New Testament Passage (for Sun., Nov. 11, 2012): Hebrews 10:18-39
35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. Hebrews 10:35-36 (NASB)
None of us wants to see the days in which severe persecution is once again unleashed against the church. But we must face the fact that standing for salvation through Jesus alone is an increasingly controversial and perilous position today. Standing for a biblical definition of marriage can thrust you into a firestorm. Holding to biblical standards concerning sexual identity can be career suicide. All kinds of surprising pressure can be applied for us to walk away from the simple statements of God's Word. From the sanctity of life to the freedom to worship to a response to the gay agenda, we are facing important questions -- important decisions.
Every era of history has its battlefield. Every generation has its unique point of conflict. In the early church there was the pressure to confess Caesar's sovereignty. During the Protestant Reformation it was justification by faith. Fifty years ago, in many portions of the world, it was a stand against atheistic Marxist communism. In our day, in large portions of our world, fundamentalist Islam threatens the lives of those who profess Jesus.
In every era of history, Christians must faithfully confess Christ. It was the great reformer Martin Luther that said:
“If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.”
Thankfully, in America today, we are not called upon to pay with our lives. But in days to come we may pay with our pocketbook or our prestige. Hebrews says that the early Christians "were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations" (vs. 33). It is incredible that they "joyfully accepted the plundering of their goods" (vs. 34). Why did they do this? HOW could they do this?
Hebrews says that they knew something. They knew that they had "a better and more enduring possession" (vs. 34). Therefore, they could endure. They could confess. They could shine their light in a dark world.
So, my friend, do not grow weary in standing for the Lord. You have a sure reward. God's promise is sure. We are the salt of he earth. May we walk today in that strength.