After taking some time yesterday to look at some of the vitriol posted by Christians, at Christians, and about Christians, I am glad we have Christ’s own promise that He will build His Church.
He will cause His people to grow up into Him, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We will all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God.
How He will do this is hard to say. Some of it He will accomplish by using gifts and offices which many of us say no longer exist. Some of it He will do by allowing things to befall us that some say He does not permit. Some of it will happen because His children pray again to have Him guard and warm their hearts, lest they grow cold by seeing the abundance of lawlessness which is being being daily placed before their eyes.
However He may do it, He will do it. He will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. He will satisfied with both the quantity and the quality of His flock. The gates of Hell, its power and its plans, will not be able to defeat the Church, nor withstand its power to untie its captives. So, be encouraged, even when you see discouraging things among God’s people.
In an article entitle History in Maps, Philip Jenkins takes a look at the phenomenal spread of Christianity in Africa over the last 100 years. I don’t know if there’s been anything like it in history. Surely it has come at a great cost in tears and blood. But the victory of God is assured. Jesus said that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness, and then the end will come.
The religion which opposes the Gospel in Africa teaches that the end of days will not come until the last Jew is slain – a message of death! But the Christ of the Gospel says the end of days won’t come until every nation has had the opportunity to hear how God became a man (became a Jew, in fact!) to die on our behalf – a message of life!
The victory of the Gospel is assured, as we used to sing:
Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never ‘gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before!
[Image Credit: Martin 23230 under CC BY-SA 3.0]
It’s your turn.
We admire Bonhoeffer and those few like him who spoke out about the Nazi oppression. We read his biographies and quote his many tweetable lines.
Well, Providence (or history if you like) has positioned you here in 2014 and now you have the opportunity, Bonhoeffer-like, to speak out on behalf of those who are oppressed. You are seeing Europe, to say nothing of the Middle East, slide back into the abyss as people will do anything to mollify the rising new majority there, and take only a few tentative steps against its Jew-hatred.
Now that it’s your turn, you have to make your choice. If you choose to defend the Jew and choose to proclaim Christ against the strange bedfellows of suffocating secularism and bloodthirsty religion, then take counsel from Bonhoeffer’s words:
The messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time. They will be blamed for all the division which rends cities and homes. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace. The disciples will be sorely tempted to desert their Lord. But the end is also near, and they must hold on and persevere until it comes. Only he will be blessed who remains loyal to Jesus and his word until the end.