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Rejoice in Persecutions

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
June 6, 2021 8:00 am

Rejoice in Persecutions

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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June 6, 2021 8:00 am

One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to rejoice when you’re falsely accused or attacked for doing good. Yet, that is the very thing Jesus calls His followers to do in the eighth and final beatitude. Join Dr. James Boice on The Bible Study Hour as he explains the seemingly impossible command to love those who wish us harm.

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The question of how and why we should love those who persecute us even rejoice in that persecution is confounding to say the least. Yet it's a calling.

Well worth pondering if for no other reason than the fact that our Lord commands us to do so to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.

Just how do we go about this perplexing task of rejoicing and persecution and loving those who persecute us.

What tools do we possess to accomplish that, depending on feelings and reason are not the answer is even they fall short in carrying out Christ's most difficult instruction is Dr. Boyce teaching from Matthew chapter 5. The most striking part of Christ's eighth and last beatitude is the command that the Christian is to rejoice in persecutions, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. And it's puzzling also the question immediately arises in the mind of any thoughtful reader use say where to rejoice in persecutions all right how how does one rejoice when he's unjustly insulted. The school warned or condemned. It is a valid question.

The answer is well worth pondering how does a Christian. Rejoice in persecutions, I'm convinced that the only valid answer to that question is by knowledge.

Let me explain what I mean order to understand this, it's necessary to recognize that some battles in the Christian life can be one in no other way than by knowledge but by reason not by feelings, not by the old college try, but by knowledge. I'll give you an example, a young man goes to college and he meets a girl with whom he falls in love and to whom he would like to marry but who is not a Christian.

He wants to marry her but he shouldn't in the Holy Spirit within them is telling himself as a result, a terrific battle is in progress. How was he to win it will, it's certain that he will never win it by trusting his feelings because his feelings are what created the problem in the first place and he won't win it by reason because the human mind is subtle and he'll always find 10 reasons why you should marry her for everyone. Why shouldn't. Neither can he win the battle by trusting his conscience. Human conscience can be bent to do almost anything we wanted to do in this case, it can even be bent, immorality is only one way in which the young man will win the victory in this situation, and that's by clinging to the knowledge of God's will that he's received from Scripture, he must say Lord I do not want to give this particular girl up. I can think of a dozen reasons why I do not need to give her up.

I can even make my conscience told me that I should not give her up, but I know that I must because of that I will do it. The young man must make an intellectual decision. This means that, apart from any other factory must determine simply to walk in the way that he knows God would have them to go. I believe that it's exactly the same when a Christian is in the midst of persecution was more I believe that almost every verse in the Bible that refers to persecution implies this during during persecution. You may be right now. Perhaps from your friends or from your family. You dare not trust your feelings only know are times when Christians feel on top of the world.

Even when they are suffering that this is unusual and it's just as probable. Perhaps even more so that you will feel sad and dejected as Elijah did.

Under the juniper tree you trust your feelings.

You will rejoice at best only yet times and then only partially you can you trust your reason for the reasoning power of a Christian is often that which is most shaken in the midst of persecution. Have you ever noticed how the apostle Paul describes his mental state the midst of his persecutions. He writes about it in second Corinthians, telling us that confusion of his reason was at least part of the problem.

He says we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed we are perplexed, but not in despair persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed. Along with being troubled, persecuted and cast down.

Paul says that he was also an often perplexed.

Nancy had learned that he could not trust even his own great powers of reason in the midst of these troubles.

If we cannot trust our feelings and if we cannot trust our reason. What can the Christian trust in order that he might rejoice in persecutions. Let me repeat it again. We can only trust the knowledge that we have of God's purposes in persecution and his control of suffering. This is a knowledge gained only through Scripture victory is intellectual and it is only knowledge will calm the Christians, troubled heart and allow the supernatural joy of God's spirit to triumph in the midst of his suffering. What are the things that a Christian can know that can allow him to rejoice in persecutions, there are at least five of them in the first one is this the Christian must know that through persecutions, God is demonstrating his identity with Christ. This is the point of all the verses that teach that if we suffer with Christ, we shall also be glorified with him. And it's behind Christ's observation in our text from the sermon on the mount for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you. We can see an example of this. What it means to be an American today in areas of the near East where America's foreign policy is disliked and sometimes hated several years ago I was present in one of the near Eastern countries in the company of two friends one of them was another American with whom I journeyed around the better part of the Mediterranean. There was a Christian pastor who was born and raised in that country, my friend from the United States and I got very little of some things we did as we toured the sites but some of those things, although they were innocent in themselves worried the native pastor replaces where he didn't want us to linger objects. We were not to photograph subjects that he did want us to speak about in public. In answer to our confused questions. He explained that at the moment anti-American feeling was running high that an innocent act, however well motivated.

