John Calvin was known as one of the Swiss Reformers, but did you know he wasn’t Swiss? He was actually born in Noyon, France into a Roman Catholic family. It was only after he fled France, for fear of being killed by the Roman Catholic Church, that he ended up in Switzerland. Calvin was 23 or 24 when he God saved him from his sins. He did a bulk of his work from Geneva. Since he did so much in Geneva he is called a Swiss Reformer, and there you have it.
Christian oppression and persecution around the world and in America.
Persecution – a program or campaign to exterminate, drive away, or subjugate a people because of their religion, race, or beliefs: the persecutions of Christians by the Romans.
Oppression – the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner.
These are the two concepts we are going to be dealing with today. I want you to note that oppression is a way to persecute people. It is persecutions ugly little sister. When oppression is fully grown she becomes open persecution. In America today we are beginning to see oppression of the Christian world view. The post-Christian, secular, world is now beginning to openly and brazenly display their hatred, intolerance, and bigotry, towards anyone espousing a Christian world view. If it isn’t evident to you it is because you aren’t a Christian, ipso facto you are part of the oppressive secular world. Of course you wouldn’t want to consider yourself an oppressor, but you are complicit. My favorite intolerant hate mongering comes from the people, who claim to be its biggest victims, the gay community. “Tim Tebow prayed to God! Shut him up!!! Another athlete came out of the closet! Hooray!!! He/she is such a brave hero to come out in the face of such oppression!!!” Wow! Seriously? What is wrong with your mind? Can’t you see the blatant double standard?
I also love it how secularists will criticize Christianity, but they won’t touch Islam for fear of getting their heads chopped off, being hung, or having their buildings blown up. When is the last time you saw a Presbyterian burn down a newspaper building for printing an article criticizing them? When is the last time you saw Christians chop off someone’s head for saying derogatory blasphemous things about Jesus? It’s ok though. We are told that the world will hate us for loving Jesus. That is how we know we are doing it right. If the world loved us we would be just like them.
If they hated Christ so much they wanted to kill Him, hated His Apostles so much they brutally killed them all as well, hated the early Church Fathers so much they did the same to them, what makes us think we will get treated any differently? Let’s see, Jesus was savagely beaten, cursed, spat upon, and crucified. Peter was crucified upside down on a cross because he didn’t think himself worthy to be crucified like Jesus, whom he loved. James was decapitated with a sword. His unfailing faith in Jesus and the resurrection affected his executioner so much that he himself was martyred. Stephen, the first Apostle to be martyred was stoned to death by Paul who would later become a Christian as well. Andrew was crucified as well just like his brother Peter. Doubting Thomas, we all remember him right? He had so much faith in Christ he continued to preach of Him until he was finally killed. They made it a party, they burned him with hot metal plates, and they stabbed him through with spears of pine, and then finally burned him alive. How’s that for a good time? Do you feel it yet secularists? Phillip was tortured and crucified. Matthew was beheaded, in other words they chopped off his head… Noticing a trend here? That’s not even all of them. That is but a few.
We aren’t seeing that in America… yet. We are seeing it all over the world. It hasn’t stopped. It won’t stop. As long as there are Christians in the world the world will hate them, torture them, and kill them. The secularists don’t even ask why. They don’t care. They are like the communists in Poland during the communist takeover. They think the world will be better without them. Just do a search on the internet for images with the words, “persecuted Christian” You will find people that have been hung, stabbed, had acid poured on their faces, been cut with machetes, even crucified. Somehow this goes right under the secularist’s radar. They turn a blind eye while screaming about gay marriage. They scream for women’s rights and how this Christian society is so oppressive, but they don’t look twice or even once for that matter at how Islam treats women. It is ludicrous!!!
We are being oppressed now. The secularists are shouting us down. They won’t listen to reason, and they won’t be swayed away from their own hateful hearts. They believe they are justified in hating Christians. Why is that you might ask? It is because we say that all men and women are born sinners and are evil. This is at the root of it. They hate it when they have to look into the mirror and see their own sin as contrasted to the righteousness of Christ. They know they are sinners, but have repressed that knowledge in unrighteousness. They seek to elevate man, and eliminate God. When they see someone or something that reminds them of how evil they are they have two options, repent, or kill it. Guess which option they are choosing more and more today? My friends it is imperative that we preach the good news of Jesus Christ even under the duress of persecution and death. When John Hus the Reformer was burned alive for opposing the Roman Catholic Church and staying true to Christ he was singing hymns in the flames and praying. We must finish our race strong for Christ. Pray that He grants us the grace to be faithful under oppression and for us to finish strong when martyred.