Monday, August 14, 2017

Unpopular Ideas

Can you imagine how unpopular Jesus was with those in charge during his life and afterward? People hated what he stood for with such a passion that he was crucified, and afterward ostracized. Indeed, his apostles were persecuted. I'm sorry, Joel Osteen, but Christianity is not all positive! There are many negative things associated with Christian life.
Luke 21:12 "But before all these (signs of the end), they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake." 
John 15:20 "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you..."
Do you think not that you will be persecuted? Think again! If what you say and do is not acceptable to those in charge, you will be persecuted. Paul was persecuted for Jesus's name sake. That's all it takes for persecution. Even the church persecuted Jesus and Paul! There is an exclusion clause for persecution: if Jesus name is misrepresented, those people who do so will be spared. Woe unto them; they are spared the persecution here, but not in the hereafter!

Persecution takes on many forms. It is on a continuum between discrimination and beheading. Paul was beheaded in front of Nero, Eusebius wrote. Peter was crucified upside down. John was persecuted by being boiled alive in oil, but survived because God needed him alive to write Revelation. James, although not an apostle, was thrown from the same pinnacle of the Temple on which Jesus was tempted. ( He was clubbed to death by those who disagreed with him. (Osteen needs to read a little history as well!)

Discrimination is the accepted persecution at this moment. When I was a child, being a Christian was a great character reference. My own father vouched for people who were in jail and got their release, mainly because of his character and notoriety as a Christian. What helped in the 1950s, can hinder in this century!

Discrimination is basing treatment on group status rather than individual attributes. Discrimination can be more toward more favorable or less favorable treatment.  In these days, few recognize the more favorable treatment which people get outside of white and male privilege. Unfortunately, being male and Caucasian in this age is a liability. Add to that, the Christian religion. Because it has been the religion of western civilization, it now is considered a religion of oppression in spite of the love which its founder taught!

On the other end of the continuum is beheading. Most Christians in history were burnt at the stake. However, in the end of days, Christians will be beheaded for Jesus's namesake when they refuse to take the mark of the beast. There is only one group who uses that punishment. You do the math. Christians, in general, are not now persecuted to that extreme in the western world but they are in Africa and the Middle East. Persecution for Christians is at the apex right now - never worse in history! That is a sign that the end is near.

In America right now, their is an inherent bias against Christianity because Christians here have been in charge. Now that's not the case, and retribution is forthcoming. I submit that few of those in charge are born-again Christians but merely most are Christians in name only (CINO).  This applies to those in education, government, the media, the entertainment industry and even the mainstream clergy. Somehow, those with disdain for the biblical Jesus are now in charge. I believe that Political Correctness is the ideology of American institutions. It's not the people who are PC Police, but the elite. The people are merely duped by the elite.

In the eyes of the secular world, and its liberal counterpart - the church, the teachings of Christ are  anathema to the religions of the world. Somehow they take teachings of love and make them hateful. They take teachings of peace and make them war. They take grace and mock it. They deny miracles as mythology, and right teachings as intolerance.

Jesus did not come to bring peace to the world, but only to the true Church:
Matthew 10:34 (NKJV)  “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.'
Because most will reject Jesus, he knew that peace would never come. In fact, with the advent of Jesus's ministry, there has never been peace. Not because people accept him but because they reject him and his teachings. Jesus came to dispel the notion that when people do what is right in their own eyes, it is still okay in God's!  The western world, as most, reject the notion that God's Law is truth. They see Jesus as the cause of dissension but it's actually those who reject him who cause division.

The elite and the government have resolved to prevent poverty. If one remembers, the penalty for sin was toil. Wealth does not bring on toil. Toil is for those in poverty. Jesus didn't come to end poverty but to pay the price for our sins. He said this about that:
Matthew 26:11 "For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always."
Poverty is an eternal institution as long as mankind still sins. That is until the world ends. Even the modern church sees that as unjust, and they focus more on social justice than on spiritual reward. They elevate the needs of man above the will of God. Society finds that intolerant and unfair. It is a consequence of sin, and even the church fails to accept that we are master of our own destiny since prosperity comes with obedience.

Jesus didn't come to be tolerant. Jesus is intolerant to be truthful. Although he has grace to forgive any sin, until one repents and trusts him, that grace is not forthcoming. The world's desire is that all shall enter the kingdom of heaven without regard to remorse and repentance. Since Jesus doesn't bow to the world, the world right this instant does not bow to him. Someday that will change when the world realizes how wrong it has been!
Romans 14:11 "For it is written: 'As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.'”
Those evil rulers we have will someday bow to God. All the clergy who deny the grace of Jesus; they too will bow. Even the PC Police and the elite will bow!

Until then, Satan is Prince of the Air, and ruler of the world. Because Jesus is unpopular, we will be persecuted. If you're not, perhaps you are unprincipled Christians because true Christians are zealots for God! Unfortunately, because of the PC Police, us zealots are not popular: we are "hateful" and "intolerant" because we believe that God's will be done, not the world's!

I am persecuted because I'm a zealot. It is subtle but even my career was  short-changed because of my belief. All that I have said and written has been and will be used against me. Because my beliefs are unpopular, political correctness stifles my opportunities.

When I was young I once wrote an off-color word in my freshman essay because the professor used foul language profusely. He wrote on my paper: "Say what you want but never write it because it becomes permanent." How true that was! My entire belief system has been displayed on all sorts of social media, and I know, it has been and will be used against me.

My warning for you, unless your career is over, is to be careful. What you write anywhere will be the case against you as persecution increases. My career wasn't ruined because of the times; yours may be! Limit your anger and dissension. You will pay the price for Christian beliefs. However, that is not all bad:
2 Corinthians 4:9 "Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed..."
Society will persecute you, but Jesus will never forsake you even as you're cast down. I'd rather be right with Jesus than wrong with the world. Jesus saves. The world can't!

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