Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Under Fire

It might come as no surprise to you that there exist countries in which the Gospel is banned. In some of these, an exposed missionary might get off with as little as deportation. In others, jail, torture, or death. Yet despite the opposition, Christian men and women answer God's call to put their lives on the line so that others might hear of the salvation of God.

To most of the world, this would seem mad and, to a degree, they'd be right. What people don't seem to understand is two things:

  1. The Great Commission. The directive to go and make disciples worldwide (whether at home or away) was never a suggestion. It was never an option. It was and is a command and if one is living under and following after Christ, this is a non-negotiable, not from a legalistic standpoint, but from the desire to honor God.
  2. Death is not the end. As Paul put it, "to live is Christ and to die is gain." If we live, we continue to serve Christ and to bring Him glory. If we die, we are present with Him in glory - something far better than this world can ever give.
We are called to stand up in the face of opposition and make disciples. We are told to grow in our faith and relationship with Christ so that, when asked, we may give a reasoned defense. We are told to seek God and His glory above all else and God will give us the strength to accomplish the tasks set before us.

We will face trials. We will face persecution. We were never promised the "Christian Dream" of a good job, beautiful wife, lovely family, no troubles, etc. Christ flat out tells his followers in the begging that we're going to have crap thrown our way because we follow Him.

“If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word,they will also keep yours. But they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they don’t know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin. Now they have no excuse for their sin. The one who hates Me also hates My Father. If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not have sin. Now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this happened so that the statement written in their scripture might be fulfilled: They hated Me for no reason." - John 15:18-25
So, stand up. Pray for and support those on the front lines, whether they be in Syria, China, Indonesia, or Alabama. Step up to the plate and further the Gospel in your city.

Sometimes we have this perspective of missionaries as honourable radicals and the rest of us as wise men, assimilating into society, staying below the radar so we aren't persecuted, Kind of like these guys:

So, yes, you can run, hide, and you might live. You can step out into the fight and stand bold for Christ and you may die, but at the end of the day, at the final judgment, will you be separated into the sheep or the goats?