• Document: Level 3 Lesson 5. PERSECUTION By Don Krow
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Level 3 Lesson 5 PERSECUTION By Don Krow Today we’re going to look at the subject of persecution and the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:16-23. He wanted to prepare His disciples for opposition; He wanted them to know opposition was going to come. All those who live godly, Christ-centered lives will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). It’s not something you can rebuke. The enemy may be behind it, but persecution is part of standing for righteousness. The Bible says those who live godly in Christ will suffer persecution. Jesus is preparing His disciples by saying, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” (Matt. 10:16). The word “behold” is saying, “Listen to Me, guys. I want you to get this. I’m going to send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.” Sheep are the most defenseless, dependent animals I know of. A sheep doesn’t have fangs, doesn’t have venom like a snake––it has no defense whatsoever. The only defense it really has is the shepherd. A shepherd’s responsibility is to keep wolves out of the flock of sheep, but Jesus is saying the very opposite: “I’m sending you out as sheep into a pack of wolves.” Isn’t that amazing? The reason He is saying it is that He’s preparing them for opposition. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” There will be opposition. Part of the Christian life is opposition, and Jesus wants you to know that. He wants to prepare you for that by saying, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents” (Matt. 10:16). That word “wise” means in every situation, you will not needlessly incite problems but will have wisdom that you carry with you. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. He then says, “But beware of men” (Matt. 10:17). The enemy is going to use men. Ephesians 2:2 says that there is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Satan is going to use men to oppose us, to oppose the purposes of Jesus Christ, and to oppose the Word of God. “Beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues” (Matt. 10:17). Paul said, “Five times I was scourged, five times I was beaten with thirty-nine lashes, because of Jesus Christ, and the message of Jesus Christ, and the message of the gospel” (2 Cor. 11:23-24). Jesus said you will be brought before governors—even the government will sometimes be used to oppose the purposes of Jesus Christ. You’ll be brought before governors and kings for Jesus’ sake, for a testimony to them or against them. I’m a teacher at Charis Bible College. I was teaching a course on evangelism, and I was showing the students how they could use an evangelism letter and personal testimony to reach out to the lost. I did one myself and sent it out to fifty to a hundred people. Just a couple of days after that, I got a phone call from a woman in town named Mary Anne. She said, “You’re not going to get away with it; you can’t tell me about Jesus Christ; you can’t get away with this. Where did you get my name, anyway?” I said, 167 “Well, I got it right out of the phone book.” She said, “You’re a liar! My name and address are not in the phone book!” I said, “Well, that’s where I got it.” She said, “Tomorrow the police will contact you.” I thought to myself, Is the Bible really true? And the police did contact me the next day and they spent about two hours trying to interrogate me. Do you see what I’m saying? When there are criminals out on the street, the police wasted two hours of their time. Why? For the sake of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the Gospel. Is the Word of God really true? If you stand on the Word of God, if you’re bold to witness, if you’re bold to proclaim Jesus, if you’re bold to live a righteous life before men, there will be opposition. There are forces of evil, there are forces of good. Jesus wanted His disciples to be prepared. Jesus said in Matthew 10:19, “But when they deliver you up, take no thought [be not anxious] how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak” (brackets mine). With God’s Spirit, you’ll have wisdom like Stephen of old. The people couldn’t handle the wisdom by which he spoke. Jesus says in verses 22- 23, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another.” Opposition against righteousness, against the purposes of Jesus Christ, is a reality if you’re a doer of the Word and not just a hearer. I was in a park a while back, and I saw an elderly lady sitting in the swing. I thought to

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