Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
May 27, 1998
Last Updated :
July 9, 2012
Learn To Recognize Unique Witnessing Opportunities, God Has A Plan And A Purpose In Everything That He Allows, Trust In The Lord And Walk By Faith, God's Ways Are Past Finding Out, Learn To See God Working In All Things, Rejoice And Count It All Joy When You Are Persecuted And Imprisoned, Devil's Lies And Condemnation, Resist Satan Who Is A Liar And An Accuser, Learn To See Things The Way God Sees Them, Being Persecuted Is The Mark Of A True Christian, Trench Warfare, The Devil Is Already Defeated, Absent From The Body And Present With The Lord, We Belong To Jesus Forever And Are Known To God, Soldiers Ambassadors Fellowcitizens And Sons, Not Of This World, Heavenly Vision: New Jerusalem, Additional Reading
Continuing our discussion from part three, from a human perspective, it would at first appear that Paul and Silas being thrown into prison in Philippi was a setback for the Lord's Work. However, God had other plans; and in the end, we see that their brief prison stay turned into a wonderful and unique witnessing opportunity. Not only did all of the prisoners hear the Disciples singing their praises to the Lord, but ultimately, the jailer and his entire family received the Lord. So God garnered another victory out of seeming defeat!
This account from the lives of Paul and Silas emphasizes a very important lesson. That is that we should never doubt for a moment that God has a reason and a purpose for everything which He allows to occur in our lives; even if we are unable to understand it at that particular moment. Sometimes it is just a matter of walking by faith, and trusting fully in the Lord, as we learn from the following verses:
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
"(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)"
2 Corinthians 5:7, KJV
Even when we make foolish mistakes as a result of trusting in our own flesh and in our own wisdom, God is still able to turn them around and obtain victories from them. Furthermore, if we are in tune to God's Spirit, we will learn important lessons from them as well. The longer we know and serve the Lord, and study His Word, the more we come to realize that quite often, His thoughts and His ways are simply far above our own, and they are past finding out. Consider these verses:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV
"Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number."
Job 9:10, KJV
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
Romans 11:33, KJV
To reiterate, the key lesson we can learn here is that we must learn to see God working in all things. For example, insofar as persecution is concerned, if God delivers you into the hands of ungodly men so that you are cast into prison, and your deliverance from that place doesn't occur right away, then perhaps you need to consider that He has you there for some specific reason. Of course, it is up to you to try to determine what that reason is. Perhaps there is someone there who needs to hear the Gospel of Salvation. Perhaps like the Prophet Jeremiah, He has placed you there for your own safety, such as to protect you from certain events that are occurring in the outside world. I really don't know. Again, it is for you alone to determine.
However, let me stress that if you are incarcerated for no other reason than the fact that you were being faithful to preach the Good News of Salvation, then under absolutely no circumstances should you feel condemned, or think that you have done something wrong. Quite to the contrary, as we discussed earlier in this series, you should rejoice, count it a blessing, and count it all joy that you have been found worthy to suffer persecution for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. At such times, it is also important to remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Romans:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Romans 8:1, KJV
As many Christians will know, one of the Devil's favorite tactics is to condemn us, to criticize us, and to lie to us by telling us that God no longer loves us, or that He has abandoned us, or that He is thoroughly upset with us because of something which we have done which has been displeasing in His sight. When one is sitting in a prison cell, Satan may find it the perfect opportunity to attack, because we may be weak and vulnerable. That old serpent will endeavor to fill us with his doubts. He will make every attempt to discourage us. He will even try to make us jump ship. If you find yourself in such a situation, please remember verses such as the following:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren [Satan] is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Revelation 12:10, KJV
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7, KJV
"Neither give place to the devil."
Ephesians 4:27, KJV
"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."
Jude 1:9, KJV
As I explain in such articles as "Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement", "Are Personal Tragedies Due to Sin?", "Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?" and "Beholding the Evil and the Good", while the Lord does indeed chastise His wayward children, this is not the only reason why things sometimes go wrong in our lives. Furthermore, it is not wise to always judge situations by human standards. We must learn to see things the way that God sees them.