It might be. Might be dangerously misconstrued and added the strong feeling was not directed so much against ourselves is against our nation and just the same way the world will always be bitterly opposed to Jesus Christ and to his foreign policy and it will hate his ambassadors to the citizens of the country. However, the persecution will merely be evidence of their identification with him. They will know that this places them in the great company of those who have been similarly persecuted the persecution will itself be a matter of honor with his knowledge that gave joy to the first Christians when they were persecuted they were Peter and John and perhaps some of the other apostles. They were beaten for the sake of their testimony in Jerusalem.

We read. However, after they were beaten they departed from the presence of the Council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ persecution is evidence of the believers identification with his Lord. The second truth that will help a Christian to rejoice in persecution is the knowledge that God often uses persecution to perfect the believer, the great wisdom of God.

Persecution is often the means by which the Christian is helped along the road to practical holiness and thereby made a little more like Jesus. Peter knew this unit personally and he had seen in the lives of his converts since when he wrote his first letter to those in Asia who were experiencing persecution. He wrote this about it in this ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season if need be.

Urine heaviness through manifold trials at the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes that would be tried with fire might be found in the praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ living not seen you love and whom, though now you see them not yet believing he rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Do you see what Peter is saying Peter is saying that for the Christian persecution and also suffering in general is like one of the small furnaces or crucibles in which in ancient times. A refiner would purify the most precious metals he saying that it's the experience by which God removes loss from the lies of his children and purifies true faith. Let me give you another illustration of that Dr. Billy Graham tells of a friend of his went through the depression in the 30s losing a job, a fortune wife and a home, but he was a believer in Jesus Christ and he tenaciously held to his faith. Even though we was naturally depressed and cast down by circumstances. One day in the midst of his depression. He stopped to watch some men doing stone work on a huge church in the city. One was busy chiseling the triangular piece of stone. What are you going to do that. He asked workman stopped and looked at him and then pointed to a little opening near the top of the spire. See that little opening up there near the spire. He said well I'm shaping this down here so that it will fit in up there friend said that tears filled his eyes as he walked away from the workman for seemed to him that God had spoken to him personally through the workman to say that God was shaping human for heaven through the ordeal through which he was passing Peter said the God of all grace with called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. After you've suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. David tells us of one of his Psalms that before he was afflicted he went astray, but that after the affliction he kept God's word.

Most certainly persecution was a significant factor in the spiritual growth of each of these men and it is also a factor in God's dealings with his children today. Because of this truth. You and I may face persecution with all joy, knowing that after we have gone through the furnace. We shall be more like Jesus, our Savior of the third truth that will help a Christian to rejoice in persecution is the truth that persecution allows the Christian opportunity to show forth the super natural radiance of the Christian life.

Everything is going well with you and you rejoice, what makes you different from all the nonbelievers were in the world. Nothing at all. They rejoice true when circumstances are favorable, if you're able to rejoice when things are not favorable. However, then Jesus Christ may be clearly seen in you and the supernatural power of the Christian faith will be made manifest, you might say that persecution is the dark background for the supernatural radiance of the Christian life again. This truth is best illustrated by a story.

Mr. Mrs. Arthur Matthews and their daughter Lila were the last missionary family of the China inland Mission believe China after the communist takeover at the end of the second world war, the story of their last two years, and China's one of great persecution for the better part of the long two years of their captivity in China.

They lived in one small room through only furniture was a stool I couldn't contact their Christian friends, for fear of subjecting them to reprisals for befriending an alien. There funds were cut off by the government set for only the smallest trickle only heat they had came from a small stove which they live only once each day to boil rice for dinner and even the fuel that they used was made by Mr. Matthews from the refuse that the animals deposited around the streets of her time. The couple submitted to the treatment stoically asking all the while that God would soon deliver them from China, but a turning point came in their outlook and it came when they realize through reading the Bible that Jesus Christ had come from heaven, not merely submitting to the will of the father, but deleting it. They saw that their only experience was comparable with an opportunity, they realized for the radiance of joyful obedience to be manifest in them and in which their conduct could be a supernaturally effective witness after this they came to rejoice and even to sing hymns and they came to accept the privilege of suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ with as much joy as they later had when they learned of their pending deliverance.

