As we read about the Great Persecution of the church, one might wonder where God was. He was there, ushering His church out into the world. Historically, persecution of the church has moved the gospel forward and caused it to go to places it might have never have reached. As we look back at the persecution the early church faced, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and His redemptive power. He is faithful because He carried the church through this difficult time. And, His redemptive power changed the outcome of persecution. Instead of stifling the church, it caused the church to grow and expand. If and when you are persecuted, you are not alone. Remember the shoulders you stand on and God’s faithfulness to use persecution as a springboard for the gospel.
Week Four: Review + Apply
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
Watch Week Four, Day Five
the faithfulness of god
a radical shift
This week we saw a radical shift in the position of the church in the Roman Empire: moving from places of persecution to places of power. This raises a key question for us. Wherever the church finds herself, whatever her position in society, how do we interact and engage with the world around us? Consider these words of our Master, Jesus: “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:15–18 NIV). How then do we live as people in the world but not of the world?
In the World, Looking to Our One, True King
As we close out our week, reflect on these words from Psalm 93:
The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed the world is established, firm and secure. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity. The seas have lifted up, LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waves, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the LORD on high is mighty. Your statutes, Lord, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days. (vv. 1–4 NIV)
Is there a situation in your life or a current event in our world where you need to be reminded of the fact that God is on the throne and that He is faithful?
As you reflect on the events and people of the early church discussed throughout the week, what stood out to you the most and why?
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