“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
I Peter 3:13-17 NKJV
Humans are rigorously complacent. We like to be able to predict all the things in our environment. We want everything to be in place. When we see something that does not belong, we have the tendency to seek to destroy that thing that does not belong the others. We are intolerant. In our society, this is very prevalent. While the definition and context of what is tolerated changes over time, there is still the tendency to seek to destroy what we feel is the anomaly.
In these times, I feel like an big anomaly, a strange artifact as a believer in Jesus Christ. The very fact that I read the bible, and believe what it says, has placed me on the margins of society. In reality, we have always been on the margins, as history is full of persecution of bible believing Chrstians. Even the Roman church sought to obliterate us, as we were labeled heretics because we believed the word of God, and not the traditions of the popes.
Today, it is the values in the bible that have placed believers at odds with the rest of humanity. Persecution of Christians world wide has surged in the last three years, and has become unbearable, as secular societies view those saved by the blood of the lamb as threats to the status quo. There have been many killings of Christians, obliterations of families, as efforts are being made to remove the influence of God from the face of the earth.
In my reading this morning, I once again found a great reminder of what we are called to do in these times, when we are standing out against the background of sin and death. I am reminded that it is better to be maligned, not for what wrong I may do, but for whose I am and the good that comes from it. Though I am reviled, I counter with love, though I am rejected, I counter by praying for those who hate me. I seek opportunties to share the Gospel with people who are repulsed by the Name for which I am called.
Many of us have sought to address the offense with our own offense. All this does is shut down communication and stymies the presentation of the good news. We are not called to dispute with the world, but to lead the world to Christ. In the coming days, I believe persecution is going increase for us in this country. It has already begun in the liberal strongholds where Christ is the enemy, as churches are on lock down, and pastors threatened with arrest for merely having a service. Soon it will be the very words that we preach that will bring offense. There will be more of this, regardless of who the next president is, oppression is local and intimate.
Brothers and sisters, let us be steadfast in sharing the Gospel, even as persecution increases. Let us also present the love of Jesus in the face of hate. Our objestive is to spread the good news so that souls are saved. That is the mission that God has set fo us. He has not called us to gain power, but to be ambassadors for a King yet to come. We will reign with Jesus in due time. We are running out of opportunities for our mission, as these are the last days, and the light is dimming.
In the coming days, there will be offense. Look upon it as an opportunity to share the Gospel, to represent Jesus to a world that is dire need of salvation. Let not your reaction overshadow the message you are to bring. Do not fear the threats, or the warnings. You are heirs to an unshakebale kingdom.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29 NKJV
Go forth and serve your King!