Who Will Stand Up

This morning I was shocked when I read about a bill that is before congress this morning.  The bill would establish a new diplomatic post that would be charged with defending religious freedom overseas.  The intent of this post would be to discover areas of persecution and to offer ways to stop the persecution.

As I thought through this proposal the truth of my scripture reading from Acts 2-4 came into focus.  When the church began, it was with great demonstration of power as the gospel went forth and three-thousand people embraced the gospel.  By chapter four  the number of men who have come to Christ has grown to a number of five-thousand.  But as is always the case with the gospel, when Christ is glorified Satan is angered and he attacks.

Chapter four tells us the story of persecution. Peter and John are arrested and told, “To speak no more to anyone in this name,” Acts 4:18. The fact is religious freedom is given to everyone except those who stand for Christ.  Look around the world, if you are a Muslim you have freedom, if you are Buddhist you have freedom, if you are an atheist you have freedom.  All have freedom except those who name the name of Christ.

But the question is, “Who will stand up?”  In Acts 4 we discover the Apostles stand up. “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,” Acts 4:19-20.  Their stand would cost them their very lives, but to them it was worth it to be able to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.  They knew it was God’s sovereign purposes that they would face persecution (Acts 4:25-31).  They only asked for one thing, “Grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,” 4:29.

Question, “Who will stand up in our day?”  The cause of the gospel demands that true followers stand up in every venue of life.  Today, I challenge believers in the work place to stand up.  Today, I challenge believers in the political arena to stand up.  Today, I challenge moms and days to stand up.  Today, I challenge college students and teenagers to stand up.  Today, I challenge missionaries to keep standing up.  The gospel demands that we stand because we are the light on the hill. If we do not stand up, there is a basket placed over the gospel and people will die in darkness without hope.

The bottom line is this, no post appointed by congress will stop the persecution in our world.  The persecution is allowed by God to magnify the gospel. Only when Christ returns will this persecution end.  Until then give your best and be totally spent for Christ.  What we have to look forward to is beyond all imagination, “The times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, appointed for you, Jesus,” Acts 3:20.  Come Lord Jesus come!!!

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