1 Peter; Practical Ways to Handle Persecution

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:12 (Bible quotes in this post are NIV)

1 Peter talks a lot about persecution. Peter, who saw Christ suffer persecution  firsthand, gives us practical advice on how to handle persecution. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.  For,

   “Whoever would love life
   and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
   and their lips from deceitful speech.
 They must turn from evil and do good;
   they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
   and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Peter 3:8-12

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:14-16

I began my professional ministry over 20 years ago, when I first became a literature evangelist and then a Bible Worker. During that period I have been threatened more than once that my financial support would be discontinued if I did not go along with something even if I knew it was wrong. Three times in the last 20 years I have been threatened with my job if I did not give my loyalty to someone or something that I knew to be wrong. Those threats do not work. When I was 7 years old, laying on my bed at night, contemplating the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, I gave my life and my loyalty to Him because He died for me. Twenty years later, when people threaten me for their loyalty, my mind goes back to that night so long ago when I gave my heart to Jesus. I have decided to be loyal to the One who died for me, and not those who threaten me. I have never had to defend myself when being threatened. The Jesus I gave my heart to when I was 7 years old has taken good care of me! I always encourage those who are new in the gospel work to always remain loyal to the One who died for them. A ministry or a person that can be bought, sold or threatened has no meaning or purpose.

John 7; It’s a Conspiracy!

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and [yet] none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 

 7:20       The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 

Either the group talking to Jesus here, were ignorant of the conspiracy to kill Him or they were two-faced. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5 that we are not to be paranoid about conspiracies, but to cast all of our care upon Jesus. At the same time, Peter acknowledges that the devil is out to get us.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

 5:8         Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

 5:9         Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 

In John 7 the multitude had mixed opinions about Jesus. However His conduct is what validated His words and works.

While people are telling Jesus that He is crazy for thinking someone wants to kill Him, the Pharisees send out a group of conspirators to get Him.

7:45        Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 

 7:46       The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 

The officers who were sent to take Jesus reported that never man spake like this man. But the reason of this was that never man lived like this man; for if he had not so lived, he could not so have spoken. His words bore with them a convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, full of love and sympathy, beneficence and truth. There is eloquence beyond that of words, in the quiet, consistent life of a pure, true Christian. We shall have temptations as long as we are in this world, but instead of injuring us, they will only turn to our advantage, if resisted. The bounds are placed where Satan cannot pass. He may prepare the furnace, but instead of working injury, it will only consume the dross, and bring forth the gold of the character, purer than before the trial.  {Gospel Workers 1892 P, 244}

No reason to be paranoid about Satan’s conspiracies. Just keep living for Jesus!