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What Shall We Do When Persecution Strikes?

As persecution grows against the church, here are some things to keep in mind

First Peter 4.12–16

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • July 22, In the year of our Lord, 2012

Scripture Reader and Reading: Phil Joseph – First Peter 4.7–11


  1. You go about being a kind person, 
    1. filling your life and the lives of others with joy, but
    2. someone persecutes you, and
      1. you do not know why.
      2. You question what you did wrong?
  2. Peter shows us what to do. 


  1. First Peter 4.12, 13 – When Persecution Strikes: Rejoice!

    12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy (1Pe 4.12, 13).

    1. When fiery trials arrive do not think it strange, because
      1. they come to try you,
      2. which means that God allows them.
        1. We think it strange that we as Christians experience fiery trials, because
        2. it is common for people to believe
          1. that God should prevent suffering, and
          2. that God should pour out the blessings we want.
            1. Then we have a fiery experience, and
            2. we wonder what happened.
        3. Deuteronomy 4 shows that God knows the depth of our suffering, for
          1. He knew of the Israelites in Egypt, and
          2. see to what Moses compared it,20 “But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day” (Deu 4.20).
            1. Suffering, especially persecution, feels like we have
            2. joined Israel in the Egyptian furnace, or
            3. joined Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in a furnace.
        4. Recall what Peter said earlier,6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ… (1Pe 1.6, 7).
          1. Trials of whatever sort are not bad, nor
          2. do they indicate failure, but
            1. they mean something very good, for
            2. we are known by those who
              1. support us and
              2. oppose us.
        5. Learn to see that persecution shows
          1. we have the right enemies, and
          2. we have the right support, heaven.
      3. Therefore, do not act as though some strange thing has happened to you.
        1. When you side with the Lord,
        2. someone in the spirit will oppose you,
          1. even as he fought the Lord, and
          2. that is Satan.
      4. Remember what Jesus promised us also,18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me” (John 15.18–21).
      5. Peter said that persecution makes us better, so then
        1. when you come under attack,
        2. examine yourself, and
          1. search to see whether you are doing the right thing, and
          2. you may discover that you need to cut somethings loose.
    2. Rejoice, Peter urged us.
      1. Rejoice because you are partaking of Christ’s sufferings.
        1. He suffered for us,
        2. can we not suffer for Him?
          1. If we want part of His blessings,
          2. we have to take part in His sufferings.
            1. Paul taught that we cannot enter heaven without suffering,
            2. as he and Barnabas went,22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14.22).
        3. Remember what Paul said to our Roman brethren,16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together (Rom 8.16, 17).
        4. Paul told our Philippian brethren,10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Phi 3.10).
    3. In verse 13, Peter said that the glory of Jesus shall be revealed,
      1. again alluding to the return of Jesus Christ, but
      2. He did not receive that glory until He first suffered.
        1. Do you want to see Jesus in His magnificent glory?
        2. Listen to what John said,2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1Jo 3.2).
          1. “Now we are children of God,”
          2. so that this promise applies to Christians.
          3. John said next,3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure (1Jo 3.3).
            1. First Peter shows part of that purification process
            2. are the various trials we experience as Christians.
      3. Therefore, Peter said,
        1. when the glory of Jesus is revealed,
        2. you may be glad with exceeding joy, because
          1. we do not have to dread it,
          2. since we have been purified through trials.
      4. Suffering will make the experience of seeing Jesus glorified sweeter.
    4. These things being true, listen to what Peter says next.
  2. First Peter 4.14 – When Persecution Strikes: Be Confident, Rest, Relax

    14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified (1Pe 4.14).

    1. When people do reproach you for the name of Christ,
      1. you are blessed.
        1. We think we are cursed, but
        2. that is not what the Holy Spirit says.
          1. Every Christian I know wants to be blessed, but
          2. usually we think of it in fun, comfortable, positive ways.
            1. The Bible says reproach is a blessing!
      2. It means that the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
        1. Do you want to know that God is with you?
        2. Everyone wants to know that and
          1. most people look for positive signs, but
          2. the stamp of God’s approval can come as persecution.
            1. Our enemies
              1. “speak against [us] as evildoers” (1Pe 2.12),
              2. “defame [us] as evildoers,” (1Pe 3.16),
              3. “revile [our] good conduct” (1Pe 3.16),
              4. “think it strange that [we] do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of [us]” (1Pe 4.4), and
              5. “[reproach us] for the name of Christ (1Pe 4.14), but
            2. God puts
              1. the Spirit of glory upon us, and
              2. His own Spirit upon us.
    2. Those people are blaspheming God.
      1. When they persecute you,
      2. they blaspheme God, because
        1. you are simply doing what He told you to do.
        2. Therefore, ultimately they speak against Him.
    3. However, you are glorifying God.
      1. They curse you, but
      2. you glorify God.
  3. First Peter 4.15, 16 – When Persecution Strikes: Glorify God

    15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter (1Pe 4.12–16).

    1. Our suffering should be for
      1. our belief, and
      2. our life in Christ.
    2. We should not be suffering as criminals.
      1. Suffering for the things Peter listed we should be ashamed.
      2. Even unbelievers know that Christians should not do those things.
    3. However, suffering as a Christian is not shameful.
      1. Rather we can glorify God in this matter.
      2. It is not that we brag about ourselves, but
        1. we give all honor to our Father and His blessed Son Jesus Christ.
        2. Increasingly, the national media and secularists
          1. are becoming anti-Christian, but
          2. do not be ashamed of what they say against you.


  1. Have you been, or are currently experiencing persecution? 
    1. Do you find it a struggle?
    2. Please let us pray for you!
      1. There is no shame in saying that the persecution confuses you, or
      2. is tempting you to squelch your Christianity, and
        1. that you want our prayers!
        2. Who never needed his fellow-Christians praying for him?