The Coming Persecution

By Bobby Blakey on December 14, 2014

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

AUDIO

The Coming Persecution

By Bobby Blakey on December 14, 2014

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16

This is a rush transcript.

[00:00:01] I got a book here that says The Bible's Promises for Life. It's a cute little book. It's got a compass on it. I don't know if you could see that from where you're sitting, but it's a very encouraging book. If I have a topic that I want to look up, I can see what God's promises are. So if I look up revival, I could see what God says about revival in the Bible or if I look up salvation. I could see it'll tell me all that call in the name of the Lord will be saved. That will take me to verses on different topics. So if I wanted to stick with our theme here this morning as we talk about the goodness of God, I could turn to that page. And he would say, oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. I would say the Lord is good and his steadfast love endures forever. It would say that we know that God works all things together for good to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. Can I get a name in from anybody on that? I mean, is good promises.

[00:00:53] But notice the size of the book. My friends, and then compare the book to the book. And you'll notice here that this book couldn't possibly contain all of the promises better in the Bible because the Bible promises that the wages of sin is.

[00:01:12] Can you look up death in this book? The Bible says that it's appointed for a man wants to die and then comes judgment. Can you find judgment here in this book? What about. Well, we're going to talk about here this morning persecution.

[00:01:27] Is that in this book?

[00:01:29] So the truth is, every one of us has something that we're naturally going to do with God's word is we're gonna choose favorites and we're gonna pick the parts that we like. And I understand that because we want to celebrate the goodness and the love of God. But sometimes we have to look at the passages that aren't in the Bible's promises for life. Guy, turn with me to Second Timothy Chapter three and I'll show you one of the promises that you won't find in this book, but you will find in God's book. Second, Timothy, Chapter three. And look with me here at something that we can count on, something that is surely coming for every single one of us who is a Christian. Here in Seconde Timothy Chapter three, start with me in verse 10. It says you. However, this is Paul's last letter to his true disciple in the faith, Timothy. He calls him his son. He says, You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness. Those all sound like great things to follow. But then he says this in verse eleven, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch and at Iconium and at Lystra, which persecutions I endured yet from them all, the Lord rescue me.

[00:02:51] And then it says this in verse 12. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted while evil people and impostors, fake Christians, false teachers will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. That's nobody's favorite passage. That's not making the Bible promises book right there. Hey, you want to live a godly life? Let me promise you this. My friends. Persecution. That's what it says. All who desire to live godly. If you want to claim the name of Jesus. And you want to walk according to his commands, you will be persecuted. That's a promise. So we need to expand. We need to add a few pages here to the book and say that, hey, if you're going to go out and tell people you live for Jesus, that he's saved you from your sin and you're going to try to stop sinning and you're going to try to live in obedience to Jesus Christ commands because you love him. What the Bible says is this world will come after you.

[00:03:56] They will hate you. They will persecute you. That's a promise in the scripture.

[00:04:03] There's actually a lot of different passages that talk about this. And we're gonna look at today, because that's the text that we've come to in First Thessalonians, Chapter two. Everybody turn back there. I know we were singing Christmas songs, it seems like just a minute ago. All right. But now we're here to talk about persecution. And because here's the deal in our world. You go out there and you say Merry Christmas. And if you were with us last week at the movie theater, did anybody here feel stirred up in their soul to go tell some people about Christmas after that experience? Right. I want to go not just say the phrase Merry Christmas. I want to tell the whole story. The good news, the baby who was born, who he is, what he did. I want to tell people the gospel of Jesus Christ. Well, if you go out and say Merry Christmas, you're going to get some bah humbug, my friends. That's just how the world works. Everybody here is going to run into Ebony's or Scrooged. You guys know who I'm talking about? Charles Dickens in his classic novel A Christmas Carol. All right. We've got Bob Cratchit and anybody working Bob Cratchit. Right. I grew up on the Disney version of this. Right, with Mickey Mouse. I don't know what version you grew up on, but this story, A Christmas Carol, has seeped in that we got this guy named Bob who's ready to celebrate Christmas. And then we got this guy named Scrooge who's got all the money in the world and could be generously giving gifts to everybody. But he's a miserable miser, pinching his pennies. And when people come to say Merry Christmas, a collection for the poor from you, sir, he says to them, Bah, humbug is what he says.

[00:05:33] And if you want to go out, say, I got good news of great joy for everybody. Jesus is your savior.

[00:05:40] You know what you're going to get.

[00:05:42] You're going to get it loud and clear and in your face. That's what happened to the Thessalonians First Thessalonians, chapter two, work verse 14. And we've just been working our way through this book so we don't get to pick the passages that we preach. The passages that we preach pick us here at this church. And we're at First Thessalonians, chapter two, verse 14. And here's what it says for you. Brothers became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea for you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and drove us out and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they may might be saved. So, as always, to fill up the measure of their sins, but wrath has come upon them at last.

