beloved these are perilous days
when your culture is so set in its ways
that you will listen to salesmen and thieves
preaching other than the truth you’ve received
because they are telling lies
for they cannot circumcise your hearts
beloved there is nothing more
no more blessings and no more rewards
than the treasure of my body and blood
given freely to all daughters and sons
–from Derek Webb’s Beloved
We are in perilous days, beloved. It is clear from acerbic toxins that are polluting our culture that Christianity is being targeted by postmodernists as an extremist religious outfit whose intent in America is to wreak havoc, threaten the “liberties” of society and kill any and all who get in its way. Think that’s too over-the-top? Trot on down to your local Border’s and look up some of these titles (and some are best-sellers!): American Fascists by Chris Hedges; American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips; The Baptizing of America by James Rudin, et al (see other titles in Brent Steeno’s alarming post here)
This tactic of the enemy parallels what was instigated in Rome during the first century when the “cult of Christianity” was subjected to close scrutiny and suspicion. They were seen as ‘counter-cultural’ because they refused to pledge allegiance to Caesar and were thereby added to the list of undesirables and insurgents. Each year, all Roman subjects were to enter a temple and pay homage to the emperor, declaring their undying support of the empire with the words, “kurios kaisar” (Caesar is Lord). But those heroic saints, called ‘christians’ (followers of Christ) as opposed to ‘caesareans’ (worshippers of the emperor), knew who the real enemy was.
Two words. The confession could be said so quickly and confessor could be done and out the door for the year. They could even be whispered so long as a temple attendant could hear and attest to it. Two simple words. What damage could such a diminutive phrase do? And yet, many bold faith-walkers would never cave.
Among a litany of heroic accounts, there is one about a mother who refused to engage herself in emperor worship. She was thrown in jail until she would confess. And to make sure she would, they put her newborn baby in a cell next to hers. All night long her hungry child cried and all night long the guards would plead with her to confess. “Just confess, lady. As soon as you do, you can get out and attend to your baby. Come on, just two words. Say them.” She wouldn’t and as the night wore on, her baby’s cries became hoarse and less frequent and in time, died away all together. Two words she would never say, even if it meant her child’s end, which, sadly, it did. The mother’s anguish did find solace when she too met her death in the jaws of hungry lions.
Would modern evangelicals stand under such a climate? Would I?
Forget Global Warming…there is a coming fire against the Church—and we’d best wake up. Let me make a statement here: since the church will not come under God’s authority to purify her, He is going to use the world to do it. We will call it ‘persecution’ but it will actually be judgment. Think not? Read 1 Peter 4:17. Go ahead, I dare you. I won’t even give you a link to it so as to weed out the scoffers from the true seekers of Truth.
There was a flowering garden planted among the cesspool that was first century Rome. Its blooms were peaceful, loving, sacrificial to one another and to their unbelieving neighbors, worked hard in their secular employ, obeyed their masters as unto Christ, rendered to Caesar, turned their cheek when slapped, when asked for a shirt they gave their coats as well, visited those in prison, fed the hungry, offered shelter to the homeless, touched lepers–and all the while, they were violently opposed to the Kingdom of Darkness and shook its foundations with their prayers.
With their prayers, mind you. In no instance were they to breathe out violence against any human counterpart. Never, no never, was it in their doctrine to impose and subjugate. Never would they even think of legislating righteousness solely for their benefit and ease but rather it was their conviction to live it out. These were the lion-hearted. They stormed heaven with their prayers against the TRUE enemy, satan; and Heaven, in turn, sent a firestorm of retribution against the principalities and powers of the air. In short, Heaven opened up a can of…well, you know.
Today, the enemy is using the same tactics. While we sleep, he is sowing tares and plotting terrors against the Church. In the coming days, there will be all sort of heinous things said about the Church and many will start believing what is being reported. Very soon and critical mass will be reached and we will be seeing pastors sent to jail for preaching Truth. Strike the shepherds, and the sheep will scatter.
In the last days, there will be a great falling away. When judgment comes, who can stand? I am reading a lot of arrogance out there by men of God who brag on their hard preaching and expect the day will come when they will be carted off for it and they say, bring it on! It’s as if they want you to think have been recruited by Heaven to be its champion. Let’s check our pride. Let him that thinks he (will) stand, take heed lest he fall…The fight isn’t against flesh and blood, as hard as that will be; it is against devils and satan himself. And ultimately it’s against God who is a consuming fire.
Consider this a warning. Will you listen?