Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where Is The Persecution?

Years ago I remember a fast food chain that used the slogan, "Where's the beef?" The idea was to point out that other restaurant chains didn't give you a lot of meat on your burger. The something missing evidenced the failure to deliver what was promised. 2 Timothy 3:12 says: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Adam Clarke the British theologian said of this verse: "So opposite to the spirit and practice of the world is the whole of Christianity, that he who gives himself entirely up to God, making the Holy Scriptures the rule of his words and actions, will be less or more reviled and persecuted. "If religion gives no quarter to vice, the vicious will give no quarter to religion and its professors." So I ask the question American church, "Where is the persecution?"

Our brothers and sisters in China, India and Sudan suffer persecution so the issue is not some eschatological period that exempts us. I submit to you that the reason that we suffer little persecution in America is because we have learned to play by the secular rules and we don't make waves. So let us live godly and make some waves. I suggest the following become our consistent testimony:

1. Jesus Christ is the only way a person can go to heaven. There are no other paths. No Muslims, Buddhists or Hindus will enter heaven. There is exclusivity in Jesus Christ.
2. Not everyone is going to heaven. Many are going to a real hell that will burn and torture those that reject Jesus Christ.
3. Those that live a life of sin will go to hell. Examples of sin come from Paul's writings in Galatians: "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21 This is a very broad list of sins and is not limited to a few bad folks from the wrong side of town.
4. This includes those that commit abortions as well as those that have the abortions. Further, those that facilitate and make abortion legal will suffer the fires of hell.
5. The same goes for those who practice homosexuality and those that seek to make it legal.
6. God commands us to live holy lives and to separate from evil.
7. Our nation has abandoned God and He has abandoned us as a nation.
8. Those politicians and those that vote to give them power to commit these sins will suffer the same eternal fate.

Now, if we begin to speak these truths and live godly lives we just might begin to suffer some persecution. I doubt we will have a parking problem because too many still want to just feel good about themselves and think about the wonderful life God has for them (there may be a few parking spots left in Houston for the 40000+ that gather to hear Joel Osteen or for the 20000+ at Saddleback that just want a meaningful purpose driven life). For the rest of us, let us commit to live holy lives and not shrink from the persecution. Paul didn't and neither should we.

1 comment:

Carol Stubbs said...

I agree fundamentally with your proposition. The only caution that I would issue is that one needs to be very careful so as not to give the impression that by living a "holy" life, one is granted a "pass" to Heaven. I know that this is not your intent.
Besides, if all one desires is "heaven," whatever that is, (as some think in the presence of 70), I think we have missed the boat.
I would agree that Christians, (from God's perspective), do not seem to be under the same pressures as Christians are in other countries.