As we begin to go out and carry the true message of AA and begin to teach people about Jesus Christ being our Creator, and begin to teach people about Gods commandments and laws, we will begin to suffer persecution. This persecution will come in all forms and from all kinds of people we thought would accept what we are having our eyes opened to. Our only desire as we first recover is to show others what we have done and how we were taught.
At first we are belittled at meetings by people who may have multiple years of sobriety, or those we thought were friends. As we continue to seek Gods will we will begin to tell family and friends about things we are reading in Gods word, and just like the first 164 pages of the basic text, we will start to be put down for the truth that we will be attempting to share with others. Rest easy and know that Jesus has talked about this from the beginning. Although no persecution is pleasant to go through, we will come to see Gods word coming alive in our lives as we tell others about His grace and mercy, and are rejected by some as being in a cult or falling off the deep end. We are truly taking on the role of being in this world but not of it. Forsaking worldly lusts for spiritual growth. This happens to all who become servants of God.: We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our Creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the way of weakness. Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage. They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, through us, what He can do. Pg 68
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: There is a specific way to serve God! If it is not in His word it means nothing and many are serving Him contrary to His word. 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Few set there hearts to find and do what God has written in His word. Any way of serving Him other than His word is done in vain.
It is also true with recovering from alcoholism. This is why there are also specific directions to recover from alcoholism and many of us struggled until we were guided by a recovered alcoholic.:
Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill. Pg 89
Once we receive Gods mercy it is up to us to go out and help others to recover also.:
8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Although some of this may have been literal, the way we cast out devils, heal the sick, cleanse lepers and raise the dead today is in the spiritual sense. It is by teaching others how to come under Gods grace and mercy. In this way they live again and are healed. The way they lived serving satan is changed to serving God and devils are cast out of them, their old way of thinking and acting is turned into righteousness. They are no longer lepers or castaways from Gods mercy and love, giving them a chance at salvation.:
1 Corinthians 2:12
12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. We once lived according to the spirit of the world. Now we receive the spirit of God and we are made to know this free gift. The peace and serenity, the ability to be of real help to others. A purpose and direction in which to live our lives.: We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others. Pg 132
1But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: Talking and teaching the truth, not traditions or lies. 2That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. That as we grow spiritually we may live according to Gods righteousness.:
11For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; That even though we live in a world that is not serving God, we should serve Him. Always staying diligent to live according to His word. 13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Looking for the return of Jesus. 14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Who became our sacrifice for sin so we might be a people who stand out as those that are eager to serve Him. 15These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Eager to serve Him and lead others to Him so they might too be partakers of His grace and mercy. Speaking the truth with authority and doing away with all lies by teaching the truth.:
1After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. There are few servants going out and teaching others about Gods grace and mercy.
So as we become laborers and go out to the harvest we begin to be hit with persecution, and don't know why others are not rejoicing over this good news that we bring them. Look at what Jesus says.: John 15:18-20
18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. It hated Jesus first because He gave us the message to carry to others. 19If 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. When we were in the world or living like we used to, selfishly trying to gain things for ourselves, everyone liked us. But now that we have strived to know Gods word and practice those principles, Jesus has chosen us or opened our eyes to the truth and those who live contrary to that don't seem to like us that much anymore. If we went back to our old way of living we would be embraced by the world again with open arms. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. Jesus says to remember that we are not greater than Him. If they persecute us or come to hear and adhere to our teaching it is because we are teaching what He has taught us, the message given to Him by the Father! Jesus sends us out to teach others and he continuously warns us about persecution so when it happens we will know about it, and won't be surprised that it is happening to us. Strait is the gate and narrow the way and few will find it or want to hear and do what is required for eternal life. Jesus sends us out to teach others and again He warns us to beware of persecution. Now He is not warning us so we can do something to stop it, but so we are aware that it will happen.:
Matthew 10:16-21 16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Be wise in how we carry this message to others but at the same time be kind and loving as we go about teaching others and speaking the truth. 17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. You will come under fire from all kinds of people and will be brought before those of authority. 19But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. When we are in a confrontation with those that oppose us or in a situation where we need to explain ourselves, we will know how to react and what to say instinctively.20For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. When we are living by Gods principles it is natural for the truth to come out. We don't have to think about what to say for we are living what we are going to say. 21And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. Civil wars have been fought with brothers and children and parents being on opposite sides. It is no different with serving God.
32Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Jesus isn't trying to bring families to hate each other but to prove each individuals heart. In doing this many families will be divided as each individual thinks and believes differently. 36And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. Therefore a servant of God will be persecuted by them in His own house! 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. No matter what type of persecution you suffer you must continue to serve God. 38And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. The person that does not continue to serve God regardless or the personal consequences is not worthy of coming under the shed blood of Jesus. 39He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that puts his worldly life before Gods principles will lose eternal life and he that loses his worldly life or puts Gods principles first before all things shall gain eternal life.
