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

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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

evil-society

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

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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