[00:06:42] Here's an example of a church that's getting persecuted and persecution is coming. We can we could debate and theorize for the rest of the morning about how soon open persecution is going to come to us in America. But the promise of scripture that we already read is if you're living godly, you're going to experience persecution if you haven't already. It's coming in your life that you will feel the hatred of this world for Jesus Christ as one of his followers. And we've been studying the Thessalonians. We've been studying how Paul planted this church and how these people responded. And they have been such a good example to us. So many things are going right at this church. We've learned from their positive example. But here we see that this church was born in the midst of intense persecution, suffering and affliction. Look back at chapter one, verse six. It mentions it here. It says, and you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word. You saw it for what? It was not the word of man, but the word of God. But you received the word in much affliction. It says there it was hard for you. You suffered to receive the word the gospel of Jesus. Looked down at chapter two, verse two. Here's Tall Paul talking about himself, he says. But though he had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Phillip High, as you know, though, I got persecuted in the last town I was at. We had boldness. We spoke openly and freely in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. So when we read about this church, a church, a rare church in the New Testament, that Paul says nothing negative about them in this book. But he does say that negative things were happening and that they were experiencing affliction. They were experiencing much conflict. And now here he says in our passage very clearly that you like the other churches, that you became like you suffered the same things by these people who drove Paul out of town. And they tried to hinder Paul from speaking so that more people could be saved. If you're going to represent Jesus Christ and you're going to do it in the right way, you are going to experience the backlash, the slap in the face of this fallen world. Throw at me to act 17. And let's look at exactly what Paul is talking about. He's referring to the historical events that happened that are described for us here in Acts Chapter 17. And that's where we see the planting of the church in Thessalonica. And the first four versus our glorious Paul comes in. He gives them the gospel that Jesus is the Christ who died for their sins and rose again. And people were persuaded. They joined Paul and Silas, many of the devout Greeks, not a few of the leading women revival breaking out in the streets of Huntington Beach excuse me, Thessalonica there. And then everybody just moved into a building and they worship Jesus until he returned.

[00:09:38] Is that how is that how the story ends? They rode off into the sunset on white horses, smiling. That's how the movies end.

[00:09:47] It's not how the story ends here in the scripture, verse five. But the Jews were jealous. They didn't like all these people following Jesus Christ, following Paul and Silas and taking some wicked men. This is Act 17, verse five, taking some wicked men of the rabble.

[00:10:05] They formed a mob. They set the city in an uproar. They attacked the house of Jason where these guys were staying. Seeking to bring them out to the crowd. Who knows what they're going to do to them in the mob. And when they could not find them, they'll settle for this guy.

[00:10:19] Jason, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers, some of the new Christians before the city authorities. You just signed up to follow Jesus a week ago, and now you're being dragged out in the middle of the city. You just went from all of your sins, being forgiven to now being hated by the people of your town. A mob has formed against you. They don't end up finding Paul and Silas. They just drag out the newb Christians, just the brand new believers, and they start mocking them.

[00:10:48] And here's what they say. These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also. And Jason, he it's his fault. He welcomed them. He received them. And they're all acting against the decrees of Caesar. They're saying there's another King Jesus and the people on the authorities, man, they all thought, well, you know, this Jesus guy, he sounds all right with me.

[00:11:10] That's not what they say. No, they're disturbed when they heard these things and when they had taken money. And they take money and security from Jason and the rest after they get some money from them, they let them go.

[00:11:23] Does the world think about people getting saved about this good news of great joy that we're all here to sing about while the world thinks, let's round those people up and let's take them in the end and. Who knows what we're gonna do with them?

[00:11:36] This is what we should expect, my friends.

[00:11:38] This is what is going to happen as a promise in your life. Do you desire to be a godly person? Do you want to be right with God here this morning? Then you will be wrong with the world. That's what the Bible is telling you here today.

[00:11:50] That's what happens to Christians. I mean, it happens to people all over the place. In fact, he says in our text that you are now just following the example, just imitating these other churches in Judea who already got persecuted before you. You're just the latest Christian to get persecuted, the latest church to get attacked. In a long line of this, go back to it acts chapter eight, verse one, and we'll see what he's talking about with the churches in Judea. If you read the Book of Acts, I mean, it's inspiring. It's a great revival. We got 3000 people saved at the first service. Would it be awesome to see three thousand people saved that our first service at the new building gets me excited? I don't know how he could fit them all in the building, but it. But it would be great.

[00:12:30] I mean, won't it be awesome? Thirty people got saved that the first. So we would be we would just be the we would blow the roof off that place. I mean we would just be like, wow, look at all these people getting saved and it's great. And thousands more are being converted day by day. The Lord is adding to their number. There's so many Christians in Jerusalem. They are they can't even figure out how to feed everybody. They got widows who don't have food. They're trying to figure out how to make sure those ladies get fed. I mean, this place is blowing up. This is exciting stuff happening here. Wherever something exciting is happening for Jesus, opposition is sure to come and follow. And that's what you see happen here. And we end up taking one of these guys who's going to give food to the widows. This guy named Steven. And we end up bringing him to the court and we end up picking up big rocks and we end up throwing them to crush his skull. And we kill this guy, the first martyr of the church. Steven, we didn't just go after the big names. No, look at acts. Chapter eight, verse one, it says, and Saul approved of his execution. And there are rows on that day. Oh, is a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem. And they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria except the apostles. Do you see what that. Do you see how that that reads there? It's like they started going after the Christians. And who did they go after? Not the apostles. Not at this point. They go after them plenty. But at here it says the apostles. They got to stay in Jerusalem. Everybody else had to flee the city for their lives.

