tobey says:

    Praying for those who persecute me. Father God, give us the boldness and courage to not only share your good news to those willing to listen, but to be praying for those that oppose our beliefs in every way! Put on our hearts today one person or and entire people group that cause us the greatest fear, and move us from anger to sadness for their inability to see you in the midst of the darkness living within them.

  7. Sheldon says:

    Engaging new people group there are some new people group who lives in our area and I am unaware of anyone engaging them with the gospel.

  8. Cory Bullock says:

    Speaking more publicly for sure! Using the network audience that God has surrounded me with to help lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ!

  9. Trent says:

    I have this highlighted, underlined, and noted in my Bible. So, I think this explains my conviction…. Ephesians 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel

  10. Jack Dellinger says:

    What I’ve been hearing the Holy Spirit say is today is normal. Every today is normal. Yes the scope and magnitude of change is greater than usual, but today is still normal. I can’t wait for things to be like yesterday again. To seize tomorrow I need to be a Barnabas and see I need help to capture the moment or a Saul who is not afraid to see the truth. What Saul knew was that Grace would do for man what the Law never could. He had to leave yesterday to get to tomorrow and so must I.

  11. Greg stanton says:

    Reading through the other responses it appears I’m not the only one that is timid about speaking publicly about Jesus. Lord help us all!

  12. Greg w Gresens says:

    It is so easy to complain if all that is wrong. Lord, help me to have Your joy living in me, that I may be a beacon of light for You, in the precious name of Jesus, my Savior

    • Trent says:

      Amen! Father may your love and light be seen as joy in Greg and me and all who know you. I ask this in Jesus name and for Your glory.

  13. Walter says:

    Speaking more publicly about my faith and beliefs in Jesus Christ and pray for all of those around me.

    • Trent says:

      I pray the Holy Spirit might give you words to speak, soften their hearts to receive, and that personal decisions might not disrupt your unity as a body of believers. Good luck, and God Bless

      • Steve George says:

        Right on brother. The lord took me to his word that says anything not done by faith is sin. So I guess that means if you can do it in faith its ok for you. As for me if I did it, to me it would be sin. Thanks for your reply.

        1
  14. Joe White says:

    Thank you so much for your perspective on our current times. Seeing persecution as an opportunity is an amazing shift in thinking.

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