Today we sat in our church, Community Christian, as Pastor Scott finished the 31 week Bible journey known as “The Story.” We ended up in the Book of Revelation and the interesting thing tPastor brought to our attention was that this book was written while there was intense persecution of the Christian church.
Frankly, it was the intent of the Romans to destroy Christianity by the most evil and demonic manner — beheading, sawing in half, burning at the stake, fed to lions. As a matter of fact, the writer of the Book of Revelation, John, was the last surviving Apostle of Jesus Christ. He had somehow survived his death sentence and was summarily exiled to the Island of Patmos. John’s message was there was a greater reward awaiting Christians and they should not lose hope in the time of persecution.
There could not have been a better sermon to be delivered in these times as we have been inundated with terrifying pictures of James Wright Foley’s beheading which can only be categorized as savage, barbaric and evil.
Now, Pastor Scott is a passionate and astute shepherd of our flock, but there are times when we should listen to those on the front lines, who have faced this modern day persecution of Christians and have lost homes and lives.
Amel Nona is the 47-year-old Chaldean archbishop of Mosul who fled to Erbil (in Kurdish Regional Government territory) and made the following statements to Corriere Della Serra, published August 10, 2014:
If we continue to dismiss the reality of the enemy just because it makes us uncomfortable — due to our own self-inflicted wounds of political correctness — we shall indeed go the way of the Byzantines and Constantinople.
“Our sufferings today are a prelude to what even European and Western Christians will incur in the near future. Your liberal and democratic principles here [in the Middle East] are not worth anything. You need to rethink our reality in the Middle East because you are receiving in your countries, an increasing number of Muslims. You too are at risk. You have to take strong and courageous decisions, at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think that men are all the same. It is not true. Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand in time, you will become victims of the enemy that you welcomed into your home.”
However, I say — and Pastor Scott, I hope you’re not reading this — “SCREW THAT!” I do believe in the words of Paul in Phillipians 1:21(NIV) “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”But right now I ain’t in the mood for turning the other cheek nor dying. It is time we met this historical enemy of freedom and liberty head on and crushed them.
As Pastor Scott said so eloquently in his sermon at the beginning, “God’s team wins (the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Jesus), Pick a side, and don’t be stupid.” Good guidance Pastor Scott, and I am all in on the winning team. Check yourself, are you?