June 14, 2014
Home Group Questions (third week in June)
This week study is based on Matthew 5:10-12.
Missionaries Grant & Janna Lock spoke about Persecuted Christians.
Following is Grant and Janna’s message in note form. As you read through ask yourself these questions and discuss your answers with each other.
Was there anything they shared which was new or surprising?
Did I feel challenged in any way?
1. Why are Christians Persecuted? Why do Christians Suffer?
Yes there can be sectarian, cultural, family, clan and nationalistic factors who pick on Christians because they are a weak minority. Weak and helpless in the eyes of society, not treated equally under the law, by police, the legal system and society in many countries, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Communist etc. Different world views in many of these countries. Religion and State are seen as one, compared with most western countries where Religion and State are separate. For example Islam is not just a religion it is rules, civil, family and national values. Free to come in, but not to leave. But God’s Spirit is at work.
We will look mainly at Islam today as we lived in Islamic countries for 24 years.
2. Regarding Persecution and suffering
3. Persecution takes different forms in different places.
In the Islamic world you can lose everything.
Islam is a religion of bondage, a one way gate.
Most Islamic countries are signatories to the International Convention of Human Rights but do not give freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom to meet together.
A person can lose their family, wife, children, job, education, life.
4. What about Australia – a different kind of persecution?
Australian society is influenced by Post Modernism. Reason replaces God’s revelation.
Man’s ideas replace the Bible and what we see in creation.
Many Australians are not sure there is a God. Not sure there is a Creator.
They say it’s,
But people say: we know better!
5. Western Society says you must be tolerant … what does that mean?
The meaning of tolerance has changed.
Tolerance used to mean:
‘The acceptance of different views’. ‘The acceptance of the differing views of other people, e.g. in religious or political matters, and fairness towards the people who hold these different views.’
But now it means: ‘You Christians cannot say there is only one way. You must agree there are other ways. Otherwise you are being intolerant’.
6. What can we do?
Read Hebrews 12:1-3
Keep informed. Pray.
‘Barnabas Fund’ is a great way to do this. Just google…. ‘Barnabas Fund’.
Read Galatians 6:9-10
Romans 12:18. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Wherever possible, live peaceably with all men.
Enjoy God and don’t be afraid to let others know.
Remember God’s Holy Spirit is in us and he goes ahead of us. Listen to Him.
Australia needs you to show who God is.
There are people out there who are lost, who are looking for direction in life. God can use us.
Be supernaturally natural. Discuss what that looks like.
1 Peter 3:14-16. But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.
“…. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way…..’
1 Peter 4:12-13 ‘Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.’
1 John 3:13 ‘So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.’