Blessing Our Persecutors

Blessing Our Persecutors

Blessing Our Persecutors

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

(Romans 12:9-14)

We Bless Our Persecutors Because It Is Commanded

We Bless Our Persecutors Because christ Blessed Us

We Bless Our Persecutors Because It Re-Presents Christ

We Bless Our Persecutors Because It Blesses Us


His words were the precursor of the 2nd World war.

They motivated his generals to act invade Poland, but not only this, his words justified the command to kill every man, woman and child of the Roman Catholic Polish population.

“Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

Adolf Hitter brought back into the memory of the Generals the State sanctioned Genocide of the Christian Armenians that began in 1843 and concluded in the horrific slaughter of 1915.

In feigned preparation for the mobilisation of troops in 1914, the word “extermination” became the answer to the “Armenian Question” of the Ottoman authorities in Turkey.  

After over 60 years of the Turkish attempt to destroy Christianity in their nation, they decided to conscript every man between the ages of 18 to 60 to serve as unarmed labourers for the military. 

In 1915, under the cover of the 1st world war, over 800,000 Armenian Christian men were systematically killed. Anyone who tried to assist them were executed. 

Approximately 200,000 Armenian Christians were said to have converted to Islam, and were thereby permitted to live. This alone testified that the slaughter of the Christians was motivated by hatred for Christ.

It didn’t begin this way however, the Ottoman state began at the end of the 13th Century in 1299. And took in large portions of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. At that time Christians were tollerated.

But then came the jizya, it was a Tax on all non Muslims, in effect, it was a Protection racket no different to the Mafia’s later employment. Protection money paid to the Muslims to prevent harm coming to the payers of the Tax.

Persecution comes in many forms.

The world has largely forgotten the Arminian Genocide even as the bloody conflict against the Armenians of Azerbaijan rose again to the fore just last year.

I pray the sermon today will help answer the state of our heart even in light of the most extreme forms of persecution. 

 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not

We Bless Our Persecutors Because It Is Commanded

What we can see that is certain in Romans 12 is that the list of moral principals written of by Paul stems directly from the first five words of verse 9, Let love be without dissimulation. 

Paul desires that Love is attended to with perfect consistency, that there be no hypocrisy in it and with that he commands each item that follows on from those first five words.

From that list of verse 9 to 18 possibly the most contrary to our nature verse 14, “bless them which persecute you”, and just in case you did not think him serious, he emphasises “bless and curse not”.

It is not natural to us to Bless our Persecutors; quite to the contrary, the most natural tendency for us all is to fight fire with fire, those who treat us with spite, we return the favour in kind. 

  • Those who take from us our freedom to speak, it is natural for us to desire they were silenced; 
  • Those who would take away our freedoms, we would like to see imprisoned.
  • Those we see having the power to infringe upon our human rights, we would wish they did not exist. We have murdered them in our hearts.

We do good to them who do good to us, and we naturally desire to return evil in kind.

It seems this command is even more challenging that the verse before that speaks so much of ‘Distributing to the necessity of Saints, and be given to hospitality’

It was Christ who first illustrated the command set down by Paul in Romans 12:14.

Turn to

Matthew 5:38–48 

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you,That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

What distinction is there between you and everyone else if all you do is love those who love you?

You are a Christian, a “Christ one”, but how often have you betrayed your faith in the last twelve months as you cursed those who cursed you? 

  • Have you desired to silence those who would take from you your freedom to speak?
  • Would you love to have seen imprisoned those who would take away your freedoms?
  • Could you have wished they did not exist who have the power to disannul your human rights?

Is this love without dissimulation

Is this the love that is without hypocrisy? 

Is this a picture of one who would be at peace in blessing his persecutors?

You are commanded otherwise beloved.

Just in case you missed it, turn forward in you Bibles to Luke 6

Luke 6:27–28 

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies,do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 


It is intriguing how many Christians think some of the commands of Christ are a raw deal for them, as if he does not have their eternal good in mind.

To understand why, you simply cannot have an answer if you ignore the eternal state of play in the heart of God. It is not just the here and now that matters, in fact, the only thing that does matter about the here and now is how it affects eternity.

All that we do here and now affects all that comes after. But sadly, too many Christians have their treasure stored in earthen vessels.

If you don’t think you have been one of them, cast your mind back over the last year and ask yourself if you need to take stock.


Luke 6:35 

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 

Beloved, it is not this world we are the children of any longer, we are now the “children of the highest”, and there is to us great reward for our revealing of him to this world.

But this cant be done if we are being conformed to the world.

