The Reason
Thursday, December 10, 2009

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

                Have you been rebuked by a friend, business associate, the government, the education system, or even a member of your family lately for being a Christian?  Have you felt the stinging blow of sharp words coming into your heart because you have professed Jesus?   Worse yet, have you been fired, fined, imprisoned, or tortured because of your faith?  If you can answer a resounding no to all of those questions, then I regret to inform you, you are not serving Christ as you ought.  You see, in America, we get lulled into the illusion that we should not profess our faith publically; everyone has the right to believe as they wish.  And while that may be true, if they don’t believe in Christ, their eternal fate is not good – and because we remain silent, they don’t hear the Good News of Christ, and if they don’t hear the Good News, they are destined for really bad news.  You see, the revelation of Christ would not be called Good News if there were not some really bad news out there.

                Paul penned the words, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” while he was sitting in a prison cell waiting a very soon to come execution.  Here was a man who respected the government, had not stolen, cheated, or lied.  He had killed no one nor had he been involved in some diabolical conspiracy.  He just told others about Christ.  That’s all.  And he was soon to be beheaded for that.  I once preached a sermon on that topic and a nominal member (he came to church on Easter and during the Christmas holidays) and said, “I have been a Christian all my life and I have never been persecuted.”  Overhearing that remark, an elder of the church said, “Mickey, I doubt seriously the devil considers you much of a threat.”  You see, even in America (and recently maybe because you are in America) being bold and open about your faith will cause you to be persecuted.    You might be surprised to know that I was asked by an official in the Disciples of Christ hierarchy to quit sending my newsletter to their office.  Maybe that is not persecution as Paul intended, but it is truly a sign that even in the church people don’t want to hear the Good News (and the bad).

                When Paul had his experience on the Damascus Road, he was blinded.  A message came from Christ to a man named Ananias to seek Paul out and tell him, “all he must suffer for the [Name of Jesus].”  (Acts 9:16)  In his second letter to the church in Corinth, we get an inkling of what that meant.  He said, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.  I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and have labored and toiled, and have often  gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and I have been cold and naked.”   (2 Cor. 11:23-27)

                We sit around and wring our hands and wonder why Christmas has turned into a commercial holiday where Christ has been removed.  We wonder why we don’t pray in schools or before football games.  We wonder why we are on a moral slide debating in the public square about giving marriage rights to those who live in sin and killing our unborn.  Might I suggest the reason for all those things is because “good Christians remain silent?”  We are no longer willing to suffer the humiliation, shame, and shunning for being bold about our faith.  We have bought into the lie that our faith is personal and should be kept to ourselves.  And because we are silent, the devil’s very vocal work is growing exponentially. 

                This Christmas, take the opportunity to lovingly challenge people when they say, “Happy Holidays.”  Lead a Bible study in your workplace.  Put you Bible on your desk for all to see.  Tell store managers who refuse to celebrate Christ how much joy he or she is missing.  Insist Santa Claus be taken out of your church and replaced by martyrs who gave their lives for Christ.  Make this Christmas season one in which Christ is exalted by you personally in everything you do.  And if you will do those things all during the Christmas season, boldly and openly, you will stand with Paul and say, “everyone who wants to do good in Christ Jesus, will be persecuted.”

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

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