1 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NIV
“You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition.”
When we follow Jesus Christ with our lives, and when we hold to the truths of Scripture, and to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and to the gospel of our salvation as taught in Scripture, we will be hated and we will be persecuted.
And our greatest persecutors may not come from the people out in the world who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but they may be those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and who are ministers of the gospel, and who are leaders within the gatherings of the church (or what is called “church”).
We may be judged falsely by those in leadership positions within the church based on their own insecurities regarding their own walks of faith, or regarding their own personal prejudices or misconceptions based on the traditions of men and of culture, judging us by themselves, in other words.
Or they may judge us falsely on the basis of their training in the modern way of “doing church,” following marketing strategies for how to grow their churches (their businesses). And we may be told that they were warned about people like us with strong convictions or that we “don’t fit,” and so they will be glad to help us find someplace where we will be a “better fit.”
Or they may persecute us for our sincere faith, for our honesty and integrity, for our stand on truth and righteousness, and for not being willing to compromise with the worldly church and their marketing schemes. And they may even exercise severe and unwarranted cruel measures against us.
But no matter what kind of persecution we may face or who it comes from, we must draw on the strength of the Lord and not give up! We must continue to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all who will listen. And, in fact, the persecution we face should strengthen us to keep sharing the truth.
1 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NIV
“For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
In today’s modern “church,” honesty, integrity, pure motives, and straightforwardness (no fakery) are often not met with praise but with scorn and derision, even from the leadership. And that is because so much of today’s marketing schemes are the opposite of that in approach.
The modern way is to withhold the truth from people, and to say only what makes them feel good about themselves. It is to not say anything that might make anyone feel uncomfortable or that might offend them, even if it is the truth that Jesus taught.
The modern way to do church is to entertain people and to pattern the gatherings of the church after what will attract the world to those gatherings and that will keep them coming back for more. For, they want the world to feel at home in “the church.”
But the modern way is not God’s way. It is man’s way, the way of the flesh. For God’s way is the way of holiness, righteousness, honesty, integrity, morality, and love (the way God loves). God’s way is to speak the truth in love so that people will be delivered from their slavery to sin, not so that they will continue living in sin without guilt.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-7 NIV
“You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you.”
I love this! Oh, how I would hope this would be the testimony of every pastor today. Sadly, so many of them do use flattery, trickery, joking, entertainment, manipulation of people’s emotions, and even threats, to get the people to follow them their way.
And many, perhaps half or more of them do wear masks, not literally, but figuratively, in order to cover up all kinds of sins in their lives. They put on a show of righteousness, but many of them are involved in addictive sinful practices. Porn statistics alone give us a good picture of this.
It would be wonderful today if pastors were not concerned about people liking them or people liking their sermons or their services. It would be great if they didn’t pattern their church meetings after the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings, too.
It would be awesome if they were more concerned with what God thinks of them, and if they were willing to follow the Lord all the way, even if it meant people abandoning and hating them.
And it would be excellent if they were all humble servants of God, serving him above all else, willing to be despised and rejected of men in order to follow the Lord Jesus wholeheartedly with their lives and with their ministry.
I Do Not Seal My Lips
An Original Work / January 13, 2014
Based off Psalms 37, 40
Do not fear when evil man
Has success in all their plans,
For like grass they’ll wither soon.
They’ll be cut off from the land.
Trust in the Lord and He’ll give you peace.
Find your delight in Him through all stress.
All of your ways commit unto Him.
All your desires from Him He’ll fulfill.
Wait for the Lord; keep His way.
Delight in His Word always.
He’ll be with you to the end;
Life eternal found in Him.
I waited patiently for my Lord.
He turned to me, and He heard my cry.
He set my feet on the Solid Rock.
He gave to me a firm place to stand.
Blessed are we, who trust the Lord,
Who do not turn to false gods.
Our desire’s to do God’s will.
His word is within our hearts.
I will proclaim salvation to man.
You put a new song now in my mouth.
I’ll not withhold your love and your grace.
I’ll speak forevermore of your truth.