Suffering and persecution

SERMON TOPIC: Suffering and persecution

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 25 November 2018


Sermon synopsis: There are three root sources of suffering for us as Christians.
1) Our flesh: (our physical body with its desires, weakened by our sinful nature)
2) The World: (Society, the systems of government that have been influenced and controlled by powers and authorities (gods, that man has allied himself with rather the almighty God)
3) Satan and the rulers of this world
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Suffering and persecution of Christians.

There are three root sources of suffering for us as Christians.

Our flesh (our physical body with its desires, weakened by our sinful nature)

The World (Society, the systems of government that have been influenced and controlled by powers and authorities (gods, that man has allied himself with rather the almighty God)

Satan and the rulers of this world

Suffering caused by our flesh.

Suffering because of punishment.

1 Peter 2:11-15. (Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society)

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

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.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.

Suffering caused by our flesh.

1 Peter 2:19-23.

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.

But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 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.

Suffering caused by our flesh.

Suffering because of discipline.

Hebrews 12:5-9.

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!

Suffering caused by our flesh.

Suffering because of discipline and punishment.

1 Corinthians 11:29-32.

For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.

That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.

Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

Suffering caused by our flesh.

Suffering because of the curse.

We have bodies that because of the Fall and consequent curse, are subject to sickness and disease.

John 9:1-3.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Blessing or curse you choose.

Leviticus 26:3-8.

If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.

Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.

I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.

You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you...

Blessing or curse you choose.

Leviticus 26:14-17.

But if you will not listen to me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject my decrees and abhor my laws and fail to carry out all my commands and so violate my covenant, then I will do this to you:

I will bring on you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and sap your strength.

You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it.

I will set my face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you...

Burdened by the cares of this life.

Psalm 55:22.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

1 Peter 5:7.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you

Matthew 11:28-29.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Bound by grave clothes.

When we are born-again , brought to life by the Spirit of God, we are still bound and inhibited by things that pertain to our unsaved life, the life of darkness and death.

The Lord wants us to be freed from these grave-clothes that inhibit us and prevent us from experiencing the life of abundance that He has promised.

Bound by grave clothes.

We’re still confined by our burial wrappings–old habits, old behaviours, old patterns of thinking, old wounds—and we’re not able to freely move about.

All these restricting sheets and cloths and strips are part of our grave wardrobe, and we need to be unbound in order to walk freely in our new life.

We can’t free ourselves, so Jesus calls us to find freedom in spiritual community. In community, we are to help each other get unwrapped, unbound and set free.

And the freer we are from our own wrappings, the better able we are to help loose others from theirs.

There is a life of abundance that is on offer for every born-again Christian, but you first must take off those grave clothes.

The burden of lust and pleasures habits/ addictions.

Why are so many Christians addicted to porn?

Fifty percent of Christian men and twenty percent of Christian women report being “addicted” to pornography. What are we to make of these staggering numbers?

Many Christian groups, including Covenant Eyes, quote this statistic from the 2006 ChristiaNet survey, but what do these numbers mean?

When polled about addictive or frequent porn use, Christian percentages always seem significantly higher.

The burden of bitterness.

Matthew 18:32-35.

Then the master called the servant in.

You wicked servant, he said, I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.

Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?

In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.

Bound by tradition, self righteousness & pride.

John 8:31-36.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered him, We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free? Jesus replied, Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Persecution from the world.

John 15:18-25.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.

As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.

That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also…

But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law:

They hated me without reason.

Persecution of Christians.

The persecution of Christians can be historically traced from the first century of the Christian era to the present day. Early Christians were persecuted for their faith at the hands of both a small number of Jews from whose religion Christianity arose and the Romans who controlled many of the lands across which early Christianity was spread. Early in the fourth century, a form of the religion was legalized by the Edict of Milan, and it eventually became the State church of the Roman Empire.

Christian missionaries as well as converts to Christianity have been the target of persecution ever since the emergence of Christianity, sometimes to the point of being martyred for their faith. (Wikipedia).

Persecution of Christians.

The schisms of the Middle Ages and especially the Protestant Reformation, sometimes provoked severe conflicts between Christian denominations to the point of persecuting each other.

In the 20th century, Christians have been persecuted by various governments including the Islamic Ottoman Empire in the form of the Armenian Genocide, the Assyrian Genocide and the Greek Genocide, as well as atheistic states such as the Soviet Union and North Korea. During World War II members of some Christian churches were persecuted in Nazi Germany for resisting Nazi ideology. (Wikipedia).

However, this persecution of Christians was preceded by the persecution of God’s “First Covenant People”

Persecution of Christians.

To understand what is behind the persecution of God’s chosen covenant people, firstly the Jews (Israel) and then also the Church (Christians) we need to look at Scripture, particularly references to the unseen rulers of the world that Paul speaks about on a number of occasions.

Reference is made to the “Divine Counsel” or “The Sons of God” on numerous occasions in the Old Testament.

Hatred and persecution of the Jews.

In “Concerning the Jews,” Mark Twain mused on the hatred of Jews, on one hand, and their persistence, on the other hand” The Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. …Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone. Other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, the Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

Hatred and persecution of the Jews

Not less bewildering than the survival of the Jews is the fact that from Pharaoh to Hitler, virtually every detractor of the Jews sealed his doom in persecuting them.

Some were even aware of the fact that the Jews are indestructible, yet could not help themselves, as if compelled by a force greater than themselves.

In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler wrote, “When … I scrutinized the activity of the Jewish people, suddenly there arose up in me the fearful question whether inscrutable Destiny, perhaps for reasons unknown to us poor mortals, did not, with eternal and immutable resolve, desire the final victory of this little nation.” Despite this premonition, Hitler tried, and almost succeeded in exterminating European Jewry. But he, too, eventually failed.