Paul begins this incredible chapter with just such a command; 

Romans 12:2–3 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Beloved, though it is indeed our natural tendencies to reward evil in kind, Romans 12:21 speaks of the only way evil can be overcome.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

 Paul did not write that we are to bless our persecutors apart from his experience, he believed the Lords words to bless those who curse you and wrote of his experience on the matter;

1 Corinthians 4:9–13 

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. 11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;

12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless;being persecuted, we suffer it: 13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

Now he writes to you and I;

1 Thessalonians 5:14–22 

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 lRejoice evermore. 

Is there a purpose to these evident commands?

Titus 2:7–8 

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

There is a joy when the persecutors have no evil thing to say of you, but only if we “bless and curse not”.

We Bless Our Persecutors Because Christ Blessed Us

We read that passage in the Gospel of John that speaks of God so loving the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever beleiveth in him should not perish but have everlasting life

We see John 3:16 on placards in stadiums, it is the most oft quoted passage in the entire world, so much so that it is considered more of a platitude these days than it is profound.

When the Bible says that God so loved the world, the world responds thinking it is deserving of Gods love, rather than amazed God could love them.

God says, “I love you” and you respond, “So you should”.

What would it be however if all the people in the world understood that they were actually enemies of God?

If the world truly understood that their sin has so separated them from God, that between them and God is an unscalable chasm containing the hottest flames of hell, in which all those unredeemed, and unreconciled to God shall descend at death for all eternity, would they think differently? 

Luke 16 tells of the rich man who “was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes being in torment” (Lk 16:23).

Throughout the passage there was absolutely no hint that the man was surprised to be there. In fact, it seems evident that in this eternal state, his conscience was now fully informed and awake.

What if the dull consciences of the people of the world was fully informed now and they understood that, rather than being expectant of Gods love for them, they were indeed surprised?

What if they understood that they were enemies, loved to an extent they could simply not comprehend?

Romans 5:10 

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

This is the love wherewith we are to emulate when it comes to our persecutors. It is the love of Christ that reconciled us as enemies to himself, and we are COMMANDED to reproduce this same love when we Bless our Persecutors.


He had already endured a sleepless night.

He had endured several Kangaroo Courts going between one place and another.

He endured the severity of the Roman scourge that tore his flesh to such an extent the Bible refers to the people being astonished because his appearance was so marred more than any man (Isa 52:14).

They tore his beard from off his face, then commanded he take upon himself the instrument of his execution. 

He carried the Cross only so far because he was physically spent. Simon of Cyrene was compelled to bare the cross after Jesus.

He had done no wrong, the Bible says he was as a sheep led to the slaughter. He came to only to seek and to save.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:10-11)

The very people he came to save from their sin, charged Christ with the capital crime of confessing who he was.

The Romans drove large and broad metal spikes between the tight Carpel bones of the wrist creating a level of pain that is impossible to describe. It was this placement that would be both efficient and effective in holding a man to the cross.

The last spike was the large form that was driven through the front of the foot joint, through the heel and into the vertical member of the Cross.

Luke 23:34 

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

While the Lord was on the Cross he prayed the father would forgive his persecutors and murderers, his enemies.

And by this very term you and I were referred to.

This is the love through which you and I have been reconciled.

We sometimes think that we are not ourselves to emulate Christ in a fashion such as this. We often think that imitating Christ in Loving our enemies is not to be the norm for those who know Christ, but then we come to Stephen;

Acts 7:59–60 

59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

It is this love for those who sin against their own souls that Stephen demonstrated the Love of Christ, and so it is for each one of us to also imitate.

Turn to;

1 Peter 2:21–23 

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 

We Bless Our Persecutors Because It Re-Presents Christ

We follow in the steps of Christ respecting the love that we show to those around us. Our focus is not on our own comforts, our focus is not on our own lives, our focus is that of Christ and why he came.

No doubt many in todays contemporary churches would hear this type of sermon and be incensed with the notion that life is not all about us.

Sadly in these days of trouble, it seems the hearts of many of us has been betrayed. 

We have taken the regulations personally; and rather than bless our “persecutors” we have cursed them.

I am not the only Pastor to have done so, and I am sure you are not the only Christian who has disobeyed this command of our Lord.

We have not Re-Presented Christ, we have behaved like Children who have had our favourite toys taken away.

We have not re-presented Christ, even though we are not YET yet singled out!

If this is how we are when ALL people are treated with equal disdain by their governments, how will we be when it is only those who would live godly in Christ Jesus?

How will we be if an Armenian effort comes our way?

We have cursed our enemies rather than blessed them. 

