It has been a crazy past two weeks for our church family here at Christ Community Chapel. One of our very own pastors, Tom Randall, is currently in jail in the Philippines under false accusations. You can click here to watch an update that our lead pastor gave a little over a week ago on this situation. He explains the situation more in depth and shares some text messages he has exchanged with Tom. You can also click here to read a blog post from our lead pastor on this situation.
As our church is walking through this and I am spending much time in prayer for Tom and the whole situation, the Lord has been reminding me a lot about what His Word says about persecution. I’ve always been aware and concerned for Christians who are being persecuted all over the world, but when it hits this close to home it’s different. As look over God’s Word here are some simple, yet powerful reminders about Christians and persecution.
1. Jesus tells us we WILL face persecution (John 15-18-20). Persecution should not come as a surprise to a Christians. In this passage, and a few others in the Gospels, Jesus clearly informs His disciples that just as He has faced persecution, they will as well. he says, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecute me, they will also persecute you.” You may not be locked up in a jail in a foreign country, but some time or another you will be persecuted for your faith.
2. When we face persecution, God will help and protect us (Psalm 27). So Christians will face persecution some time or another, but when they do they can find help and protection in their God. We don’t serve a God who allows persecution in our lives and then steps away for us to survive on our own. He loves and cares for us deeply and will be our help and protection during persecution. Read Psalm 27, written by a David when he was running for his life, and see how he calls on his God for help and protection. We can do that too when we are faced with persecution.
3. Persecution is a blessing (Matthew 5:11-12). Jesus said some pretty crazy stuff when He was doing ministry here on the earth. One of those things is that when we are persecuted for our faith, we should “rejoice and be glad.” Really? Persecution for the Christians gives us an opportunity to suffer for our Savior who suffered for us and brings us closer to Him. You will never meet a geniune Christian who has faced persecution and came out on the other side further from God then they were before the persecution. God grows our faith and love for Him when we walk through the valley.
4. We must remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted (Hebrews 13:3). You may not be facing persecution right now, but Christians are always being persecuted somewhere around the world at all times. Our responsibility is to remember them as the writer of Hebrews tells us to. “Remember” in this passage does not just mean “call to mind.” It means to “actively remember; to remember and act.” One of the ways we can do that is to be in prayer for other Christians who are being persecuted.
I’ve never prayed for a persecuted Christian like I have for Tom. This situation has reminded me of the reality of persecution and power of God to work even in the darkest situations. Would you join our church in prayer for our brother Tom?