I am excited as to what God wants to do, as I look forward to 2019.
With the Brexit fallout among politicians, and so many people not too sure of what is going to happen with Brexit you might wonder what is there to be excited about. Will it be “no deal” or not? There seems to be more confusion in the world today more than ever before.
Yet the scripture in Philippians 1:27 says to us
27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
Our conduct and stance as Christians is what will make the difference. Paul says let the manner in which we behave wherever we are reflect what we preach.
Today in the world all over there are so many changes taking place and as Christians many are confused. Unsure and not knowing what to do or what to say. Sometimes we are caught between the truth, sentiments and emotions.
The question then will be “What is it like to live as a Christian not only in the UK but as a Christian in the 21st century?
Today it has become more and more difficult to express your faith without fear of reprimand, arrest or even losing your job. Many Christians are frustrated not knowing what to say or do.
Dr John Lennox of Oxford University says: "We are called upon to defend the Gospel. It is on trial, faith is under fire, and it is not only its contents, it is the messengers, and we will increasingly find we have not only to defend the Gospel to the world but we have to defend it to believers as well."
Dr Lennox also said: "A danger that I see is all around ... is a loss of confidence in God's word and its authority. We have to decide what side we are on and whether we are going to stand with Paul and the apostles and have confidence in the word and maintain the faith for which many of our forefathers stood."
It is however interesting to note that this would not be the first time that Christianity has been under such threat. In all of these situations God has always shown Himself mighty, by raising men and women who will stand their grounds until there is a change.
The early Christians were persecuted for their faith after a great miracle of healing, and the Apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin where we are told in Acts 4:17-18 that the political system of that day said this:
17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
The Bible tells us that the Apostles took a stance. Their stance was not to fight the government of the day and not to compromise or give in. They however went back to the other disciples and prayed to God for boldness, and that signs and wonders would be done through the hands of Jesus.
In the book of Daniel we have an account of the three Hebrew boys, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego who were faced with the same challenges we are facing today. There was a decree from Nebuchadnezzar that when the people had the music playing, everyone had to fall to their knees and worship the gold statue, and whoever did not go to their knees and worship it had to be thrown into a roaring furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego found themselves in hot water because they refused and were brought before the King Nebuchadnezzar.
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
These three chose to stand for the truth in the Word of God found in Exodus 20:3-5
3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,
The most dangerous threat to Christianity today is within the Church itself. It is sad to note that every day, many Christians are playing down the truth of the scriptures. Time and effort is being lost in some churches over infighting, instead of uniting against the opposition of the enemy. We debate over different issues that should not be, instead of focusing on the work of the Kingdom. The work of winning souls and making disciples.
In the book of Philippians 1:27, Paul was encouraging the believers to stand together rather than allow their challenges to separate them.
What we are going through right now has not taken God by surprise, but for some of us it has come as a shock. Jesus told His disciples in Mathew 24:
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
Jesus has already warned us of the tribulation, the deception, the opposition and the persecution to come. So for us Christians it should not come as a surprise. What we see today is not strange to God. Ours is to stand and take a stance for truth.
God has always raised men and women who have taken a stance and prayed in a new wave of God’s glory. Jesus did not encourage or command us to fight the system but instructed us to watch and pray. Every battle that has been won by Christians were not won fighting physical battles but were won on their knees and facedown.
It was said of John Knox the Scottish preacher ‘Here lies a man who in his life never feared the face of man’. Here is a quote about him, John Knox saw how important it was for the church to do what the Bible said, and not just what they thought was right. He wasn’t afraid to stand up to anyone, even kings and queens, for what he knew was right. His preaching was used by God to transform the whole of Scotland.
History has it that the Queen of Scotland was afraid of John Knox’s prayers more than the whole army of England.
Mathew 26:41 Jesus says to watch and pray.
41“Watch and pray so that you will not enter into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
In 2019 let us as we watch and pray, take a stance for God, and stand firm.
Let us as WOL stand together in unity as we pray in and see a new wave of God’s glory!