Prepared For Persecution John 16:1-4

Text:  “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore (a conclusion) endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

2 Timothy 2:2-3.

Good morning, well prepared Christian!  When the ever-present persecution promised to you and to me comes - are we ready to endure it; learn from it; and grow stronger as a consequence of it?  Praise God for well prepared Christians!

“Yea, and ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou has learned and been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.”  (2 Timothy 3:12-14)

The words Jesus taught His disciples in the opening verses of John Chapter 16 must have brought great fear and dread to their all too fallible hearts.  However, the Lord Jesus deemed this teaching most necessary to the well-being of His initial followers whom He was about to leave here on earth.

The lessons Jesus taught His initial disciples are still most necessary for ’end times’ Christians today.  We do well to learn these lessons again.

First, the Lord Jesus explains His reason for revealing such hard truths to His followers - ‘…that ye should not be offended…’, or too deeply upset. (V.1)

What Christ then prophesied must have made the disciples’ hearts shiver with dread:  “They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God a service.”  (V.2)

We do well to acquaint ourselves with the knowledge of how Christ’s disciples died.  We latter-day Christians must also be well prepared for such possibilities.  Be prepared, dear friend, there are bad times coming.  There are very bad times coming real soon!  Be prepared!

Do You Know How the Disciples Died?

1.  Matthew:  Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia - killed by a sword wound.

2.  Mark:  Died in Alexandria, Egypt, after being dragged by horses through the streets until he was dead.

3.  Luke:  Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous preaching to the lost.

4.  John:    Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome.  However, he was miraculously delivered from death.  John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos.  He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

5.  Peter:  He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.  According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.

6.  James (the Just):    The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.

7.  James (the Great):  The son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry.  As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem.  (Tradition teaches that the Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.)

8.  Bartholomew:  Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia.  He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey.  Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

9.  Andrew:   Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.  After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony.  His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: “I have long desired and expected this happy hour.  The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.”  He continued to preach to his tormentors for two days until he expired.

10.  Thomas:   Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent.

11.  Jude:  Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

12.  Matthias:  The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

13.  Paul:    Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A..D. 67.  Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.

Thought:  We talk the talk - but are we prepared to walk the walk?  Lord, help us!

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