2 Timothy 3:10-13 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, (11) Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. (12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (13) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
Now that you have read it, are you wondering why you are not suffering persecution? Are you living godly in Christ Jesus? Are you preparing your children to face persecution? Take a look at the series we have started entitled “Behind Enemy Lines” to learn more about what to do to get ready for persecution. As a father, you are the captain of your ship, you are responsible for those on board, and you have to do everything you can to make sure they are up to the challenge.
We need to understand a few things about the persecution Paul speaks of in this passage.
1. Not all will suffer the same persecution or the same amount of persecution and certainly not at the same time.
2. No one, not even Paul, faced continual persecution. We may just be in the calm before the storm. Even Paul had times where he was able to stay and teach and preach for a period of months or even years without problems. When we read the book of Acts and see all the persecution he did face we sometimes forget that it was over a period of years, not a matter of days. We think of it all like a movie or TV show where the hero is out of the frying pan into the fire constantly. There certainly were some sequences in Paul’s life that were one after the other, but we also need to remember that God specifically chose him and actually said that he would have to suffer much for the name of Christ, Acts 9:16.
3. Some will try to avoid persecution by sacrificing faithfulness to Christ in one way or another. They will not admit such, but rationalize (rational lies) it. Galatians 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
4. The righteous have escaped a large amount of persecution up to now in America for two reasons:
a) There has been an atmosphere of desiring to follow God in the history of this country. That has changed. Wicked men are generally cowards and will not strike out when they are in the minority, Proverbs 28:1. They like to get mobs, or do things in secret, through legal trickery, deceit, etc. We are entering that stage in America. The president is doing background checks to make sure that no preacher who leads a prayer at his inauguration has ever preached that homosexuality is a sin! How long before the consequences of speaking the truth on this issue will be life threatening.
b) There is a proliferation of denominationalism (many churches) - the more targets there are the less likely you are to be hit - statistically, the centralization of many churches(a headquarters that can be attacked) - the autonomous nature of the Lord's church makes it harder to attack, the increase in using government laws and courts - things are pushed "legally" and many simply capitulate without ever putting up a fight (consider the health care mandate hundreds of businesses owned by those claiming Christianity and hundreds of 'Christian' nonprofit groups are not even objecting to having to pay for the abortion pill), the watering down of the teaching of many churches losing the idea of absolute right and wrong even to the point of not saying Jesus is the only way to heaven (others assume that we are like those churches) we have not yet been targeted in an organized way.