Who Is Promised To Be Persecuted?

There is a promise for everyone who will live godly in Christ Jesus to suffer persecution. Everyone involved in preaching the gospel will suffer persecution. All believers can expect to suffer persecution because Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law but not from the cross—which means suffering for Jesus’ sake

Everyone Who Will Live Godly In Christ Jesus

  • Paul’s Prescription: After Paul recounts to his disciple Timothy how Jesus had delivered him from certain persecutions and afflictions, he tells him that, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Thus, Paul was saying they every believer can expect to suffer some degree of persecution, because every genuine believer should be striving to live godly lives in Christ Jesus.
    2 Timothy 3:10-13
    • “In Christ Jesus”—To be “in Christ” means that you have repented of your sins and put your faith in Jesus. You are identifying, associating, affiliating, uniting and standing with Jesus and all that He stands for. We have a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ and we love Him, believe in Him, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
      1 Peter 1:3-9
    • “Live godly”—Godliness is to have the right attitudes, actions and beliefs. It means that we are living out our faith according to the will of God in all areas: doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, and patience. Our manner of life is characterized by seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
      1 Timothy 4:7-10; Matthew 6:33
  • Suffering for Jesus is part of God’s will for the life of every believer. Paul says that God has gracious given to us that, “In the behalf of Christ” or for the sake of Christ we should “not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake”. This means that no only has God given us the ability and opportunity to believe in Him, but He has also given us the ability and opportunity to suffer for Him. Suffering for Jesus is part of God’s plan for us.
    Philippians 1:29

Everyone That Is Sent Forth To Preach The Gospel

  • Paul’s Example: Before Paul told Timothy the prescription for persecution, He recounted His own personal experiences with persecution. Thus, he exemplified what it looked like to suffer persecution for living godly in Christ Jesus. Paul was a man that lived on mission. When he was at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra he endured persecutions and afflictions. The one common denominator that Paul had in each of those cities where he was persecuted was “preaching the gospel”. Thus, one aspect of “living godly in Christ Jesus” is to be preaching the message of Jesus.
    2 Timothy 3:10-11; (Antioch: Acts 13:14-45; Iconium: Acts 14:1-5; Lystra: Acts 14:6-19)
  • Jesus’ Warning: As Jesus sent out His disciples out on their first preaching mission, He tells them that He is sending them out “as sheep in the midst of wolves”. The disciple easily understood what this meant. In this scenario the sheep is the one in danger. Wolves attack sheep. Wolves kill sheep. Wolves eat sheep. His disciples already have determined enemies. They are being sent on a mission in a dangerous environment.
    Matthew 10:5-7; 16-17
  • The Disciples’ Example: The gospel is made up of words and these words have to be spoken. As we speak these words, some will believe and their lives will be forever changed, but others will retaliate against us. This is what happened as the disciples and church was on mission in the book of Acts. They taught the people and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. They taught in the name of Jesus. They stood in the temple and taught the people. They filled Jerusalem with their doctrine. They preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. They preached the gospel boldly in different cities in the name of Jesus. They stood up in the crowds and congregations and spoke boldly in the Lord. They reasoned with people out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom they preach unto them, is Christ. They turned the world upside down.
    Acts 4:1-4; 17-31; 5:17-42; 6:8-7:60; 9:20-29; 9:29-31; 13:14-52; 14:1-6; 14:19-22; 17:1-9; 21:26-40; 23:12
  • The Church: There was great persecution against the church at Jerusalem that caused the people to scatter and Christians were being taken out of their house and being put into prison because they were the church of the Lord Jesus Christ and preached in His name. Thus, they were scattered everywhere and used the opportunity to spread the gospel everywhere. (Stephen is connected to this church.)
    Acts 8:1-4

Jesus Died To Redeem Us From The Curse But Not The Cross
Curse: Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14-15; Cross: Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23

  • Jesus died to redeem us from the curse of the law but not from the cross—meaning suffering for Jesus’ sake. But what does it mean if you are a believer and you haven’t suffered any persecution? First, know that everyone person will experience differing kinds of persecution—some will be mocked and others will be jailed. So just because you haven’t been persecuted in the same manner as someone else doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Second, you need to ask some questions: (1) Are you “in Christ”? (2) Are you living godly? (3) Are you preaching the gospel?
  • Are you willing to be persecuted for Jesus’ sake? If not, maybe you need to be reminded of the following two warnings in the Bible:
    • The Stony Places: The Word of the kingdom goes forth and a person hears it and receives it joyfully without hesitation but it doesn’t take root and thus it can only last temporarily. When tribulation and persecution (times of testing) come about because of the Word of the kingdom, this person just as quickly is offended by it and rejects it. He does not care to take up his cross and follow Christ anymore. Heaven sounded good but persecution doesn’t is his attitude. Your faithfulness during persecution will tell what kind of ground you are.
      Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21
    • False Teachers: Paul reviews the problem of the hypocritical false teachers in the midst of the Galatian churches. They are teaching them to be circumcised as a requirement for salvation with the motivation to live comfortable lives that avoid persecution from those who find “the cross of Christ” intolerant and offensive. False teachers avoid persecution instead of being loyal and embracing the suffering for Jesus.
      Galatians 6:12; 1 Corinthians 1:18

Review Questions

  • What is Paul’s prescription?
  • Is suffering for Jesus part of God’s will for the life of every believer? Why?
  • What was the one common denominator that Paul had for being persecuted?
  • What was Jesus’ warning?
  • What are some question you need to ask if you aren’t suffering for Jesus’ sake?

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