Summary: We in America do not have any real experience with religious persecution like we find in other countries. However, over the past decades we have seen reverence for the name of Jesus become mockery. What will we do when proclaiming Jesus becomes outlawed?
Persecution - Are You Ready For It?
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Today we will be reading from Luke 12:1-12
This past Friday I was reading an article about an immigrant from Thailand who was arrested for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ outside a bar in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
The arresting police officer offered to let him go home for the night if he would stop preaching and this is what the preacher told him.
“My answer was that it was not my desire to go home tonight; I came here to preach! I told (the officer) in all honesty that if I got out of the car I was going to preach, if I stayed in the car I was going to preach all the way to the jail. I’d preach as long as I was in jail, and as soon as I was free I would come to this same place to preach as before. The Word which by the gospel is preached will not cease to go forth.”
Is that kind of boldness for telling the Gospel of Jesus Christ only for preachers or is it for any born again servant of the Lord most High?
What does it say in …Luke 12:1-12
(Prayer for help)
This isn’t a tale from some far off land, it comes from the heartland of the USA.
Was it some rogue police officer who was overstepping his authority? No. The preacher was taken to jail, photographed, finger printed, booked and taken to court where he pled guilty. The entire system had a chance to intervene and release the preacher but it went right along just the same as if a real crime had been committed.
Could anything like that happen here?
Preaching on the sin of homosexuality and other related sexual sin is already defined as a hate crime in Canada. The punishment can be fines or imprisonment. Could that happen here as well?
At the Johnson Space Center, NASA has prohibited a Christian group from using the name of Jesus in any announcement of their activities in the company newsletter.
The House of Representatives has just passed a rule change for any future legislation that would prohibit the use of gender specific words such as mother and father, son and daughter, and aunt and uncle in any legislation that is placed before them. This is intended to prevent offending the homosexual community where there might be only two “husbands” or two “wives” in a “marriage”.
There have been numerous lawsuits in California where the governor not only prohibited gatherings in churches but in-home Bible studies as well.
Is a persecution against Christians in America coming?
We had always thought of that as something that could happen in foreign lands run by communists or dictators.
Could it happen here?
And what if it does? Will we be ready? Will we be willing?
Is our Christianity skin deep or heart deep?
Let’s see if we can answer those questions.
Let’s look again at Luke 12:1-4
“Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs..”
The first thing Jesus does is to give us a warning!
The Pharisees had been held in high esteem in the eyes of the Jewish population.
They knew all of the rules.
They seemed to be perfect on the outside.
No one dared to challenge them because of the authority granted by their prestige in the eyes of the people.
But, Jesus says, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
The amplified Bible says it this way, “Be continually on your guard against the leaven of the Pharisees [that is, their pervasive, corrupting influence and teaching], which is hypocrisy [producing self-righteousness].”
Jesus is saying that the teachings of the Pharisees are always phrased in such a way as to make a righteous life impossible for others and yet insinuating that they themselves have arrived.
At the same time the Pharisees knew that they were living hypocritical lives as He said to them in Matthew 23:27
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”