[00:13:59] That's the idea. Like it wasn't safe for them anymore in Jerusalem.

[00:14:04] So maybe I'm still here in Huntington Beach, but you guys are all moving on up to some other place where they accept Christian's good luck finding that place in Otomi. That's the idea that this is called the diaspora, the scattering of the Saints. God built up this strong growing church in Jerusalem. And then how did it spread? How did they do? They sit down one day and say, hey, we should probably start taking this to some area and Galilee. Now you know how it's spread.

[00:14:30] Persecution is what spread the church and it's scattered God's people all over the place. Turn off first, Peter. Let's go to first Peter, because Peter, now the leader here of the church in Jerusalem, the leader of these churches in Judea, at least one of them. He writes a letter. And if you look at first Peter turnover there with me, I'll give you a second. So to find it, he's now writing a letter to these persecuted Christians. And so a major tone of first, Peter, is how to handle persecution. OK, how to how to think this through. And you can see right from the beginning if you're there with me, look at first, Peter, chapter one, verse one. We're just building a case here that the Thessalonians were persecuted, the Judean Christians were persecuted. This is how it goes for churches. And he could see it in first Peter. Chapter one, verse one. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ to those who are elect exiles of the dispersion, the diaspora, the scattering, that was because of this great persecution in a one. So now he's writing to these people and they're all over the place. They're in Pontius Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bethania. And he starts by really encouraging them and what it means to be saved. And he starts to give them practical instruction about being persecuted. So we haven't got to point number one yet. Track with me underneath. Point number one, I want to give you two reasons you will be persecuted. Two reasons that you as a Christian person should experience persecution this Christmas, feel far away. Now, is it like, hey, wait, what, what, what what are we telling those people on the mountain? Can we bring a little bit of that back? Okay, this is this is a promise that you are going to be persecuted. And here's the two reasons why. All right. I want to prepare you for this. First, Peter, chapter three, verse 13. Let's start with two passages I want to look at in First Peter, where he's going to deal with why they're being persecuted specifically. Start with me here. And first, Peter, chapter three, verse 13. It says now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? Now, that's the basic logic. Do good things and you'll get good results. Why would people be against you if you're trying to do what is good? But verse 14, even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them nor be troubled. Here's what you should do in your hearts. Honor Christ. The Lord is wholly set Christ apart in your heart, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. Yet make sure you always give this defense in gentleness and respect, having a good conscience so that when you are slandered, those who look at this revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame, for it is better to suffer for doing good if that should be God's will than for doing evil. So he says, hey, the basic idea is if you're a good neighbor, you're helping out the community. You're recycling. You're you know, you're telling people don't park there. When the street sweepers come in and they're gonna get a parking ticket, you're one of those kind of neighbors you think your neighbors will be kind to you. But then he says, no, they might actually revile you y for righteousness sake, let's get that down. For the first reason that people here are gonna be persecuted is because you're doing what is right. You're it says here you can see in verse 16 that they're going to revile your good behavior in Christ. Okay, now. Now what I'm not talking about here is self-righteousness.

[00:18:01] I'm not talking about you letting all those other people know that they don't measure up to you because you are a Christian and you do what is right. And you go to church on Sunday and you help old ladies across the street, whereas they do all those worldly things. Right. Sometimes people come up to me and they're like, hey, pastor, I really got persecuted at my office. And I'm like, well, why did you get persecuted at at the office? Because I was confronting everybody about their rampant cussing at the office. And I was telling them that I used to cause like sinners like them, but world and God did didn't work in my life. And look at me now, you know what I mean? I mean, I don't you don't hear me. Cause in there I was like, I don't know if that's persecution. That just sounds like you're being the office punk. That's what that's what it sounds like to me. That just sounds like you're being arrogant. I just sounds like you're being annoying.

[00:18:51] I don't think that's persecution. That's not what we're talking about.

[00:18:54] OK. Notice very clearly some of you need to underline this circle is memorize this, maybe get a tattoo of this if you want to do it in the Huntington Beach way with gentleness and respect. My friends, with gentleness and respect. This is an I'm better than anybody. This is an I'm a no at all. This isn't. Hey, look at me. This is how this conversation goes down. When you're sitting there at office with your coworkers that you're inviting to the Christmas Eve service and they're all cussing and they're laughing at an inappropriate joke. And then one of them looks at you and says, hey, why don't you ever laugh at these jokes with us?

[00:19:24] Hey, why don't you ever say those words? Hey, what's your problem? You think you're better than us. Don't you?

[00:19:31] See, that's persecution.

[00:19:33] Because you are not going along with wickedness and just the fact that you don't participate makes people who know they are doing wrong, uncomfortable saying and they don't like that you do what is right because it proves something. It proves that they are doing what is wrong and somebody could do what is right. And it kind of messes with the way they like to look at the world. And so they don't like you, Christian, not drinking like they do on the weekend or not having a disorganized, chaotic family life like they do. And you try to do what is right. You goody two shoes. Right. You brownnoser. Right. These are the names they'll start calling you because you actually. I don't know. Respect your employer.

