Through Many Tribulations (Part 4): Persecution

Through Many Tribulations

As we continue looking at the apostle Paul, we will see that he did more than just sacrifice his time and effort in laboring for the cause of Christ, along with a degree of material and mental well-being. He also faced persecution for his faith.

He told Timothy, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10). Not only did Paul suffer as a criminal, but he willingly endured this. Why? He said he did so “for the sake of those who are chosen” (2 Timothy 2:10). He also told Timothy later in this same letter, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). He endured persecution in order to obtain salvation – for himself and for others. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he described some of the ways he faced persecution.Continue Reading

“If God Is For Us”

Man on a mountain

Paul’s words at the end of Romans 8 were meant to be a source of encouragement for the saints in Rome. They ought to be for us as well.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31).

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

We must always remember that “God is for us.” Knowing this, we can make it through any challenge that may come against us. Let us take a closer look at the text.Continue Reading

Secularism

Imagine No Religion (billboard)

In his letter to the saints in Rome, Paul described the condition of the Gentile world as a whole: “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper” (Romans 1:28). They had rejected God in favor of their “gods.” Their “gods” – since they were a product of their own imagination – allowed them to do anything they wanted to do. As a result, they no longer felt hindered by God’s laws.

We live under similar conditions today. People in our society do not serve the same idols, but the similarity is in the sense that people see no reason to follow God’s laws. They are content to live without seeing any need for religion. This is secularism.

We live in an increasingly secular society. There are certain challenges that come with this. But why is a secular society a challenge for Christians? Let us consider secularism and the challenges it presents in this article.
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Sermon on the Mount (Part 1): A Blessed Life

Sermon on the Mount (Part 1): A Blessed Life

Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with statements that are commonly called the Beatitudes. In these verses, He described those who were blessed. This word does not merely mean that one is happy. Rather, to be blessed means to be approved of God. This results in true joy that surpasses the temporary moments of “happiness” in this life. This is particularly important because, as we will see, there will be times when those who are “blessed” are those who are suffering. Let us consider the Beatitudes and see how the life of a disciple is a blessed life.
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Remember the Fallen

The Stoning of Stephen

In the United States, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have died while serving in the armed forces. It is certainly appropriate for us to appreciate the sacrifices that have helped make it possible for us to live “a tranquil and quiet life” (1 Timothy 2:2).

In a similar way, it is good for us to remember those who died not for a country, but for the kingdom of Christ. The New Testament provides us with a record of a few such individuals. In this article we will remember these martyrs* and consider some lessons from their deaths.
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The Psalm of the Word (Part 21): Reverence

The Psalm of the Word

Princes persecute me without cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your words.

I rejoice at Your word,
As one who finds great spoil.

I hate and despise falsehood,
But I love Your law.

Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous ordinances.

Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

I hope for Your salvation, O Lord,
And do Your commandments.

My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.

I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You.

(Psalm 119:161-168)

In this lesson, we will focus on the idea of reverence. If we fear God, we should hold His word in the highest regard. This will necessarily lead us to respond in a certain way toward His word.
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The Psalm of the Word (Part 16): Riches

The Psalm of the Word

I have done justice and righteousness;
Do not leave me to my oppressors.

Be surety for Your servant for good;
Do not let the arrogant oppress me.

My eyes fail with longing for Your salvation
And for Your righteous word.

Deal with Your servant according to Your lovingkindness
And teach me Your statutes.

I am Your servant; give me understanding,
That I may know Your testimonies.

It is time for the Lord to act,
For they have broken Your law.

Therefore I love Your commandments
Above gold, yes, above fine gold.

Therefore I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything,
I hate every false way.

(Psalm 119:121-128)

The psalmist made a contrast between the commandments of God and gold. As we consider these verses, we can see why the riches of God’s word are so much more valuable than gold.
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