I sometimes wonder about this crazy, mixed up world.
Specifically, how should I act as a follower of Jesus Christ?
Should I be nice, smile a lot, and show God’s love with only my actions?
I mean, we all know most people aren’t interested in church, religion, or Jesus, don’t we?
I would rather not make someone mad, or turn them off, by speaking about such a personal topic.
Would it be best if I built a good rapport with people before I mentioned something as strong and personal as “God loves you”? Like I said, a person’s relationship with God is a VERY personal thing!
And how should I, as a preacher of the gospel, relate to this world and all its diverse and tolerant people?
Can the gospel I believe COEXIST with other faiths; other religions?
If I dilute the gospel message, so it’s not quite so offensive, will I still witness the power of God? Will people be transformed if I share a more “sinner friendly” message?
How much truth should I be willing to defend? Must I stand against government pressure, and possibly lose my tax exempt status? Do I have to look like a religious goofball in order to present the message of life?
How strong a stance should I take against sin, whether in or out of the church?
If I succeed in “getting along” with everyone here on earth, will anyone be in heaven because of my testimony?
Do I REALLY need to hate my life, loving Jesus more?
Contemplating these and other questions, and wondering what society will be like just prior to Jesus’ return, I remembered what the early followers of Jesus had to contend with.
Suddenly, I received the answers to all my questions.
“But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”
“And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council and all the senate of the people of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.” Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.
“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”” (Acts 5:17-32 ESV)
There’s only one way to live for God, and thus make an impact for Him.
Though not everyone who hears will agree, if they are going to “repent and believe the gospel”, they must HEAR the gospel in all its purity and power.
If God is to “confirm His word with accompanying signs”, I must preach His word; not some weakened substitute.
As for “coexisting”: yes, we all can live on the same planet, and maybe sit together and share a steak or a bowl of soy beans. But if Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, and He is, then nothing else will work.
If NO ONE has eternal life without receiving Jesus as the Lord of their life, then lighting a stick of incense and joining hands while singing Kum Ba Yah just won’t cut it.
I MUST be prepared to go all out for the gospel; giving my all for my Savior. If I’m only going part way, I might as well not go at all.
I truly hope we, as “last days followers”, do as well as the “first days followers” of Christ. What was their response to the pressures and questions of the day?
It was a response that ignited the fury of the devil, but released the power from on High.
“We must obey God rather than men.”
And so must you and I.