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THANK YOU We had 27 of our “family” show up at the building yesterday morning to go out and hang 1,000 Door Hang Tags for VBS. Way to go “family” – God.

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Presentation on theme: "THANK YOU We had 27 of our “family” show up at the building yesterday morning to go out and hang 1,000 Door Hang Tags for VBS. Way to go “family” – God."— Presentation transcript:

1 THANK YOU We had 27 of our “family” show up at the building yesterday morning to go out and hang 1,000 Door Hang Tags for VBS. Way to go “family” – God is going to bless our VBS this year because of your efforts. Hopefully, everyone will stay for the VBS Meeting this afternoon after the Fellowship Meal.

2 ACTS 11: “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

3 If You were Arrested Today and Charged with Being a Christian, Would There Be Enough Evidence To CONVICT YOU?

4 “If we find any evidence you are a Christian, we will kill you.” February 2, 2009 by The PilgrimThe Pilgrim Posted in Christian Persecution,Christian Persecution Missions & MartyrsMissions & Martyrs, Pilgrim's Corner |Pilgrim's Corner Tagged Apologetics, Bible, Christian Persecution, Christianity, church, God, Gospel, Jesus, Martyrs, Missons, Persecution,ApologeticsBibleChristian PersecutionChristianitychurchGodGospelJesus MartyrsMissonsPersecution ReligionReligion, Theology, Voice of the MartyrsTheologyVoice of the Martyrs This death threat was uttered from an Iranian judge spoken to an underground Believer in Iran as quoted in the latest Voice of the Martyrs publication (2009 Special Issue page 8).Voice of the Martyrs It got me thinking about the difference between those who become Christians in nations where it means a death sentence, and those who become Christians in the West. It raised the following questions for me:

5 Would There Be Enough Evidence? -What if we were faced with the same proclamation that this judge gave to this man? -How would we react in this same situation? - Are we prepared to face this possible life or death situation? -If Christianity was made illegal tomorrow and we were brought before a court for the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in the average life of an American Believer to convict them? Tough questions, but questions we may one day have to face no matter what comfortable, prosperous, and secure nation we live in today.

6 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 1.Last Sunday Ron and Rick posed an interesting thought regarding what will or does the future hold for us as Americans regarding our Religious Freedom? 2.Let’s go back to this question…. (It is possible) What If Christianity was made illegal tomorrow and we were brought before a court for the crime of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence in the average life of an American Believer to convict them?

7 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 3. Some don’t believe that this is possible. A. Neither did the Christians that Saul of Tarsus Persecuted and killed – ACTS 8:1-3, 26:9-11 B. In the summer of 64 AD, Rome suffered a terrible fire that burned for six days and seven nights consuming almost three quarters of the city. The people accused the Emperor Nero for the devastation claiming he set the fire for his own amusement. In order to deflect these accusations and placate the people, Nero laid blame for the fire on the Christians.

8 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? The emperor ordered the arrest of a few members of the sect who, under torture, accused others until the entire Christian populace was implicated and became fair game for retribution. As many of the religious sect that could be found were rounded up and put to death in the most horrific manner for the amusement of the citizens of Rome. The ghastly way in which the victims were put to death aroused sympathy among many Romans, although most felt their execution justified.

9 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? It was during this time that the apostle Peter, according to tradition, was crucified upside down because he felt himself not worthy to die exactly like his Master. It was also during this time that Paul, as a Roman citizen, was beheaded under Nero’s reign. For the burning of Rome, Christians were arrested and terribly persecuted. Many Christians were crucified. Some were sewn up in the skins of wild beasts; then big dogs were let loose on them, and they were torn to pieces. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death. After nightfall Christians were burned at the stake in Nero’s garden. The Roman people who hated the Christians were free to come into the garden, and Nero drove around in his chariot wickedly enjoying the horrible scene.

10 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 4. Between an estimated 6,000,000 Jews did not expect a German tyrant and dictator to have them drug out of their homes, shipped hundreds of miles from their home in filthy, stinking, crowded railroad cars, to the torture/gas camps to be killed because of their religious beliefs and related life styles. 5. History is replete with accounts of Persecution of those who profess a belief in God Consider this list below;

11 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 37 A.D. Saul of Tarsus (later Paul the apostle) persecutes Christians in Judea A.D. 10 Early Christian Persecutions 50 thousand 50 A.D. Roman Emperor Nero persecutes Christians 64 A.D First general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Nero. 70 A.D. Romans kill many Jews in Israel 88 B.C. Alexander Jannaeus crucifies 800 Pharisees in Israel 95/96 A.D. Second general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Trajan 107 A.D. Third general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Trajan 118 & 134 A.D. Fourth general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Hadrian 151 A.D. Peaceful period for Christians 177 A.D. Fifth general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius 185 A.D. Peaceful period for Christians 202 A.D. Continuation of the fifth general Christian Persecution under Roman Emperor Septimus Severus