[00:20:14] How dare you. Right.

[00:20:16] And so the world might come after you for righteousness sake. And so what you guys you have felt the sting of the world judging you because you are trying to do what is right. And so that's one of the possibilities here that you might be doing what is right and people might revile you gay. Let's look at another one. Look at first, Peter, chapter four, verse 12. Another passage of why you and I might be persecuted. And this is hopefully the main reason for Peter. Chapter four, verse twelve. It says Beloved. Do not be surprised. That's what this whole sermon is, to try to equip you so that the day you're persecuted, you're not like, whoa, where did this come from? This doesn't this. I wasn't expecting this.

[00:20:53] No, I'm trying to help you be expecting it. He says, beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you as though something strange were happening to you.

[00:21:04] But rejoice in so far as you share cry sufferings that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

[00:21:12] If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed because a spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

[00:21:22] Now, please let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evil doer or as a meddler. No, we don't want to suffer for for doing what is wrong.

[00:21:32] No. But if anyone suffers as a Christian, well, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name for his time, for judgment to begin at the household of God.

[00:21:43] And if it begins with us, all will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God. And if the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

[00:21:51] Therefore, let those who suffer according to God's will and trust their souls to a faithful creator while doing good. So the first reason you might be persecuted is for righteousness sake. The second reason you might be persecuted is for Jesus name. That's why you might get persecuted. Hopefully you are in trying to say to people, Merry Christmas.

[00:22:10] Hopefully you are trying to tell people at your office or your family members at that extended family gathering you're having over the holiday season or your neighbors. Hopefully you are trying to look for ways. You're praying for open doors. You're being bold. You're expressing freely the good news of Jesus Christ. And to people always think it's good news when you're telling them they need to be saved from their sin.

[00:22:31] Now, they sure don't. And they've got a lot of ways to make us Christians that they think are pretty funny.

[00:22:39] And so, yeah, if you're out there trying to spread the good news, you're going to hear some bah humbug. Loud and clear. And if you're sitting here thinking, well, this would be a great sermon in Africa or this might be a great sermon in China right now, but we don't get persecuted here in America.

[00:22:58] You got to ask yourself why you haven't been persecuted. As if these are the two reasons.

[00:23:03] Doing what is right in the name of Jesus. And speaking up in the name of Jesus. If you're not being persecuted, then kind of it begs the question, if you're like, well, I've never experienced persecution. Mr Surman doesn't relate to me. Well, then the question that you need to confront in your own heart is, does righteousness relate to me? Does naming the name of Jesus in public and being bold about him relate to me? Maybe that's why I'm not experiencing the hatred of the world for Jesus Christ, because I'm not saying the Jesus things and doing the Jesus things in front of the world. So some of you guys might need to think about that. But my point in this sermon is to equip you and encourage those of you who are being persecuted. And I know there are people here in this room do not say to them that we don't get persecuted in this country because there are people who are hated by family members who have lost jobs for the name of Jesus right here among us.

[00:23:56] And I remember the day when I found out how much the world hated me specifically. And some of you guys know before I came here and we planted this church. September 7th, I was I was a high school pastor.

[00:24:09] I did youth ministry for all for a long time, over a decade of high school. That's what I signed up for in the name of Jesus. You know what I mean? And so I did that and I loved it. And I got in there with those kids and God did something in the year 2010. God did something. Something amazing. And he grew our our youth group by over a hundred students in one year. And it just started taking off. And it wasn't like more kids were coming because that was the cool thing to do. It was like kids were repenting of their sins. And he didn't want a party and they didn't want to do all the things that everybody else was doing. They wanted to follow Jesus Christ. It felt like real salvation was just breaking out among us. It was exciting. And I had this idea, we got to spread this like God's doing something here. I need to spread this good news. And so we started making videos of of the testimonies of some of these young people. And we would make these videos and they would say, hey, I got saved. Like one guy invited his friend to church and then that Frank got saves. We'd go back to like the seat where he was sitting when he got invited to church. We'd make a video about it, we'd show it, and people would just be like, yeah, that was a nice video. But I was like, I want people to really feel salvation. Like I was the old person and now I'm a new person. Our videos, they just come off a little cliche, a little, you know, Chris Schnee, you guys know what I'm talking about? Like, we can do a lot of cheesy stuff as Christians, right. As I want to get a I only get a video that really, like, strikes people, that they get what we're really talking about. And we have this idea. We were making these testimony videos and we were having these nights where kids were inviting their friends to church. And actually a lot of people were common. And here in the gospel and we had a couple of young men who had who had struggled with same sex attraction. They would have identified themselves as homosexuals. We said, let's make a video about their testimony. We were all fired up. People will see how Jesus really saves people. So we got these guys, we get this LGF like Film-Maker guy. And he came and we went like under a bridge where there's a river and there's graffiti and we, like, started taking these testimonies. You know, we started filming these stuff in these guys. They were they were saying great stuff. And I threw on some stuff there just to try to frame the conversation. And we were going to show this video at our church. That's the primary audience that we showed it. And so we got together for this next big night at our church. And like there were 350 people in our youth group at the church there for that night. And we preach the gospel. And he said, we want to show you this video about what Jesus can do in somebodies life. And you had a video was about the topic of homosexuality. But the point was the testimonies, the salvation. We showed this video and people were like, I like that video. Much better response than these other cheesy videos we had made. We said, we're going to put this on the Internet. Let's spread it around. Famous last words. We're going to put this on the Internet. Let's spread it around. If you've ever Googled my name. All right. Let me just prepare you for this. Guy. Some of you have done this, you've ever Googled my name. You're going to in the top 10, there's a few places I don't want you to click on. OK. Because this video, it just started getting an audience online. The kids started spreading it because they were pumped up about it. And the homosexual community, they they saw this video and they responded. I mean, that's if most of the Web sites that associate with my name in the top 10 on Google, we'll take you to two Web sites that are advocates for for marriage equality and totally open homosexual acceptance in our culture.

