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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Arresting Development

Jailed in Spite of Miracles
In Acts 4:1 – 4, after Peter and John heal the man born lame in the process leading 5000 people to the Lord, the priests, captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees arrest Peter and John.  Why?  What they were sharing did not align with their view of the truth.  Forget that a 40 year old man, lame from birth, was suddenly able not only to stand, but to walk, run, and leap.  That evidence was apparently not compelling enough.  Rather they were greatly disturbed.  Enough so that they wanted to silence Peter and John.
Arresting Development
We Need to Pay Attention
There is a not so subtle message here.  In John 16:33, Christ tells the 11 that they are to expect tribulation in carrying out the assignment he is giving them.  The source of this tribulation, this hatred, this persecution, is the world’s hatred of Christ, John 16:1 – 4.

Compromise is not an Option
It really does not matter how many coexist or tolerance bumper stickers you may see, the world is not interested in coexisting or tolerating Christ’s apprentices.  Like the group that arrested Peter and John, they want to silence us.

Resistance is Guaranteed 
If that has not been your experience, it will be.  One of the main themes of 1 Peter is the reality of suffering for believers.  Much of the Church is already experiencing this.  Those of us in the western Church have, for the most part, been spared the full brunt of the world’s hatred.  That is changing.  It is changing more rapidly that we would probably like to admit.

So?
How do we prepare?  Tomorrow I will suggest some ways.

2 comments:

  1. In my generation "persecution" was something that happened in the Bible to prophets and the Apostles. And "over there." Of course there were the missionary biographies from China, S. Asia,, New Guinea and Africa. My generation was fired to missionary service by the martyrdom of the five men in Ecuador. Of course WW II years were filled with the persecutions of believers in Europe, Japan, etc.

    But here? It sure seemed remote. No more. Perhaps this N.T. persecution of stonings is not yet common here, but i would not have expected to see what is happening to Christian high school students and athletes, business owners, etc.

    More subtle, perhaps, but why should we think that we should be exempt from that privilege? When the martyrs already in heaven "cried out" to the slain Lamb how long it would be until their blood shed on the earth was avenged, they were not told a time, only to be patient until their number was completed.

    As you point out, Mike, If we are alert to International news, we know the the number is still being completed after 2000 years. It would be pleasant to consider that it would be before that terror reached here. But why should it.

    I agonize on how to help prepare my precious grandchildren for that time, should it come. But what a privilege it would be if I, or they join that number!

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    1. I was thinking of your last paragraph when I wrote this. I now have 4.4 grandkids. All under 6. This is a vastly different world than the one in which I have experienced.

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