Freedom in Fear of Persecution
Freedom as we come to the table. Let us look at Freedom That Jesus Gives
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you, the offspring of Abraham my friend, you whom I grasped from the ends of the earth and called from its remotest parts and told, “You are my servant; I have chosen you and I have not rejected you.” You must not fear, for I am with you; you must not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, indeed I will help you, indeed I will take hold of you with the right hand of my salvation. Look! All those who are angry with you shall be ashamed and humiliated; your opponents shall be like nothing and shall become lost. You shall seek them, but you shall not find them; your opponents shall be like nothing, and the men of your war like nothing. For I, Yahweh your God, am grasping your right hand; it is I who say to you, “You must not fear; I myself, I will help you. You must not fear, O worm of Jacob; people of Israel, I myself, I will help you,” declares Yahweh, “and your redeemer is the holy one of Israel. Look! I will make you into a new sharp threshing sledge, with sharp edges. You shall thresh and crush the mountains, and you shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them, and the tempest shall scatter them. And you yourself shall rejoice in Yahweh; you shall boast in the holy one of Israel.
This passage was written from 742 -700 BC. This means that it was written in a time in which Israel was no longer one nation. The nations split with the death of Solomon. There was Israel and Judah. Isaiah was a prophet to Israel the northern kingdom. He told people of there impending conquering for turning their backs on God. And that God was using the These conquering nations to punish his children. The northern Kingdom fell in 722.
This passage is a passage of hope. We se that Israel is still God’s chosen people and he will restore them after their punishment is over Sort of like being sent to your room.
Let me read tell you a quick story
Men some would call Terrorists had killed their pastor the night before. His body was on the floor under a blanket with some candles around it. Terrorists had also burned the church and seventeen houses – all belonging to Christians. The people had no more church, no more pastor, no more houses. Yet, they continued to gather together fearlessly, about thirty of them. They stood in the muddy street to have their song service.
This story is true
When I read it one might consider it to be during a time of persecution when the church first began. But know this event took place in Cano, Peru 1991.
Defined - Subject to hostility or ill-treatment, on the grounds of political or religious beliefs
We in the United States usually chose to ignore the persecution that continues else where in the world because it doesn’t happen to that level here. We have instances we can point too (such as columbine) but on a whole we are pretty save with our freedom of religion that we take for granted. It is Getting more and more difficult to ignore. 207 people killed in Sri Lanka. We fail to notice that from January-September 2006 police arrested more than 499 Chinese house church members in 15 different provinces. That all over the world we see men, women and children being killed for their faith.
Approximately 215 million Christians now experience high, very high, or extreme levels of persecution; that means 1 in 12 Christians live where Christianity is “illegal, forbidden, or punished,” according to Open Doors researchers.
The 2018 World Watch List, reported 3,066 Christians were killed, 1,252 were abducted, 1,020 were raped or sexually harassed, and 793 churches were attacked.
But in US we become immune by all that we see and hear
We know that this doesn’t happen here
Why Are We Afraid
Why Are We Afraid
So the question now becomes why are we so afraid.
People over sees are dying to share their faith and here where nothing will happen to us we hide.
WHY ARE WE HIDDING
Is it rejection. People fear rejection more than death Those words NO. If they reject the words of Christ, they reject God not us. Let him deal with that
Is it fear of what to say. God promises that he will tell us what to say when the time comes
Lets look back at that passage of scripture that we read at the beginning
Isaiah giving us a timeless meaning here. God telling his people that no matter what the persecutors do to them. And in His appointed time they will be restored. This world can do nothing to use God will not mend in the end
Paul says it like this
Your lifestyle must be free from the love of money, being content with what you have. For he himself has said, “I will never desert you, and I will never abandon you.”
I will never leave you or forsake you God promises and he sent His one and only son as proof. God has given us freedom from fear when he sent Jesus. Jesus died so that we may have eternal life and the HS has entered us.
Why then do we fear?
This poem was written by E. H. Hamilton upon hearing of Missionary Jack Vinsen's martyrdom. See below for more background on this.
"Afraid? Of what?" To feel the spirit's glad release? To pass from pain to perfect peace, The strife and strain of life to cease? Afraid? Of that?
Afraid? Of what? Afraid to see the Saviour's face, To hear His welcome, and to trace, The glory gleam from wounds of grace, Afraid? Of that?
Afraid? Of what? A flash - a crash - a pierced heart; Brief darkness - Light - O Heaven's art! A wound of His a counterpart! Afraid? Of that?
Afraid? Of what? To enter into Heaven's rest, And yet to serve the Master blessed? From service good to service best? Afraid? Of that?
Afraid? Of what? To do by death what life could not - Baptize with blood a stony plot, Till souls shall blossom from the spot? Afraid? Of that?