26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Hate or despise the things that others are doing or telling us to do that are contrary to Gods word. Even ourselves, the way we lived blocked from God, or when we inadvertently stumble. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not endure this persecution and follow Jesus by keeping His word. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Forsake everything that is contrary to Gods word, all worldly lusts and self-reliance. All things that go against Gods principles, and walk in His ways.
2 Timothy 3:12
12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. All who strive to keep Gods commandments will suffer persecution. Jesus told us this and He also tells us that we are blessed for suffering persecution.: Matthew 5:10-12
10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Jesus says to be very happy when we are persecuted for His sake. For the sake of carrying the message of truth. That we are blessed when this happens and that our reward for enduring this is to be in His kingdom. Let's look at what happened to Peter and the apostles.: Acts 5:40-41
40And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. They were beaten for teaching about Jesus and the gospel of hope. 41And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And as they left they were rejoicing and praising God for being allowed to serve Him!:
1 Peter 4:11-14
11If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. When we teach others, teach about the commandments of God as we are given the ability to do so. 12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: We have been told over and over about suffering persecution, don't think it is strange. 13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. Rejoice in that we are counted worthy to be able to suffer as Christ did for telling others about how to serve God and gain eternal life. 14If 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. If we are disgraced or put to shame for the name of Jesus be happy because His spirit is with us, and He is glorified by our actions or our teaching.
Look what happened to Stephen as he preached the word of God.: Acts 7:51-53
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. So Stephen is telling them that they are living like their fathers did contrary to the scriptures. And they get convicted about how evil their heart is.: Acts7:57-6057Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, They being unwilling to look at the truth of themselves took it upon themselves to kill Stephen. 58And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60And 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. Even as Stephen is dying he asks God not to hold this sin against the very people that are killing him.: Romans 12:14-21
14Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Speak well of them that persecute you, don't drag them through the dirt when talking about them. 15Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Rejoice with each other and bear each others sorrows. 16Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Don't be high minded or have false pride in our own accomplishments. 17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. Don't be evil toward someone because they were evil toward us. Be honest and forthright with all men. 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Be at peace with everyone. We may not become best friends but at least be friendly. Don't give any reason for them to have ill feelings toward us. 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Treat your enemy as anyone else if they are in need. Your kindness may begin to shine through to them and make them take a look at themselves. 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. When possible be kind and loving even to those who are not that way to us.
Now we can read all over the old testament how the prophets of God were persecuted and killed.
2 Chronicles 36:15-16
15And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: 16But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
11For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. 12They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: 13And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
Even though the Lord knows how someone who is bringing His word to others will be treated, look at what the Lord tells Ezekiel.: Ezekiel 2:3-7
3And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. Transgressed or been disobedient to Gods commandments. 4For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. 5And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. The Lord tells him regardless whether or not they hear and obey that He must go to them and attempt to teach them. 6And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. 7And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious. The Lord tells him to go teach them and don't be afraid of them and what they can do to you. Now even though we are not prophets, the Lord wants us to give away what has been so freely given us. To give all a chance to serve Him. God knows our heart and knows that few will take hold of His covenant. That is why He is continuously telling us we will be persecuted, just like the prophets and apostles before us.:
22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Those that serve God will be hated by all men for Jesus sake. But he that endures to the end shall be saved, not once saved always saved.! But that is another lesson. Jesus also tells us not to fear man or what he can do
28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Jesus tells us that the one we should fear is God, that this is a healthy fear for man. Yet another lesson.
2Looking 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus was crucified and beaten, enduring shame and ridicule, to bring us this message of eternal life. He died and became our sacrifice for our sins. 3For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Consider what He went through and then think about the next time we get laughed at in a meeting or someone has some words that are not very kind for us. 4Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Very few of us have had to shed our blood over the carrying of this message. But there might come a time that we have to!: Revelation 6:9-11
9And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? John is seeing people that were killed for carrying the message of Jesus Christ. 11And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. White robes or the symbol of being righteous in Gods eyes, and that they should still rest or stay dead until other servants be killed for Jesus.
4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
The reward for being killed for the word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ is making the first resurrection and eternal life. Although none of us wants to suffer this fate, this is what God says is the reward for those who do.
As we continue to carry the message of Alcoholics Anonymous to others that are still suffering we will be persecuted in various ways. As we continue to carry Gods message as set forth in His word we will see that our persecution will be increased and that even our loved ones might take offense to what it is we are showing them. Regardless of this we now see that Jesus Himself says that we must endure this persecution and continue to serve Him to the best of our ability with what has already been made plain to us. That this is part of taking up our cross and following Him. As we begin to recognize the persecution and give Him thanks and praise, we will continue to grow in the Spirit of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Pg 84
1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.