[anzac] "WHY aren't we HATED??"

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2005 13:13:35 -0500
A very powerful article....
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"WHY aren't we HATED??"
-by Jesse Morrell.

Persecution for Preaching...

“We don’t experience persecution here in America” has been uttered
from the lips of many Christians in our day. I have heard people say
things like: “There is severe persecution in other countries, but here
in America we have freedom and rights that keep us safe”. I am
sure you have heard this as well. While it is true that there is severe
persecution in other countries, it is not true that there is no
persecution here in America because we have “freedom” or “rights”.
I know of many Christians here in America who that have been
persecuted, even to the extent of being thrown in jail, for nothing
more but preaching the gospel. The reason the majority of the
Church never suffers the pains of persecution is not because of
“freedom” or “rights” but usually it is because they do not preach
the gospel to the lost. The absence of biblical persecution in
America today is directly related to the absence of biblical preaching.

If a Christian falls out of bed in the middle of the night, he may
blame the devil and call it spiritual warfare. If a Christian stubs his
toe walking down the sidewalk, he may call it “an attack from the
enemy”. But the truth is that the devil is not concerned with, or
takes any notice of many of our church members. It is pride that
causes many of us to believe that the devil is coming against us. If
we do not hit the devil hard, neither will he hit us hard. Do we really
believe that the devil takes any notice of us, and that we are known
in hell, if we merely keep to ourselves and stay in our “Church”
buildings? If our witnessing merely consisted of the occasional
friendly act of charity, why would the devil persecute us when he
very well knows that “faith comes by hearing”? (Rom 10:17). We talk
too much about having to defend ourselves from the enemy, but talk
very little about the enemy having to defend himself from us.

The only persecuted Christian will be the preaching Christian, who
calls out to the world “cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify
your hearts you double-minded.” (James 4:. The man who rattles
the beehive gets stung the most. The man who disturbs the mound
of the fire ants will quickly find out why they are called fire ants.
The devil is quite occupied leading the chain of bound sinners to
hell. But as soon as you come with the chain cutters to set the
prisoners free, you’ll discover that the preaching Christian is the
persecuted Christian. “Then I saw the souls of those who had been
beheaded FOR their witness to Jesus and FOR the Word of God.”
(Rev 20:4). The reason that there is much persecution upon our
brothers and our sisters currently preaching the gospel in Asia is
because they are witnessing to the lost of the life-changing power
of Jesus Christ and preaching the Word of God. And because many
here in America do not preach as they do in Asia, neither are we
part of the “fellowship of His sufferings” as they are in Asia.

While we may feel as though we are fulfilling our Christian duty if
we faithfully attend Sunday Service at our local corner Church, I
would like to say that we are sadly mistaken. Christ did not say
“follow me and I will make you Church-goers”. The world will never
be changed by going to Church only. That is why Christ said “follow
me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19). Christ came to
seek and to save the lost; therefore those who follow in His foot-
steps do likewise. If you want to see if a man truly is a follower of
Christ, take a look at his witnessing life and it will reveal how
closely he follows and how much he believes in the Word of God.

One of the very first experiences that I had when I started witness
was shortly after my conversion. I was banned from a bible study
because they knew I gave out gospel tracts to the lost. “We don’t
want you to give the bible study a bad name” they told me. Yet
Christ himself “made himself of no reputation”. (Php 2:7). At one
point, the other members of this bible study also gave tracts out
with me. But when our message brought the reproach of the world
it was soon abandoned. When the ship of our reputation starts to
sink, men will throw anything or anybody overboard to keep it afloat.
If you want to change the world, toss out your reputation. And if you
want to be a soldier of the Cross and wage warfare to win the souls
of men, don’t even think about joining a Christian Club. Soldiers
never fit in with mere Club members. So long as we hold on to our
reputations and try not to “ruin our good name” with the world, we
will never change the world as the New Testament Church did. We
would be giving Christ a bad name if we were to allow the fear of
man to overrule the fear of God in our lives. Many of us wouldn’t
mind it being said of us “that your faith is spoken of throughout the
whole world” as it was said of the N. T. Church. But we certainly
wouldn’t want to hear, as the N. T. Church did, “for concerning this
sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere” (Acts 28:22).
If we do as the N. T. church did and reason about “sin, self-control,
and judgment to come, (Acts 24:25), then we will experience what
the N. T. church experienced: persecution and the saving of souls.
If our ministries are not NT ministries, then they aren’t ministries at all.

