Prophecy and Preparation for Persecution
April 11, 2021 | Gary Jackson
Passage: John 15:13-25
Persecution has always been with us
Whatever Happened to the Twelve Apostles?
- Matthew. Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound.
- Mark. Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.
- Luke. Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost.
- John. Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered From death.
John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully
- Peter. He was crucified upside down on an x shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
- James. The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller’s club.
This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.
- James the Son of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus Called him to a lifetime of ministry.
As a strong leader of the church, James was beheaded at Jerusalem. The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial.
Later, the officer Walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and Knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.
- Bartholomew. Also known as Nathaniel. He Was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey. Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.
- Andrew. He Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece. After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony.
His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words, “I have long desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it”. He continued to preach to his tormentors For two days until he expired.
- Thomas. He Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Subcontinent.
- Jude. He Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.
- Matthias. The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot. He was stoned and then beheaded.
- Paul. He Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire. These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament.
More than 340 million Christians worldwide experienced high levels of persecution in 2020, with 4,761 killed for their faith, a new report has revealed.
The annual World Watch List produced by Christian charity Open Doors showed this is a huge increase on previous years; the 2019 figure was around 260 million.
Changes in America
The Biden administration has now signed over forty-two executive orders/actions, signaling a dramatic shift in policy in our country. – David C. Gibbs III NCLL
Passed House (02/25/2021)
This bill prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system. Specifically, the bill defines and includes sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation.
The bill expands the definition of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide (1) exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; (2) goods, services, or programs; and (3) transportation services.
The bill allows the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill prohibits an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual's gender identity.
Oral Roberts University isn't the feel good March Madness story we need | Opinion
March 23, 2021 12:12 pm
March Madness loves a Cinderella story, and this year it’s Oral Roberts University.
Oral Roberts, a mere 15 seed, destroyed brackets by toppling No. 2 Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA tournament and now enters the Sweet Sixteen after defeating No. 7 seed Florida 81-78 on Sunday.
Part of the joy of March Madness has always been watching smaller schools upset powerhouse programs, as kids from regional, unknown colleges and universities get their moment in the sun. Because everyone loves an underdog, Oral Roberts has become a fan favorite as people take their improbable run to heart and celebrate the tiny, evangelical university in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
And yet, as the spotlight grows on Oral Roberts and it reaps the good will, publicity and revenue of a national title run, the university’s deeply bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ polices can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.
Founded by televangelist Oral Roberts in 1963, the Christian school upholds the values and beliefs of its fundamentalist namesake, making it not just a relic of the past, but wholly incompatible with the NCAA’s own stated values of equality and inclusion.
While the school has been soundly mocked on social media for its archaic standards of behavior and code of conductthat bans profanity, “social dancing,” and shorts in classrooms, it is the school’s discriminatory and hateful anti-LGBTQ+ policy that fans should protest as the Golden Eagles advance in the tournament.
Twice in their student handbook, Oral Roberts specifically prohibits homosexuality. In their student conduct section, under the heading of Personal Behavior, the school expressly condemns homosexuality, mentioning it in the same breath as “occult practices.”
Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity, honesty, modesty and morality…Certain behaviors are expressly prohibited in Scripture and therefore should be avoided by members of the University community. They include theft, lying, dishonesty, gossip, slander, backbiting, profanity, vulgarity (including crude language), sexual promiscuity (including adultery, any homosexual behavior, premarital sex), drunkenness, immodesty of dress and occult practices.
Also, as part of their honor code, the university requires students to abide by a pledge saying that they will not engage in “homosexual activity,” and that they will not be united in marriage other “than the marriage between one man and one woman.”
Oral Roberts Pledge
As a private university and under the banner of fundamentalist Christian beliefs, the school is free to impose whatever standards of behavior they see fit, even if those standards are wildly out of line with modern society and the basic values of human decency. Now, as Oral Roberts gains national attention, the focus shouldn’t just be on their very good men’s basketball team, but on their prejudiced teachings and moral regressiveness.
That Oral Roberts wants to keep its students tied to toxic notions of fundamentalism that fetishize chastity, abstinence and absurd hemlines is a larger cultural issue that can be debated. What is not up for debate however is their anti-LGBTQ+ stance, which is nothing short of discriminatory and should expressly be condemned by the NCAA.
The NCAA has always been more about paying lip service to ideals of equality and inclusion than action, but Oral Roberts inclusion in the men’s tournament proves how little they actually care about those words, which are emblazoned on their basketball courts.
Yet, Oral Roberts, with its decrees banning homosexual conduct, stating that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and specifically banning male students from wearing makeup, earned a ticket to the Big Dance even though the university’s foundations expressly go against the very things the NCAA say they value. The fact is, any and all anti-LGBTQ+ language in any school’s polices should ban them from NCAA competition.
Now, Oral Roberts is primed to reap the rewards of the work from their unpaid student athletes. On the backs of those hard working kids, the university will seek to rewrite the narrative of their school into one of athletic victory when in fact, it’s steeped in bigotry and an exclusionary fundamentalism. The NCAA gave Oral Roberts that opportunity by allowing them into the tournament. Fans and media, eager to embrace a Cinderella story, helped push that narrative along either without knowing all the facts or willingly burying them as irrelevant.
However accomplished its young student athletes are, the school is a hotbed of institutional transphobia, homophobia with regressive, sexist policies. There is no way to separate their men’s basketball team from the dangers of their religious dogma, no matter how many top seeds they defeat.
