The cultural narrative has become, “LGBT represents normal, healthy variations in human sexuality, so everyone should support and celebrate all forms of sexual diversity. And if you don’t, we’re going to punish you, shame you, and squelch your voice.”
In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about standing firm in spiritual warfare. The phrase “stand firm” (from histēmi), when used in a military sense, had the idea of holding a critical position while under attack.”1 He mentions our need to stand four times (v.11,13-14). Essentially, he says the wobbly Christian—the one not serious about God and trapped in sin—cannot stand in this war. He will be destroyed. Sadly, many fail to stand in this battle. MacArthur’s comments are helpful in considering this reality:
Countless men and women have faithfully taught Sunday school for years, led many people to Jesus Christ, pastored a church, led Bible studies, ministered to the sick, and done every sort of service in the Lord’s name—only to one day give up, turn their backs on His work, and disappear into the world. The circumstances differ, but the underlying reason is always the same: they took God’s armor off and thereby lost the courage, the power, and the desire to stand firm.2
How can we stand in this treacherous war and not miss our calling, be taken captive, or be destroyed? We’ll consider three ways to stand firm in this spiritual war.
Big Question: How can believers stand firm in spiritual warfare according to Ephesians 6:10-13?
Believers Stand Firm by Being Prepared
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God…(Ephesians 6:10-11)
In order to stand firm, believers must prepare for battle. This is true for any warfare—a soldier cannot be successful without preparation. Governments invest billions of dollars into training their soldiers both mentally and physically, and such commitment should be similar for Christians—no corners should be cut in becoming spiritually prepared. Many lose this battle simply because of failure to prepare.
“Where was your God, you stupid Christians? A lot of good your praying did! Go ahead and stick your head in the sand some more and keep praying to your imaginary deity. You deserve each other!”
On Sunday, someone posted a picture on my Twitter account of three lions holding up signs that looked like those held up by cows on popular Chick-Fil-A ads. Except these signs were not saying, “Eat Mor Chikin.” The signs read, “Eat Mor Cristins,” with a caption adding: “America. Yeah. It’s getting that way.”
Unfortunately, at this point in time, these sentiments should not surprise us at all, as despicable and ugly as they may be. The truth be told, there is an increasing, palpable hostility towards the gospel in some quarters in America, and it can easily be explained.
First, it is a natural fruit of the harsh and condescending “new atheism,” which continues to poison many hearts and minds with its venom. God is not simply to be rejected; He is to mocked and ridiculed, as are His followers.
The hatred is a result of the wars between God fearing Bible believing Christians and the non-believer, atheists homosexual crowd, in which Christians are targeted because of their opposition to LGBT activism and abortion. Bible-believing Christians are commonly compared to Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan and other ungodly groups.
n a recent article about the Sri Lanka attacks in National Review, Doug Bandow writes: “Christianity’s dominant role in American culture has obscured the fact that it is the most persecuted faith globally.” In fact, Christianity is almost invisible in America’s public culture and is its most persecuted faith as well. (In terms of violent acts, filed under “hate crimes,” Jews are the most frequent targets, thanks to the anti-Semitic propaganda emanating from Muslim Brotherhood front groups and bigots like Ilhan Omar. But unlike Jews, Christians are attacked for the specific beliefs of their faith.)
The Christians who created America made religious liberty and freedom of conscience the foundation of all Americans’ other freedoms. In doing so, Christians gave a great gift, not only to Americans, but to people all over the world whose freedoms Americans have defended. This America is now under attack. Freedom of speech for conservatives is now nonexistent on America’s university campuses. They are in embryo the one-party state the Democratic Party is working overtime to achieve.
Democrats are determined to destroy the Electoral College, which was designed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. They are working to destroy America’s borders; give rapists, murderers, and Boston Marathon bombers the right to vote; give non-citizens who are here illegally the right to vote; give children the right to vote, and oppose IDs at the ballot box so people who disrespect our democracy can vote as many times as they wish.
The war on American democracy has reached a critical point. To grasp the nature of this war, and to understand its goals, it is essential to recognize its origins in the war against Christians. Christian beliefs in the sanctity of life, in free will (and hence individual accountability), and in the flawed nature of humanity are the principal bulwark against our descent into the barbarism that progressivism promises us.
We’re Living In a Generation Where The Sin That Once Snuck Secretly Down The Back Alley, Now Strut Proudly Down Main Street
WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE CHRISTIANS SO MUCH?
Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV)
Please turn with me in your Bibles to tonight’s scripture text in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter five, and let’s read verses 10-12.
Matthew 5:10-12 (NKJV)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I N T R O D U C T I O N
If you ever listen to a Christian radio station chances are you have heard
Adrian Rogers’ broadcast called “Love Worth Finding Adrian Rogers’ “Love Worth Finding.”
Shortly before his death in 2005, Adrian Rogers gave this stern
wake-up call to Christians:
“I believe we are living in the lengthening shadows of the last day. I believe Jesus Christ is coming soon, and one of the earmarks (ed. of His coming) is persecution of the saints. ming) is persecution of the saints. saints. We
see it on TV, newscasts, and editorial pages. Ridicule any other group and you’ll be in ule any other group and you’ll be in trouble, but the wrath of our culture is reserved for the Christian. The Bible-believing Christian is “the whipping boy.”So I want you to prepare yourself—and prepare your children, just as you prepare them to go to school—to live in a world increasingly hostile to genuine Christians.” Just recently we saw evidence of this hostility towards Christians when Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” was viciously attacked in the news media for saying homosexuality is a sin. Robertson was merely stating the truth of the scriptures, yet his words were portrayed by the media and the hollywood elite as “hate speech” and bigotry.
Perhaps like you, my initial response towards A & E’s firing of Phil Robertson and the vicious media attacks towards him was one of anger. But as I have had time to reflect on it, I now realize the way the godless media responded towards Phil Robertson is exactly how Jesus said godless men respond to the true Christian.
In our text, Jesus says, “ Blessed are those who are persecuted for
righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you
when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Jesus went on to say, “This is how they treated the prophets who were before you.” They persecuted Isaiah and Jeremiah and Elijah and John the Baptist for boldly speaking the truth of God. And a few weeks ago they persecuted Phil Robertson for doing the same. Come to think of it, ‘ol Phil sort of looks like a Jeremiah or John the Baptist doesn’t he?
Why does the world hate Christians so much? And what should our
response be towards the world’s hatred of us? That is what we want to consider in tonight’s message.
First of all, let’s see what insight we can gain from the scriptures as to………
I. Why The World Hates Christians So Much? I. Why The World Hates Christians So Much?
- In our text, Jesus provides us with two reasons why the world hates
(A) The world hates Christians because of THE LI (A) The world hates Christians because of THE LIFE WE LIVE….
v. 10 a “Blessed are those who are persecuted for RIGHTEOUSNESS or RIGHTEOUSNESS S SAKE.”
That word “righteousness” “righteousness” “righteousness” has an interesting meaning. In the original Greek, the word “righteousness” means “to divide.” In a very real sense that is exactly what Christians do, we divide.
-We divide TRUTH from FALSEHOOD FALSEHOOD.
-We divide GODLINESS GODLINESS from UNGODLINESS UNGODLINESS.
-We divide the HOLY – from the UNHOLY. Just a few verses down here in Matthew 5, Matthew 5, Matthew 5, Jesus describes
you and me as “the salt of the earth” in verse 13 and as
“the light of the world” in verse 14.
One characteristic of both SALT and LIGHT is that they are
-Have you ever got SALT in a cut on your finger? Did it feel good?
NO! It hurt like the dickens! It “irritated” you.
-Have you ever been sound asleep and someone came in and
turned on THE LIGHT? Were you happy with that person?
NO! You were “irritated” with them. As Christians, our presence in the world has the same effect as SALT in a wound. We are an irritant. We are a painful reminder of the wounds sin has inflicted upon the lost.
And as Christians, our presence in the world has the same
effect as having someone turn the LIGHTS on when we are
comfortably asleep in the darkness.
- We are irritating to those who are comfortable in the darkness of sin. As light, we expose the deeds of darkness, and for that the world
hates us! Our society would have us to believe the greatest of all
virtues is TOLERANCE. They would have us to believe that America would be a utopian society if everyone coexisted together and tolerated one another regardless of one’s choice of lifestyle, or one’s sexual preferences, or one’s religious beliefs. Jesus said in Matthew 10:34, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” In other words, I didn’t come here to unite saint and sinner, I came to divide. And because you and I refuse to compromise our biblical convictions and get on “the tolerance bandwagon” we are hated by the world.
But not only does the world hate Christians because of THE LIFE WE LIVE…….
(B) The world hates Christians because of THE LORD WE LOVE WE LOVE.
