Keep Following Jesus Christ

The priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees were annoyed that Peter and John were teaching about Jesus Christ and so they arrested them. The next day they brought the apostles before their rulers, elders, and scribes, along with their high priest, etc., and they examined them. And Peter ended up sharing some of the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

Acts 4:15-17 ESV

“But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, saying, ‘What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.’”

Now, the apostles had been instrumental in the healing of a man who had been lame since birth. Yet, it was by the name of Jesus that this man had been healed. Peter then took the opportunity to share some of the gospel with the crowd that had gathered then, and it was at that occasion that the religious rulers were annoyed with them and had them arrested.

So, now the religious rulers were conferring with one another regarding what they should do with the apostles, and so they decided to warn them not to speak any more in the name of Jesus so that the gospel message would spread no further. Therefore, the apostles were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ and for the sake of the gospel.

Christian Persecution Today

And ever since then Christians have undergone persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ and for the message of the gospel of Christ. Not everyone has faced the kind of persecution that they faced then, but many people have in different countries at different times in history. But in America in the 21st Century, as a general rule, we have not had to face that kind of persecution.

But this is not to say that we are not persecuted. Some of us are. But many are not, and that is because American Christians overall, though not all, are more like the church in Laodicea as described for us in the book of Revelation chapter three. They are lukewarm, neither on fire for Jesus Christ nor totally opposed to him. For the American church, at large, has become worldly.

And because the American church has largely become worldly, and they are marketing “the church” to the world like any other product, and thus they are appealing to the felt needs of the people, and they are patterning their gatherings after what the world is craving so as to attract the people of the world to their gatherings, they have also diluted the gospel message to make it more acceptable to the world, and so they are not being persecuted.

So, we Christians who are still on fire for the Lord and for his gospel message (the whole counsel of God), we are the persecuted, and we are being persecuted primarily by those within the gatherings of the institutional church. We are not being told we can’t speak in the name of Jesus, but we are being counseled strongly not to speak the whole truth of the gospel.

For the big thing now, in and out of the church, is not to say anything that will offend other people. And the truth of the gospel is an offense to those who are perishing and to many who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who adhere to a cheapened version of the gospel which appeals to human flesh and which does not put sin to death or walk in obedience to Christ as Lord.

If you are speaking the “whole counsel of God” and you are not diluting the gospel to make it more acceptable to the world, now you are accused of teaching “works-based salvation,” or of being hyper-religious or of being judgmental and negative and self-righteous and/or hateful, etc. And people are being warned against people like you who have “strong convictions.”

And so you should expect to be rejected, to be ostracized, to be pushed out of gatherings of the church, to be ignored, and to be treated as though you are a bad person or a legalist or mean, etc. And that is because the vast majority of those claiming faith in Jesus Christ are buying into the “cheap grace gospel” which alters the truth of the gospel to appease human flesh.

Acts 4:18-20 ESV

“So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’”

So, when you are persecuted by the world or by the worldly “church” (or by what is falsely called “church”), put on your armor of God like Peter and John did, and declare boldly that you cannot stop speaking the truth of the gospel, because only the truth will set people free from their slavery to sin and will give them the true hope of eternal life with God.

And if they try to convince you that you are wrong because you are in the minority, and that they are right because they are in the majority, don’t listen to them, but listen to what the Word of God teaches. But read it in context, for many false teachings come from Scriptures taught outside their context and are made to say what they do not say.

And if they try to shame you into following them because they pulled some Scripture out of context to use against you, don’t give in to their intimidation, but go to the Scriptures and read them one verse at a time in order and let the Holy Spirit speak his truths to your heart. And compare Scripture with Scripture because then you will get the whole big picture.

And let me say this one thing here in closing. The Scriptures do not teach the total silencing of women. Some people push this when they don’t like what you are teaching. But Jesus gifted us equally with men, although we don’t all serve in the same functions, and we as women are not to rule over men. And the Scriptures teach that in these last days that God’s sons and daughters will prophesy, i.e. give out God’s messages from his word.

Also, Jesus sent women to tell his male disciples of his resurrection from the dead, and he essentially sent the woman at the well back to her town to tell a bunch of men about Jesus so that they would come and listen to him and so they would be saved. And Jesus honored the woman who washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, and he chided the man who did not do for him what he should have done but that she did (Luke 7:36-50).

So, God has called us women, too, to share the message of the gospel with the people of the world, and he has called us, too, to minister to the body of Christ, and to work together with the rest of the body of Christ in speaking the truth to one another in love so that we will all reach maturity in our walks of faith and so we will not be led astray by false teaching. And we are all necessary to the proper working of the body of Christ (1,2,3).

[Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-21; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; 1 Pet 2:9; Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

(1) https://runwithit.blog/2019/08/04/women-in-ministry/

(2) https://runwithit.blog/2019/05/12/honoring-of-women/

(3) https://runwithit.blog/2020/09/20/faithful-to-his-design/

3 thoughts on “Keep Following Jesus Christ

  1. Great post, Sue. I love the book of Acts. I read things like the discussion the council had, and I wonder if one of them was later converted and told Luke about it (Luke, a historian, got his information from interviewing people, as he wrote at the beginning of his gospel.) or if the Lord revealed it to Luke supernaturally. I hope it’s the first one. 😏
    No, we American Christians haven’t seen much persecution, but there are restrictions in the schools.. As a public school teacher I had to be careful how much I could say in class. I was able to facilitate a Bible club after school, but we weren’t allowed to meet on school grounds. Fortunately, there was a church on the other side of the parking lot that let us meet in one of their rooms. I couldn’t have announcements made with the other club announcements or put posters up at the school. Finally, when I was told I couldn’t show a Christian video to my students, at my house, on a Saturday, I “retired.” Now I think of what IS being allowed to be taught in our public schools … !!

    Liked by 1 person

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