WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES

 
 
TUESDAY TEACHINGS
 
 

 

TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHURCH

Changes God requires in His church today in order to produce the perfected 'bride of Christ'

 

 

INTRODUCTION

Persecution - something we don't want to know about!

 

 

 

BACKGROUND

CHURCH
CHURCH
CHURCH GOVERNMENT

 

The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
DEFINITIONS (For serious students only)

 

 

Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue

 

2. THE POWER OF PERSECUTION

 

You may well think that this is a very strange topic to place just after increased reliance upon the Holy Spirit, as a necessity for the transformation of the church.

But, reality is, the church thrives and grows through persecution. Jesus was/is a revolutionary. He calls us to get out of the comfort zone of acceptance, both personal and of society, to revolutionise the world for Him.

Jesus was rejected by His generation;

 

 

Luke 17:25, Mark 8:31

 

 

And Stephen, the first martyr of the church.

 

 

Acts 7:54-60

 

 

For the way of Jesus is not the way of the world nor of our natural human nature.

And also, reality is, whether we like it or not, it takes persecution to sort out the wheat from the chaff, to get those who truly believe to take a life transforming stand for Jesus.

This applied both to the early church, taking persecution in Jerusalem to spread the people and the Word to the then known world, and today, as seen in the huge growth of the church in China.

 

 

Acts 8:1-8

 

 

All the 12 (11 plus Paul) apostles were martyred for their faith, with the exception of John, who tradition says was boiled in oil and, of course, he ended up on the prison island of Patmos.

 

 

Revelation 1:9

 

 

In China today, the leadership of the underground church is very wary of increased prosperity and a reduction of persecution in their country, as they understand the principle that the church expands faster under tough conditions.

Yet we, in the church, all too readily compromise the Word in order to be 'user friendly', in a vain attempt to attract more people, to put more 'bums on seats'. It simply doesn't work.

Of course, we are human, and do not wish to be ridiculed or persecuted by our non-Christian associates - or the government for that matter.

However, if we are seen to be different by outsiders, and we are living Christ-like lives, others will be attracted to the faith. This has been proven again and again throughout history.
 

 

Colossians 3:9-11

 

 

The church of true Christianity is not simply a club of like-minded people meeting on a Sunday for fellowship, but a thriving, living, dynamic organism that draws strength from rejection, ridicule and persecution. 

 

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT!

 

'Walking with Jesus' is not easy! I repeat. Truly walking with Jesus is not easy!

It is not meant to be! For Jesus called His followers to a way of life diametrically opposite to the world's ways. The world cannot understand a message, and behavior, that puts God and others, ahead of oneself.

 

 

Isaiah 55:8-9

 

 

''SelfISHness' was born of the fruit, disobediently eaten in the Garden of Eden. It remains the world's way today. The 'selfLESSness' of Jesus therefore, is a message the world does not want to hear.

So what does this have to do with persecution?

Everything!

For if we were truly preaching and living 'THE WAY' of Jesus, the world would become polarised towards the church. More would believe, while others would become increasingly antagonistic towards it. Persecution would inevitably increase.

Persecution reflects the reality of our faith. When our faith is 'wishy-washy', the world simply sees us as irrelevant, an anachronism of days past. However, when confronted and challenged by the transforming power of the true Gospel, people have to make a choice. Embrace it or hate it! There is no middle ground.

When we water down the Gospel, preaching universal love, ignoring the consequences of sin and judgment in order to become socially acceptable, we are alienating both God, and ironically, those we are seeking to attract.

The very last words of Jesus were not spoken at the time of His ascension, but later, in the book of Revelation, through the Apostle John.

 

 

 

His message to the seventh church of Laodicea, generally recognised as being a picture of today's church, was right to the point.

 

 

Revelation 3:14-18

 

 

Yes, these final words of Jesus warned us of the calamitous cost of compromise, of having one foot in God and the other in the world. Rejection from His kingdom!

Let us now stand up for Jesus! Show ourselves to be different to the world! Teach and live the full Gospel of Jesus!

Yes, we will be persecuted. But, on the other hand, we won't be spat out of His mouth! The cost of compromise is eternal!

 

 

Revelation 22:7-21

 

 

Which alternative do you prefer? 

 

<i>NEXT WEEK:</i> TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHURCH: 2. THE POWER OF PERSECUTION concludes.

 

We will see how persecution strengthens our belief and what is likely to happen in the time ahead in this regard. 

 

A NOTE FROM DAVID

 

Persecution makes or breaks our faith.

Remember, Jesus was a revolutionary, and we are called to follow Him. If we truly do so, we will be loved by some and despised by others.

That is the way of the Lord!

Yad Vashem - Valley of Destroyed Communities

The Valley of the Destroyed Communities is the latest addition (1993) to the Yad Vashem complex, Israel's central memorial to the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust of World War II. It consists of a maze of courtyards (each representing a country or geographical region), on whose walls are inscribed the names of cities and towns where Jewish communities flourished before the advent of the Nazi regime in Germany. Viewed from the air, the structure approximates the shape of the map of Europe. The national institution for research and documentation of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem includes a museum, the Hall of the Names, and the Avenue of Righteous Gentiles. It is dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust (1939-1945).

 

 

So until next week.......
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD!

His servant and yours

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A DAVID'S DOODLING

998. Unity develops in times of oppression. Bring on oppression Lord!

David Tait         

 

 

 

Earlier Series of "Tuesday Teachings" can be read at:
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