How To Serve Christ Through Affliction (CLW-13)

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I’d like to give you a sanctified mind’s analysis of Church History: something that they could never get on Google. The reason I share with you the background details of each passage we study is to show it to you through the lens of Scripture, and with my own lifetime analysis of these facts, what is vital to increase our understanding. That is actually one of the elements of expository preaching, which is my lifelong pursuit. Church History records three notable waves of persecution from the Roman Emperors:
• Wave #1: Emperor Nero (54-68 AD) This persecution was sporadic and limited mainly to Rome, sweeping up Paul and Peter to execution.
• Wave #2: Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) This persecution was wider than Nero’s, across some of the Roman Empire’s provinces, and hitting both the church at Smyrna and exiling John to Patmos.
• Wave #3: Emperor Diocletian (284-305 AD) This persecution was the greatest of any Roman Emperor against Christ's Church. Diocletian, who was one of the most administrative of all Rome’s rulers, began a systematic purge of Christianity, through an Empire-wide eradication of the Church, and he almost succeeded.
For the final nearly 10 years of Diocletian’s reign he systematically decimated Christ's church. The main reason that there is not one single complete manuscript of the Bible today, and all we have are 20,000+ fragments and partial manuscripts is because of this one very powerful man.
Under Diocletian’s wave of persecution: every church meeting place that could be identified was pulled down; every pastor that could be found was killed; and every copy of God’s Word that could be discovered, was destroyed.
The church came closest to extinction in those years.
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