You know it was a similar knowledge of the opportunities afforded by persecution that taught Hugh Latimer to cry out to Nicholas Ridley as they were both led to the stake in Oxford England in 1555. Be of good comfort master Ridley and play the man we show this day like such a candle by God's grace in England as I trust she'll never be put out, and he was right for the behavior of Christians in persecutions was then and often still is a great testimony to God's grace that abides her time and for eternity. Other two more crews that a Christian should also know in order that he may rejoice in persecutions.

The first is the promise of rewards. What did Jesus say Jesus said, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

How does it work. It works when the Christian realizes that the persecutions however severe they may be our only temporary, and the beyond them lie the industry correctable and inexpressibly glorious rewards of heaven.

I noted there are many Christians who consider that even the thought of rewards is somehow ignoble is because they're thinking only of material or self exalting things actually rewards are far more likely to be spiritual fellowship with Christ and proximity to him. They cannot be the least bit self exalting for even they flow from grace. You make your Christianity something so ethereal that you think your conduct should be above the thought of rewards you knew. That's wrong. It's not how the believers of all ages have progressed. Abraham look for rewards.

He looked for a city without foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasure of sin for a season because he had respect under the recompense. The reward and even Jesus for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God and he said, rejoice for great is your reward in heaven.

Finally, the Christian can rejoice in the knowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ is particularly near him in the moment of severe persecution. You remember the story of the three Hebrew young men were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Their names were Hannah and I am shy Ellen Azariah looking name them. Shadrach me shack and Abednego three men. When the king looked into the furnace. He said did not we cast three men bound in the midst of the fire low I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire and they have no heart and the form of the fourth is like a son of God in the same way Jesus Christ is particularly near those who were persecuted for his namesake in the Christian can have great joy in this knowledge.

Now I have just one more thing to add to this, when a Christian can anchor himself in the knowledge of the five great proves that I've just been explaining persecution can result in rejoicing and rejoicing will and this is the point lead to greater knowledge Job new suffering great persecution, but he triumphed through knowledge and the persecution itself laid on the more knowledge at the beginning. Job knew that he was nothing in himself and that he had no rights at all, before God, he started there when God allowed the most severe blows of life to fall upon them.

Job thrived in the knowledge that there was yet the corresponding grace of God in the and extinguishable love of God for himself as a trials continued. He learned Maury came to know that God was testing them and purifying his faith and he rejoiced in that knowledge.

Finally, he learned that God was revealing himself to him and the experiences in a new way and he came to expect and even for revelation for Job knowledge was the key to spiritual victory and is knowledge actually grew because of it. And so it should be for every persecuted Christian. Let us pray in our father, we thank you for these truths and for the difference they can make to those who are persecuted 20 such listening today. We ask that your grace may be full that a new sense of your purposes and suffering might be with them and comfort them or we pray in Jesus name, amen. We hope you're enjoying the series on the sermon on the Mount last broadcast over 50 years ago. You know these timeless messages are useful and relevant whenever there and that's why the alliance of confessing Evangelicals can move confidently into the future as the Bible study our and our other broadcast ministries continue to grow. Alliance podcasts are reaching a new generation where they live.

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Jesus often stressed the cost of discipleship, but he also promised great blessings in this life. Find out more.

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Because now that 1-800-488-1888 we be happy to send you a copy of present blessings versus persecution that number again is 1-800-488-1888. Listeners like you make it possible for us to continue broadcasting our beloved Bible teachers profound and insightful messages. You can make a one-time contribution or a monthly pledge by calling us directly at 1-800-488-1888 or visit us our mailing address 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you. Your partnership in the gospel means everything by Mark Daniels thank you for listening in salt preserves and adds flavor. It also makes us thirsty. When Jesus called his followers the salt of the earth. He was saying in effect that believers were to have the same effects on the sinful and fallen world.

Join Dr. James Boyce as he presents the qualities of salt and how they should reflect the qualities of a Christian next time on the Bible study our repairing you to think and act biblically

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