Ordered not to speak, Acts 4.18

“And they called them in and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.”

Acts 4.18

Peter and John angered the authorities for preaching Christ. They were imprisoned, but many believed. The church now numbered 5,000 men. Now they are ordered to be silent.

Society would silence the saints. Christ has ordered us to announce the Good News. We must decide. Silence is deadly—for the lost and for ourselves.

#votd #Acts #persecution

Out like lambs: Luke 10.3<

“Go! I am sending you out like lambs surrounded by wolves.”

Luke 10.3

When the Lord Jesus sent the 72 disciples ahead of himself, he warned them of opposition. But that warning was not to keep them from going, but to be prepared to face it.

What excuses do people give today for not going and fulfilling Christ’s mission?

#Great-Commission #VOTD #persecution

The stigma of following Jesus

From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17 NKJV)

The Greek word for “marks” in Galatians 6:17 is “stigma”. It describes a mark upon the body created with pricks in the skin or with a brand pressed into the flesh.

A stigma, in the first century meaning of the word, represented ownership. It was applied to soldiers and to slaves who would not be able to deny their identity. Some pagan worshipers would also apply it to themselves in order to display their allegiance.

But when it comes to Paul, the stigma upon his body was neither a tattoo nor a flesh-burning brand – his stigma was the marks created by his faith in Jesus (and he wasn’t talking about a mystical experience either!).

In contrast to the Judaizers of Galatians 6:12 who sought to compromise the gospel of Christ in order to avoid persecution, the marks upon Paul’s body was proof his faith believed that faith in Jesus could save one’s soul, and he would not change his story. He had the stripes to prove it! He had been beaten five times by the Jews with 40 stripes minus one, beaten three times by civil authorities with the rod, and was stoned one time with the purpose of killing him (2 Corinthians 11:24-25).

When an individual viewed the physical body of Paul there was no doubt as to who he belonged to … it just wasn’t spelled out with letters.

So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.” (Mark 15:15 NKJV)

#following-jesus, #persecution, #the-apostle-paul


11-9/10-2017 Persecution May Come

“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1 NKJV). Saul of Tarsus “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3 NKJV). God does not promise Christians that no evil will happen to them. David rightly prayed: “Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve” (Psalm 28:4 NKJV). The Apostle John “saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” (Revelation 6:9 NKJV). God promises Judgment to come.
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#christians, #judgment, #persecution

Quit supporting those who suppress God’s truth

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” (James 3:1-7 – NKJV)

To further his point on the shallow foolishness of favoring the rich over the poor, James says something that applies to today’s church as strongly as it did in the first century – quit fawning over those who suppress God’s truth!

Does this mean James didn’t want the rich to be invited to the church’s services or to be saved? I don’t think so. The point doesn’t revolve around whether or not someone should be saved. The point was about how the badly the saved (or at the very least an equal valued lost soul) could be treated because of a desire to impress the very rich (as well as lost) who made it their goal to treat God’s people with disdain.

James’ rhetorical questions were meant to make a spiritual point based on the foundation of common sense!

Today, Christian universities revolve fund-raisers around “celebrity” speakers who suppress God’s truth by endorsing things that are completely contrary to God’s righteousness. Today, Christians spend millions of dollars at retail stores with policies that allow individuals with confused and perverted minds to use the bathroom of the opposite sex. Today, we help to prop up the very individuals and organizations that criticize Christianity and the word of God that presents the gospel to a dead and dying world by going out of our way to secure and patronize those who promote sin and profaneness.

Am I saying we should completely withdraw from the world? No. That would prevent us from being salt and light we’re called to be. What I’m saying is that when the world makes it a point to blatantly ridicule the very standard of God for which Jesus died, then our support, as God’s people, needs to be withdrawn.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.” (Ephesians 5:8-12 – NKJV)

#james, #persecution, #separation-from-the-world

‘Hiding beliefs and convictions’

A comment on Mat 5.16:

“The policy of obscuration, of hiding beliefs and convictions, is often urged by lukewarm Christians, so-called ‘reasons of prudence and wisdom: gradual accustoming of men to new ideas; deference to the prejudices of good men; avoidance of rupture by premature outspokenness; but generally the true reason is fear of unpleasant consequences to oneself. ‘ To think and act thus is deliberate disloyalty to Christ. Your light, given to you from above, not to be used according to expediency, but to shine; your light, not you, the object being not to make your person prominent, but your Christianity. The Christians, individually and collectively, should perform this task as their steady work. For the light which shall be thrown out from them in every direction, before all men, consists in their good works, the fruits of their regeneration, the proof of their being illuminated by Jesus. These should be seen by the people for a definite reason. All men that come in contact with their works shall be forced to draw conclusions as to the power that inspires them. And so the glory, the honor will be placed where it properly and exclusively belongs, will be given to the Father in heaven. This fact renders the admonition urgent by giving to it its real basis.”

