NOTE TO CHRISTIANS

NOTE TO CHRISTIANS:

As Christians we are called to be the best possible Christ-followers, best citizens of the community and the best examples of what a Christ-follower is. We are to do the best we can to measure up to what Jesus calls us to do and be. We are to do this because we want to, not because we have to. We want to be obedient to His Word because He loved us first; gave us a way to receive salvation and scripture to help guide us as we navigate through the good and the hard times in our lives; and because we love Him. Scripture also teaches us how to fight against Satan, temptation, and all the obstacles that try to get between us and our Lord.  

Also, as Christians we are blessed beyond all measure (2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work) however, sadly, many of us Christians take those blessings for granted and even expect to receive them because of our status.

During this dark hour our country is going through, I think it is very important that we Christians be the strongest we have ever been in our dedication to serving our Lord and demonstrating to others (not in a prideful way) that we are committed to walk the walk and talk the talk we profess to believe in.

To do this, we must commit to following the directions Jesus has given us on how to live via Scripture and when we fail, to repent and strive to do better. This does not mean we stand on the street and brag about how religious we are. People will notice how we live and act, either as Christians or hypocrites. Revelation 3:16 tells us exactly where God stands with people that sit on the fence and are wishy-washy concerning their commitment to Him; “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”We must stand firm in our faith.

With these thoughts in mind I am going to bring up a subject that affects us Christians.  COVID-19, government rules and regulations on what we can and can’t do, government’s version of the cause and effect of actions, and the penalties if you do not follow orders. Are we to blindly follow orders, do we question them, or do we follow some and not the others? These answers can be found in Scripture. 

Some believe that Daniel chapters 4 and 5 and Romans 13:1-7 state that God appoints all governmental officials. I disagree. God/Jesus set the standards for the institution of the position in which they hold, but not the people that hold them. (Note: there are exceptions in the OT but that was for a specific time and purpose.) That discussion is for another time.

Scripture does tell us to obey authority as we read in 1 Peter 2:13, Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, and in Romans 13:1, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities which exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

However, there are many examples of civil disobedience from believers in Scripture. The examples include Exodus chapter 1, midwives were to kill all male Jewish babies-they refused. In Joshua 2, Rahab directly disobeyed a command from the king of Jericho to produce the Israelite spies who had entered the city to gain intelligence for battle-she refused and helped them to escape. You also have examples in 1 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, and in Daniel. In the book of Acts Peter and John refused to stop teaching when they were told to by the authorities. Peter stated; “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). When confronted, he stated “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

One last example of civil disobedience is found in the book of Revelation where the Antichrist commands all those who are alive during the end times to worship an image of himself. But the apostle John, who wrote Revelation, states that those who become Christians at the time will disobey the Antichrist and his government and refuse to worship the image (Revelation 13:15) just as Daniel’s companions violated Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to worship his idol.

Civil Disobedience—Conclusion;
What conclusions can be drawn from the above biblical examples? The guidelines for a Christian’s civil disobedience can be summed as follows:

• Christians should resist a government that commands or compels evil and should work nonviolently within the laws of the land to change a government that permits evil.
• Civil disobedience is permitted when the government’s laws or commands are in direct violation of God’s laws and commands.
• If a Christian disobeys an evil government, unless he can flee from the government, he should accept that government’s punishment for his actions.
• Christians are certainly permitted to work to install new government leaders within the laws that have been established.

Now, what do we do with the information we found in Scripture concerning disobeying governmental authority? Use it. When the time comes, peacefully, lovingly, without anger or ill will, Christians need to stand together and follow the word of God if the government tries to force us to disobey the commands of God.

A prime example of this intrusion into our current religious liberties are the unreasonable commands by the governor of California directed to Christian churches. Pastor John MacArthur from Grace Community Church in California is openly going to disobey the restrictions placed on Christian worship. He is opening his church up to full capacity and there will be singing in the church! To read more about GCC’s fight for their religious rights and freedom from oppression check out:

https://reformationcharlotte.org/…/mark-dever-vs-john-maca…/;

https://thefederalist.com/…/john-macarthurs-church-defies-…/

https://christianresearchnetwork.org/…/escalation-state-wi…/.

Then we have Pastor Andy Stanley who has closed his church till 2021 (read interview or listen to audio at; https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/july/decision-not-to-gather-physically-on-sundays-until-2010-int.html) because it is not cost effective (among other things) (from transcript; “As you know, the churches that have opened earlier are seeing 15 to 20, maybe 25% of their previous attendance, and they’re spending a lot of money and a lot of energy and they’re still having to do online because most people aren’t ready to come back to church”). With a weekly church attendance 0f 45,000 people I guess 3,000 to 11,000 people wanting to fellowship together is not worth the time to open the church doors.  

So, will you stand up for your faith and take risks like Pastor MacArthur no matter the cost or will you be like Pastor Stanley and play it safe till it is financially and legally profitable and safe to get involved.  

As it states in Revelation, the time is coming when persecution will be rampant and we are to be aware and ready. 

I pray that when my time comes to make a defiant stand for my faith I will be ready and willing to do so.

A closing point to ponder: will you?

Stand firm in the faith,

Dennis

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