[00:27:47] I mean, strong, hardcore Web sites that I would not encourage you to go to. That's the main thing you're going to find with my name on Google. This video got 20000 hits in 36 hours on YouTube.

[00:27:59] And hate like raw, pure hate. Just started pouring in at our church. Like anything that had our church's name on line, just expletives just coming in all over the place.

[00:28:14] Facebook, Twitter, e-mail. Like if I looked at my phone or if I looked at my computer, it was just people cussing me out from morning, noon and night.

[00:28:26] I was sitting with my wife at the end of the day that the first full day the video was out and our phone rang. And I don't know if anybody else answers their phone, but we don't. And it's just it is you know, it's the home phone and the answering machine. I'll get it's probably a telemarketer, right. And people who really know me call my cell phone. Right.

[00:28:44] And so we're just sitting there were exhausted. This has been a an exciting time and we're just exhausted.

[00:28:49] And this guy, he comes on the voicemail at my house and he says, man, I hope you're having a terrible day, man. Karzai, all these bad words hate you, and you're going to be getting a lot of calls like this man. And you better hope we don't find out where you live because we're coming after you.

[00:29:09] And then click.

[00:29:11] And then the phone started ringing again. I was like, you know what? Maybe we'll just unplug the answering machine right now.

[00:29:17] All right.

[00:29:19] And it wasn't just me that that got this anybody associated with the video got this. The church got this. Pastor Mike got this. The guy who filmed the video, two young men who shared their testimonies in the video. We had to take the video down out of concerns for for fear of the safety of these young men that we tried to remove it completely from the Internet.

[00:29:40] But so many people had downloaded it illegally. I am sure you could still find it out there. There were policemen from our church looking online to try to take my address off of anywhere that it could have been online. I got e-mails describing how ugly I was, describing how overweight I was, describing how terrible my facial hair was. And I should really rethink that.

[00:30:03] I mean, the world I found out. The world eats me.

[00:30:09] They were really do.

[00:30:10] They don't like what I stand for. They don't like how I'm talking about Jesus. They don't like how I'm messing with young people's minds. They don't like how I'm saying what they're doing is wrong. The world hates Bobby Blakey. That's what you'll find out if you ever Google my name.

[00:30:25] They hate me.

[00:30:27] And they're going to hate you, too, my friend. If they know who you really are and what you really believe and what you really think about their lifestyle, if you ever get that out there in some kind of public way. That people can see on YouTube. They will hate you.

[00:30:41] And they will come after you. And you know what? That's a good thing, my friends.

[00:30:48] Because that's what they did to Jesus Christ and that's what they did to the apostles. And that's what they did to the churches in G to Judea.

[00:30:55] And that's what they did to this Thessalonians church. And that's what it says they're gonna do to every single one of us who desires to live godly.

[00:31:04] They're going to persecute us. They're going to come after you.

[00:31:09] So I'm trying to prepare you, I'm trying to equip you because trust me, when you're getting hate from every possible way that people can communicate with you, you're going to ask yourself, am I really doing the right thing? And Jesus wants you to know. Yeah, you're doing the right thing. You're with me to Matthew Chapter five, true with being a Matthew Chapter five and liquid Jesus Christ himself says about this. And he knew this was coming and he wanted us to be ready. He prepared us. He equipped us. He didn't just send out his people. All Merry Christmas. Good news. No, he warned you they're not going to like it. And he says this. This is how we're supposed to think about persecution. He says.

[00:31:48] Start with me in Matthew five, verse 10, the last of the Beatitude series, as blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for doing what is right for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Point number one, if you're getting persecuted, you need to see the positive in the gospel negative. That's point number one. If you're taking note, see the positive in the gospel negative. In fact, the command from Jesus Christ here is rejoice, my friends. Be glad you're blessed. No word blessed means happy. Hey, you're on the side of righteousness. You're representing Jesus Christ. Name the other option is no persecution, no righteousness, no representation of Jesus. Praise God you're on the right side of history. That's basically what it's saying right here. Rejoice.

[00:32:56] And he gives you two reasons to rejoice. Just like there's two reasons you're going to get persecuted. Here's two reasons to rejoice. Number one, it says the reason you should rejoice. It says in verse 10, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Verse 12 for your reward is great in heaven. OK, so let's get it down like this. Point number one. OK. Two two reasons. Number one, you will be a God side.