Paul Kretzmann

#fear, #mission, #persecution

Even under adverse conditions, the body of Christ can do much good


On some social medium, a brother whom I am not now able to identify said that we shouldn’t confuse the mess of the world—or in his instance, of the USA—with the good health of the church. His warning is appropriate, for the family of God often thrives in less than ideal circumstances. It often grows in the midst of persecution. Continue reading

#corollaries, #mission, #persecution, #technology


10-24-2016 Making Worse Get Better

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12-13 NKJV).  Christians will be persecuted, because the wicked won’t change by themselves.

1) “Evil” in mankind is described by David: “Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; Preserve me from violent men, Who plan evil things in their hearts; They continually gather together for war. They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; The poison of asps is under their lips” (Psalm 140:1-3 NKJV).  2) “Imposters” are people who live by their art of deception.  Paul told Timothy how to deal with such: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).  The wicked get worse if we don’t openly teach the Bible!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#christians, #evil, #imposters, #persecution, #worse


9-28-2016 Signs Of The End 3

Christians should expect to be “persecuted,” because Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20 NKJV).  Though the Apostle Paul was persecuted, he said, “I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:11-13 NKJV).  What Paul wrote about “evil men and imposters” growing “worse and worse,” he spoke of the natural conflict that always manifests itself between Christians who are trying to get better and better, and sinners who are going in the other direction!  Nothing he said was a “sign” to indicate Jesus’ 2nd Coming!  Sinners don’t improve without Jesus Christ.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#evil-men, #jesus-2nd-coming, #persecution

Life a constant learning process

After 45-plus years of typing and keyboarding according to the proper system taught back then in the public schools, I learned that this too has a right-handed bias. I had always had a bit of problem reaching the number 6 with the index finger of the right hand. Recently, I tried it — against all True and Proper Doctrine of Typing — with my left hand. Problem solved!

But could I adapt easily to reaching the 6 with my left hand, after all these years of forcing the right? I found I could, after just a short time. Continue reading

#corollaries, #law, #learning, #persecution, #righteousness

Not what we wanted to hear

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

Well, that’s not what we wanted to hear!

Here’s a description of the narrow road that few find, that Paul urges the young evangelist, Timothy, to travel. He begins Chapter 3 by describing the wide road that the many are on. It’s marked by “lovers of themselves, lovers of money … [those] without love … without self-control … lovers of pleasure … men of depraved minds” among many others. Continue reading

#faithfulness, #life-in-christ, #persecution


(#78) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:5-No “False Witness Protection Program”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 14:5: “A faithful witness does not lie, But a false witness will utter lies.”

A “witness” precisely tells what has been seen, heard, or experienced, so “a faithful witness” will be true to what is absolutely known and “does not lie.” Jesus Christ was a “faithful witness” (Revelation 1:5). Whether facing persecution or death, Christians must be as the Apostles: “And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:18-20); “Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, ‘Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!’ But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:26-29); “And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe” (John 19:35). No cross, terrorist bomb, or Islamic sword should make a Christian become one of “those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).

But a “false witness” who wrongly interprets, changes, or alters the actual facts, due not simply to a faulty memory, but through a deliberate effort to mislead, gives a “lie.” “False witness” may be given because of prejudice, bribery, or fear, none of which justifies it. This is one of the 7 things God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19), and other proverbs seal their doom: “A true witness delivers souls, But a deceitful witness speaks lies” (Proverbs 14:25); “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5); “A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who speaks lies shall perish” (Proverbs 19:9); “A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity” (Proverbs 19:28); “A false witness shall perish, But the man who hears him will speak endlessly” (Proverbs 21:28); “Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, For would you deceive with your lips?” (Proverbs 24:28); “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor Is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow” (Proverbs 25:18). The “false witness:” is “deceitful,” “will not go unpunished,” “shall perish,” “scorns justice,” hurts “his neighbor” as though he attacked with weapons! Also notice that “the man who hears him will speak endlessly,” meaning the false testimony will continue to be spread to no end! Political correctness, business advertising, Internet (e-mails, tweets, Facebook, et al.), legal advice, political campaign, religious persecution, peer pressure, propaganda press, headline writers and magazine covers, educational textbooks, are some of the many “hotbeds” for false witness.

Christians must repent from doing such: “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9). Not bearing “false witness” is one of the commands included in “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9). Jesus was silent in the faces of “false witnesses” (Matthew 26:59-63), and Stephen died because of them (Acts 6:9-14). Don’t believe what enemies of the churches of Christ have to say, but make sure you have “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #christian-living, #death, #faithful-witness, #false-witness, #internet, #jesus-christ, #persecution, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #threat, #truth, #wisdom

Americans are under Surveillance


America is buzzing over all the announcement that our government is spying on all of us under the guise of fighting terrorism. But that is little consolation to millions of Americans who have always feared this moment.