Often, athletic accomplishments and victories on the court make up for moral failings all the time. In this case though, whatever the Oral Roberts men’s basketball team manages to do on the court can’t obscure the dangerous and hateful ideology of its core institution. It’s always nice to root for the underdog, but in this case, there’s very little to actually cheer about.
Biden appoints commission to study adding seats, term limits for Supreme Court
SARAH KOLINOVSKY and DEVIN DWYER
Fri, April 9, 2021, 1:02 PM·3 min read
President Joe Biden will create a commission to study possible changes to the Supreme Court, including adding seats or instituting term limits, the White House announced Friday.
The establishment of a commission to study the issue was a campaign promise from Biden, who has never explicitly said if he supports court packing or instituting term limits.
But Biden has indicated that he believes the court should not be subject to the political swings of the electoral cycle.
"The last thing we need to do is turn the Supreme Court into just a political football, whoever has the most votes gets whatever they want," Biden told the CBS News program "60 Minutes" in October 2020. "Presidents come and go. Supreme Court justices stay for generations."
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks during an event in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, D.C., April 7, 2021. (Evan Vucci/AP)
The 36-person commission is set to study debate for and against making changes to the court, hold public meetings to solicit opinions from outsiders, and provide a report to the White House after 180 days. It is unclear if the commission will provide recommendations to Biden, or simply analysis of the arguments for and against reform.
Biden has been under pressure to add seats to the bench to compensate for a right-ward political shift after former President Donald Trump appointed three nominees.
One of those appointees, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, filled an Obama-era vacancy after then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed the confirmation process in the Senate through the 2016 election. The third appointee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, filled the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death in the final months of the Trump administration. Six of the nine current Supreme Court Justices were appointed by conservative presidents.
PHOTO: The flag flies above the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., March 31, 2021. (Shawn Thew/EPA via Shutterstock)
The commission will have 36 members, some of them prominent names. Legal adviser to Biden's campaign Bob Bauer and Yale Law School professor Cristina Rodriguez will serve as chairs of the commission. Among the commissioners are renowned constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, NAACP President Sherrilyn Ifill, Brennan Center for Justice President Michael Waldman, and voting rights expert Michael Kang.
Liberal activist groups see Biden's appointment of the commission as merely delaying a decision on whether to add seats to the court.
“This White House judicial reform commission has a historic opportunity to both explain the gravity of the threat and to help contain it. But we don’t have time to spend six months studying the issue — especially without a promise of real conclusions at the end,” said Aaron Bellini, director it Take Back the Court, a group pushing for more justices on the bench.
PHOTO: Associate Justice Stephen Breyer poses for the official group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., Nov. 30, 2018. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images, FILE)
Justice Stephen Breyer, the court's most senior liberal, warned Tuesday against partisan proposals to expand the court and the branding of its current makeup as "conservative."
"It is wrong to think of the Court as another political institution," Breyer said in remarks prepared for delivery at Harvard Law School. "And it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians."
"Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust," he said.
Congress would have to approve any changes to the court Biden might propose, and he would be sure to face strong opposition from Republicans. There have been nine justices on the bench since 1869.
- The World HATES my Savior
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
- The World hates Him for they love Sin
John 3:17-20 (KJV) 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
'They know the risk': Hundreds gather at Dora at The Banks with little social distancing
Cincinnati Enquirer – 85 Acres downtown at the Banks
a mask were typically wearing it under their chin.
- The World Hates Him and Hate Conviction
because their deeds were evil.
What makes SIN EVIL??
- Ruins our thinking “stinkin thinkin” – Bro Rick would say
- If it feels good do it – immorality
- I love her so we can be intimate
- Ruins our bodies – Drugs , alcohol, ritious living – party all night
- Breaks up relationships – home and marriages
- It condemns our Soul – the wages of sin is Death
- The World Resist Change
We want to be our own master
Matthew 6:24 (KJV) 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
- The World Hates the Change in Me
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17 (KJV) 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
- Old Things passed away (Aorist Tense)
Noticeable Change in Believers
- Change your LOVE
- Change your LIFE
- Word of God that sheds light
- Work of Holy Spirit that is sensitive to light
- Intercesssion of our Savior that gives strength to choose right
- New Things come to Light (Perfect tense) ongoing….changes
Philippians 1:6 (KJV) 6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
2 Peter 3:17-18 (KJV) 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
- The World hates new you because you look like HIM
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Acts 11:26 (KJV) 6 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
III. Though the World Hates us we are SAFE from Harm
- WE will still be in His Hands
Psalms 91 (KJV) 1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress:
my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;
nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side,
and ten thousand at thy right hand;
but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold
and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge,
even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee,
neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder:
the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him:
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him,
and shew him my salvation.
- He is Praying for us
Luke 22:31-32 (KJV) 31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
I am on God’s prayer list!!
- Persection allows me to Glorify Him
“If I suffer well I am preaching the gospel with a new alphabet “deeds rather than words” - Erwin Lutzer
4 conclusions - why did the Lord share this?
- We don’t have to have freedom of religion to live faithful
- Don’t have to win in this life to win in the life to come
- WE should not be surprised to be called to suffer
- We should not Stumble when persecution comes.
Paul's favorite church may have well been the church at Philippi. He shares three things that are encouraging to him and should be part of our life. He first give Thanks - there is always reason for the child of God to give thanks. Secondly he prayers. We must always pray one for another. Three Paul is confident that God will complete the good work He has started in our life.