Summary: We will persevere in tough times together through our church community (Material adapted from Daniel Overdorf's book, What the Bible Says About the Church: Rediscovering Community; chapter 14 Radically Perseverant, pgs. 367-370)
Pray for David and Philomena Morris- Monday, October 20th, 2014
After the right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP took power following India's general elections in May, attacks on Christians and other minorities by Hindu radical groups has skyrocketed. In Uttar Pradesh, 600 reports of violence were recorded in the first 100 days of BJP's rule. Many of these attacks were perpetrated by Hindu radical groups against India's minorities.
Well that’s overseas, preacher. In Houston, TX the city council made it legal for men to go into women’s restrooms and for women to go into men’s restrooms. Evidently some preachers have spoken out about this so the mayor of Houston has ordered preachers to submit their sermons for review that discuss this issue and homosexuality. Later this was expanded to include any form of communication that discussed this issue. 5 preachers are prepared to go to jail.
For the most part we have enjoyed freedom and protected from persecution like this in the US. However, never has a time existed when the church was free from being persecuted. In its earliest days, the church met opposition from unbelieving Jews (such as Saul). Soon after, the Romans grew leery of the Christians and persecuted the church severely. Throughout history, Christians in places around the globe have been pushed to the edges of society and have faced beating, burnings, and martyrdom.
Talking about surviving in hard times. Need to keep our confidence, need to remember that we are God’s children and we have a Father and a family, need to remember that we are chosen by God, God really wants us and paid a big price to have us in His kingdom.
Thesis: We will persevere in tough times together through our church community
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:12, 13, NIV.
When we stand together, we stand tall. When we stand apart, like burning coals removed from the fire, we grow cold. Story of the preacher who came to visit a Christian who decided that church is unimportant. In front of fireplace talking and hot coal taken out. Preacher said to the man that if he didn't come back to church that he would be like that hot coal that is now cold.
As we grow busier and busier, one of the harder things to do is get involved in the lives of other people. Probably because we hear more about staying out of other people’s business in our culture. We live in a more permissive age, or maybe, and most likely, we are too wrapped up in our own lives. Vs. 13 has a sense of urgency. The NKJV used a stronger word for encourage- exhort which indicates necessity and crisis. In simple terms, do it TODAY. Fellowship is serious. The protection of our souls is at stake. We have strength in numbers but weakness in separation.