Anyone who has read George Orwell’s terrifying novel, “1984” has expected this to happen. However, that doesn’t make it any less chilling.

The main focus of this post is simple. For now, they are mining our data to look for terrorists. How long before this is used against Christians?

The government is already engaged as a propaganda machine for the promotion of homosexuality. Activists want to silence everyone who speaks against homosexuality and, if possible, send them to jail.

How long before the government realizes that the full-scale surveillance of Americans allows them to make that happen?

We live in frightening times. For decades, we have been asking when persecution will come to our shores. Well, that is no longer an academic question.


#bible, #persecution, #surveillance


     In Matthew 10 the Lord give what is known as the “limited commission” to His disciples. They were to go throughout Israel preaching the kingdom (10:7) and, before they were finished the Lord would follow them in His own preaching (10:23). It was in this context that the Lord said something about those who were (are) worthy of God.

Persecution is tough for anyone to have to experience. Persecution, however, has a quality that only it can produce; it purges the “dross” inside the soul from actual attachment to the soul (dross corrupts). Jesus identifies some things that can be considered “dross.”

If one loves his (her) parents more than the Lord, that one is not worthy of the Lord (10:37). We love parents, but our parents will do nothing for us with regard to our relationship to the Lord. It has to be our individual decision to serve God—regardless of what our parents might have done.

If one does not take the cross of Christ and carry it, that one is not worthy of the Lord (10:38). To take the cross of Christ means that one lives the life of Christ (Galatians 2:20). This is much easier to understand than to do—but doing it is crucial.

If one preserves his life and by doing so lets go of anything associated with the Lord, that one is not worthy of Jesus (10:39). Related to this is that which we value more. If we value self-preservation more than the Lord, then the Lord will value us less.

Each one of these three points can be described as when “the rubber meets the road.” Now that the rubber has met the road will you apply hard the brakes, spin the tires, and burn rubber or will you decide for the Lord and move forward? RT

#limited-commission, #matthew, #persecution, #tires


Psalm 119:81-88 Kaph “Finding Strength In Weakness”

It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

Psalm 119:81-88 Kaph                          “Finding Strength In Weakness”

Verses 81-83 describe our weakened condition;

Verses 84-87 show how much worse it gets;

Verse 88 make an appeal for strength.

Verses 81-83: (Verse 81) A soul may “faint” (grow weaker, dims) waiting for God’s salvation, but nothing else will do, for “hope” (anticipation) is still in God’s “word” (actual statements). (Verse 82) Eyes “fail” (strain, ache) from constant peering into God’s “word,” searching for God’s answer to: “When will You comfort me?” Under stress, strain, duress, distress, pain, or anguish, we can only tolerate so much. We ask God, not whether or not He will help, but “When.” (Verse 83) “A wineskin in smoke” dries out, becomes brittle, and useless as a liquid container. Before we become useless, we continue to remember God’s “statutes” (words defining proper conduct, lines marking out what we must do).

Verses 84-87: (Verse 84) We ask, “how long will we live,” and “when will God payback our persecutors?” The souls of those who died in the Jewish persecution of the churches of Christ (Acts 8:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16) asked the same question: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9-10). That answer came back in Revelation 19:1-2. (Verse 85) “The proud” (those lifted in their own minds above God and His word) create pitfalls (or problems) for those who serve God. “The proud” are mentioned 5 times just in this Psalm (verses 51, 69, 78, 85, 122) as representing all who disobey God’s “law” (words that guide in a straight path). (Verse 86) Dangers are not caused by God’s “commandments” (words that tell us what we should and should not do), all of which are “faithful” (producing faith), but are caused by “wrongful persecution” (undeserved, unprovoked, uncaused). “Help me!” is our appeal to our God who cares, can help, and considers our immediate plight. Christians may “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The help we need always comes from the Lord, and His way to help is revealed in His word. (Verse 87) Though oppressed near death, we should never “forsake” (give up, quit) on God’s “precepts” (words that highlight or point out what is important).

Verse 88: With fainting soul, strained eyes, strength drying up, problems caused by “the proud,” we ask to be “revived” (have our spirit refreshed, renewed vigor, restored ability) that we may finish our task of keeping His “testimony” (words of His character and will), not that God would take over and finish what we are capable of doing. Paul said of Philemon, “For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother” (Philemon 7).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#affliction, #bible, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #life, #obedience, #persecution, #proud, #revive, #salvation, #truth, #work