Displeasing God
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

“It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”  (Acts 26:14)


                There is a discreet almost hidden passage in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.  It says, “They [the non-believing Jews] displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved.  In this way they always head up their sins to the limit.” (1 Thess. 2:15-16)  Like so many passages, I read over this one again and again until it finally struck me how poignantly Paul was speaking to our culture and the Church today.  Paul is speaking of evangelism and how people who stand in the way of evangelism are hostile to God and are piling up a tremendous debit column from God.  That to me is a scary proposition.  But that is what is happening today.


                Christians are discouraged by government, by culture, and even by the Church in bearing witness to our Lord.  The government has begun to intervene more and more each year in the free and public proclamation of our faith.  The culture tries to marginalize, minimize, and humiliate those few left who have enough courage to speak out for Jesus.  And the modern liberal Church is so intent on being politically correct that they have removed missions from their plates, and even those which still have missions tend to worry more about the bellies of the people than they do of their eternal souls.  We simply are thwarted at every turn from telling others about Christ.  And to the government, to the culture, and to the modern politically correct Church, Paul says, “You are displeasing God and are hostile to all men when you prevent evangelism from happening.”  For you see, Paul understood that Christ and Him crucified would be a foolish message to the world. But he also knew in that message was the world’s only hope.


                As Jesus said, and I quote often, “O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, if you only knew this day what it is that would bring you peace.”  The world so strongly rejects the only One who will bring meaning and purpose to the people.  But they will not allow that to be taught because it would prove to be offensive to some. (I hope that does not come as a surprise to us since the “offense of the gospel” is a theme of the New Testament.)  But we need to take our stand.  If other religions have validity, then Christianity does not.  And if Christianity is valid, then all other world religions are false.  It can be no other way.  All religions are about men seeking God and trying to please Him.  But Christianity is all about God, seeking men and doing what it took to bring them home.  These are two very different messages, and cannot co-exist with one another.  One is really bad news, because we will never find peace with God on our own, and the other is really good news, because God has made peace with us.  One frustrates humanity and leads to destruction; the other liberates humanity and pleases God bringing eternal life for the believers.


                I really don’t know if we modern Christians don’t believe the good news of Christ, or if we are more afraid of the wrath of government and culture than we are the wrath of God, but we are sitting idly by and letting government and culture and the modern liberal Church toss God out of our lives and our land.  And the words of Paul are clear, when they do that they are displeasing God and God will not stay displeased forever.  As for us, we must not be afraid to tell others about the good news of God, coming to find us so that we might have life.  That message would neutralize terrorism, legalism, and liberalism.  It would revolutionize the world.  It has done it once and it can do it again, if we Christians would worry more about our God than our standing in the world and our position with the government.


                Now, having said that let me conclude by saying that we must report this message, not with counter- terrorism, legalism, or judgementalism.  We must fight with grace.  Giving our non-Christians brothers and sisters a good dose of what Christ gave us – love, compassion, and understanding.  It worked for the early Christians who converted the hostile Roman Empire, and it can work for us today.  But deep down, I believe if we allow the culture, the politically correct, and the government to cease our voice to the lost we too will be displeasing to God.  We must kick against the goads of the world.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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