• Jesus sent out the disciples to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)
• The early church followed Jesus’ example of making disciples (SCMD)
• Today – we’re talking about one of the results of making biblical disciples in a Godless culture
• Persecution and/or suffering for being a Christian
2 Timothy 3:10-14 The Persecution of the Godly
1. If you want to walk closely with Jesus, you WILL suffer persecution. – 2 Timothy 3: 12 NLT
• Greek definition: Mistreated, harmed, insulted, be harassed, troubled
• Suffering for Jesus, not for our own sin or our own stupidity (1 Peter 4:14-15)
2. The origin of our persecution – sharing the Gospel
2 Timothy 2:23-26 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. NLT
• Remember – SCMD – S – share our lives and the truth of God’s word // Show & Tell the Gospel
• Some conversations are to be avoided but some we are to gently engage with those who oppose
• We have a spiritual enemy that is at work, taking people captive to do his will
3. Difficult times for the church – 2 Tim 3:1-5 NLT
• Difficult times are nothing new for the church or for disciples of Jesus
• Some people and situations are to be avoided – this is wise
• Sometimes difficulty can’t be avoided but we still need to find a way to do what is right (Ecc 8:2-6)
4. Paul’s Example of Suffering
2 Tim 3:10-11 10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. NLT
• Paul endured persecution and suffering for sharing Christ and the Lord rescued him
• Jesus said it would be this way – Matthew 10:22, 25
John 15:18-21 18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. NLT
• If the world loves you, it’s because you belong to the world
• They are not rejecting us. They are rejecting the only true God and His Son.
5. Our part is to REMAIN FAITHFUL – 2 Tim 3:12-14
• Remain faithful ….to what have been taught….in relationship
• God didn’t just send teaching from on high – HE sent His Son to Show & Tell the Truth in Relationship!
A few Reminders:
1. Let’s change our perspective to be able to REJOICE in suffering (1 Peter 4:14, 16; Acts 5:40-42)
We can, indeed, see opposition as success: “When a man is just a private citizen, a sailor, a laborer on the land, the enemies of the King do not take up arms against him. But when they see him accept the King’s seal, the shield, the dagger, the sword, the bow, the uniform of a soldier, then they gnash their teeth and do all they can to destroy him…War against us is proof that we are making war.” – John Climacus – 7th century writer
2. Let’s continue to encourage each other to ENDURE to the end (2 Corinthians 1:6; Matthew 10:22; 2 Timothy 1:8-10; Hebrews 12:3-4)
Next Steps –
• Spend time this week thanking God for the privilege of being in His family, even when it leads to suffering – share with someone some of the things you are thankful to Him for
• Read 2 Timothy this week and ask God to show you how you can be more prepared to suffer for Him
• Read When to Walk Away: Finding Freedom from Toxic People by Gary Thomas – especially chapter 12 – “Learning How to Be Hated”
• Pray for Boldness (Eph 6:19) and Opportunities (Col 4:3) to share Christ
For Small Group Discussion:
Opening Question: Have you ever been unjustly accused of something? What happened?
Main Point: In a world that is increasingly less tolerant of biblical principles, we are called to represent Christ in how we live in all the spheres of our lives.
Read/Tell the Story: Genesis 39:1-23 (Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife)
1. How did Joseph fight for the right things?
2. How do you know when to speak up and when to just remain faithful in following Jesus and let your actions speak for you?
3. How did Joseph gain favor in the eyes of the leaders of the day?
4. How do you think God is asking us to represent Him accurately in today’s culture?
5. Knowing that suffering is common, and even an expectation, for Christians, does that change your perspective about our current culture? How?
6. What areas of your life do you think you are growing in the discipline of resilience?
7. How is God asking you to be bolder for Him?
Supporting Scripture: Genesis 41:38-40, James 1:2-4, Matthew 13:20-21
For more resources for this series go to: https://bit.ly/RLcurrentseries