ILLUSTRATION: A Highly Trained Seal Team has been dropped deep into enemy territory to extract quite a number of innocent civilian families held hostage in a remote prison. The hostages have been mistreated, tortured and many already killed. They have a limited amount of time to complete the mission before a chopper comes to meet them at an extraction point. When they hit the ground and the mission begins, the Leader of the Team picks up his equipment and signals the men to follow into the night towards the prisons. The other men begin digging in where they are, setting up camp, starting a fire, and they simply begin to wait. When their Leader turns and asks what they are doing, the reply is, "The chopper will be coming right here very soon. We don't want to miss it when it comes back!" The Leader replies, "But this is our mission; it is why we are here!" To which the now solidly encamped soldiers respond, "So you go tell them if they want a ticket out of here, they better come quick. We'll guard the spot!"
Marriage is AWESOME, GROWING, GLORIFYING! In our rapidly shifting "cultural" morals today...
We have watched as marriage has legally…Been completely redefined in this country... (With more changes surely to come!) The number of people getting married today, according to information from an April 2020 U.S. News And World Report...Is at it's lowest level since the Federal Government began recording data in 1867! (1) Experts say the reasoning behind this incredibly low number of marriages in today's culture is due to... (Listen to these!)
We are in Part 3 of our study on Persecution of the Church. In Part 1, we discussed the pattern of persecution in times past, as it sprouted and grew in different cultures and how we are quickly fitting into that pattern here and now. In Part 2, we discussed why people are becoming so "intolerant and resentful" of Christ and Christianity in our culture today, and why persecution gives the real Church a unique opportunity of sifting, growing and witnessing to the world like no other time. Today we will discuss how to prepare for, and endure the growing animosity and resistance towards our faith. As levels of persecution seems to be steadily on the rise in our culture—whether quickly, or over time—we will face increasing persecution in the days ahead.
Last week we began a very important and timely message about "persecution!" Comparing our current situation in America, and even globally...To the pattern of how persecution has sprouted and grown in other times and places of history...
The obvious conclusion is that...Globally... And in our OWN Nation...Hatred, intolerance and persecution of Christians is growing in number and severity! We are the single-most hated group of people on the planet right here in our very lifetimes! And although we have been sheltered from most of the serious persecution in the past...Our society has taken on a completely different atmosphere and attitude in just a few short years...As Christianity has quickly gone from a position of favor and acceptance...To a position of contempt, and political incorrectness... It is becoming an almost common public attitude...To consider Fundamental Christian beliefs as homophobic, misogynistic, bigoted, judgmental and downright evil at times!
Do you see and feel increased animosity and even anger being expressed towards many of your Christian views in entertainment and in the politically correct world in which we live today? Do you sometimes feel intimidated and unwelcomed to express your Biblical belief about certain topics at work or among certain social gatherings? Knowing how they are in stark contrast to the accepted norm of society? Is there a very real and growing push by society for the church to change their stance on many current issues today? Are many of our very own churches caving to the desires of the masses in their beliefs and condemning us for not following suite? Have we crossed a new threshold of literal, physical, hate-filled aggression and intimidation towards unwanted beliefs and opinions in our country? Have you seen legal action taken against people as a direct result of their choice to live by their Biblical beliefs in our culture? Is there a very real trend to distinctly single out of Christian beliefs (over other religions) in our culture as the target for much condemnation and attack? With the current Representatives and Judges we have in place at this very moment, do you feel it is very possible for more restrictive laws to appear in our society towards our beliefs and convictions in the near future? Many Christians are wondering and asking whether we will experience serious discrimination and even outright persecution in our lives. I want to take a moment to give you a solid, evidence-based answer to set your minds at ease once and for all—absolutely, yes! Think that answer is biased? Paranoid? Opinionated? Let's take a few moments to get beyond our personal comforts, opinions and hopes—to see the big picture—from the standpoint of history, current blatant evidence, and Scripture.
With all of the evidence we have discussed in previous sermons... Including the alignment of countries, modern technology, world events and fulfilled prophecies. Which are descriptive of the Last Days...Added to the world changing events of 2020...Including the global pandemic...And the severe, rapid decline in the moral and spiritual attitude of multitudes across the nation and the world...Many Christians are pondering whether we truly are nearing the end of the world as we know it... And are about to see...
We are in Part 5 of a series designed to address current issues facing our world today—all of the chaos, fear and rapid changes. What we are to make of it all from a Christian Worldview and how we are to respond to these issues as believers in Christ. So far, we have addressed the apathy and lack of passion in the Church today. The Christian principles to guide us through living in a pandemic, the foundation and purpose of the Black Lives Matter organization, and taken a deep and honest look at the roots of racism prevalent today. Now we will turn our eyes towards one of the biggest battles Christians have begun to fight in recent days—one which will undoubtedly cause us much increasing struggle and persecution in the days to come and mislead many good-hearted, but unlearned and self-focused believers. That threat is the false teachings that have arisen from within our own ranks.
Our Country is on the verge of IMPLODING on itself in every way. As we have become a spectacle to the rest of the world...Some countries looking on in hope and joy while we devour one another...
In the midst of external threats... And complete political division and unrest…And the biggest pandemic to strike our generation...
Now...we find ourselves caught in the biggest racial division our generation has ever faced...With everyone wondering how to respond to this nation-wide need for reconciliation...Well... With the selfish attitudes shown on all sides... And the denial that racism is even a problem by many...And the impossible demands being given before change will occur by others... Reconciliation seems almost beyond hope in this world's wisdom and attitude!
You have seen it and heard it over and over—in social media, on the news, at work, in conversations...You have seen and felt every reaction possible from both sides; from agreement, to distaste and anger, frustration and impatience, denial, hate, vengeance, hostility and chaos. You have been told to get behind it or you are racist; get behind it or feel guilty; repentant and make atonement for your sins. Our world is being torn apart around us as everyone screams for us to follow their plan, think as they think, do what is right according to their beliefs. And once again, the reaction you and I should have on this subject—as Christians—before we are black, white, red or brown; before we are Democrat or Republican—should be simple, unbending, unapologetic, undebated, and uninfluenced by anything around us. Our reactions should be the Light for others to follow—the Salt to stop the rot and decay; the example of the Untainted Love of Christ in a world gone mad. But once again, most of us simply reflect the world from which we are so influenced rather than walking in the Spirit of Truth.
What would God—and His Word—have us to do with the hate, racism, and violence around us? What would He have us to do with the movements and protests? Let's go back to a blank slate and start over once again. Ask yourself this single, all-important question in the end: "Was what I heard in line with God's Word?" If so, stop the debate, and align yourself with Him: Galatians 1:10.
We are in week THREE of a very relevant study about our current situation in America, and the world...
And WHAT OUR RESPONSE AS CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE!
I have personally seen and heard comments and opinions from friends, at work, and especially on Social Media...Concerning what our attitudes and actions should be in response to the MANY CURRENT EVENTS which surround us in this crazy year in which we are living! And what I have noticed...
What is MOST frustrating and disheartening...Is the vast majority of the comments and opinions about our role as Christians in all of this... ARE EXACTLY THAT... PERSONAL OPINIONS!!! Opinions based upon very fragmented knowledge of Scriptures and God's Character... Opinions based upon INDIVIDUAL WANTS, BELIEFS AND THOUGHTS... I have seen just about every angle of view and argument being justified by God and His Word... Much of the time... Selfishly and inappropriately!
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