Temple Baptist Church - 4-19-2020
2 Timothy 3:10-12
A. I have said many times in the past that I thank god every day for America. We, as God’s children and an independent Baptist church, have always had freedom to assemble and worship God without fear of reprisal. America was founded by people fleeing other countries and continents in search of religious freedom and found it here!
B. Over the past 2-3 months, America got a taste of religious persecution because of the “COVID-19 Crisis.” Churches were forced to close their doors to public worship services and those who dared to keep the church doors open were arrested, fined, or threatened with quarantine. For the first time in my 71 years, I have now seen the persecution of those who would dare to biblically assemble for worship. What a sad day in American history!
1. America got a taste of religious persecution this past month or so because of the “COVID-19 Crisis.” Churches were asked not to assemble and, in many places, forced to close with many who attended church services arrested, fined, or threatened with quarantine. “Snitch Lines” were established in many places so that neighbors or people driving by could report anyone breaking the “law” of “three are gathered together.”
2. The government, for the most part, deeming the assembly of the local church as non-essential and therefore attempting to ban its public assembly. Walmart was labeled essential, grocery stores were essential, fast food restaurants were essential, hardware stores were essential, liquor stores were essential, abortion “baby killing mills” were essential, and the list could go on, but God’s House was labeled as non-essential.
a) So many churches acquiesced to the demands of government from day one because of mis-information campaigns and fear of reprisal!
b) I have heard some quote these verses of Scripture concerning obedience to government.
1 Peter 2:13-15 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; (14) Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (15) For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
c) God’s people are to obey every ordinances of man until such ordinances contradict the ordinances of God!
1) In Acts 5:41-42, we see their disobedience to the demands of government.
Acts 5:41-42 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
2) In Acts 5:29, we find their obedience to God when man’s laws are contradictory to God’s laws.
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
d) The government’s “shut down” of the assembly of the local churches is contradictory to God’s command of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching!”
e) The government’s “shut down” of the assembly of the local churches is also contrary to the First Amendment!
First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
f) I am not “knocking” churches that have called off their assembly as that is between them and God, but nothing can replace the assembly of the saints. What local churches do is up to them and none of my business. I am preaching to Temple Baptist Church this morning! We have chosen to assemble.
“The difference between listening to a radio sermon and going to church…is almost like the difference between calling your girl on the phone and spending an evening with her.” ~ Anonymous
g) Live Video is good but not the assembly of the local church! I thank God for the ability to put our services online, but many older people do not have computers or Facebook, etc., therefore they are left out. There is no fellowship of the saints of exhorting one another.
h) Parking Lot Services with people sitting in automobiles are good but not the biblical assembly of the local church! The new phrase we hear is “social distancing.” This phrase comprises an oxymoron. An oxymoron is a word or group of words that is self-contradicting. Social is the interaction of people while distancing is isolation from people.
Social - adjective: description; relating to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations; a social club; seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious; of, relating to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society; a social event; living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation:
Distancing - verb (used with object), action; distanced, distancing; to leave behind at a distance, as at a race; surpass; to place at a distance.
i) Thus, separation of church and state was breached and will eventually finds itself standing on the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States for adjudication.
j) I am glad that Moses’ parents chose to disobey man’s law by hiding him; I am glad that the three Hebrew children chose to disobey man’s law and it costs them a fiery furnace; I am glad that Daniel chose to disobey man’s law, opened his windows publicly and prayed 3 times a day as before, ending up in a lion’s den; I am glad that the Old Testament prophets chose to disobey, went to prison and died because they chose God’s law over man’s law; I am glad that the New Testament Apostles and saints chose to be imprisoned with many died for the same reason. Read chapter 11 of the Book of Hebrews!
Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
C. I believe that we have seen the beginning as other “Crises” will appear in the future. Persecution for righteousness sake has always been a way of life to those who would dare to live godly in Christ Jesus while honoring the Word of God. This continues to be the problem and the persecution righteous people continues to this day. God’s people need to understand why they are being persecuted and how to react to it.
1. Why Are God’s People So Persecuted?
a. God’s People Are Persecuted Because The World Hated Christ! John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
b. God’s People Are Persecuted Because Are God’s Children! Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
c. God’s People Are Persecuted Because They Live Godly! 2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2. Who Are Those Who So Greatly Persecute God’s People?
a. God’s People Are Now Persecuted By Government – Acts 5:40-42 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (41) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
b. God’s People Are Persecuted By Family - Matthew 10:32-39 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
c. God’s People Are Persecuted By Former Friends - Psalms 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
Psalms 55:12-14 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
Psalms 55:20-21 He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.
Job 19:19 All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.
Jeremiah 20:10 For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
d. God’s People Are Persecuted By The Religious Lost - Acts 9:1-2 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, (2) And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
(They hate you because salvation exposes religion for what it is!)
Galatians 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
Acts 9:1-2 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
Matthew 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
1 Thessalonians 2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:
Galatians 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Galatians 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
e. God’s People Are Persecuted By The Liberal Left - Jeremiah 6:15-16 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (It is interesting that liberalism is not found in the Bible. There is a difference between ignorance and liberalism! Ignorance means that someone has not been taught. “Everyone is ignorant, just in different areas!” God equates liberalism with being lost!)
Ezekiel 22:23-26 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
3. How Are God’s People To React To Persecution?
a. Learn To Bear The Cross Of Christ - Luke 14:26-27 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Cross – to establish, to stand, to set in place; an instrument of death; an instrument of prominent reproach)
Hebrews 13:12-13 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
1 Corinthians 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
1 Corinthians 4:12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
b. Learn To Love Your Enemies - Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (They are simply lost and we should have a burden for their eternal souls.)
Romans 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
c. Learn That Persecution Is For Christ’s Sake - Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. (They hate Who and what you stand for and not who you are.)
d. Learn That Christ Will Abide With You And Help You - 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (The Lord will stand with and for you – 3 Hebrew children, Daniel, Peter, Paul, etc.)
2 Timothy 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
e. Learn That The Lord Will Bless You For Suffering For And With Him - Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint–heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (It lets you know what side you are on and lets them know what side they are on.)
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
f. Learn To Rejoice And Give Thanks For All Things - 1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (This means that you are just like Him. Glory to God!)
2 Corinthians 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.