Hello and welcome to Old Truth Ministries’ YouTube channel. My name is Jeremy Roberts and I am the Pastor and founder. If this is your first time finding our channel that means you have perfect timing because this is our first weekly message. If you want to learn more about who we are please check out our video from last week or you can visit us at OldTruth.org.
Every Saturday I will bring you a message that I hope helps you grow as a Christian. the message may sometimes be different than anything you have every heard and sometimes may even be hard to hear but it is intended to get you back on the right path and away from love of worldly things and ideologies.
Today’s message is called “Faith over fear”. I know many people have the T-shirt or have the tattoo but this is something different. This message is about the persecution faced by Christians from biblical times through modern times. What Christians have had to endure then and now as well as how they have handled this persecution.
According to the book of Acts, one of the first Christian martyrs was Stephen, a member of the early church who was brought before the Sanhedrin, the assembly of Jewish religious leaders, on charges of blasphemy. Stephen was subsequently stoned, touching off a mass persecution of Christians led by Saul of Tarsus.
The first organized Roman persecution of Christians was ordered by Emperor Nero in 64 AD. Christians were blamed for burning Rome so he ordered Christians to be arrested and tortured and many were burned alive at the stake to light the city squares and alleys. This is where the term “Roman Candle” comes from.
The rise of Islamic rule in the seventh century in the Middle East resulted in Christians being forbidden to display the cross on churches or use a bell to summon believers to prayer they also had to pay a tax. Many Christians were also forced into slavery. Muslims who converted to Christianity where subject to severe penalties including execution.
During the French Revolution Catholic Clergymen were forced to take an oath to the new French constitution over the Catholic Church. Churches were closed and ravaged.Christian signs of worship, symbols, and monuments were destroyed and religious education was forbidden.
This list does not include all of the long list of believers who were executed for their faith.
After the 1800s life got a little better for Christians up until a resurgence of hatred in the 20th century. According to ministries such as Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs, more Christians have been killed for their faith in the last century than in all other ages combined.
In 2021 alone, according to the 2022 World Watch List, 5,898 Christians were killed, 5,110 churches were attacked or closed, 6,175 Christians were arrested without trial, and 3,829 were kidnapped.
There is a substantial uprise in the persecution of Christians in Afghanistan, Nigeria, North Korea, Turkey, India, and many others.
Every day, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked. Every day, 13 Christians are unjustly arrested or imprisoned and another five or abducted
In all of these countries the Christians, a vast majority, always stand firm in their faith even until death. They could renounce their faith and escape their persecution but they choose not to because they choose their faith over the fear of persecution…even death.
In America today Christians face persecution as well just not to the same degree. We are mocked, ridiculed, passed over for promotions, sued, and targeted for harassment. Churches where forced to close during the pandemic even though casinos and strip clubs were allowed to stay open. The IRS was caught targeting Christian non-profits. Christian businesses have been dragged to court for following their religious beliefs and are being targeted by the LGBTQ movement. Christians are being terminated from their jobs for refusing to follow the gender identity ideology and Pro-life Christians are attacked and ridiculed everyday.
And since we, in America, are not in fear of being imprisoned, kidnapped, or murdered (at least not yet) it should be way easier for American Christians to be resolute and stand up for their faith and openly profess their faith…right? Well many do stand up to this persecution but many in America also bow down to it either by conceding to their persecutors or saying nothing at all. Churches allow and even nurture these ideologies and actions in the spirit of “inclusion”. Christians in America just stand by as their rights are stripped and they are increasingly being treated as a “problem” and “scourge to society” in a hopes that “somebody will do something” or maybe hoping it will just go away.
Christians today, those living a righteous life and walking the correct path, even face persecution from fellow “Christians”. They are told that they are “too strict”, “too old fashioned”, “not being inclusive enough”, even down right “wrong”.
Now let me say right here that false teachers and Churches teaching incorrect doctrine are becoming more and more common and when Christians that know better call these false teachers and churches out that is not persecution it is correction and must be done lest many people be lost.
As 2 Timothy 4:3-5 tells us: “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
But for those of us Christians who are indeed being persecuted for our beliefs. Know that it is unavoidable for Lucifer and all his fallen angels will always fight against what is right . His goal is to make what is right wrong and whatever is wrong made right and the result of that is the persecution of Christians and the change of public opinion here in America and elsewhere. It was true in biblical times and is true today.
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
And Matthew 5:11 says: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account..”
So knowing it is unavoidable and has happened to one degree or another for centuries how should we react to being persecuted? Should we go hide in a corner cowardly and quiet? Maybe we should hide in our safe space…our church building where other believers will hug us and tell us it is all going to be ok. Maybe we should just go through our daily lives with our mouths shut only professing our faith among fellow believers. NO!! We must stand up and profess our faith anywhere and anytime. When challenged we must stand our ground never wavering in our beliefs and never ever cowering from expressing them for fear of being ridiculed or “cancelled” as people like to say today.
Just remember when standing up and fighting back to always do it from a place of love and never anger. Never use demeaning speech like those attacking you will use. Romans 12:14 says; “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.” And Matthew 5:44 says : “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”. Scripture tells us this not only because it is the right thing to do but because if there is ever any hope of winning the lost and deceived over to God it can only be done with love. If you meet hate with hate all it will do is add fuel to the fire.
Never take the insults and lies personally. Know that it is the devil trying to break you down and make you slip. Remember Paul writes in his second letter to the church at Corinth: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” If someone calls you a “homophobe” tell them “No. I love all people but I do hate all sin”. If they tell you that you are a misogynist and against women’s rights because you oppose abortion tell them “No. I am just for protecting all life especially the innocent”. No matter what names they call you or what lies they say about you just respond with love and the word of God.
The one thing you must NEVER do is compromise your faith and go against the word of God. It is never ok to just go along with society but call a person this or the other or being accepting of another thing if it goes against the Word. God will never be ok with that!
James 4:4 says “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
So yes you are going to be persecuted when you refuse to call that woman a man or that man a woman. Yes you are going to be persecuted when you refuse to bake that gender transition cake. Yes you are going to be persecuted when you tell someone that abortion is murder. Yes you are going to be persecuted when you say pretty much anything biblical in these days and time. And I don’t know about you but I would much rather be persecuted by people here on earth than judged by God when I get to heaven. And I darn sure would rather be a friend to God than a friend to the world.
But when you say these things speak and act out of love. I know most of the time it may cause heated debate especially on the gender identity issue. How I choose to handle this particular scenario is that when I learn that they have a so called preferred pronoun that contradicts their actual gender is that I simply say “ Oh ok. What is your name?” Then from that moment on I will use no pronouns at all in reference to that person (other than YOU) and will instead use their name. (I don’t care what name they choose to use. That came from their parents and not from God). Not once have I ever had anyone respond negatively to that although, depending where you live, your result may be different. The point is you can still be respectful without compromising your faith.
So, as I hope you see now, FAITH over fear is about so much more than a tshirt or bumper sticker. It’s about putting your faith ahead everything. Ahead of your fear of embarrassment. Ahead of your fear of not fitting in with the crowd. Ahead of the fear of being canceled. Ahead of everything else in your life. There are people in other countries willing to die for their faith…the least you can do is stand up for yours.
I want to leave you this week with some of Paul’s final words to Timothy:
“proclaim the Word! Be on hand with it whether the time seems right or not. Convict, censure and exhort with unfailing patience and with teaching.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. I’ll see you next week bye bye