There are myths about what it's like to be a Christian. Many claim to be Christians. Read Titus 1:16. Real Born Again sold out believers surrendered their life to Christ.
The Bible says ; "And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2.Timothy 3:12
If anyone tells you becoming a Christian all will be sweet and rosy they are lying to you. You will have God's peace, because He has made a promise to be there for you. But character is built in a person from enduring hardship.
"Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said; ' I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU.' so that we confidently say; ' THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT SHALL MAN DO TO ME ?" Hebrews 13:5-6
SUFFER FOR CHRIST'S SAKE
"For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for His sake." Philippians 1:29
"So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, THOU ART MY SON. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation." Hebrews 5:5, 8-9
June 9th in 67 AD Peter was crucified upside down, Paul was killed, other Christians burned, some sawed in two and some fed to lions, because they confessed Christ lived in their hearts.
Hebrews chapter 11 is the Hall of Faith !
Do you have faith to give your life for Christ ? Cassie Bernall did at the Columbine shooting after only 3 weeks as a believer of Christ as her Lord and Savior. How do I know ? I personally met her parents while they traveled witnessing about their daughter who stood firm in faith when asked if she believed and was shot in the head when she said YES !
Do not be deceived to believe, because you live in a western society that persecution does not take place in 2007 ! A dear friend of mine, pastor Alwisho, on a regular basis sends me e-mails from Africa asking prayers as he is being threaten on his life if he keeps preaching the Gospel of Jesus. He refuses to stop preaching the truth about Lord Jesus.
You may make a search online for "The Voice of the Martyrs" www.persecution.com and read the stories of people in third world countries being killed for their faith in Christ. I know first hand Muslims coming to me while on the streets asking to go to a private place so no one would see them talking to me with Jesus on my tee-shirt, or they could be thrown out of their family or possible killed if they convert to Christianity.
"Truly, truly I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." John 5:24
"Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested,... Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10 a,c
I have copied and pasted in 1.Peter chapter 4 below,... Verse 1-6 says to be of the same mind as Jesus in regards to death in the flesh, set aside for a life for the Lord. Peter thought the end was near,.. again then one day is like thousand years to the Lord :O) in verse 7, and 8-11 to have a servant heart with love for others. In verse 12, not to be surprised if our faith will be tested by fire!!! Many will not like this,.. few are set aside for special training to work for the Lord. James said to endure it,.. we cannot without the help of the Lord Jesus, look up 2. Corinthians 12:10. In verse 12b we are to be GLAD!!! we are given a part in the pains of Christ! In Hebrews 12:4 it says not to loose heart since we have not YET!!! shed blood like Christ! In verse 13 to have great JOY!!!!!! not exactly what you hear in the American prosperity teaching huh!!?? And in verse 19 to TRUST our souls in the safe hands of our Maker when we are PUNISHED for doing His will and work!! May God's will be done in my life even unto death! To me it is a win- win situation If I am not willing to die for Christ? what faith would it be?
I Peter 4 1. Pete 4:1 "So that as Jesus was put to death in the flesh, do you yourselves be of the same mind; for the death of the flesh puts an end to sin;
1. Pete 4:2 So that you may give the rest of your lives in the flesh, not to the desires of men, but to the purpose of God.
1. Pete 4:3 Because for long enough, in times past, we have been living after the way of the Gentiles, given up to the desires of the flesh, to drinking and feasting and loose behavior and unclean worship of images;
1. Pete 4:4 And they are wondering that you no longer go with them in this violent wasting of life, and are saying evil things of you:
1. Pete 4:5 But they will have to give an account of themselves to Him who is ready to be the judge of the living and the dead.
1. Pete 4:6 For this was the reason why the good news of Jesus was given even to the dead, so that they might be judged as men in the flesh, but might be living before God in the spirit.
1. Pete 4:7 But the end of all things is near: so be serious in your behavior and keep on the watch with prayer;
1. Pete 4:8 And most of all be warm in your love for one another; because in love there is forgiveness for sins without number:
1. Pete 4:9 Keep open house for all with a glad heart;
1. Pete 4:10 Making distribution among one another of whatever has been given to you, like true servants of the unmeasured grace of God;
1. Pete 4:11 If anyone has anything to say, let it be as the words of God; if anyone has the desire to be the servant of others, let him do it in the strength which is given by God; so that in all things God may have the glory through Jesus Christ, whose are the glory and the power for ever.
1. Pete 4:12 Dear brothers, do not be surprised, as if it was something strange, if your faith is tested as by fire:
1. Pete 4:13 But be glad that you are given a part in the pains of Christ; so that at the revelation of His glory you may have great joy.
1. Pete 4:14 If men say evil things of you because of the name of Christ, happy are you; for the Spirit of glory and of God is resting on you.
1. Pete 4:15 Let no one among you undergo punishment as a taker of life, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as one who is over-interested in other men's business;
1. Pete 4:16 But if he undergoes punishment as a Christian, that is no shame to him; let him give glory to God in this name.
1. Pete 4:17 For the time has come for the judging, starting with the church of God; but if it makes a start with us, what will be the end of those who are not under the rule of God?
1. Pete 4:18 And if it is hard for even the good man to get salvation, what chance has the man without religion or the sinner?
1. Pete 4:19 For this reason let those who by the purpose of God undergo punishment, keep on in well-doing and put their souls into the safe hands of their Maker."
I will continue this study later,..for now,... please know there is nothing to fear no matter what happens, because The Bible says;
" The LORD is my Light and my Salvation whom shall I fear ?" Psalm 27:1