Jesus already warned ahead in Matthew 24:9 as a sign of the times saying, 'Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.". And how VERY true indeed. Read from the Bible straight from both the Old Testament to the New Testament and see how God's people were persecuted.
Jesus said in Luke 4:24, "And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country." and that's very true. Reading the prophetic books especially Jeremiah, the true prophets of the LORD were always shunned while the no prophets who say they were are accepted. Jesus also said in John 5:43 to the unbelieving people of His day, "I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive." and how true. That is a reality and the persecutions didn't end with the book of Acts. It will GO ON AND ON.
However God's work cannot be destroyed. Any Christian may be tortured, any Christian may cower, any Christian may be executed for my faith, my written works for the LORD forgotten by the public but the Bible stands like a rock undaunted even if brave Christians are gone; because it was written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost and it contains the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. And has persecution crushed Christianity? NO! Instead, it grew. Face it- the death of Stephen didn't stop the Gospel from spreading. The death of James only made Peter preach more! Peter's sufferings only made him a better pastor! Saul of Tarsus was converted from persecutor to soul winner! Even without the apostolic signs today (1 Corinthians 1:22) but then there will be more increase in Christianity the more opposition Satan gives it.
Let's take the following examples of Christianity growing despite opposition:
- The Roman Emperors starting with Nero intensified the persecutions. However Nero instead of curving down Christianity, he ended up making it grow the bloodier he did the attacks. Many of his successors tried to succeed where he failed but they failed more in where he failed. The single death of the Christian named Telemachus in the arena caused the end of the bloody gladiator games too.
- The Roman Catholic Church drowned much of the world into the dark ages. The dreaded Crusades, the Inquisition which was primarily founded by the Dominicans and later the formation of the Jesuit Order by Ignatius of Loyola were done in order to suppress Christianity and promote themselves as the true Church that Jesus built while claiming Peter to be their foundation. However it should be noted that it was during the dark ages when Anabaptists boldly distributed the Word of God, when John Huss' martyrdom only caused Christianity to increase, getting rid of William Tyndale didn't stop the Bible from being read to more languages and people getting saved, it was also the time when the local assemblies of Christians became on fire for Jesus Christ the most and the bloodier the persecutions, the more boldly people stood up for Christ instead. The Jesuits were not able to stop the publishing the 1611 Bible either. Today she is trying to destroy Christianity via the ecumenical movement which presents John 14:6 to be nothing more than hatred and bigotry. Her bigotry only caused more apostle Pauls to come out of her like Victor Affonso, Bob Bush, Bartholomew Brewer and the late Alberto R. Rivera.
- Islam has done its own part too. Well Muhammad was severely against the Bible-believing Christians too. Muslim countries have done their best to torture Christians to follow the satanic moon god Allah. Like the prophets of God in Elijah's day, the true Christians are being executed and replaced by the "prophets" of Allah. However despite persecution, there are already a good amount of Muslims becoming Christians too! Al Fadi after converting to Christianity now leads a Christian movement that seeks to convert Muslims to Christianity.
- Atheistic Communist countries are too. China, Laos and North Korea are a few examples. They have done EVERY attempt to get rid of those they consider to be "sub-humans" and the lowest in the list are Christians. They claim to get rid of Christians means to achieve unlimited human progress (but history proves otherwise) but instead, evangelism became a reality. The hopeless citizens of an atheist-ran state are ripe targets to be evangelized because Christianity is a message of hope for them. In fact, no matter how hard these countries tried to do so, however a Christian community just kept growing and even a few Communist officers left their godless system for Jesus Christ. Pastor John Macarthur quoted that persecution in China only made Chinese Christians go stronger because people got something and somebody that's worth living for and dying for- Christianity and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Just as the Apostle Paul would say in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12- "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you." that means, the Gospel will be spread then the end will inevitably come and even the most vile sinners will have some of them come to the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:14).