Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And You Will Be Hated by All....

Mark 13:10-13 (ESV)
And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. [11] And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. [12] And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. [13] And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
The interesting part here is that he is still speaking to the disciples and telling them that all this will happen to them. It does sound like a lot of tribulation.
It is interesting that in the second chapter of Acts, the gospel is already preached to all nations before they even leave Jerusalem. This is true as long as you believe the Holy Spirit, that God’s word is infallible and inerrant and so on. If you want to bring modern geography into the picture then well, you can tell God he is wrong. Go for it. Personally, I think he gets to interpret himself how he wants. We might do well to make our understanding fit his word. This world is living on borrowed time and has been for two thousand some years. This prophecy was fulfilled in the second chapter of Acts, and is still being fulfilled in every day of Grace we receive, when ever any Christian anywhere is hauled before a tribunal or kangaroo court and speaks the gospel as the Holy Spirit leads them.
Brings us to the next topic of discussion in this passage. “Do not be anxious before hand what you are to say, but what ever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. What Jesus tells the apostles, can be applied to any Christian in this situation. In these moments of distress, confess Christ, and rest secure, the Holy Spirit will accomplish his work through you. I don’t think that this applies very well to the pastor’s sermon on Sunday morning, though there certainly is some application even there. I think it also has its application to evangelism and cordial conversation with a neighbor. At the same time, there is neither any doubt in my mind that one becomes a better evangelism the more one exposes himself to the means of grace. It is through these that one grows in faith and love, understanding and so forth. Some call this sanctification. I find labeling it that can be quite dangerous especially in the Weslyan reality we live in, but most probably in any situation. We are sanctified when we are justified. Sanctification is a salvation word. And so if you want to talk of sanctification in the “narrow sense” as something we cooperate in as the formula of concord does, one can, but you have to be extremely careful about this, that you don’t give the impression that you can be saved by your works, or that somehow you earn your salvation by cooperating in your sanctification. But faith and love do grow over time in the Christian. One becomes stronger in their faith as they read God’s word. And strengthening our faith and love is something honorable to work toward. God has given us the means in which to do this. At the center of this is the Lord’s supper. There is reason that when the early Christians gathered in homes every day, and devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and prayer that they also received the Lord’s Supper, broke bread. One’s devotional life is deficient without regular partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and reception of the forgiveness of sins. Reading Scripture at home should be something that flows out of regular communion, and something that reinforces ones own participation in the Lord’s Supper. Here our souls are fed the bread of life, the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. It is troublesome when a person believes that home devotions are a replacement for communion and the participation in body of Christ. In my experience, it is often that people retreat to home devotions as a replacement for the most vile of reasons, refusal to forgive. This can’t be. If you are not communing at your church because you can’t forgive or get along with the souls who attend there, then it is hard to imagine in what way you are anymore a Christian. If you can’t forgive and grow with your neighbors who confess Christ, then how can you expect the Holy Spirit to work through you in confessing Christ to your neighbor, your very life shows that you do not take your own “faith” seriously. It is like a woman standing in a pulpit trying to say that she takes God’s word seriously, when if she took God’s word and Christ seriously, she’d sit in the pew as God’s word tells her to. The Holy Spirit does not work through such nonsense. We may not understand everything in God’s word, but that does not give us right to contradict it, and do what we want despite it. We can rest assured knowing God has his own reasons and knows best. And when we in faith submit to his word, then our faith and love grows as well as understanding of his word, but your love will not be returned.
Jesus is very adamant about this. The world will hate you. Some will find that this includes family. God commands us to honor our Father and our Mother. And this we must do. We must love our family. And I mean must. Just as Jesus has loves them, he shed his blood for them too. But we must not count that family will love us. And we must not let the fourth commandment become an excuse to obey men rather than God, even if they are the parents God has given us. In Utah, family is the biggest false God there is. So many who hear the gsople refuse to believe because of family. So many give up the faith on behalf of family. If you family can only love you when you are Mormon, then they do not love you at all. Christ gave up his family for you. He asks nothing he has not already done. In doing so, Christ tells us that those who do his will and listen to him, they are his mother, his brother and his sisters. In baptism we receive a new family. We honor and cherish that family when we come to worship with them, commune with them, grow in faith with them.

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