Look once again at verse 10of our text……..
v.10a “Blessed are you when they revile you and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for MY sely for MYSAKE.
The world hates Jesus Christ! Not so much the baby Jesus or
the Jesus who healed the sick and fed the multitudes. The world
hates the JESUS who came to destroy the works of the devil.
(I John 3:8) The world hates the JESUS who came to destroy
abortion, and pornography, and homosexuality and lesbianism,
and materialism and greed. The world hates the JESUS who
stands against everything the world stands for! And when you and I stand with Christ Jesus told us what would happen. Turn with me to John 15:18-21.
John 15:18-21 (NKJV)
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his
master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. The world hated Jesus because Jesus was NOT of this world. And if you and I are truly living for Jesus Christ, we are NOT of this world either. Jesus said, “If you were of this world then the world would love you because you would be one of its own.” In other words, if you I would just tolerate and accept all religious beliefs, and all
lifestyles, regardless of how immoral, the world would gladly accept
Christians and just leave us alone.
But you see, because we wear the name of CHRIST and identify
with CHRIST, and follow the teachings of CHRIST, the world hates
us just as it hated JESUS.
The apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:29 (NKJV)………
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in
Him, but also to suffer for His sake…” When you and I choose to live with a burning, passionate love for Christ, and we refuse to compromise or back down, the world is going to come down on us like a hammer. Why Does The World Hate Christians So Much? They hate Us Because of THE LIFE WE LIVE and They hate us because of THE LORD WE LOVE!
The second thing we want to consider is…
II. What Should Be Our Response To The World’s Hatred II. What Should Be Our Response To The World’s Hatred?
(A) Our first response should be TO EXPECT TO EXPECT THE WORLD’S HATRED.
The apostle Paul writes in II Timothy 3:12 (NKJV) “All who desire
to live godly in Christ Jesus WILL suffer persecution.”
For the most part, we Christians in America have tasted very little,
if any persecution at all. We should not be at all surprised by
the escalating hatred towards Christians in this country. In fact
I believe every true Christian has been expecting it for some time
If they hated the Old Testament prophets, and they hated Jesus Christ, and they hated John the Baptist, and they hated the apostles, and they hated the countless number of Christian martyrs down through the ages, and they hate Christians in other parts of the world, then shouldn’t we expect to be hated also?
(B) Our second response should be TO REJOICE TO REJOICE WHEN THE WORLD HATES US.
I Peter 4:13,14a (NKJV) But rejoice to the extent that you partake But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached f be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of or the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Can you think of any greater honor in this life than for the presence
of Christ to be so evident in your that someone would hate you for it? What greater honor could there be than to be criticized or made fun
of for being a Christian? What greater honor could there be than to be passed over for a promotion or to be fired from your job because of your Christian convictions? What greater honor could there be for others to discriminate against you because you are a Christian?
In our “politically correct” society everyone has become ultra- sensitive to anything that might be construed as offensive or bias, or prejudiced in any way. Lawyers are getting “filthy rich” off of people who are easily offended and want to sue their neighbor or their employer or whomever. Brothers and sisters, let us not be ultra-sensitive to the attacks that are made against us because we are Christians. Let us rejoice that we are hated for the sake of Christ! (C) And our third response should be TO FOLLOW CHRIST’S EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW CHRIST’S EXAMPLE WHEN HATED.
I PETER 2:18-21 (NKJV) Servants, be submissive to your masters with all
fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. For this is
commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief,
suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your
faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take
it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called,
because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you
should follow His steps: How did Christ respond to hatred and criticism and false accusations? How did Christ respond to persecution and
unfairness and injustice? He loved even His worst enemies! CHRIST modeled for us the kind of response we should have towards those who hate us.
C O N C L U S I O N
The story is told about a concert violinist. At the end of his concert, everyone rose to their feet and gave him a thunderous applause, everyone that is, except for one man. The violinist hung his head and began to cry. Those on stage with him tried to console him. They said, “Look, everyone is standing and applauding.” He said, “Not everyone is standing; see that gentleman seated on the front row?” They said, “He’s only one man!” The violinist said, “I know, but he is my teacher.” Brothers and sisters, in the end it won’t matter if you please the whole world, if you don’t please JESUS. But if you please JESUS, then it doesn’t matter whom you displease. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven!”
MY MISSION IS NOT TO CONVINCE YOU, ONLY TO INFORM…
Evil men don’t understand the importance of justice, but those who follow the Lord are much concerned about it. ~ Proverbs 28:5
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