Monday Encouragement

  “You shall have no other gods before me . . . . You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me . . . .”(Exodus 20:3-5).

. . . every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father(Philippians 2:11).

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one(2 Thessalonians 3:3).

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

It is so good to be back with you! Thank you for your kind prayers while we were away on our recent vacation. The Lord refreshed us in every way, and we are so grateful for the opportunity you provide for us to rest.

Today, as we begin another week of service to our dear Savior and King, I want to encourage you along the lines of the theme of loyalty. And by this, I am referring to the loyalty and exclusive dedication we owe to our Lord Jesus, and to His Kingdom.

As we look around us, anxiously watching the news flowing from virtually every corner of the globe, there is a lot being said about kneeling, and about reciting one’s allegiance to a particular cause or ideology.  With frightening speed, we are witnessing the unfolding strategy of malevolent forces that are dictating to the world what is and is not acceptable, even down to the very language we use in everyday conversation.

I’m sure you have seen the videos of individuals being forced to kneel in the streets, seeking forgiveness for offending the wrong people, and being forced to recite a secular creed of sorts.  And all this while pledging allegiance to a devilish ideology that is diametrically opposed to Christ and His Word. Many observers have called this a war of cultures.  And from a purely horizontal vantage point, this seems true enough. But looked at from the perspective of Scripture, it is way more than simply the clash of cultures! What we are now witnessing, perhaps to a degree never so obvious in our lifetimes, is actually a clash of deities.

On the one hand, there is “ the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4) who is always demanding obeisance and loyalty. This false-god has disguised himself as an “ angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14), and stealthily crafted his message of death in the language of liberation, love, respect, and equality–terms that, in and of themselves, are good and righteous, but coming from his mouth are weapons of mass deception and bondage. This god is ever on the prowl, seeking to consume any who will not bow before him while confessing his perverted ‘gospel.’

On the other hand is the only true Lord and God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the Lord of all creation, the only worthy recipient of worship and adoration, and the sole Judge of the living and the dead.  He not only possesses the truth and speaks it, He is the Truth Himself! He will make no deals with the devil. He will allow no other loyalties to compete with Him. He will not share His glory with any other.

It is He who has told us who and what we are–humans made in His image and likeness, all without exception granted the sacred gift of life, none superior and none inferior, each a member of Adam’s race, all precious in God’s sight (even the pre-born!), yet all spoiled by our sins, all equally guilty, none righteous, none standing on some higher moral ground with unblemished hands and hearts, none qualified to render judgment upon anyone else, not one nation or tribe innocent of the worst atrocities against others (including the evils of slavery, racism, and bigotry), all worthy an eternity in hell, and all hopeless apart from Divine grace!  And this Sovereign One, whose Word tells us exactly who and what we are, requires from us an exclusive pledge of allegiance, one sounded by believers for two-thousand years, “Jesus is Lord!”

Christians of the first century faced this very situation. In their case, all they had to do in order to be left alone by the Romans was to utter a few simple words while tossing a little incense into a fire in the name of the emperor. Three simple words would save them a world of trouble and tribulation: “Caesar is Lord.”

Of course, packed tightly into those three words was an entire universe of meaning and a multitude of thoroughly anti-Christian implications. If Caesar was indeed Lord, then there was no other king, there was no other kingdom, and there was no other lord and acceptable recipient of worship and ultimate loyalty. Yet, for refusing to say those three words an estimated 2 million Christians went to their deaths prior to AD 325, joyfully giving thanks to the Savior for the privilege of suffering and dying for Him.

My encouragement today is this: Don’t say those words that the enemy demands that you say! Don’t utter those words that offer you a way to escape harassment and persecution!  Don’t say those words that, on the surface, seem acceptable and yet are filled with anti-Christian ideology! Let your language be that of Scripture, spoken in the spirit of compassion and humility! Love the lost people of this world enough to speak the truth! Love your Lord enough to never compromise! Never kneel before anyone other than Jesus! Never embrace any ideology or philosophy that is contrary to His Word!  Bend your knees and bow your hearts only before Him who alone is worthy!

Now, to be sure, this will make it very hard for us. This will place us at odds with the spirit of the age. This will mean trouble for all who are loyal to Christ. Our fidelity to our one and only Lord will be called racist, hateful, bigoted, on the ‘wrong side of history,’ ignorant, and will be equated with the most radicalized and destructive delusions there are. As Jesus Himself warned us, we will “ be hated by all” on account of His name (Matt 10:22).

But this very confession of Christ’s singular Lordship, which the world utterly abhors, will bring true unity and reconciliation among people of all classes and races and nations–just what our Father desires! If all who know Christ Jesus will confess that only He is King, that we are His, that what His Word declares about us is true, and that He is our one and only Savior, then and only then there will be true brotherhood! And this terribly fractured world of ours will see in His Universal Church–the beloved Bride of Christ–the eternal beauty of His mercy and grace!

And remember, while you are standing your ground out of loyalty to Him, and while you are refusing to speak those words that are demanded of you, the One who dwells within you, who is ever with you, and to whom you belong as a precious sheep, will never let you go! He will never fail to strengthen and protect you, and to save you from the evil one!

Praise His Name!

I love you all so very much,