“All that will live godly
Persecution is a part of life for any faithful saint. And we’ve learned that through our Master Jesus Christ. We’ve learned that they’ve stoned the prophets. Beheaded the Baptist. Crucified the Christ. And martyred the Apostles.
Christ spoke the truth (John 17:17). He rebuked and demanded repentance from believers. Jews. Those who should have recognized Him from the Scriptures and warmly embraced Him. Yet they rejected Him and He allowed them to bring Him to a Roman cross:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” - Mt. 23:37
This pattern we must follow. Telling believers they are lost. Will always make us the recipients of persecution.
Paul was no different. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).
And here are three recorded cases to prove the point:
- Diotrephes (3 John 9-10)
9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church
Diotrephes loves the “preeminence” (i.e. “loves to first”).
- “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” - Luke 11:43
- “he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” - Luke 22:26
Diotrephes is guilty of practicing nonsensical gossip, idle talk, and empty charges and accusations against the faithful. He’s a bully.
Diotrephes suppresses (i.e. “forcibly puts an end to”) Bible teaching that goes against what he wants the Scriptures to say. So not only does he reject receiving an inspired man (i.e. Paul, a walking Bible). He also rejects any in the church that would receive the Bible. And to further his delinquency he removes any who would receive the Bible.
Diotrephes sadly represents many Christians today. And any eldership taking the side of the “Diotrephes” in the church, over the faithful, will be guilty on the Day of judgment. Only a stiff stubborn neck would remain in his pride instead of repenting.
2. Hymenaeus & Alexander (1 Tim. 1:19-20)
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
These Christians have since put away “faith and a good conscience.” Drifted away from the grace of God in order to find themselves at shore against the rock in a storm where their boat (i.e. “faith”) was crushed into pieces.
These Christians were delivered to Satan so that they might be pierced into guilt producing fruits of repentance. Returning to God and His local congregation. No longer practicing evil, abusive, and slanderous speech against God and His church.
3. Phygellus and Hermogenes (2 Tim. 1:15)
“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.”
Take courage fellow Christians. Christ has told us,
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.