Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Expect a Hostile Environment

Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you (1 John 3:13).

As we mentioned last week, this election season has meant tension and anxiety for Christians in America. While we wait for a better country (cf. Heb 11:13-16), our present one is changing and the possibility of losing such privileges (note I did not say "rights") as free speech has become more actual than ever.

Into this atmosphere of fear and apprehension, one of our pastors, Don Green gave a pointed admonition this past Lord's Day. Introducing a series on 1 John, Don identified the false presumption of comfort in American Christians and reminded us what we are to expect from the world:
God gave birth to Christianity in a hostile environment. Was that the death of Christianity? The truth of the matter is that was the environment in which the faith flourished. Beloved, the sympathy we have experienced in the United States is not typical. The peace we have enjoyed as American Christians is an anomaly. We are told by the Bible to expect a hostile environment. The true dilemma before us is why have we not suffered more up til now?
Indeed, it was promised by our Lord,
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me (Matt 5:11)
And by Paul, His Apostle,
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12)
That those who follow after Christ will suffer for His name because the world hates Him. The years that come may bring a brand-new Gestapo to wreak havoc and turmoil in our churches and in our families. Yet, as the true nature of our relationship with the world begins to unfold, maybe then we will begin to experience the true nature of our Savior's victory,
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
*For more reflection on the persecution of Christians, see We Cannot Stop Speaking and Suffering for Your Sake.

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