Moving Towards a Biblical Understanding of Persecution

Across the global Christianity is facing an increase in persecution. Even in western nations where persecution against Christians has been relatively rare over the last few centuries, we are seeing a slow increase in discrimination against Christians that is beginning to move towards persecution. This small book covers the main teaching of the subject of persecution in order to help equip the church for the days ahead.

Paul’s Apostolic Use of Privilege

One thing that is consistent in Paul’s life is his willingness to use his own strength and ability for the sake of others. Paul’s body, his rights, and his privileges were simply tools and resources that he willingly used to advance the church. Paul’s suffering in the city of Philippi provides one of the best examples of how Paul functioned in this way an apostle.

How the Rapture Reveals Our View of Suffering

Where you see the rapture occurring is significantly related to your view of suffering as it relates to the purposes of God. Most in the church have a different view of suffering than the apostles did. The spread of the pre-tribulation rapture is not just due to a view of the end times, it is also due to the belief of believers that God’s goal is for the church to avoid suffering.

The Theological Significance of the Rapture

The idea of the immanent rapture can end up supporting a spectator view of Bible prophecy primarily because it teaches that believers will not be present for the most significant events of the end of the age. This makes much of the Scripture describing the Lord’s return effectively trivial when it is meant to be sound doctrine about themes that prepare the church to practically walk out the gospel.

Does our View of the Rapture Matter?

One of the most prominent beliefs in western eschatology in the last century has been the belief in the “pre-tribulation” rapture. Generally the question of the rapture is seen as an academic issue, a non-essential doctrine that does not really affect our day-to-day Christianity, but we must understand how much our view of the rapture reflects our view of God.

Two Primary Themes in the End-Time Church

This message examines two primary themes in the end-time church that must be understood as primary for the church in every generation. The neglect of these two themes, which are emphasized in the Gospels, the book of Acts, and the book f Revelation, will produce a church that is abnormal and disconnected to where God is leading the church in this age.

The Testimony of Suffering

“Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also

I am God’s Wheat

Ignatius of AntiochThe issue of martyrdom is central to a vibrant Christianity. Tertullian famously said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” The reality is that the church is called to martyrdom. The Greek word “martus” that is used in the New Testament can be translated in the English to “martyr” or “witness” depending on the context. For example, in Acts 1:8, Jesus called His followers to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. The word for witnesses there is martus. We are called to be His martyrs. Whether or not we are forcibly killed for the gospel is actually a minor issue. Following Jesus requires an inward martyrdom from the word and it’s system. It requires a death to the ways of thinking and understanding that we were born with. In short, we must first be martyrs in our heart if we are to be true witnesses on the earth.

This concept is particularly difficult for western Christians. For one thing, the world is so appealing and comfortable that we find it difficult to root ourselves in an eternal reality. It is just too comfortable in this time and in this age. Secondly, western culture and the church have become intertwined in such a way that we sometimes assume our western culture is the equivalent of a Christian culture. While Christianity and Christian ideals have been a significant influence on western culture, we cannot consider western culture to be equivalent with a kingdom that Jesus clearly said was not of this world.

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