The Heat Is On…And Slowly Rising: Will We Deny Him When It Really Costs Us Something?

Posted: March 6, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 12:1-12 — Today, we talk about denying Jesus when it will cost you something. Today, there seems to be no advantage to being a Christ follower. We see beheadings of 21 Christians on the nightly news. We hear of a fire department chief in Atlanta being fired for having written a faith-based book in there is a section on the sanctity of marriage being between one man and one woman. There is no longer prayer in schools. The pledge of allegiance had the phrase “under God” taken out of it. Prayer at public school events is prohibited. My company where I work will not contribute to churches but only non-church helps organizations. The president and founder of Chick-Fil-A is vilified in the media for saying that his personal belief is that marriage is reserved for man-woman relationships.

In Michael Carr’s article, “Faith Under Fire: Persecution of Christians on the Rise in the US”, he says, “There are children being prohibited from writing Merry Christmas to the soldiers, senior citizens being banned from praying over their meals in the Senior Center, the VA banning the mention of God in military funerals, numerous attempts to have veterans memorials torn down if they have any religious symbols such as a cross” and the list goes on and on. In the US, the persecution of Christians is subtle compared to the killings of Christians going on around the world, but is a warning to us as Christ followers here. The subtleness is comparable to the old tale of placing a frog in a pot of water and slowly turning up the heat. The frog will not notice until he dies. Many American Christ followers are not aware as our right to be Christ followers is slowly being eroded. At some point in the future, can you see an America where we will be physically persecuted, jailed and even killed in the name of tolerance of all behaviors. When that world comes to our doorstep, will we have the faith of the 21, the faith of the martyrs?

Today, when the heat is on low, many of us deny Christ in equally subtle ways. When we feel embarrassed to admit to a fellow co-worker that we are Christ follower, we deny Him. When we fail to speak up for what is right and what is according to God’s Word because someone might make fun of us, we deny Him. When we accept our world’s values that are in contrast to God’s Word just so we do not have to explain ourselves, we deny Him. When we are fearful of being pointed out as a Christ follower for fear of being rejected or being ridiculed, we deny Him. When we participate in off-color comments about the pretty girl that just walked by as you stand with the guys at the water cooler at work rather than defend the lady’s right not to be thought of in that way, we deny Him. These are just the subtle ways that we deny the Son of Man before men. What in the world are we going to do when the persecution of Christians here in the United States is no longer subtle. What if one day being a Christian here has real consequences like losing a job, losing your freedom, or losing your life. Will we stand up for Jesus then? We go to church on Sundays today because no one stops us. We participate in church events because no one stops us. As for being Christian in America today, it is relatively safe so long as you don’t express your faith in the public forum. But that’s how it all starts. Rights of Jews in Germany under the Nazi party were slowly but surely taken away and they were like the frog in the pot. They went along to get along up until the point that they were herded out the Jewish ghettos that were created for them into trains that took them to concentration camps where they were treated like lab rats for experiments, put to hard labor, and finally killed off in gas chambers. It always starts off slow and subtle.

So, when that day comes, we better have had practice in standing up for Christ in the subtle ways that we are persecuted today or we will fold like a church bulletin when it is no longer subtle. Let us be willing to stand up for Jesus now each and every day. Let us live by our Christian values even if it causes us a little ridicule now so that when we have a gun pointed to our head later that we will not deny Him when it counts. Let us be willing to take the heat now for standing on God’s Word even if it costs us a promotion so that when we have a knife to our throat later that we will not deny Him then. Let us speak out against injustices now so that when we are put in jail for our faith then we will not deny Him. Jesus went to the cross for us, we must stand up and not deny Him. How deep is your faith? How deep is mine? How much do I believe that heaven is a far better place than this? Are you willing to put your life on the line for Jesus and die for Him as He died for you. Jesus says that if we deny Him before men He will deny us before the Father. Being a Christ follower begins with not denying Him when persecution is oh so subtle. Practice it now. There is day coming my friends that our faith may actually cost us dearly. Practice it now when it subtle so that we will have the power to not deny Him when our life is on the line. The frog is in the pot and the water is getting slowly, slowly, slowly warmer. Our faith will cost us something one day. May we be like the 21 martyrs who were praying to Jesus right up until the minute they were beheaded. May we have that kind of faith when it counts. May we have that faith now when our persecution is more subtle.

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