For those who may be reluctant to become a Christian because of possible persecution, we need to warn
them that the future as a non-Christian will be infinitely worse.
Jesus said in Matthew
28 And fear not
them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body
We need to prepare for persecution if it comes our way, but
realise it will be infinitely worse for nonbelievers.
It certainly seems prudent to avoid
persecution if one can.
We must pray and pray and seek the Lord's will in each case.
We want to be sure we do not deny our Lord.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before
men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father
which is in heaven.
Peter denied Christ 3 times:
22: (Peter talking)
he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this
day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.
And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how
he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
Believer's sins are all paid for by Christ's sacrifice, and Peter, forgiven, went on to very greatly serve Christ.
We need to firmly purpose that we will not deny Jesus Christ.
The New Testament passage Hebrews 12:1-3 sums up the long list of heros of the faith given
in the previous chapter 11. (sometimes called God's Hall of Fame)
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of
our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.
2 For by
it the elders obtained a good report.
faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things
which do appear.
faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God
testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found,
because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him:
for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not
seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became
heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for
an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling
in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength
to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him
as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received
the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers
and pilgrims on the earth.
they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out,
they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to
be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received
the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up,
even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying,
blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing
of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because
they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be
called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches
than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the
king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the
firstborn should touch them.
faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after
they were compassed about seven days.
faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would
fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought
righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness
were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others
were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea,
moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report
through faith, received not the promise:
having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.