Jim Hamilton preached a powerful message on John 15 earlier today at Kenwood Baptist Church. It was about persecution, that no man is greater than his master, and that if Jesus was persecuted his followers will be too. You can listen to the sermon below or download it here.
The sermon stirred some reflections on this theme, and I intended to write them down here. But as I was getting ready to write, I discovered that someone else had already written it. Last April Kevin DeYoung penned the really insightful “Are Christians in America Persecuted?” He answered the question with a clear yes, and he couldn’t be more right. DeYoung finishes the essay by explaining “why this matters.” He says that recognizing persecution when it happens is of immense practical importance for each one of us. He gives four reasons for this:
First, we do not want to miss out on the privilege of suffering, even a little bit, for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:41).
Second, we should not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes to test us (1 Peter 4:12).
Third, if we overly limit the scope of persecution, we will neglect the Christian ethic incumbent upon us to pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).
Fourth, if John 15:20 is true, and 2 Timothy 3:13 is true, and the expectation of the entire New Testament is true, then no amount of PR work is going to rescue the church from being thought by some as backwards and bigoted.
Read the rest of this excellent piece here.