[00:33:20] Someday you will be at God's side. That's a reason to rejoice. You know how this ends. Well, there's that big debate about the right side of history. Everybody wants to get on the right side of history. So let's all legalize marijuana. Let's all make same sex marriage a equal law of the land. Let's do all of these things. Because then when they look back on us decades from now, hundreds of years from now, they'll think that person was on the right side of history. You know, who's on the right side of the history, who's always been on the right side of history. The Christians have always been on the right side of history. And when it's all said and done, history is his story.

[00:33:52] And when he ends this story, the people who got persecuted and hated and mocked. Gonna be the people who were right. That he's going to say, these are my people. That's what God's going to say.

[00:34:05] So rejoice because you're going to be at God's side and rejoice. Number two, because you're on the right side of history. And what you can right there is Jesus and the prophets. That's whose side you're on. That's how they treat Jesus Christ. Nobody knows suffering. Nobody knows hatred.

[00:34:19] No one's and nobody knows wanting to be the bad guy more than Jesus Christ. I mean, what did Jesus ever do? I mean, if you want to say I'm ugly or make fun of my facial hair, you might actually have a good point. But what could you say about our Lord Jesus Christ? What are you going to what do you notice him for? Humbling himself to become a man?

[00:34:39] Living a perfect life, giving of himself to others, dying on the cross for our sins. When when he is suffering the physical beating that he took, the death that he's dying there on the cross while people are mocking him, saying you saved others, why can't you save yourself even while he is dying for their sins to save them?

[00:35:00] I mean, there's nobody who suffered like Jesus Christ if you get to suffer a little bit. Well, consider yourself a privileged person that you get to suffer like Jesus did, my friend, and hold that in high regard.

[00:35:11] Because the people that you really want to be like if you want to be a Christian, if you want to live godly, the people that God is saying yes to the world has always said no to those people. The great heroes of the faith from the church fathers in the Book of Acts throughout Christian history. The people that you want to be like have always been rejected by this world.

[00:35:31] So praise the Lord. If you've ever been persecuted, hey, rejoice. We started doing something at that group after that time. We started having persecution cupcakes as what we started doing. And if you ever get persecuted, invite me over. I'll bring cupcakes. They'll all have a pee on him. And while he cupcakes together and we'll praise the Lord and we'll be like, hey, praise the Lord. And not that they're hating us, but that we're being named with Jesus Christ. That's where I want to be, is with him. Turn back to our text versus Polonius.

[00:36:01] Chapter two, because this text is a harsh text. I don't know if he got that, but there's a reason these versus aren't being talked about very much because the truth in these verses is very straightforward. My friends. And it starts by saying you're going to be suffering severely, just like the other churches in Judea. Just like how they killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets. And just like they're doing now to the apostles and even what they did to me in town when they drove us out. And then he says this. Look at Paul's language about the persecutors. Pick it up with me. Halfway through verse 15, he's describing these people who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and they drove Paul out of town. These people displease God and oppose all mankind. They're they're basically acting in the in the worst interest of everyone by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be safe. That's the point. They want to silence you. They want to shut you up. You can you can exist, I guess, as long as it's in a corner not affecting anybody else. Don't be talking to young people. Don't be telling your children this. They they want to shut you up. They want to keep you from speaking so that more might be saved. And this is what they're doing. So as to always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last.

[00:37:15] And it almost sounds like Paul there thinks that it's right that God's wrath would come upon these people. And so a lot of people, they have a hard time with this passage. In fact, if you read commentaries on this passage, people will argue that this passage should not be even in the Bible, because why are we saying that God's wrath should come upon people? But that is what's going to happen to everyone who speaks against the name of Jesus Christ and everyone who does not live a new life in Christ, where you can walk in obedience and live a righteous way. If you live in wickedness and you don't put your faith in Jesus Christ, God's wrath will come upon you. That's what the God, the Bible promise for Lifebook doesn't say.

[00:37:56] But that's one of the strongest promises in the scripture that the judgment of God is surely coming. And that's a warning.

[00:38:04] Now, personally, I don't think Paul here from knowing Paul's other writings. I don't think Paul is taking any pleasure in the judgment of the wicked people. And if we might affirm here at this truth that God is going to judge people who are against Jesus Christ, I don't take any pleasure in saying that. I don't wish that upon anyone. In fact, turn with me to Romans Chapter nine, because I think this is where where we really see Paul's heart for his countrymen. Paul's heart for the Jews. I mean, Paul, he does not want these people to experience the wrath of God. Oh, they will if they if they don't turn from their sin. But here's his desire for these people.

[00:38:41] Look at look at Romans, chapter nine, verse one. Here's what Paul says. He says, I'm speaking the truth in Christ. I am not lying. My conscience bears me. Witness in the Holy Spirit. Now, when somebody tells you three different the same thing, three different ways. Let me tell you something. It's true. I'm not lying to you right now. The Holy Spirit is a witness to what I'm about to say. Like like that's when you're trying to help your kid really get what you're saying. Now, son, listen to me. Now, stop looking at that. Now, over here. Like, listen, kid, you know what I mean? You're desperate. You want him to get it. That's what he's doing right here. Let me tell you the truth. I'm not lying. The Holy Spirit is with me on this one. Will you please pay attention to what I'm about to say, that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart, for I could wish that I myself were a Kirst and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. He says, for I wish that I could actually somehow, if possible. I feel so bad for these guys. I have such anguish in my heart. That is, if there was a way I could trade places with my countrymen, the Jews, if there is a way I could take their spot in hell so they can have my spot in heaven.

