It wasn’t all that long ago when I was reading an article on the World Magazine web site titled “R is for Religion”, written by Gene Edward Veith. He was making us aware of the very real possibility of a day sometime soon when we will find ourselves as Christians rated in the same way that sex, nudity and violence is rated, with a warning, “you are entering a strongly religious zone in which the messages are from one religion and therefore might indeed be offensive to those of other faiths or even those with no faith at all.”
Within this article the question is asked, “Why are references to Christ so offensive?” and then he goes on to explain, “In today’s climate, religion is relative. According to the conventional wisdom, no one religion is true for everyone, and all religions are equally valid. Mention of a generic “God” is acceptable, as long as He is not defined. So is invocation of other concepts common to various religions, such as prayer, spirituality, mystical experiences, and salvation by good works.
But Jesus Christ is too specific. God in the flesh is too tangible. And He says, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). That Jesus—despite His goodness and love—offends people is simply more evidence that the Bible is true. He is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:8). That He died on the cross for our sins is especially offensive (Galatians 5:11).
So no one should be surprised when secularists react to Jesus with shock and outrage. But “blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (Matthew 11:6).”
I found, as I read this article, a curious response welling up from deep within me. There was a very sense of excitement. I found myself thinking that this is a good thing and not a bad thing. It is a reality check for the church, and for those who would call themselves authentic believers, in the Lord Jesus Christ. I began to see all of this as a filtering device, yes, a filter being created to weed out the tares from the wheat. This was exciting and not at all depressing or discouraging. It was great.
Go ahead world, bring it on. There is no way that the world can win this battle, or the power of darkness behind it. This attempt to kill, maim or destroy the church or authentic Christianity, let alone the Word of God is not going to succeed. No way! In truth, this battle isn’t against us who believe, anyway. No! This battle is against the very God whom we serve. This battle is the Kingdom of Darkness against the Kingdom of the Lord God Almighty and His only begotten Son, of who’s we are.
John 1:5 (NKJV) And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Luke 10:16 (NKJV) He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
It is a battle that the enemy has pursued for a very long time. Yes, it may become increasingly costly to every area of our lives, but so be it. This current effort will, as with every other attempt of darkness to destroy the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, to squelch its life, witness, faith, hope and love, end up in utter failure. It will fail, not because of you or I and the greatness of our faith, intellect or our sacrifice, but inspite of these vital realities. It will fail not because of ours or others great sacrifices paid and lives surrendered as valuable as they are and shall be. No!
It will fail because darkness has already been defeated upon the cross of Calvary through the blood shed of our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, King, and the Resurrection Power of Almighty God.
It will fail because we, the people of God shall conquer the enemy through this very Blood of the Lamb, through the Word of our Testimonies, for we shall love not our lives even unto to death, as so many in our lifetime have, are and will.
It shall fail because there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved, none. It shall fail because there is no other way to the Father God but through Christ Jesus.
It will fail because that which the Lord God Almighty has purposed cannot be annulled, thwarted or stopped by anyone, including the complete host of hell itself. Therefore, rejoice! In the Lord Jesus Christ, we have overcome because Christ in us has already overcome the world and all that it has to throw at us (Jn 16:33; 1Jn 2:12-14; 5:4-5).
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
Psalms 2:1-6 (NKJV) Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”
China has failed, Russia failed, Secular Europe has failed, the Islamic Fundamentalists have failed and we will see it all fail here in the USA as well. Christianity is rooted in a supernatural work of God. We exist because the Lord God Almighty has stated that it is His will that we as the Body of Christ Jesus in the earth has, does, and will continue to exist until the time of the end. It is not mankind’s idea. The authentic Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a work of mankind. No! It is a work of the Lord God Almighty Himself. Nothing can change all of this, not some secularist, extremist, fundamentalist, naturalist, communist or social activist, or any other “ist”. Why? Simply because of the Lord God Almighty, the greatness of His Faithfulness concerning His Word and concerning us all who are called by His Name.
Our hope cannot be in this world or its culture. Our hope cannot be in their approval or acceptance of us as the Body of Christ, or of our faith, our core beliefs in and concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Things may get tougher, rougher, and yes more and even more costly. Yes it has in many ways already begun. Believers are dying for their faith each and everyday and have for 2 thousand years.
The Christians are the most persecuted people group in the history of mankind. It is estimated that over two hundred million believers have died for their faith alone in Christ Jesus; one hundred million have died in the last century and it is expected that over two hundred and fifty million will be persecuted this year alone.
Will the Church, the true body of Christ Jesus go away, shrivel up and cease to exist, simply because we are being persecuted and or killed each and everyday for our faith? The Word of God says no! History reveals the answer as no! And the current world realities, also records the answer as being no, absolutely, No way!
As it was expressed by one of our early church fathers Tertullian, “The more we are mown down by you (the Roman empire), the more numerous we grow; the blood of Christians is seed”. So then, as the early Church continued inspite of its being at times, under severe persecution and testing, neither will we, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ simply go away because someone just might get offended. Even if many of us, even most of us pay the ultimate price for our faith in our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. We the Church, will not go away. No! The true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, will remain until there is a calling up by the Lord God Almighty and not a millisecond sooner.
What shall our attitude be in response to this? Let it be even as the early apostles:
Acts 5:41-42 (NKJV) So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
So, I for one say, bring it on world. Turn up the heat. Refining fires come forth and purify the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Go ahead and raise up the call, weeding out the chaff from within our midst, stirring up the call for the authentic, the authentic faith, hope, and love of the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Go ahead and call for the true witness of the Power of God, the Blood of the Lamb and the authentic people of God. Awaken us from our being so ingrown, self absorbed, petty, trite, and self centered. Awaken us from our slumber, our comfortableness, indifference, lethargy, apathy, and from the approaching apostasy and already existing heresy. Go ahead and awaken the people of God! Bring it on world, Bring it on!
Micah 7:8 (NKJV) Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.
Look at our brothers and sisters, the nation and people of Israel and take hope. They have suffered greatly throughout history, sometimes even at the hands of misguided professing so called Christians, but they have not gone away. They remain. Many nations to this day have called and continue to call for their extermination, but they remain. Why? Simply because the Lord God Almighty says it is to be so. What is true of the nation and people of Israel, is also true of us, The Church, The Body of Christ Jesus in the Earth. We have, do, and shall remain until it is time for the Lord Jesus to return and collect us, His Bride. We will remain simply because the Lord God Almighty has determined that is the way things are to be. So, take hope in the greatness and power of His Almighty Faithfulness for Great is His Faithulness.
1 Peter 1:22-25 (NKJV) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
So, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, be encouraged, Our Lord Reigns, no matter what anyone in the earth says, does and shall say or do. Keep looking up for your redemption draws nearer and nearer, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our God, King, and Savior. Rejoice for we are born again from an incorruptible seed and therefore an eternal seed, in the Lord Jesus Christ!