Deny the Lord?

 

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

In context, Jesus was addressing his generation. Principally, however, this admonishment applies to all generations. Each generation of Christians to one degree or another has faced this dilemma. Since her humble beginnings two millenniums ago, the church has suffered persecution and endured various trials, which tested their ultimate allegiances.

During those times that tried the souls of men certain questions arose. Does the church surrender to the state, culture, or any other entity that which belongs to God? Who is Lord, Caesar or Jesus? Whose laws should govern in the affairs of men, God’s law or man’s law? If the laws of men countermand the laws of God, whom should the church obey? Throughout history Christians have struggled with these issues that eventually separated the wheat from the chaff and the sheep from the goats.

The Apostle Peter commenting on this quandary stated, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, come forth as gold.” To those who endured to the end, they received God’s promised salvation (Matthew 10:22).

The Apostle Paul, who was also no stranger to danger, revealed the different battlefronts the early church endured. He stated, “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears” (2 Corinthians 7:5). Yes, the battle raged from within and from without. There were heresies seeking to corrupt the church’s doctrine from within and pressure by tyrannical states to force Christians to deny their Lord from without.

The Early Church, Israel, and Rome

The first manifestation of cruel persecution against the early church came at the hands of the Roman Empire. The prophet Daniel predicted the Roman Empire would be the last kingdom of men in place when the God of heaven would establish His Kingdom on earth. As you may recall, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, experienced a disturbing dream. He saw a great human image that was divided into four precious metals (gold, silver, bronze, and iron mixed with clay), which represented four empires (Babylon, Medes/Persians, Greece, and Rome). He was so obsessed by the dream that he ordered all his wise men to tell him the dream and the interpretation.

The wise men thought the king unreasonable to ask for the nature of the dream. If the king would simply tell them the dream, they would offer the interpretation. The king would not relent. He told them, if them did not provide both the dream and interpretation, all of them would be executed. This prepared the way for Daniel to seek the Lord on the behalf of the condemned wise men, of which, he was one.

When Daniel received the revelation, he declared:

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.

Daniel proceeded to set up an audience with the king to answer these demands. He related the entire incident as if it was his own dream. He gave specifics on the nature of the great image and the breakdown of the four empires. In the days of the fourth empire (Rome), Daniel revealed:

You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (Daniel 2:34, 35).

What is the interpretation? Daniel states, “And in the days of these kings (Roman Empire) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). He assures Nebuchadnezzar that the “dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure” (Daniel 2:45).

Sure enough, under Roman occupation in a small town in Bethlehem the “stone of stumbling” and the “rock of offense” came into our poor-fallen world (1 Peter 2:7-9). The King of glory was born and “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).

Did Israel and the Roman empire receive this good news anon with joy? Tragically, they did not. The unbelieving Jews utilized Rome’s sword of civil government to crucify Jesus, martyr the Apostles, and murder the followers of the Lord in several attempts to purge the world of Christianity. As history attests, they failed (Acts 4:34-39).

Acts 17:6, 7 grants insight to the nature of the battle that rages for the souls of men and the future of the world. God’s word states, “But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.’”

Notice that the accusation against the early church that turned the world upside down was not “there is another Savior and He has a wonderful plan for your life.” No, the early Church suffered great persecution and martyrdom because the revelation of the King and the laws of His Kingdom that burned brightly through their lives. This was a clear and present danger to the political tyrants and religious oppressors of their day.

We must understand that Rome was not threatened religiously by this new sect called Christianity. They were threatened politically. There was religious freedom under Roman occupation. You could worship the god of your choice. Every land, nation, and tribe that Rome conquered, however, was required to speak a loyalty oath to Caesar. Caesar demanded that every knee bow and every tongue confess that he was Lord. It was the full manifestation of emperor cult worship that flourished under pagan rule.

Rome with the cooperation of Israel conspired to force Christians to deny that Jesus Christ was Lord to the glory of the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).

Throughout redemptive history this threat has stalked the people of God. In fact, the book of Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians to encourage them to stay faithful to the Lord in spite of increased persecutions. They were losing their homes, could not buy or sell openly, faced imprisonment, and martyrdom. They were being pressured into denying the Lord that bought them. This is why the language in the book of Hebrews was so strong against this temptation.

Hebrews 6:4-6 warns:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Denying the Lord in our Day

As you can see, from the very beginning the church has had to face this kind of persecution. They ran their lap of the race and it is our turn now. What will we do as our government and culture becomes increasingly hostile against the Christian faith? It appears we have reached a time in our history as a nation when Christians have to make up their minds on where their ultimate allegiances belong. Fortunately, our nation has not slid to the point that they are putting a gun to our heads and demand that we deny the Lord who bought us from the slavery of sin (1 Corinthians 6:20).

They have, however, through decades of rebellion against God’s moral commandments reached a place through “law,” public policy, and cultural pressure, demand we conform to their worldly standards or else. Our government and culture demand we privatize our faith. They demand we deny God’s ordained institution of marriage and accept “gay marriage,” which is an oxymoron. They demand we deny God’s commandment, “Thou shall not kill” as they defend the murder of the preborn.

The list goes on and on, but you get the point. Slowly but surely they are chipping away at the Christian faith to turn the church into willing accomplices that conform to their rebellion against God. Tragically, some professing Christians have already bowed the knee and kissed the images of Baal and Moloch. They have sold their souls to avoid being persecuted for the cause of Christ. They have compromised God’s truth so the spirit of the age will except them into its fold.

Matthew 10:33 reminds us, “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” The Apostle Paul taught, “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

As stated previously, we are living in times that try the souls of men. We may fail in a lot of areas. There is one area, however, where we must not fail. We must never, ever deny our Lord. This is what Jude warned against. Jude 1:4 reveals, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is no mere coincidence that the sexual rebellion happening in our nation coincides with some professing Christians denying the Lord’s Word that condemns such practices. They would rather be religiously and politically correct than faithful to the Lord who bought them by His precious blood.

We are entering a time when these Scriptures are becoming seriously relevant. It is important to not get into the habit of denying the Lord’s truths to avoid conflict with our perverse and crooked nation. It seems to me, it can lead to the point where we could end up denying the Lord, Himself. It is better to be judged by our nation if they find enough evidence to convict us of being Christians, then to be judge by God for denying Him in this present age by those who glory in their shame and boast in their abominations.

 

Field Manual for Abortion Ministry

In the Field Manual for Abortion Ministry, Reverend Rusty Lee Thomas asks: “Does your heart break for the plight of the preborn child, made in the image of God? Does God’s Word convict you to intervene, love your neighbor as yourself, be your brother’s keeper, speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and rescue those unjustly sentenced to death (Matthew 22:39; Genesis 4:9; Proverbs 31:8, 9; Proverbs 24:11, 12)? Are you living out your faith at the gates of hell, the place of child sacrifice and the shedding of innocent blood?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Rev. Thomas, one of the premier leaders in the effort to end abortion, wants to welcome you to what he describes as “the battle.”

The Field Manual will open your eyes to the horror of abortion and inspire actions informed by faith, hope, and charity to bring the message of Christ to those in need.

If any of you still want a hard copy or copies, send me back your address. There is no charge. Donations are accepted for shipping and handling. Once you read it, if you find any merit, please pass on this offer to others. Let the Gentle Revolution continue in Jesus’ name!

One Minute For Liberty - Book Review: Abortion Violation by Rev. Rusty Thomas
One Minute For Liberty – Book Review: Abortion Violation by Rev. Rusty Lee Thomas
              
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Articles published by American Daily Herald      

 

 

 

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