Hatred and persecution of the Jews.

Hated or loved, Jews were always treated as different. They are judged by different standards, revered, admired, and hated more than any other nation on the face of the Earth.

British Bishop, Thomas Newton wrote about Jews: “What but a supernatural power could have preserved them in such a manner as none other nation upon earth hath been preserved?”

The State of Israel wishes only to be a nation in the family of nations. Instead, it is rebuked time and again, especially by the entity representing the entire world:

The United Nations. The report below by UN Watch demonstrates the inexplicably disproportionate negative attention given to Israel.

Hatred and persecution of the Jews.

The U.N. General Assembly’s 2015 session is adopting 20 resolutions singling out Israel for criticism and only 3 resolutions on the rest of the world combined.

The three that do not concern Israel are: one on Syria, a regime that has murdered more than 200,000 of its own people, one on Iran, and one on North Korea.

Not a single UNGA resolution this year (70th session) is expected to be adopted on gross and systematic abuses committed by China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Yemen, Zimbabwe, or on dozens of other perpetrators of gross and systematic human rights violations.”


Job 1:6-22.

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, Where have you come from? Satan answered the LORD, From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it. Then the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.


Job 1:6-22.

Does Job fear God for nothing?

Satan replied. Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?

You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.

The LORD said to Satan, Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.

See NOTE 1


Job 1:6-22.

Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, The oxen were ploughing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!


Job 1:6-22.

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house,

when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!

See NOTE 1


Job 1:6-22.

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.

Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

See NOTE 1

Job’s trial.

During his time of bereavement and financial ruin he also had to suffer discomfort, disgrace, and disagreeable pain that ravaged his body, even as friends sought to comfort him but only stirred up emotions and unanswered questions that tormented his mind and spirit. What more could go wrong?

How about a wife who told him to just give up, curse God, and get it over with.

See NOTE 1

The Divine Council and Ahab. 1 Kings 22:4-23.

Attack and be victorious, he answered, for the LORD will give it into the king’s hand. The king said to him, How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?

Then Micaiah answered, I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, these people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.

The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?

Micaiah continued, Therefore hear the word of the LORD:

I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.

The Divine Council and Ahab. 1 Kings 22:4-23.

And the LORD said, Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?

One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, I will entice him.

By what means? the LORD asked.

I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets, he said.

You will succeed in enticing him, said the LORD.

Go and do it. So now the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours.

The LORD has decreed disaster for you.

The Divine Council, “The Sons of God”.

Deuteronomy 32:8-9. (ESV)

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.

(GNT) The Most High assigned nations their lands; he determined where peoples should live. He assigned to each nation a heavenly being.

(ERV) God Most High separated the people on earth and gave each nation its land. He set up borders for all people. He made as many nations as there are angels.

The Divine Council, “The Sons of God”.

Psalm 82:1-8.

God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the gods.

How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

The gods know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.I said, You are gods; you are all sons of the Most High. But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

The Sons of God in Daniel 10:8-14.

A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

Who Were “The Sons of God”.

Genesis 6:1–4. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.

The Sons of God.

Jude 6-9.

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling, these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, The Lord rebuke you!

The Sons of God.

Acts 7:42.

But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars.

(ASV) But God turned, and gave them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, Did ye offer unto me slain beasts and sacrifices Forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?

AMP) But God turned away [from them] and handed them over to serve the host of heaven.

Satan wants to be worshipped.

Even the idols that were carved were not worshipped as just a piece of wood, but the entity that aligned itself with the idol.

The Sons of God.

1 Corinthians 8:4-6.

So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols:

We know that An idol is nothing at all in the world and that There is no God but one.

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live ….

Psalm 106:37-38.

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder.

The Sons of God.

Deuteronomy 32:15-17.

They stirred up his jealousy by worshiping foreign gods; they provoked his fury with detestable deeds. They offered sacrifices to demons, which are not God, to gods they had not known before, to new gods only recently arrived, to gods their ancestors had never feared.

1 Corinthians 10:19-21.

What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods? No, not at all. I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too. You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too.

Satan and the “Fallen angels “gods, crave worship.

Matthew 4:8-11.

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you, he said, if you will bow down and worship me.

Jesus said to him, Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

See NOTE 1

The rulers of this age.

Colossians 2:13-15. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

2 Corinthians 2:7-8.

No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The powers of this world.

Ephesians 6:10-12.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,

but against the rulers, against the authorities,

against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The powers of this world.

Spiritual Warfare A dark cloud of chaos and destruction is spreading across the world. There was a time where Christians were “salt and light,” capable of fending off the attacks of Satan. But the church is changing. Christians seem to be changing. Casual Christianity seems to be the norm and the church is losing its effectiveness for Christ. Many Christians in today’s churches don’t even believe in a literal Satan! How can we fight back and protect ourselves from Satan’s ultimate goal—to destroy our lives and make us ineffective in our walk with Christ? - Billy Crone


Ezekiel 28:

The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.

Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.

Jesus teachings regarding our persecutors.

Jesus taught love your enemies, turn the other cheek, if someone forces you to go one mile, go two miles….

Matthew 5:43-45.

You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbour hate your enemy.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Jesus preached love amidst hatred; unity amidst divisiveness; faith amidst the legalistic religious leaders of His day; love amidst hatred.

Our attitude during trials and suffering.

1 Peter 5:6-10. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong,

firm and steadfast.

Our attitude during trials and suffering.

Hebrews 10:32-37.

Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.

Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.


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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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