12 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 216 A.D. Roman Emperor Caracalla persecutes literary figures in Alexandria for satire against him 223 A.D. Peaceful period for Christians 235 A.D. Sixth general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Maximim 248 A.D. Peaceful period for Christians 250-6/251 Seventh severe general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Decius Eighth general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Valerian 270 Ninth severe general Christian persecution under Roman Emperor Aurelian 284 & Tenth general Christian "great persecution" under Roman Emperor Diocletian Peaceful period for Christians Visigoth Athanaric persecutes Christian Visigoths 446 A.D. Confucianists persecute Buddhists in China c.472 A.D. Sharahb’il Yakuf persecutes Christians in Ethiopia al-Tabari vol.5 p.194 footnote A.D. Arians persecute Christians in Tipasa, Algeria 525 A.D. Christian Ethiopians flee from Ethiopian Jewish persecution

13 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? Byzantine Justinian persecutes Monophysite Copts in Egypt Confucianists persecute Buddhists in China 653A.D. Muslims burn the great library at Caesarea 700- Muslims persecute Christians Religious persecution in China 845/850 Confucianists persecute Buddhists in China 850 A.D. Due to persecution in China, Zen Buddhism splits into 5 sects Jewish Queen Judith of Axum persecutes Christians Persecution of Waldenses 10th -12th centuries Burning and killing of heretics 1066 Muslims massacre Jewish men in Toledo 1096 Soldiers of the first crusade kill Jews in Wittenberg

14 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 1100's Moors persecute Jews, many flee to England Mongols kill off most Nestorian Christians 80 Waldenses burned to death Papal bull approved of torture for the discovery of heresy Innocent IV Mamelukes of Egypt persecute Nusayris Dominican Bernard Guy gives one of the most complete arguments for the Inquisition 1232 Dominican Inquisition under Albert 1233 Inquisition instituted by Gregory IX 1309 All of Venice pronounced under heresy for opposing Clement V as Pope 1349 Most Jews in Wittenberg killed: "brought plague by poisoning the wells" Hussites revolt successfully

15 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 1419 Catholics thrown out a window in Prague 1419/ Crusade against Hussites in Hungary 140K Papists Pass Hussites scare off large Holy Roman Empire army 1483 Catholics thrown out a window in Prague 1480 Spanish Inquisition started by Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain Crusade against the Waldenses 1527 Mantz and other Anabaptists killed in Zurich 1545 Waldenses persecuted in Italy Waldenses persecuted in Italy French kill Huguenots French Huguenot pirates kill 39 Jesuits enroute to Brazil Catholics & Huguenots fight

16 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? Thirty years war kills 1/3 of German population 1600's Spanish Inquisition Catholics thrown out a window in Prague "Trample the crucifix" time of persecution in Japan 1637 Japanese + Dutch artillery crush Christian revolt against persecution 1655 Many Waldenses killed; Waldenses revolt in Italy 12/18/1808 Napoleon put an end to the Spanish Inquisition Christians persecuted in Vietnam 1870’s-1880’s Persecution of the Catholic Church in Guatemala only 100 priests left

17 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 1938 Kristallnacht in Germany - Jewish synagogues burned down 1956 Protestants persecuted in Colombia priests and 1,000’s of Catholics murdered in Guatemala Severe persecution in Sudan by Muslims See The Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 p125 for ten Christian persecutions WHAT IS HISTORY TELLING US – IT IS POSSIBLE! For it to happen Today – here where we live.

18 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 6. Consider the Chapter of Faith, the “role call of the faithful” Hebrews 11 – Hebrews 11:16 – “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly [country]. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” God is proud of those who choose to commit to and follow Him, His Son and the Holy Spirit.

19 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 7. A Choice had to be made- Hebrews 11:24, 25 – “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, (25) choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, Some do not want to make the Choice to really serve God, to be a TRUE Christian!!!! The following did-

20 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? Hebrews 11:32 – 40 – “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also [of] David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, [in] dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”

21 …..Would There Be Enough Evidence? 8.It can happen today- A. The ACLU is already working on it – B. School Prayer, Bible Reading is already banned in most Schools, Colleges and even in the Government C. Certain activist groups are working to get “TV Evangelist” off the TV, Radio and other media routes. D. There are countries right now where preachers are arrested for preaching against certain topics, it could happen here. It is even being proposed now for here!

