[T]he god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4).
I have sobering news for the Church and terrible news for her detractors.
First, the sobering news for the Church. Welcome to the reality that Jesus told you about when you follow Him faithfully and without apology…you will be hated and persecuted (Matt. 10:22, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17, John 15: 18-25). I don’t know where you got the impression that the faithful follower of Jesus Christ is to be the most revered, appreciated, loved, and rewarded person in the community but wherever you got it from wasn’t a reliable source.
Honestly, if you are surprised by the level of hatred and vitriol being vomited out at you for merely taking a common sense approach to biblical interpretation and faithful living…which version of the Bible have you been reading? The one where anything but “love your neighbor” has been scrubbed? Have you come to believe that Jesus scourged and crucified Himself? No! He was executed and it wasn’t because He went around telling everyone to love everyone else. I think it had more to do with people taking offense at His claims of being the Son of God (John 10:25-33) and demonstrating it with never before seen power (John 11:45-53). His was (and still is) the power to break the back of sin in a person’s life. In other words, His was a mission and ministry of helping people get out of sin, not teaching them how to properly accommodate it so they could be liked in the community. As James later wrote, “whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
Stephen wasn’t stoned to death for teaching everyone the words of Kumbaya and singing it while everyone held hands. No, I believe it had more to do with a speech he gave wherein the gist of it was that people were living in proud disobedience to God (Acts 7). How dare he! Who was he to judge anyone? So they caved his skull in with stones.
As the early Church Father Tertullian noted, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” More importantly, in Revelation 12:11 the apostle John wrote “they have conquered him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” The heart and soul of Christianity has always been fighting the good fight of faith on the battlegrounds of culture as the Church testifies (whether or not the sinner and his/her world likes it or not) of the soul cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb of God.
I’m sorry Church, if somehow you were under the impression that by building your multimillion dollar buildings out in the suburbs while watching giant screens of the praise bands and listening to narcissistic engendering sermons was going to keep you liked and loved, safe and sound in these last days. I’m sorry if you were under the impression that standing with the sexually immoral and deviant was going to somehow put you on the FastTrack to God’s blessings. I’m sorry if you’ve gotten the impression that standing up for holiness by encouraging sinners to repent is somehow antithetical to New Testament Christianity. Somebody has let you down if that is what you have been thinking.
Read a little more closely.
- For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory…(Luke 9:26)
- And if anyone will not receive your or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town (Matthew 10:14)
- The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me (Luke 10:16)
- In the world you will have tribulation (John 16:33)
No, Church, you were sold on “a different gospel” (Gal. 1:6) if you were under the impression being faithful to Christ was going to be popular or appreciated.
Now, just a short little snippet to all those who despise the Bible and the truth it reveals.
All these comments I see from you about Christianity being on the way out…yeah, you might want to pick up one of the few history books left that you haven’t tainted with your revisionist history (there’s still a couple left in the public libraries). You and your ancestors have been promising societies and cultures all over the planet for millennia that Christianity is just about to expire. You guys were saying that about the Jews since David was their king. The Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Germans, and now the Iranians have been promising the world that the Jew was in his final days. Yet somehow they’re still around.
You’ve been saying the same thing about Christ’s Church since your ancestors Ciaphus and Nero were making promises to rid the world of the Christian scourge. Yet here we still are. And under the lordship and dominion of our Savior we shall remain. You can scrub this nation clean of its Christian heritage from books, monuments, and public policy. You can outlaw prayer and ban the Bible. And you can continue to make promises about de-Christianizing America. But you can’t deliver on your empty promises any more now than when Nero was impaling Christians in his gardens. Satan himself can no more eradicate the bride of Christ than you. Read Revelation 12. It is never going to happen because Jesus Christ is lord of all.
If I were you I’d pick up a Bible and read Acts 5:17-42. It’s a narrative about a bunch of people who were sitting around trying to decide how to silence the early Christians once and for all. An old man name Gamaliel stood up and told them that if the movement was false it would simply die out (he gave examples of other movements doing just that). Then he gave them this chilling warning: “if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (5:38-39). Good luck with trying to oppose the will of God. Nobody in the history of creation has been successful in doing that…and stronger foes than you have tried.
Now in putting everything in subjection to him [Jesus Christ], he left nothing outside his control (Hebrews 2:8).