As soon as the noses of many Christians start to smell even the
hint of hardship, or when their flesh starts to feel the heat of
persecution, they shrivel back in terror and fear rather then marching
forward in godly boldness and peaceful confidence that Christ is
with us always, even in the fiery furnace. We must remember
when we stand face to face with tribulation and when we stand toe
to toe with oppression, that Christ will help us in our hardships and
will give us peace in our persecutions. When we are put in the
position to compromise that which can not be compromised, to
deny the undeniable; when forced to decide to obey the authorities
of man or to obey the authorities of God, holy defiance and godly
disobedience to those unreasonable requests is not only necessary
in this war, but is our only option. Preachers have told me, “The
authorities are trying to silence my public message, should I obey
God or man?” I tell them that if they want to get an honest answer,
ask the souls in hell what they think and they will be sure to tell you.

The early Methodist preachers received much persecution when
they preached the gospel in public, but rather then retreating in
defeat, they marched on into glorious victory. These men turned the
world upside down, and the world tried to turn them upside down.
John S. Simons tells us the story: “If Methodism had not come into
contact with the mob it would never have reached that section of
English people which most needed Salvation. The ‘Religious
Societies’ shut up in their rooms, would never have reformed the
country. It was necessary that a race of heroic men should arise,
who would dare to confront the wildest and most brutal of men, and
tell them the meaning of sin, and show them the Christ of the cross
and the Judgment Throne. The incessant assaults of the mob on
the Methodist preachers showed they had reached the masses.
With a superb courage, rarely equaled on the battlefield, the
Methodist preachers went again and again to the places from which
they had been driven by violence, until their persistence wore down
the antagonism of their assailants. Then, out of the once furious
crowd, men and women were gathered whose hearts the Lord had touched.”

Much like the Methodists, the Salvation Army faced biblical
persecution for their biblical preaching. In the open-air glory days
of the Salvationists they had to persevere through many tough
battles in order to win their war. Winkie Pratney tells us:
“Salvationists were roped, punched, kicked, spat on, and pelted
with ships’ rockets and burning sulfur, while entire gangs of
hundreds, even up to thousands, rallied to stop the little holy band.
But the Army marched into town anyways, covered in slime but not
ashamed. Kneeling in the center of the town they lifted up their
battle cry: “Lord Jesus, in Your name we claim this city for God,”
and then they got up to take it, regardless of circumstances!” We
too can change the world as they did, if we become as dedicated
and devoted as they were.

While I have seen professing Christians abandon what I call
“frontline evangelism” as soon as any persecution arises, assuming
that they must have done something wrong, nothing can be further
from the truth. Persecution is a sign that you are being a threat to
the powers of darkness, that you are making a difference for the
Kingdom of God. There is something terribly wrong with our
ministries if we never face persecution. Did Christ not say “You will
be hated by all for my names sake”? (Luke 21:17). We must be
misrepresenting His name if it does not bring us the same reproach
that it brought Him. Preaching open-air will not get you the praises
of men. Open air ministry got Jesus lifted up on a cross not lifted
up in awe and admiration from the people of His time.

Even when we must run up hill, we must finish the race. Even when
we have to swim against the current, we must keep going! At the
rate things appear to be going here in America for street preachers,
many more American Christians will be forced to start prison
ministries because that’s exactly where we’re heading. I am not
surprised any longer when I hear of an open-air preacher being
arrested, but I am surprised when I hear of one who never has been.
I’ll never complain about the few times I have been arrested for
preaching, neither will I complain when it happens again. I’ll expect
no greater treatment then what Jesus my Lord received and all
those great men of faith who have gone before us. Did not the
preaching of John the Baptist lead him to prison and a grave? Did
not the preaching of Christ lead him to a cross? I. H. Evans wrote:
“When people become really afraid to hear a man because of his
message, and try to silence him by putting him to death, he has
done powerful preaching.”

