I chose the above painting of the parable of the 10 virgins for this post because I want to encourage us all to consider whether or not we are ready for the times we live in. Like the five foolish virgins who slept and were unprepared, I am concerned that many Christians in the US are sleeping and will be found woefully unprepared.
In the past we have already taken a look at this issue before, (Part 1 & Part 2), but I want to take a look at this issue from a more “street level” perspective, that is to say, what I believe Christians are going to be faced with individually in their lives on a day-to-day basis. I believe the homosexual agenda will be the tip of the spear that brings persecution to the United States, however, whether or not I am right, the mounting pressure that already exists should be sufficient to cause us to want to prepare to properly handle what is going on.
So let’s take a look at how the pressure is mounting at various levels:
Christians are facing surprising pressure in the professional realm.
The homosexual community is levying a flood of lawsuits against Christians as they grow increasingly aggressive and intolerant of our deeply held faith.
The following is only a sample of the many examples we could draw from:
•T-Shirt Company– in Kentucky, a Christian T-shirt publishing company is being sued after it refused to print T-Shirts for a local gay-rights organization.
•Bed & Breakfasts– recently, two Bed and Breakfast establishments in Illinois have been filed against for refusing to host a homosexual union ceremony.
•Florist– another lawsuit was filed in 2013 against a Christian florist who refused to decorate a commitment ceremony for a homosexual couple.
•Photographer– a Christian photographer has lost another appeal in a lawsuit filed against her for refusing to photograph a homosexual ceremony.
•Publishers– Bible publishers like Zondervan and Thomas Nelson are being sued for publishing translations that undermine homosexuality.
Fundamentally the homosexual community is trying to force the Christian faith out of the public realm.
Christians cannot abandon their convictions regardless of the cost, and the homosexual community is levying as many lawsuits against Christian business owners as they can. A few days ago I heard a report on the radio which reported one lawsuit that resulted in a Christian business owner being required to engage in “re-education” programs for his employees and submit monthly reports to the government for two years.
The homosexual community is not worried about being perceived as aggressive, mean-spirited, or intolerant because they know that they already control the education system, the media, and the entertainment industry.
Christian views are met with hostility in popular media/culture and viewed as intolerant, hateful, and barbaric. Our social isolation began when the education system started actively laying the foundation of tolerance, and began more poignant as our entertainment began to become more hostile towards God and His divine nature.
But this kind of thing has been told to us long ago:
1 Timothy 6:20
O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and empty discussions, and oppositions of what is falsely called science
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the traditions of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
Satan is using profane and empty discussions, the elementary principles of this world, and what is falsely called science to deceive the world and isolate Christians from society.
By taking people’s hearts and mind captive with these deceptions, he is able to declare Christians an “anathema” in society and isolate us from people to the point that we are effectively cut off from any meaningful engagement.
Some Christians have responded by going radio silent on these issues, thinking they can avoid this dilemma by doing so, and are trying to keep their link to society. As noble as the intent of this attempt is, we are coming to a boiling point in which society is going to demand that we first publicly renounce these issues before we connect with them.
My generation, especially, is prone to the foolish and empty discussions that Timothy was told not to engage in. I remember one time while preaching on the bar-street in Fayetteville, AR, a drunk girl and her boyfriend approached me and began trying to misuse the Old Testament’s teaching about not wearing mixed fiber clothing as a reason to throw out the whole Bible and throw off all moral constraints and live free in debauchery.
We are now viewed as the “untouchables” in society if we confess Christ without shame- and, let us not forget, whoever does not confess His word does not confess Christ!
The Church has been experiencing tremendous pressure from the homosexual community to abandon our stance on God’s word for a long time. The city of Houston has subpoenaed a group of pastor’s sermons that pertain to homosexuality, gender identity, and the new openly lesbian mayor.
Bible translations have received the most heat as new translations like the TNIV and The Message have given people an more palatable alternative.
Men like Matthew Vines have been aggressively trying to promote their lies within the Church for a long time. They have tried every trick from attacking Biblical translations (as previously mentioned), challenging interpretive methods for understanding Biblical statements, to outright cultural dismissal of these scriptures.
