Summary: Are you really ready for radical growth?
8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.
9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we:
10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.
11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.
12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.
I may expound more on this at another time, but Dr. Lutzer spoke to hard living on the way in this morning and used this as one of his texts. It came to me that the devil and evil men do not learn from history. The Egyptians thought they were being wise by making it hard on the Jews to try and decrease their numbers and control their growth to weaken them. It backfired. They only became stronger and multiplied. Indeed, so many cultures have tried to exterminate the Jews and they now influence the world more than ever through their academic and technological prowess.
The same has gone for the Church. Many have tried to destroy it and it still lives. Indeed, it has even suffered under the rule of false Christians "which say they are Jews, but are not." (Rev. 2:9,3:9) Around the world today many are suffering and dying only because they are Christians. Yet, the Church in those lands are growing.
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." - Tertullian.
Indeed, evil has not learned this and so they continue to become fools as they profess wisdom and seek to destroy the people God has chosen; Jews and Christians. (Romans 1:22) I believe that there will be increasing persecution of both groups and they shall grow faster than they have in the last hundred years. They will also produce a hardier stock as under the peaceful years Christians have become fat spoiled brats and are sickly and sallow. Persecution will change that. When it costs more than saying a prayer, going forward in a meeting and being dunked to be a Christian the roots will go deeper and find hidden springs and food making a stronger, more fruitful tree. No one likes persecution or suffering, but it will become the greatest evangelistic move of the century and the best thing to happen to the Western World.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?