We can only buy the prize of souls if we are willingly to pay the
cost of suffering. There is no other way to follow Christ, except to
take up one's cross. As painful and agonizing as it is the cause of
Christ is more then worthy enough. Leonard Ravenhill wrote:
“When a nation calls its prime men to battle, homes are broken,
weeping sweethearts say their good-byes, business are refitted for
wartime production, rationing and discomforts are accepted - all for
war. Can we do less for the greatest fight that this world has ever
known outside of the cross - this end time siege on sanity, morality,
and spirituality?”

While I was preaching to a mocking crowd of sinners in a
Connecticut green... One man in particular I can remember being
outrageously furious beyond all the rest. He was even more upset
than his friend who had already threatened to beat me up and to
knock out my teeth. So angry and disturbed this one man was that
he eventually stormed away in a rage because he could no longer
bear the preaching. Shortly after he left he returned again, but this
time I saw his facial expressions change as I said “Most assuredly,
I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom
of God." (John 3:3). Rather then spewing out his normal venom, he
astonishingly said, I believe to his own amazement, that what I was
saying was true. The Holy Spirit had gotten a hold of him confirming
the Word of God in his heart. Without any further interruption from
him I finished my message as he stood there and listened to every
word. After preaching he came up to me and apologized for his
ridiculous behavior. While I continued to speak to him about his
soul, serious conviction seemed to grip him that showed in his
eyes. He said that he needed to get right with the Lord. He turned
to his friend and told him “I am done with all of it, I’m done with it
all!” referring to his sin. He assured me that he was going to seek
after God, repent of his sins, and start to read the Bible which he
already owned. Usually those who oppose you the most are being
impacted the most.

It’s true that the opposition to the public declaration of the Gospel
has always been great and will be great in our day, but the rewards
of souls have always made it worth it. George Whitefield, who was
the open-air preacher who sparked America’s first Great
Awakenings, tried to share this truth with his generation, maybe
our generation will hear his words loud and clear. Arnold Dallimore
writes of Whitefield: “He…urged all ministers not to be satisfied
with preaching on Sundays only, but to do so seven days a week;
to preach in the open-air and not to be limited to their own parishes,
but to go forth wherever lost souls were found and to proclaim the
grace of God to them. Such actions, he assured them, would bring
the opposition of authorities and the hatred of the world, but it would
also witness the blessing of God.” Whitefield knew all too well the
opposition of authorities and the hatred of the world, but he was
also a man who witnessed the blessing of God in remarkable ways,
leading thousands of desperately lost sinners to the rivers of Life
for cleansing! Whitefield thundered the Word of God to awaken
men out of their deep slumber in their comfortable beds of sin. We
need men like him in our day who will be the annoying alarm clocks
calling men to wake up to go shower in the cold showers of repentance.

After Whitefield, there came a young man who brought the gospel
where it belonged. He too experienced both the battering of the
world and the blessing of God. This young man was named William
Booth, who was the Founder of the Salvation Army. Because the
poor very seldom went to Church, he decided to take the gospel to
the poor.

And so here we are in our own day when millions of souls rebel
against God and are on a grease slide down to hell. The devil is
playing for keeps. So here we are in our own day when many of
us hide from the world in our Church rooms while the world around
us perishes. We would rather not witness because it is so
inconvenient, so uncomfortable. But tell me, was the cross
comfortable or convenient for Christ? How many souls are lost so
that comfort and convenience can be kept?

If you preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
you will be mistreated, misunderstood, and misrepresented. If you
are going to stand up for Christ, expect the world to try to push
you back down again. Expect to have to carry your cross up the
hill of Calvary to be crucified, but we must overcome any hardship
for the sake of the gospel of everlasting life. We have too many
soft-men and not enough watch-men who will blow the trumpet
declaring “flee from the wrath that’s to come”. (Luke 3:7). If we
overcome all the opposition and preach the gospel regardless of
what happens, we too can eye-witness the miracle of the new
birth in the lives of the lost.
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