Our hatred for those who have the rule over us bares witness to the truth of it, we have been unrighteous in wishing evil against our governments and not lived by faith in the matter.

AND We must repent if we are going to learn to attend faithfully to the example of Christ beloved.

Job 31:29–30 

29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me,

Or lifted up myself when evil found him:

30 Neither have I suffered my mouthto sin

By wishing a curse to his soul.

Turn to Psalm 35:11-14

11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. 12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. 13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. 14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

Proverbs 17:5 says  ….he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished. 

So we consider Gods mind on the matter, and an interesting note worthy of our consideration, turn to Proverbs 24:17-18

17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. 

Proverbs 25:21–22 

21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat;

And if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:

22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head,

And the Lord shall reward thee.

We are called to love our enemies and to Bless our persecutors, this is the nature of Christ, and we are called to live godly in Christ Jesus, in doing so there is a law that follows:

Turn to;

2 Timothy 3:12 

1Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

There is no obscurity in the text, there is no “if” or “maybe”, there is only an absolute;

all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Now, if it is true that persecution is an evident token of Christ, and each and every persecution we endure, taking it patiently, blessing our persecutors, is an opportunity to show Christ, then should we not welcome it?

“Pastor, what are you talking about? Should we welcome being persecuted?”

Well, let me answer with a question; is it an opportunity to reveal Christ?

What about another question; is it the eternal or temporal you are focusing on?

Do you desire an earthly or heavenly treasure?

It is good to welcome it on at least four fronts;

  1. Blessing those who persecute us testifies of Christ
  2. Persecution evidences we are living Godly.
  3. Persecution for living Godly in Christ Jesus proves the Bible true and thereby increases our faith.
  4. The increase in our faith makes us happy

Turn to;

1 Peter 3:14 

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

Beloved, remember now the freedom which you will inherit, remember that you are saved from the wrath that will come upon the ungodly. Remember that you are saved by a promise and as such the devil turns many against you to affect your witness of Christ.

Galatians 4:28-31

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 

Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

We Bless Our Persecutors Because It Blesses Us

We simply must consider that when we bless those who persecute us, we are doing the will of God. We are doing that which may be contrary to our nature, but it is not contrary to the nature of Christ, to whom we belong.

What peace there must be to simply allow things to fall into the hands of the Lord for his glory, isn’t that our one principal desire?

Matthew 5:11 

1Blessed 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. 

Have you yet experienced what it is like to be blessed in this way? 

Have you ever Rejoiced in that you were accounted WORTHY of personal persecution?

No? Are you living godly in Christ Jesus? The promise was “persecution” for those who are, remember?

Peter and the apostles were persecuted for preaching Christ, they were beaten by the high priests soldiers for this and then set free; the passage in Acts that speaks of their response says;

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. (Acts 5:41)

I promise you beloved that a great joy will overcome you when you know you are not troubled due to your sin, but due to your faith! You will rejoice, or even leap for joy when it comes.

Luke 6:22 

22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Beloved, we bless our persecutors because it blesses us. 

We pray for them, we entreat them well. We show favour toward them and we love them more and more. They can take all that we have but they cannot take away our hope in Christ and the freedom we have to love and bless all we choose.

1 Peter 3:9 

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 

1 Peter 3:14 

1But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 

1 Peter 4:14 

1If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified


Imagine truly what it must be like to be a Christian who trusts the Lord, can anything bring you evil? No, because we know that all things work together for good to them that love God (Rom 8:28).

But consider it just for a moment. 

Those who persecute you do so because it is confirmation you are living godly in Christ Jesus. You suffer for righteousness sake and therefore, happy are ye.

You are reproached for the name of Christ, and again “happy are ye”, because the Spirit of God rests upon you.

Turn to 2 Corinthians as we consider this incredible joy to be a Christian and how, no matter what it is that afflicts us, we have the opportunity to be blessed by it and to reveal Christ to those who trouble us.

Am I going to be tested on this doctrine? If I am living Godly, I have no doubt I will be tested. Will I come forth as Gold? I can only hope so.

2 Cor 6:3-10

3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. 

It is in those things that seem to contradict, but only because they are both taken by the view of the world, and of God.

We bless our persecutors Because It Is Commanded, this is our calling!

We bless our persecutors Because christ Blessed Us, we were his enemies first.

We bless our persecutors Because It Re-Presents Christ, it reveals Jesus in us

We bless our persecutors Because It Blesses Us, eternally.

Do you know Christ?

  1. Have you admitted you are a sinner before a holy God?
  2. Do you believe Jesus died on that cross for your sins, that through his blood your sins are washed away?
  3. Have you called upon his name to save you?


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