Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Are Afraid of Persecution

Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Are Afraid of Persecution

Written By: Dr. Angel

Welcome to Part 12 of our current blog series; "Evangelism". Click here for Part 11, "Why Don't We Evangelize? - We Forget That Jesus Is Coming Soon".

The eighth reason why we do not evangelize is that we are afraid of persecution. Are you unwilling to share your faith with someone else because you have a fear of being persecuted? No one likes to experience rejection, hurt, or pain. It is a natural instinct to avoid situations that might cause us pain or preventable harm. However, when it comes to sharing The Gospel, as Christians, we cannot allow a fear of persecution to prevent us from doing what we have been called to do by God.

In the book of Acts, the spreading of the gospel was the main priority of believers. The early church rallied together and boldly proclaimed the truth of The Gospel, even in the face of great persecution. They were not ashamed of the Gospel because they understood that Jesus was the only way for all men to be saved. As Christians, often we know this truth, but practicing this truth is a different story.

Romans 1:16 (NASB) – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

2 Corinthians 4: 8-11 (ESV) - “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

How would you respond if you were faced with the option of denying your faith or enduring persecution? My heart is gripped when I read about the beheading of John the Baptist, the stoning of Stephen, murder of James, and imprisonment of Peter. They knew they would be hated by the world because of Jesus. Yet, this did not dissuade them from sharing their faith even unto death. These heroes of the faith were not afraid of persecution for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Mark 6:25-27 (NKJV) – “Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison,”

Act 7:54-60 (NKJV) – “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

Acts 12:1-3 (NLT) – “About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword. When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter.”

Hebrews 11:36-38 (NKJV) – “Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted,were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.”

Despite the risk of persecution, the Christians in the early church continued to spread the Gospel and the Church rapidly grew. As Christians, we must be aware that the world will not like us because of the Word of God. So, we must come to the realization that persecution comes with salvation. If we are living according to the Word of God, the world will hate us. Nevertheless, our lives should stand out from the world and shine as lights pointing the world to Christ.

John 17:14-17 (NLT) – “I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do.”

John 15:19-21 (NKJV) “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 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. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

Do not be surprised if you experience persecution and do not let fear stop you from sharing the truth of the Gospel with a world that so gravely needs Christ. We are blessed when we are persecuted for righteousness, insulted or falsely accused because our reward is great in heaven.

Matthew 5:10-12 (NASB) -“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ″Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. ″Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

1 Peter 4:12-14 (NKJV) - "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified."

Matthew 5:44 - (NKJV) “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you."

Let’s follow Jesus’ instructions and His example by praying for those who persecute us. Today, evangelize with boldness and do not allow the fear of persecution to prevent you from sharing your faith! Rejoice, your reward will be great in heaven!

Tomorrow, we will begin our new discussion on; “How do we evangelize?”

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