God Is Calling the Church to Be Unembarrassed and Uncowed By the Threats Made Against It
An Powerless and Embarrassed Church
I'm afraid right now that
the Church over all is either too busy or too embarrassed to stand up for what it believes. So much
opposition is coming against the Church in America today—and we are just not used to that
here. So we've actually become very timid with expressing our
message. We've shut our mouths in order to keep from upsetting all of the groups or governmental powers that hate our message.
And there are many who do.
Something is desperately wrong with us. I think many of us find ourselves in this place of spiritual softness. We've simply vanished from view off the face of this earth. We're too afraid that we'll be hammered if we stand up and say what we believe. This is especially obvious when it comes to all of the new preachers of unrighteousness that are now openly attacking America: the gay marriage proponents, the anti-family preachers, the unborn baby killers, the race baiters, the liberal mockers, and so many who feel comfortable attacking our freedom to speak openly, and to defend ourselves and to worship as we choose. We know if we say anything, we could be labeled, or lose our job, or be vilified, so be bullied into silence. What is wrong with us that we are silent with all of this?
I find it interesting when you realize that the administration seems to support every contrary position that now exists. And they are going out of their way to challenge all of the older values which Christians and many Americans have held for years. If we disagree with the government in any way, then we are labeled as potential terrorists. The administration knows exactly what they're doing. They want to see a polarization in America. None of this is an accident. This is part of their play-book from "Rules for Radicals." They want brothers to fight against each other because that's how they plan to win. It's called divide and conquer.
D.C. knows what we Christians believe and it definitely fears us if we every truly wake up and unite. It also fully understands how to use the power of intimidation against us and how to intimidate us into silence. When each of their new scandals have suddenly come to the surface, the response is duplicated each time. They express outrage, but then begin to stonewall and stall. They never really attempt any sort of fix to any of the revealed wrongdoings that have been revealed. That's contrary to their strategy.
Instead, their approach is to subpoena for the
names of the whistle blowers. Then they threaten and attack any of their
detractors. They know full well that such a game plan sends a
strong message against dissent. They're saying: "If you are against us and
what we're doing, we want to know who you are. And
when find you, we will unleash the full weight and power of the government
down upon your head!"
Yes, be honest. That is an extremely fearful message. We're dealing with a mafia-like administration who wants to communicate this message to all those who are fed up with what they see in the halls of power. They want us to be afraid. So those of us who don't like the direction our leaders are taking are faced with a big decision. How will be resist them? Will we shut up or will we say what we have every right to say? Will we use our constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech and speak out for the truth? Or will be cowed into silence?
Now anyone who has any message contrary to the "official position" of the state under which we live, is vulnerable. So each of us have to make our own decision. How far will we go in proclaiming the truth as we see it? Will we simply fade away, or will we stand up and be counted for the sake of righteousness?
So let's talk about who is ashamed and who should be. Lady Liberty is ashamed of our government and the tyranny we have allowed to be created. We need to keep this firmly in our minds. We have no reason be ashamed. They have every reason to be ashamed. And we must stand up for what is right and just, regardless of any personal cost to ourselves.
The Unembarrassed Church
I believe that the New Testament gives us some very clear examples of how we should behave in times like these, because the early Church was an "unembarrassed Church." That's what we today must strive to be. Bold Christians who speak what the Lord is telling us to say.
Try reading Acts 3 and 4. Read how Peter was used to heal a lame man and then gave a sermon which resulted in an incredible 5,000 people repenting as they turned to embrace the Lord. A lot of lives were changed forever on that day. But after this great victory, the priests, Sadducees and the temple guard discovered what the disciples were saying and arrested Peter and John, throwing them into jail for the night.
Now none of us want to be confronted by the authorities. In this case, the situation was serious because the next day they were brought before the same Sanhedrin which had condemned the Lord to death about two months earlier. So there was a tangible reason to fear what their leaders might do against the disciples.
They were asked: "By what power or by what name have you done this?" (Acts 4:7). The question really was, By whose authority have you done this? The Sanhedrin had authority in all religious matters and they knew they had certainly not authorized the disciples to do any of this.
Peter's answer is so classic. He says: "If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man..." then his implication is—then we're guilty. He goes on to admit that the healing was accomplished "by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole." (Acts 4:9-10 NKJV).
The passage tells us the religious leaders then met in private because they didn't know what to do. They didn't want the disciples to say or do anything in the Lord's name and even though they wanted to condemn this miracle —they couldn't do that for fear how the crowd might react. You can always tell when people own a politician's mindset. They can't give straight answers. They needed an answer that wouldn't turn the crowd against them. So they have to settle for demanding that the disciples stop speaking in Jesus' name.
Unlike their leaders, Peter and John didn't have to pause to work up a "best approach" to please the people. They weren't politically motivated; they had true convictions about their beliefs and experience with Jesus Christ. So that's how they responded.
Peter said: "Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19-20 NLT). This was really a defiant answer to their leaders.
Because the leaders simply did not know how to stop these men at this point, they just threatened them. But those threats were very real and the disciples took them seriously. Soon the priests would act upon their threats. The disciples would be imprisoned, they would be beaten, and they would be stoned. Christians would soon start dying. So what did the disciples do in response to those scary and very real threats?
They went back to their brothers and sisters in Christ and they all prayed together. They told God to take note of those threats and to grant them boldness to keep on speaking. And they asked God for power and signs and wonders. And then God answered their prayers and the place where they were praying was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began preaching the Word with boldness (Acts 4:31). (For more on this read Power and Fire in the Holy Spirit.)
The Uncowed Church
though a heavy persecution was about to come down on them with a real vengeance,
the disciples remained uncowed. They would not be browbeaten, frightened into
submission or comply to the demands of authorities who had already revealed
their ungodliness by having Jesus crucified. The believers remained defiant
in the face of these wicked men.
So God met them in their prayers and backed them up, empowering them to stand up boldly against the coming viciousness. And both the Church and God won. For every Christian they killed, ten more took his place. You cannot stomp out the truth. It will remain in the heart of the faithful who will pass it along to others.
Christians today cannot live without the boldness found in the Holy Spirit. We cannot lose our own willingness to stand up and tell the truth. People must hear the truth if they will ever come to the one who is the way, the truth and the life. As a Church, we need to change course. We need to live out our beliefs and to begin to preach once again just like the early disciples did.
If we don't do this, we'll all be swept away without so much as a whimper. The days of the Church are numbered. We are reaching the end of the Church age and soon it is likely we will be raptured out of this world to be with the Lord. I believe this is likely to happen when we see evil continue to raise its ugly head. As things get more horrific and intolerable in our country and in the world, there will be an even stronger imperative upon us to warn the world what's coming next. And if we are suddenly raptured out of here, which might be good for us personally, it will be bad for the world. How will people know about the Lord after the Church is gone unless we tell them before we're gone?
If it turns out that the rapture does not happen soon—the timing of which only God knows—then you can count upon the fact that soon the Church will be going through an immense amount of threats and suffering. Don't let your suffering be in vain. Don't go to slaughter quietly If we don't stand up and preach righteousness from the rooftops now, we will be swept away from this life leaving no lasting spiritual legacy of souls kept from the fires of hell.
Jesus is calling us to be bold. He said: "Don't be afraid of those who want
to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can
destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28 NLT).
We must fearlessly take a stand. We must speak the
truth in love, whether the world wants to hear it or not. That's not the point. We must
warn of the coming destruction that is surely going to come upon us all, not
just the Church. May God grant us the boldness in the face of Satan's
threats. May we stand up and let the Holy Spirit empower mouths to speak the
truth in love!