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Persecution Lesson One “Why Me?”. Persecution – “Why Me”. 1. In the 20 th century there has been more persecution of Christians than in all the previous centuries combined. Why do you think that is true?. Christian martyrs: 70M (since origin) 20th Century: 45.4M Atheists: 31,689,000

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Persecution Lesson One “Why Me?”


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Persecution

Lesson One “Why Me?”

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Persecution – “Why Me”

1. In the 20th century there has been more persecution of Christians than in all the previous centuries combined. Why do you think that is true?

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Christian martyrs: 70M (since origin)

20th Century: 45.4M

Atheists: 31,689,000

Muslims 9,121,000

Ethnoreligionists: 7,469,000

Christians: 5,538,000

Quasi-religionists 2,712,000

Mahayana Buddhists: 1,651,000

Hindus: 676,000

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Persecution – “Why Me”

John 15:18-16:4

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 

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Persecution – “Why Me”

20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

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Persecution – “Why Me”

21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

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Persecution – “Why Me”

26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

1 “All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

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Persecution – “Why Me”

4 I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

  • Why did the people hate Jesus then?
  • Why do people hate Jesus today?
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Persecution – “Why Me”

4 I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

  • Can you think of anyone in the early Christian church who thought, “killing Christians is offering a service to God?” 
  • Can you think of anyone in recent memory who thought the same thing?
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Acts 12:1-4

It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also.

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This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

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Persecution – “Why Me”

  • Who died?
  • Why did he die?
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Persecution – “Why Me”

Bob just picked up the most recent edition of Voice of the Martyrs. He hears about the horrible acts carried out today against Christians around the world.

On Nov. 14, 2009 the body of a 23-year-old Christian convert, Mumin Abdikarim Yusuf, was discovered in Mogadishu's Yaqshid district, according to Compass Direct News.

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Persecution – “Why Me”

On Oct. 28, 2009 members of al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist group, detained Yusuf and searched his home for Christian materials. A 15-year-old Muslim boy had accused Yusuf of trying to convert him to Christianity.In an attempt to gain evidence against Yusuf and to gain information about other Somali Christians, the extremists knocked out all of Yusuf's front teeth and broke several of his fingers.

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Persecution – “Why Me”

They then shot him twice in the head and dumped his body on an empty residential street. Since it is unknown whether Yusuf revealed information about other Christians during his torture, the underground Christians who knew him have relocated for their safety.

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Persecution – “Why Me”

Yusuf's Muslim family members are also in danger, as extremists have accused them of failing to report his conversion to Christianity.

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Persecution – “Why Me”

Bob wonders why so many people are being persecuted for their faith, but he isn’t. Betty, Bob’s wife, reads the same article and asks her husband if they are really Christians. Jesus talks about the world hating those who follow him. No one hates Bob and Betty to their knowledge.

  • What are Bob and Betty doing wrong?
  • Is persecution a good barometer of faith?
  • Should a Christian ever seek persecution?
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Persecution – “Why Me”

Matthew 10:22-23

22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.

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Jehovah’s Witnesses often go out and witness their faith door to door. They are trained that if they are rejected and persecuted they are doing a good job.

11. With that in mind, the next time a Jehovah’s Witness darkens your door, what could you do help them not feel persecuted, but loved by a Christian?

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Persecution – “Why Me”

12. Should Christians ever avoid persecution?

13. Do you think that there is persecution of Christians in America?

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Persecution – “Why Me”

  • The 2nd Methodist church, 3rd Mormon ward, and the 4th Meeting of the Society of Friends of Dullsville, NC asked the 1st WELS Lutheran church if they wanted to participate in community service organization to help feed the hungry. There is no worship planned or other joint ministry.
  • How might seeking or avoiding persecution pop up in a discussion of whether or not the 1st WELS church should join with the other groups in the organization?
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Persecution – “Why Me”

  • Billy just sat down to take a test in school. He knows that half the boys in the class have conspired to cheat on the test. Billy knows cheating is wrong, but he doesn’t want to be excluded from this group of boys.
  • Have you ever been in Billy’s shoes?
  • What should Billy do?
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Persecution – “Why Me”

Lutherans for Life is planning a “Life Rally” at a local abortion clinic. Bob and Betty don’t want to go.

16. Are they guilty of avoiding persecution? Would Jesus want Bob and Betty to go and protest?

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Persecution – “Why Me”

  • Have you ever persecuted anyone?
  • Are there any groups or individuals that might feel persecuted by you and your church body?
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Persecution – “Why Me”

  • Adam and Steve are a homosexual couple that are planning on getting married at Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University. Many Christian groups, including the local Lutheran churches, are celebrated their relationship of committed love. While on campus a local news station asked you what you think of their wedding.
    • What would you say?
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Does God call us to be tolerant?

1 Peter 3:15,16

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

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Persecution

Lesson One “Why Me?”