I am thankful that all of this has resulted in a valiant response from Christian preachers at every level who are beginning to finally stand up and oppose these lies.
AT THE FAMILY LEVEL
“They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.“
Jesus foretold of a time when the world would be thoroughly divided at the family level because of Him; American’s always want to think that they are the exception to what Jesus says- it can be easy for us to enter His Kingdom and be rich, the world will not hate us for His name sake, being meek is not blessed, families will not be divided- but, regardless of American arrogance, the words of Jesus Christ hold true for all the world. A time is coming, and is approaching us quickly, when your family will be divided by Christ.
This issue is not the only issue that will contribute to this division, however, in America, I believe it will be a major dividing factor. It is already illegal in California for Christian parents to tell their children in Kindergarten that what they are learning in favor of homosexuality at school is wrong. As children are indoctrinated specifically on this issue, parents who try to defend the soul of their child against deception will run risk of both civil punishment and family division!
Once again, my exhortation in this article is for Christians to begin preparing their hearts and strengthening their faith for these matters to come.
The term “government crackdown” has been totally foreign to Christians in the U.S. until now, but we’re seeing the government aggressively pass legislation that backs the homosexual agenda with government authority and cracks down on individuals and/or organizations that hold negative views of homosexuality. I mentioned previously the radio report wherein the government is forcing Christians to undergo re-education programs and submit monthly reports for 2 years just because they oppose homosexuality. This definitely doesn’t get reported on CNN or Foxnews, and it is almost unbelievable because it is so reminiscent of Nazi Germany, but yet it is happening right now in America!
We can find examples of evangelists being arrested for lawfully preaching in public, despite their careful measures to remain respectful.
The will of the people is itself being overturned by the government as legislative acts are being overturned by aggressive judges that support the homosexual agenda.
It is, for some reason, already accepted that public school teachers have to abandon their faith when they enter the classroom, and those that do not comply, face severe disciplinary measures.
One of the common rejections I hear about this is that “these are just things that happen on the east and west coast”. I believe that is an extremely willfully naive position to take. You make choose to buy a piece of land out in the country somewhere in the middle of the Midwest and stick your head in the sand, but, these issues are very real and will make their way to your doorstep.
The generation that tried to hide from these issues is the generation that abandoned their children to them!
The fruits of all these things as they mature can be nothing else than physical persecution of the Church.
It will come as the government withdraws its civil protection for those who keep and express their faith. Currently, we still have many legal protections, though they are quickly waning, but, most Christians that have been actively watching these issues unfold agree that the final result of everything we are seeing can be nothing less than persecution of Christians.
When our legal rights are removed, you will see violence against street preachers, churches, and work place Christians erupt.
The government may or may not play and active role in persecuting Christians over this issue; it may be in mild forms like imprisonment, or it may be nonexistent. But I believe this persecution will come when the government formally or informally removes the last remnants of civil protection backing Christian free speech rights and finally labels all anti-homosexual language as “hate-speech”.
I believe the crux of this matter for Christians boils down to a very simple point: have you strengthened your faith in Christ and counted the cost of following Him so that you are prepared to meet the challenges we will face as believers in this country when they arise?
We must remember Jesus’ parable of The Virgins; five trimmed their lamps, brought oil, and prepared themselves for the end times, while five slept and were unprepared. When the midnight call came, they all arose, but the five foolish virgins that were unprepared asked the wise virgins for help, but found none. No one can do your preparation for you. My exhortation to prepare is not in regards to physical preparations of laying aside stores of supplies (which is foolish), but for spiritual preparations of strengthening your resolve, faith, knowledge, and being watchful in prayer. These end times matters were told to us by Jesus, He said, so that we would not be made to stumble when they happen!
Let’s stand unashamed of the gospel- all of it- and proudly proclaim Jesus Christ regardless of the scoffing and mocking we may receive!
I hope my admonishment is clearly heard and understood; Christians in America prepare yourself.