Just before Jesus ascended up to Heaven, He told His disciples: “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NASB)
The disciples of Jesus began carrying out that Great Commission after following Jesus’ command not to leave Jerusalem until they received the promise of God the Father of being baptized with the Holy Spirit (which was described in Acts 1:4-8) That happened as the disciples of Jesus were celebrating The Feast of Pentecost in The Temple in Jerusalem.
After receiving the power of the Holy Spirit during the worship service Peter was inspired to preach a great message about how Jesus Christ had fulfilled many Messianic prophecies and how some people in the crowd helped crucify God’s Messiah. (Acts 2:14-40)
Peter’s sermon so convicted the people in the Temple of their need to ask God to forgive them for doing such bad things and breaking His laws that 3,000 people accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior as is described in Acts 2:41. That event on Pentecost is considered by Christian leaders to be the birthday of the Christian Church.
As Peter and the other disciples went forth filled with God’s power, they preached many more inspired sermons and performed many miracles in many countries of the world resulting in having many thousands of people accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Ever since that time, Christians have used the power of the Holy Spirit to preach God’s messages about salvation through the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross and living according to God’s principles of living found in the Bible.
Although many times spreading those messages was easy and people readily accepted them, however there have been many times when people rejected God’s messages for various reasons.
One reason for not accepting God’s messages was that the people liked living in their spiritual darkness and their ungodly lifestyle so much that they would not turn from it to follow God’s principles and spiritual light, like Jesus described in John 3:19-20.
Sometimes Christians faced great spiritual warfare when they brought God’s spiritual light into areas where the people were controlled by the Devil and his spiritual forces of darkness. This resulted in many Christians being killed.
For years I have read many articles on the website of Front Page Magazine (www.frontpagemag.com) about the millions of people in many countries around the world who are being constantly persecuted and murdered by fanatical members of other religions because they maintained their Christian testimony of having Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and lived according to God’s principles of living found in the Bible.
Sometimes when I read stories about modern Christian martyrs, I think of two Scripture passages in the book of Revelation which describe the great rewards that will be given to those people who remain faithful to Jesus and their Christian principles in spite of the great persecution that they are going through.
The first of these passages is found in Revelation 2:10, where Jesus tells His disciples: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
The second passage is found in Revelation 7:13-17. Here faithful Christian martyrs are given white robes and placed near God’s throne in Heaven where Jesus “shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to the springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)
Those are very comforting promises for Christians being persecuted and those Christians wondering how soon persecution will come to their area as they watch the spiritual, moral, and political conditions in their area deteriorate as the Devil’s spiritual forces of darkness try to destroy all forms of God’s spiritual messages, messengers, and spiritual light so they can try to bring in great spiritual darkness and try to create the Devil’s New World Order that will try to fight Jesus and the armies of Heaven when Jesus returns to establish God’s earthly kingdom.