Revelation Lesson 3 Day 4

Persecution

Revelation 1:9-20 Persecution

10.  a.  Revelation 1:9

John received this prophecy while…

exiled on the isle of Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea, about twenty miles south-southwest of Samos and twenty-four miles west of Asia Minor.

Most scholars believe this happened in the reign of Domitian at the earliest around A.D. 85 to 95.

(Note: This is too good not to share. I read this same account in several accounts of Joh’s life.)

Tradition has it that John was exiled to Patmos after they had tried to boil him in oil and he didn’t die. After Domitian died, John returned to Ephesus, where he died a natural death around 100 years of age.

John was exiled because of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 19:10 says that is the spirit of prophecy. “ AWMI

b.  Persecution and hardships suffered by believers

The recent mass murder in Oregon is a heartbreaking example of persecution.

I recently heard that in some cultures, believers must identify themselves as “followers of Jesus” rather than Christians because when they think of Christianity, they think of the Crusades.

The media and some “celebrities” regularly ridicule Christians as ignorant, intolerant bigots. Sadly, some of the derogatory comments are justified. I’m embarrassed to be identified with some who preach and practice hatred.

ISIS and other terrorists make no apologies for killing and terrorizing Christians throughout the world.

Update: In my group, most cited family members as their main source of persecution and ridicule.

11.  a.  My time of persecution–

My parents were Ministers of Music and Youth. I was at church every time the doors opened and often when they weren’t.

Around 1968, my dad took a busload of young people from two local churches to a youth event. That night, revival broke out in our youth group. A month later, we had more youth than adults in our Sunday evening service. Young people, whose parents attended other churches, were coming to our youth group and seeking God.

Revival is messy.

It caused no small stir in our community. Parents were mad. Other churches were mad.

Our pastor didn’t like what was happening either. He persuaded some of the church leadership that my dad needed to go. They held a private meeting and agreed to fire him.

The following months at school were tough. Overnight, no one at school would speak to me. I found out later, the pastor’s daughter, who was my age, spread lies about me. There was only one high school our small town.

I lived for the weekends when our family traveled to all sorts of events. We met students from Asbury College where revival had broken out. (The link for Asbury College describes how the move of God began spontaneously. Really amazing.) The students who came to our church simply followed the same format, and we experienced a similar outpouring.

We learned that what we experienced was also part of the Jesus People Movement. We visited a community called Canaan Land. It was a communal ministry for Jesus People coming out of the drug culture.

Several months later, we moved to a church in another state. Again, revival broke out among the youth at the new church.

Jesus People slept on our living room floor on more than one occasion. It was an exciting time. I remember falling so in love with Jesus and my Bible. I carried to school with me every day.

I later married a zealous believer I met in the youth group. Looking back, there were red flags I shouldn’t have dismissed.

Shortly after we married, his industrious side that I so admired turned him into a workaholic. He was always tired and cranky at home. He lost his temper over trivial matters. Thankfully, I believe the Lord somehow kept him from physically hurting us.

He hated that I still wanted to put God first. Even if I kept it to myself, he seemed to know. All hell broke loose. At times, I decided it wasn’t worth it. I would stop pressing forward.

Then one day, I promised the Lord I wouldn’t let up.  The years that followed were unbelievably hard. I have to admit, I wasn’t rejoicing like Paul and Silas. No doubt it would have broken things loose.

But I hung in there. To me, separation or divorce was the ultimate failure. But in the wee hours one morning, the Lord asked me “will you let me take care of it My way?” Weeping, I nodded in agreement. Even though I wanted the Lord to fix him. Make him return to his first love.

Within a few days, my persecutor/abuser walked out in defeat. After 23 years.

b.  Encouraging words

  • Study the lives of Joseph and David.
  • Be inspired by the testimony of John.
  • Remember God’s promises.
  • Live in the secret place. Psalm 91

My story probably doesn’t sound encouraging. However, I can say with conviction, it was, is, and will be worth it.

The Spirit of God protected me and gave me the strength. I made big mistakes along the way, but He never rejected or abandoned me, just as He promised.

…for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV

Many of my contemporaries who experienced that wonderful season, went back to living ordinary lives.

I can’t go back. I’m “ruined for anything less than a life-giving connection to God.” Reframe by Brian Hardin

Worth it all by Rita Springer

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