[00:39:52] I would do it.

[00:39:54] That's how he feels about these people, so he's not getting any kind of joy that God's wrath is coming upon these people. No, he's ready to take God's wrath if he somehow could, so that these people might know salvation in Jesus Christ.

[00:40:07] I mean, that's the that's the attitude of God himself right there, who would send his son to take the wrath so that the people who are enemies of God might become beloved of God. So there's no judgment here.

[00:40:21] There's a desire to see people get saved and an acknowledgment that if you don't turn from your sin and put your trust in Jesus Christ, you will be judged by our desire for everyone that can hear my voice right now. Is that you would be saved in Jesus Christ.

[00:40:36] In fact, I'm talking to a lotta former persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ here this morning. Some of you used to make fun of the Christian, used to mock people who did what was right, used him make fun of how ridiculous the whole notion of Christianity was. In fact, wasn't Paul himself the guy who's now ready to say that persecutors will be judged? Wasn't he once the greatest persecutor of the church himself? Say in Acts Chapter eight, verse one, when the great persecution breaks out and it scatters all the Christians? Who's the guy that approves of it? What's his name?

[00:41:12] Saul. Say. And then he meets Jesus Christ face to face. And what is Jesus say to him, Saul? Saul, why are you persecuting me so personally? Jesus takes our persecution.

[00:41:28] And he takes one of the greatest persecutors in the history of the church and he turns his life radically around and makes him one of the most on fire. Go get him spreaders of the gospel. One of the people who's going to suffer more than any other person besides Jesus Christ maybe has. He takes him from Saul, the persecutor, and he makes him Paul the Apostle. That's what God does with his enemies as he makes them his kids.

[00:41:51] That's the love of God.

[00:41:53] And if you ever have the privilege of getting persecuted by somebody, man, here's what you need to. Here's what you need to think about. People who persecute you are still people, too. Let's get that down. For point number two, people who persecute you are still people, too. In fact, Jesus says that you should love your enemies and you should pray for those who persecute you. So don't ever think that, wow, that person so far gone. That's why they're persecuting me now. They're so out there. They're just so wicked, man. Every Bible study would have written off the Sa�l the persecutor from getting saved if we had that kind of attitude. You know, it was amazing after this whole video came out and we were trying to spread the good news that Jesus saves. I got to talk to more people who were lost in the sin of homosexuality than I ever had before. We had a couple of testimonies of people getting saved. And because of the chaos and the and the damage and all the all the stuff that happened with that video. Mance, do you know how many young men because of that came to me in private and said, I struggle with that sin? Will you talk to me about it? I want to leave that sin like those guys said. Can you show me how to be saved in Jesus Christ? We got people go into this church. We got people going to our old church. We got people going to church who have been saved because of what God did through that persecution. We would have clubs at at the high schools where students would stand and preach the gospel. We started getting invited to the clubs that hated Christians. They started inviting us to come and speak. I got to go speak at the the LG B t club. At one school, some of the guys in the video got to go and share their testimony and some pretty edgy places and people who didn't hear the gospel. There were the guy who wrote me this long email trying to take everything we said in the video and make it about me being obese and try to do this like word play. You know what I mean? I'm not exactly Mr. Gym, you know, but obese. Come on, buddy. You know what I mean? And he did it. That guy I ended up having an hour long conversation with him about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

[00:44:03] And you know what? He needed to hear it. And you know what? He wasn't too far gone. And that conversation affected him a lot more than he would have liked to have emitted publicly. Because we got the truth on our side. So we have what is right on our side. And don't don't judge the people that persecute you. Don't get mad at them. Pity them. Have compassion on them. Love them. Try to befriend them.

[00:44:29] Turn all those turn all those profanity laced emails and send them the sweetest, most loving, encouraging email they've ever received back in their entire life. And let them know you'll be praying for their soul. Specifically. Because you want to see them come to know life in Jesus Christ, we give up way too easily. Oh, that person. They they're against Christianity. They're not gonna get saved. Well, I'm sure glad God didn't have that attitude about me. And I'm sure glad he didn't have that attitude about you. So let's make sure we don't have that attitude about these people now that maybe are going to hate us. Who might become the biggest advocates for Jesus Christ in our new building someday, say. So let's have the right attitude about our persecutors and that we're here to tell the gospel to everybody. The likely candidates and the least likely candidates from our perspective through Amena Philippians, Chapter one, where it makes this point very clearly here in Philippians. Chapter one, Paul holds himself up as an example. You could write down another cross reference. First, Timothy, chapter one versus 15 to 17. Paul says, Hey, God used me as an example. He took me from a guy who was really a persecutor of the church. And if he can have mercy on me, then he can have mercy on anybody. That's the point. I mean, I'm the chief of sinners and God prove that if he could save me, man. He wants us to know he can save anybody. That's what we're supposed to be thinking. But look at Philippians Chapter one. Start with me in verse 27.

