Persecution

Christian Persecution

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Persecution
ACTS 11 COMMENTARY

Acts 11:19 Persecution

Acts 11:20-24 Antioch
Acts 11:25 Saul of Tarsus
Acts 11:26 Christian
ACTS 11:19  19 Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only.

What did Stephen do to trigger the persecution?
He spoke the truth about Jesus (see Acts 7).

What did the Christians scattered by the persecution do next?
They continued "preaching the word" (Acts 11:19).

What did the "persecution" (Acts 11:19) entail?
Being "shut up in prison ... and ... put to death" (Acts 26:10, see Acts 8).

Does such persecution still take place today?
More Christians have been martyred in the last 100 years than in the preceding 1,900 years combined and continue to be killed for their faith including in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and China (see details).

What about in the 'developed' Western democracies?
The laws are being changed to classify as "hate crime" speaking out against sin (e.g., homosexuality), and instead require Christians to condone sin (e.g., provide supplies for homosexual "marriages").

How does persecution today differ from persecution 2,000 years ago?
Back then, Christians encountered persecution while taking the Gospel out into the world. Today, Christians especially in 'developed' nations are being persecuted while retreating from the world (e.g., workplaces, schools, media, government, politics, etc.) and into their churches.

What happens to where persecution takes place?
Wherever the spiritual battles are fought gets "turned ... upside down" (Acts 17:6).

So what should we do?
Instead of letting our churches get turned upside down as the enemy invades, take "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17) into Satan's territory out in the world as Jesus commanded us - “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15) - and turn it upside down.

Where are "Phoenicia" and "Cyprus" (Acts 11:19)?
Phoenicia was the coastal province located north of Galilee. It is roughly the modern nation of Lebanon, to the north of Israel. Cyprus is the large island located in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

Which Christians face persecution?
According to Jesus, all Christians: "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..." (John 15:20)

What is the flipside of Jesus' words above?
If they don't persecute you for your faith in Christ, you are not a Christian.

When is the last time you were persecuted for your faith in Christ?
 

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