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Aug 01, 2021

Living Jesus in a World of Opposition

Passage: Romans 12:14-16

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Romans

Keywords: prayer, persecution, pride, humility, mourning, rejoicing, friendships, living harmoneously, lowely people


Romans 12 is all about relationship with others. This passage deals with some of the most difficult relationships we'll ever have--with those who persecute us, drain us, are different from us and disagree with us. See what God says about how we are to deal with each one in Christ.


Living Jesus in a World of Opposition

Romans 12:14-16

August 1, 2021


INTRO:  This past Wed. at Prayer Meeting, Andrew had us focus on praying for the persecuted church, especially in Nigeria

In this N. African country of over 200-million people, some 3,500 Christians have been slaughtered because they are Christians in just the first 6 months of this year.  Another 3,000+ have been kidnapped, enslaved, tortured, raped and possibly killed. 

Just a month ago, 140+ Christian School children and teachers were kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists and have not been heard from since.  Over 1,000 students have been abducted since last December and 9 of them killed.  200 are still missing, one as young as 3. 

            Nigeria is ruled by an Islamic strong-man, Pres. Maj. (Rt.) Muhammadu Buhari who has been supportive of forced Islamization of Christians.  There are over 95 million Christians living in the country (46%).

            While more Christians have been killed this year in Nigeria than any other country, there are 8 other countries even more repressive and dangerous for Christians than Nigeria:  N. Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eretria, Yemen, Iran.  India, Iraq & Syria round out the top dozen.  That’s over 171 million Christians living under this daily pressure and persecution. 

            The life of the church and the lives of millions of Christians have been shaped through the centuries more by persecution than is the case with any other religion in the world. While all religions claim to value peace with others at some level, none have been the object of more violence and murder than Christianity.  In fact, more Christians have been killed for their love of Jesus in the past 100 years than were martyred in the previous 19 centuries of the Christian church combined. 

            Paul, the human instrument and author of the text we will study today in Romans 12, was both a persecutor of the church and persecuted once he joined the church.  In fact, when Jesus encountered him on the Road to Damascus and then introduced him to Ananias, God made it clear to him that he was going to have to “suffer for [Christ’s] name” (Acts 9:16).  That’s not an evangelistic pitch we hear very much in American Christianity.  But it is one that much of the world is very familiar with.

            Let’s turn to today’s passage, Romans 12:14-16. 

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

            Let’s talk about “persecution” first.  The original word here means just what it says—persecute, harass, trouble, run after, to pursue with hostile intent.  Jesus told us nearly a dozen times in the Gospels that persecution was going to be a part of the package of following Him.  Listen to just a couple of examples.

  • John 15:20Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.
  • Matt. 5:11—”Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

Persecution always involves at least two people—the persecutor and the persecuted.  It is a transaction between two people, not between ideas.  This is why God calls for an ACTION from the persecuted to the persecutor.  Not a reaction but an action. 

Reaction is what comes naturally to every one of us.

  • Cut me off on the road and I’ll react with the horn and probably some choice words.
  • Pickpocket on the bus in the Philippines—a swift reaction of my hand.
  • Attack my family or friends—I’ll probably attack you…and then think about what I should have done.