[00:45:58] Here's what we're supposed to be doing as a church says, only let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Christ, man. Live it out, walk in it, live righteously, preach it, share the good news. So the weather I come and see your maps absent. I may hear of you. And here's what I want to hear of you, that you're standing firm in one spirit with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel. Man, if I could want to hear something about CompassHB Bible Church running to beach, it's not that. That's the church with the new building. It's that's the church that's pumped up about the good news of Jesus. Like one man, they take it to the streets, they invite their neighbors, their friends. They're just trying to get the gospel out there. And then it says this in verse 28, not frightened in anything by your opponents. We're not intimidated. We're not threatened to stay silent.

[00:46:46] No, this is a clear sign to them when they see your confidence in the face of persecution. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation and that you are from God.

[00:46:59] Ford has been granted to you like it's a privilege that for the sake of Christ, you should not only believe in him, but you should also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw had.

[00:47:13] And now here that I still have, when the world shows you that they hate you. And they come after you. What they're expecting you to do is pick up your Bible and go home. They're expecting for you to turn down the volume on your Jesus music. They're expecting for you to stop being so open about the gospel and stop being so open about trying to do what is right and to start to compromise and to try to fit in, because that's what the world thinks.

[00:47:36] And when you stand up. And you continue in the face of persecution. It shows that. That you're right, that your God is on your side. And it makes them question.

[00:47:49] The very fact that they're coming after you so hard, that's what it says here. Look back at that amazing promise in Philippians, chapter one, verse 28. If you're not frightened in anything by your opponents, this is a clear sign to them of their destruction. You don't need to even start telling them the judgment that's coming. They'll get it. But that you've been saved and that you've been saved from God. And we have some exciting days going on right now. We've got a Christmas Eve service coming up at the Bella Terra Movie Theater. We've got a bunch of exciting services coming up in our new building where we're going to preach the gospel. You know what else we got coming up? I can't really announce it to you when it's going to happen. I can't really tell you. Oh, and, you know, on the calendar, mark this date.

[00:48:28] But at some point. The greater community here is going to realize what's happening.

[00:48:33] I mean, they might have written it off when it was in the Bullet Marina High School, they might start taking it more seriously. We've got a 28000 square foot building.

[00:48:39] But at some point, they're going to realize that we're here for every single soul, for Jesus Christ in this city.

[00:48:46] And they're not going to like it.

[00:48:48] They're not gonna like it one little bit and they're going to come after me and they're going to come after you and they're gonna come after everything that says Compas Bible Church on everything that claims the name of Jesus Christ.

[00:48:59] They're gonna hate it. And you know what you were going to do? We're gonna rejoice. We're gonna say, wow, how privileged are we? And when they would do this to Jesus and they would do this to the apostles and they would do it prophets, they would consider us in that same line of people, the right side of history, man. I want to be on that team right there. Might look like we're losing now, my friends, but trust me.

[00:49:23] Look at the scoreboard, right. We will win in the end.

[00:49:28] I've read the end of the book. You could summarize it in two words Jesus wins. Can I get any men from an. Let's believe that. Let's live like that. You see every Ebenezer Scrooge that's out there and maybe there's one of them here this morning, every Ebenezer Scrooge. What does he have to meet when he goes back to his miserable cold house all by himself? To estimate to go to the ghost of Christmas past the ghost of Christmas present and the ghost of Christmas future. This is what every every person who doesn't want to be for Jesus Christ. Well, then they have to face the fact that at some point they are against Jesus Christ. They've got to see that he came as a baby to save them. And they have rejected him.

[00:50:08] That ghost of Christmas present, who's that will? Hopefully that's us people out there representing Jesus Christ right now, wishing people a merry Christmas and inviting them to a movie theater where they can hear about Jesus Ghost of Christmas future.

[00:50:21] What's that? That judgment that is surely coming, the wrath that is going to consume this earth. You don't get mad at the Scrooge. Don't be like, why is this guy was saying, bah humbug. Let your heart break for Ebenezer. And realize that guy needs to get saved and I need to pray for him and he needs the good news of great joy. That's for all people. We pray for you. God. Thank you so much that your word doesn't just tell us the things that we want to hear, tells us the things that we need to hear. And I pray that this message, this word, this text that we looked at today will equip us for the persecution that is surely to come here in Huntington Beach. God, we thank you for your favor that has been upon us for your good hand that has led us every step of the way.

[00:51:06] We thank you for the exciting things to come, for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus for worship services to be had in the new building for people whose lives can be radically changed, turned from sin into walk and righteousness. Now we praise you for all of these things began when that day comes, when we experience persecution and we suffer and it's hard and it hurts.

[00:51:27] God help us to remember. Why it's happening into rejoice. Just like Jesus Christ suffered for us, experiencing the most persecution that we could know. Jesus in the fellowship of his suffering's that we could be considered one of his people is the richest privilege. We look forward to adoring Jesus Christ, to being with him and God, we know that you're able to do more than all the we could ask or think to save many people. And we ask that you would here in Huntington Beach, through our church, use us. God, we pray this in Jesus. Name a man.

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