Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bring it!

[Note: this post is directed to my brothers and sisters here in America.  In other countries where persecution against Christians is a fact of life the words here are almost meaningless]

I am glad Christianity isn't popular any more and getting less so by the day.  I'm glad it is no longer the status quo. I'm glad there are people who hate Jesus and hate his followers.  I'm glad people have no idea who Jesus was or is (even when they claim they do because their claims and their lifestyles demonstrate their ignorance of him).  I'm glad people hate the Christian hell, the Christian heaven, the Christian God, and the Christian church. In my humble opinion nothing is really worth having unless you're required to have it with all your might.

What we are starting to see is what true followers of Christ and even Jesus himself saw.  What we have had in America has been, for the most part, artificial.  Jesus said the world would hate his followers because the world hated him.  He said we should expect persecution as normal.  He said we should take warning when people love us and speak well of us.  He said we must (must!) take up our cross and follow him.  Have you never read what they did to him?

While we were busy focusing on the family we were forgetting Jesus' words that our families would turn their backs on Him and on us.  The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that family is important and we, as believers, are to provide for them materially and spiritually. If we don't provide for them the Bible calls us worse than unbelievers.  But that doesn't mean at all costs.  Jesus didn't mince words.  Our enemies will be the members of our own household.  So why are we surprised when they turn their backs on us and our Savior?  Why do we make our children the focus of our efforts and our dreams to the apparent exclusion of our Savior and his lordship?

What we are seeing today is separation of the chaff from the wheat and the sheep from the goats.  No longer can people hide behind the name "Christian".  True Christians will not only wear that name but they will become that name and nothing anyone says or does to them can change that. Not because we are strong or smart or powerful but because greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.

People all the time romanticize about the early church.  "I want to find a church that is like the first believers" they say.  "I want to live like the first believers lived" they opine.  Really?  Are you sure? The early believers not only died for their faith they literally ran to their deaths.  They not only said, "I will suffer for the cause of Christ" they said, "Bring it on!"  They laid themselves upon crosses, they volunteered to go to the lions, they declared their allegiance to the one true God before their judges and executioners.  Given opportunity to recant and be saved from death they instead declared their love for the lamb of God who could save their souls and then they died, some of them singing while the lions ripped them and their friends and families to shreds or the flames choked their voices.   So think long and hard before you ask God to help you live like the early believers.  They didn't live.  They died.  Are you ready for that?

If you want to know what the early church was like look around you. Open your eyes. You will see it soon enough. If you aren't seeing it then perhaps you are asking the wrong questions.

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