Lesson (vol.8)



"For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye."(Zech 2:8)

It is the duty of every Christian to "witness" their faith, that is, to share the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that there is eternal redemption from sin by receiving his forgiveness in an act of faith. This however is not always met with a positive reaction amongst those who would have nothing to do with Christ or the message of perpetual Salvation through His name.

One such early record of this is found in the Apostle Paul, formerly called Saul before his conversion, who was the representative of the Synagogue empowered to hunt down and persecute Christians who were extricating (to free or remove from an entanglement or difficulty - Webster's) the faithful from amongst their midst and making it difficult for them to impose their religion of works and servitude therby threatening their position in the Roman social order.

It was on one such trip sanctioned by the high priest of the synagogue that a strange thing happened; Saul met Jesus personally in a flash of blinding light that did in fact leave him temporarily blinded. "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."(Ac 9:4-5)

Apparently Saul had been "kicking against the pricks", or fighting against the truth that the Holy Spirit had been trying to get him to pay attention to, and Jesus had to take a personal hand in Saul's conversion by knocking him flat on his butt (literally), and blinding him to boot. He was later miraculously cured of his blindness and went on to be one of the Bible's most influential Apostles. So, the Lord's discipline did him some good, and we have allot to be thankful for in the resulting works that he laid out in the New Testament.

Some folks have gotten into the bad habit of being defiant when God calls on them to do His Will and expect that He will just persevere until they decide to submit. "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not."(Job 33:14). That is not the way it works ! That is the way some people would like for it to work, that God would conform and submit to them and not the other way around. We are called to be messengers of the Truth, regarless of how we feel about it. " Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."(Jn 15:16) "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."(Mk 16:15)

By receiving your message, people are in effect receiving Jesus, as He said," He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me."(Mt 10:40) By the same token, when they reject you and persecute you they are in effect rejecting and persecuting Jesus as borne out in the story of Saul.

Persecution comes in many different forms; sometimes it is by physical attack, sometimes it is only verbal abuse, and at other times it is by ostracizing (to exclude from a group by common consent - Webster's) the messenger.

Regardless of how they dish out the persecution, it is still directed at Jesus because it is He in reality that they hate so much, and the only way they can get at Him is through you, the messenger." If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."(Jn 15:18-19)

Your duty, as a Christian is to witness; how it is received, is left to the majesty of choice of the listener. God is the one that will know the true intentions of the heart. " Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."(He 4:13) and it is He who will act accordingly. If you have offered the free gift of God (Salvation) and the person doesn't want it, then that's that, your job is done.

" Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."(Mt 10:16)

In the case where you do meet up with a physically violent reaction, and some have been killed "in the line of duty", you are to remit such into the hands of God for appropriate action." Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."(Ro 12:19)

We do not condone violence as a solution to problems, when faith dictates that we put our trust in the Lord, and that He will take the appropriate mesures so that righteousness will triumph. We are, however, duty-bound to witness of our convictions and to win souls to Jesus whenever possible and in whatever manner possible and "...do all to the glory of God."(1Co 10:31)

May God bless you with His Love, Peace and Truth.



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