22 What Would Happen? If You were Arrested Today and Charged with Being a Christian, Would There Be Enough Evidence To CONVICT YOU?

23 There is a need for Evidence 1.To Make the CONVICTION Stick there must Evidence. Webster states that: evidence is the outward sign or indication of something that has taken place. It furnishes “PROOF”. 2.Thomas required “proof” that Jesus was resurrected before he would believe. – JOHN 20:24-29 Verse 25 “The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

24 There is a need for Evidence 3.In order to prove that we are Christians, we need evidence, we should be able to know ourselves and it will be evident to others. II CORINTHIANS 13:5 – “Examine yourselves [as to] whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified.”

25 There is a need for Evidence 4.Jesus says- "If you love Me, keep My commandments.” JOHN 14:15 - “Proof” 5.Unfortunately, not all keep His Commandments and fail to provide “proof” "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say? “ Luke 6:46 6.So, in our case how long will the Jury be out, what will be the outcome, the VERDICT we are hoping for, the VERDICT we will receive?

26 There is a need for Evidence 7. Will the jury be able to distinguish between those who do the Lord’s will and those who make a pretence of obedience by wearing His name - Matthew 7:21-23; "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!‘”2223 Matthew 15:8 - “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with [their] lips, But their heart is far from Me.”

27 There is a need for Evidence “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 Peter declared that he was a follower of Christ Luke 22:33. However, when it came time to prove his discipleship to - STAND UP TO THE CHARGES - Peter failed to prove his commitment to Christ Luke 22:34; “And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, "This man was also with Him." 57. But he denied Him, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him."57

28 There is a need for Evidence 8. Peter failed the test in order to avoid personal hardship for his faith. If Peter were in our trial, he wouldn’t have been convicted. Would we do any better today? 9. Many people are just like Peter. They appear to be strong and committed Christians. They attend church services every week and even study their Bibles. This appearance lasts only as long as everything goes their way with minimum personal sacrifice. Then something challenges their faith and they stop attending. From then on, like Peter, they follow Christ from a distance (vs. 54). They follow just close enough to create a false assurance of heaven but far enough away that they encounter no hardships for their faith. You can always identify these people because they are the ones who claim to believe in Christ but rarely attend services, study their Bibles, pray or do anything for the Lord. “THEY TALK THE TALK, BUT DON”T WALK THE WALK”

29 There is a need for Evidence 10. Could you prove or disprove your Christianity to a jury: A. By your speech James 1:26 ? B. By your works James 2:14-26? C. By your attendance at every service Heb. 10:25? D. By your labor for the lost 1 Corinthians 3:8-14? E. By your involvement in church - Ephesians 4:1-3; 1 John 3:16? F. By your treatment of other people - Romans. 12:9-18? G. By the fruit you bear for the Lord John 15:4-8, 16?

30 There is a need for Evidence 11. What would our excuse be? a. Would the Officer, Judge, Jury or Christ Accept it? Who would we be more concerned about accepting what our excuses might be? Luke 9:57-62 – “Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, [that] someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." 58 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air [have] nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay [His] head." 59 Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." 61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go [and] bid them farewell who are at my house." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

31 There is a need for Evidence 12. The bottom line is this, if we were arrested for being a Christian and we can’t prove to a jury that we are a Christian, we definitely won’t be able to prove it to Christ Hebrews. 4:12-13! “For the word of God [is] living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things [are] naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we [must give] account.”13

32 IS THERE ENOUGH EVIDENCE? I PETER 4:12-19 – “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13. but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed [are you], for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if [anyone suffers] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time [has come] for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if [it begins] with us first, what will [be] the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls [to Him] in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” If you or I were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict any of us? Have we resisted unto blood for Christ as the Early Church did?

33 Conclusion Look at the Bible History we have reviewed and remember this - Hebrews 12: 1-4 – “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2. looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Paul challenged the Hebrew Christians 12: 4. “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Have we?

34 If You were Arrested Today and Charged with Being a Christian, Would There Be Enough Evidence To CONVICT YOU ?

35 What MUST You Do to Be Saved? Hear The Word Of God Romans 10:17 Believe His Word Mark 16:16, John 8:24 Repent of your sins Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38 Confess your belief Romans 10:10, Acts 8:37 Be Baptized Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38 For the Remission of Your Sins Acts 22:16 Galatians 3:26, 27 Live Faithfully Titus 2:11-14


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