Allow me to emphasize again that unjustified persecution is the mark of a true Christian. It is a badge of accomplishment which signifies that we are getting the job done. As I point out in other articles, it is only when a soldier sticks his head out of the trench, that the enemy begins to fire. It is when we go on the attack by invading Satan's territory, and aggressively witnessing to the Lord's lost sheep, that Satan cowers in fear. It is at such times that he will pull out his biggest guns, or his biggest tricks, or his biggest lies, in the hope that he can scare us into retreat.
However, what we all need to remember is that the Devil is no match for the Children of Light! Furthermore, he was defeated two thousand years ago when Jesus died on a Roman Cross for the sins of the world, and then rose from the dead three days later. Therefore, Satan is bluffing, the war has already been won, and God's truth goes marching on! Consider these verses:
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18, KJV
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33, KJV
So because we are all engaged in spiritual warfare, we may suffer some casualties. In fact at some point, you or I may possibly be one of them. But even if we are, well praise God! As the Apostle Paul writes:
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Philippians 1:21, KJV
"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:6-8, KJV
So what are you even worried about? No matter how you look at it, in the end, you are on God's winning team, and there is nothing that Satan and his antichrist forces can do to change that, because they are the real losers. While they may persecute you, imprison you, and perhaps even destroy your physical body, there is absolutely nothing that they can do to the real you; that is, to your spirit. As Jesus Himself tells us in the Gospel of Matthew:
"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 in hell."
Matthew 10:28, KJV
It is possible that our enemies may even cause some of us to deny our Lord with our tongue through physical torture and persecution; but just like the Apostle Peter, the Lord knows our hearts; and we have His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us, no matter what. Consider these verses:
". . . I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV
"If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself . . . Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
2 Timothy 2:13, 19, KJV
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
John 10:28, KJV
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39, KJV
In conclusion, if white supremacist groups, private militias, and other racist hate groups want to wage some kind of war against the American government, and engage in acts of civil disobedience, that should really be of no concern to us, and we should have absolutely no part in it. After all, as Jesus tells us, His Kingdom -- and thus, our Kingdom -- is not of this current world. Furthermore, He is not of this world, and neither are we, as we see by these verses:
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."
John 15:19, KJV
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
John 17:14-15, KJV
"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36, KJV
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
James 4:4, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
Clearly then, the tenets of our faith declare that we are not of this current world. As such, we only owe our allegiance and our loyalty to our Heavenly Father, and to His royal Kingdom, because we are His soldiers, His ambassadors, fellowcitizens of His Kingdom, and in fact, members of His Royal Household, as we see by the following verses:
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God."
2 Corinthians 5:20, KJV
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Ephesians 2:19, KJV
So while the children of the world may foolishly wage violent and bloody wars against each other for the sake of power and dominance, it behooves us as the children of the Most High to keep our eyes set upon Jesus Christ, and the Heavenly Vision. That Vision is wonderfully described for us in the following inspiring verses:
"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. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 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."
Hebrews 11:13-16, KJV
With these inspiring thoughts I will bring this series to its conclusion. I trust that you have found it informative, and I pray that it has been an encouragement to you, and a blessing in your life. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this series, and which are likewise located on this very same Bill's Bible Basics website:
He Who Fights and Runs Away: Choose Your Battles Wisely
Killing and the Phinehas Priesthood
Killing, Murder and Military Duty
Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement
Are Personal Tragedies Due to Sin?
Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Beholding the Evil and the Good
The Fruits of Disobedience
A Biblical Cafeteria or the Whole Course?
Oh Israel, Why Will Ye Die?
The Children of Light: Are You One of Us?
Are You a Burning Ember for the Lord?
Are You Crucified With Christ?
Study, Work, and Don't Be Ashamed
Heaven's Gate, Suicide And Other Death Cults
The Heavenly Vision: Have You Got It?