(An Excerpt from my sermon on 3/03/2019 – From Acts 4:1-12)
There was a recent poll that stated, The worsening restrictions against religious freedoms represent the biggest surge in religious hostility in over a decade.
So, if that is true, is it going to get better? No.
Why are Christians experiencing high levels of persecution? Why is the antagonism towards Christianity rising?
Because we speak Jesus, and we speak of his resurrection.
Here in Acts 4, Peter and John weren’t afraid to speak Jesus and it got them thrown in jail. And as we go on through Acts, we will see that they just ignore the threats and continue to do exactly what they were told not to do…
in Boldness and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Too often our faith is being conformed by the patterns of the world, instead of being transformed by the power and the word of God.
We are allowing the world to shape us and mold us. We don’t want to offend anybody. We don’t want any opposition or we definitely don’t want to be persecuted.
Listen, Speak Jesus. Don’t shrink back. Don’t be intimidated.
We speak Jesus many ways. Directly. Indirectly. With or without words.
We speak directly when we say things like, This is what Jesus did in my life, this is what Jesus is doing, this is the mess Jesus just led me through, Jesus just healed me of this, when someone asks you, how you can be calm in the midst of a storm, or where do you find that peace, or why aren’t you panicking, you can say “Jesus.”
It wasn’t me. It was Jesus. In the name of Jesus. Through the power of Jesus.
We speak indirectly though our actions, through the decisions me make daily, that reflect our faith, when we decide not to hold onto that anger, or let go of that jealousy, when we decide to love others… to forgive others.. we speak Jesus when our conduct and our compassion and our mercy and our empathy towards others reflects Jesus.
Simply put, when we are Christlike.
You have heard the quote, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”
Here is the thing, I think eventually, you aways have to use words.
Often when we indirectly speak Jesus, it leads to an opportunity to directly speak Jesus.
Persecution, oppression, thumb your nose at it.. speak Jesus in spite of it.
More so as the day approaches. Speak Jesus.