Fear has a way of paralyzing us–during his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. “You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him?” “Who said that?” roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, “Now you know why.” Bad things happen when believers say nothing.
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 when many battles broke out on the high seas. Each ship would fly its country’s respective colors (flag) on the mast when fighting. If a boat wanted to capitulate at any time, it would lower its flag as a sign of complete surrender. Several captains removed this option by sending a deckhand with a hammer and nails to the top of the mast. The colors would be nailed to the mast. The battle would be fought to the last man. Surrendering was not an option. Good things happen when believers nail their colors to the mast.
If it can be said of Jesus lovers this time next year, January 2025, “they had immovable resolve; unshakeable convictions,” the cause of Christ will have triumphed in our time. If, on the other hand, we retreat and collapse like tents in the presence of Christianity’s naysayers, then shame on us for missing an opportune mark.
Moments like these rarely present themselves. Whenever world economies are downed throughout history, immoralities unspeakable hardly garnish a blush, or geopolitical tensions arouse nation against nation, vacuums or voids exist. Voids get filled one way or the other, and quickly so, either with good or bad, but they most assuredly fill up. So it is with the landscape in our time. Let’s capitalize on the opportunity by filling this sin-sick world with full-on Gospel.
If reprimanded for preaching the Gospel, how should I respond? Early in the life of the church, Peter and John would have none of it but demanded, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20
Do I defend the oppressed at all costs? Mordecai sent word to Ester the Queen, saying, “For if you keep silent at this time, liberation and rescue will arise for the Jews from another place.” Ester’s reply? “Go, gather all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants also will fast in the same way. And then I will go in to the king, which is not in accordance with the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
Am I to withstand the full weight of government if it tries to shush me down? “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” was Paul’s take, and for untold Christians, thankfully so.
Heaven forbid, but if the authorities demand innocent lives be taken, should its citizenry resist? The Hebrew midwives certainly did, defying Pharaoh’s orders to kill every male child by hurling them into the sea. They feared God more than government and let the little babies live.
Good or bad things will happen throughout 2024. The Lord’s people hold great sway over both. As a January homework assignment, read through Acts to see how that played out in the ancient church. Will you speak up and speak out for what you believe? Everyone else most assuredly is. Will you back up your convictions with actions, or stop at mere words. Faith without works doesn’t go far; it never has. If you get nothing else from this blog, get this: 2024 is our year to “Go and Proclaim Everywhere the Kingdom of God!” Luke 9:60
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