If Christian Execution Came To Our Nation

Imagine this: You’re gathered in church with your families and friends, your children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and so on; worshiping God and having your weekly gathering, listening to the Pastor preach his sermon. When suddenly, the military barge in and shout out “anyone who wants to live must deny their faith and get out now! Anyone who stays and who will not obey our command to denounce your Christian faith, will be brutally executed!” What do you do? They have guns to your children’s heads, threatening if you don’t denounce your faith, that they’ll pull the trigger, executing your children, and that you will be next! Sadly, many would deny Christ and run for their lives.

Let’s look at a somewhat different scenario now. Christian execution comes to our nation, and the military are taking all who profess Biblical Christianity, and brutally murdering them. Now here’s something to think about strongly. In your everyday life, is your faith obvious enough that you’d be one taken to be executed? Do you preach enough solid, Biblical truth, that you’d be considered a “threat” to the nation’s agenda? Or would they not bother with you, because you are one who preaches a “feel good gospel” to people, and avoids preaching Biblical truth, in an attempt to avoid offending anyone? Or because you don’t even look any different from the world, either because of your lifestyle, or simply because you never talk about your faith? These are very good questions every single Christian should dwell on for a while, and strongly consider.

The truth of God’s Word offends. It offends so much, that Jesus was brutally murdered for preaching the truth! Of course, this was all in God’s plan for Christ, for Him to be an atonement for all our sins and pay our price! Even the apostles were murdered in various ways for preaching the truth of God’s Word and the Gospel! Throughout the ages Christians have been stoned, skinned, boiled in hot oil, burned at the stake, hung, dragged to death, beaten or clubbed to death, fed alive to lions, and many other various ways, all for their faith in Christ! Christians have also been thrown in prison, tortured in countless ways, mocked, ridiculed, and much more! All of this, simply for acknowledging and worshipping our God and Creator, and for warning people that without sincere repentance and full trust in Christ, they too (as we once were), are headed straight for Hell! After all, 1 Corinthians 1:18 says: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Let’s very briefly look at the life of John Huss. Huss was born 1369 and lived until 1415, when he was burned at the stake for his faith. Why was he burned at the stake you ask? Well, John Huss was born into poverty, and to escape it, he trained for the priesthood. He said “I had thought to become a priest quickly in order to secure a good livelihood and dress and to be held in esteem by men.” In 1401 he was ordained and became the preacher at Prague’s Bethlehem Chapel. During these years, Huss was given a change of heart. It was the writings of John Wycliffe that had stirred up Huss’ interest in the Bible. Huss began to trust the Scriptures increasingly, saying: “desiring to hold, believe, and assert whatever is contained in them as long as I have breath in me.”

Huss was being criticized by the pope, and being called a heretic! Huss was continuing to be scandalized and radicalized by the pope. Continuing to lean purely on the Bible, the church authorities of his day (the true heretics), only got more angry with him. The Catholic Church was growing furious as he defied papal authority, by teaching that Christ alone is the head of the church, and not the pope. Huss said: “Let the disciples of Antichrist blush who, living contrary to Christ, speak of themselves as the greatest and the proudest of God’s holy Church. They, polluted by avarice and arrogance of the world, are called publically the heads of the body of the holy Church. According to Christ’s gospel, however, they are called the least.”

In November of 1414, the Council of Constance had assembled and urged Huss to come and give an account of his doctrine. Huss was promised safe conduct, but when he arrived, he was immediately arrested and was imprisoned for months. Instead of a fair hearing, Huss was brought before the authorities in chains, and asked to withdraw his views. Huss, seeing he was not going to receive a fair hearing, said this: “I appeal to Jesus Christ, the only judge who is almighty and completely just. In his hands I plead my cause, not on the basis of false witnesses and erring councils, but on truth and justice.” He remained imprisoned many more months, where many people tried pleading with him to withdraw his views. Finally on July 6th, of 1415, Huss was given one last chance to withdraw his views at the stake, where he prayed this prayer as the flames engulfed him: “Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies.”

Huss’ death, as well as many other martyrs over the ages, are a perfect example of Matthew 10:28, which we are told, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Man might be able to kill our body, but once we die, only God has the power to destroy the soul and body in Hell! Fear God, not man. Nothing in this world is worth losing your soul for eternity in Hell. As Luke 9:25 says “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?”

In Matthew 16:24 Jesus tells us that, if anyone desires to follow Him, we are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him! Jesus here, and in Matthew 10:38, is demanding total commitment to Him alone, even to the death! We are to stay committed to Christ always, even if it means being violently executed for His name’s sake! Even today, there are many nations who practice Christian execution. It’s a very dangerous thing to be a Christian in these nations! People throughout the ages, and to this day, have been getting murdered for the name of Christ, and that’s what it means to be fully committed to Christ alone! These people don’t have their toes dipped in the water, like the church of Laodicea (the lukewarm church) does in Revelation 3:14-22. These people were/are either all in, or not in at all. To be a true Christian is to be all in. You’re either for Christ, or you’re not. You’re either a slave to sin or a slave to Christ. It’s truly that simple. You can’t be of the world and of God, because to be of the world is to be an enemy of God! James 4:4 says “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” And in Matthew 6:24 we’re told, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” There’s no grey, only black and white. There’s no lukewarm, either hot or cold. There’s no middle ground. You’re a slave to Christ, or to sin.

Matthew 7:21-23 gives us a firm warning! It says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” What a scary thought! To assume you’re saved, then have our God tell us, “Depart from me, I never knew you, you who practice lawlessness!” There are many denominations who assume they’re doing the work of God, when all along, their theology is way off, and they’re preaching a false gospel altogether. Many teachings and teachers, preaching a false gospel, a “health and wealth” gospel, or “prosperity gospel,” which of course, isn’t the gospel at all.

The point is, we must stay true to God’s Word, we must be fully committed to Christ and live by what Scripture tells us, and not budge on the truth of God’s Word, even if it means losing our earthly lives. But that only means to go from this life, into the arms of our God and Savior! Remember, Jesus said in John 14:16 that, ”’I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me.’” And multiple times in Luke chapter 13, we’re told “unless you repent, you will likewise perish!” The only way to be saved, is through repentance and full trust in Christ. Nothing else.

So again, if Christian execution came to our nation, and perhaps one day it will, are you going to be one who gets murdered for the name of Christ? Or one who won’t be bothered with, because you don’t live the life Christ calls true Christians to? It’s not about being a perfect Christian, we won’t have our glorified bodies till we’re with our Creator. But it is about being a TRUE Christian. The scariest and worst thing that can happen to you, is to die and have God tell you depart, I never knew you. Always make sure you are truly in the faith! Test yourself with Scripture. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says:
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” So, my hopes and prayers for myself, as well as anyone reading this, is that, if and when Christian execution comes to our nation one day, that we’ll be able to take a stand on God’s Word, not back down, and if need be, die for the sake of our God and Savior.

I’ll leave you with this last thing to think about. It was George Whitefield who said, “I was honored today with having a few stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cat thrown at me!” What an honor to be persecuted for the sake of our Savior! Again, if Christ, a perfect man, fully God, without sin and undeserving of death, could take our place and pay our price by dying for us, the least we, wretched, filthy, corrupt sinners, can do is the same for our God and Savior, if need came to be! Don’t be surprised when the world hates you for the name of Christ. Jesus says in John 15:18, “’If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

Good Friday

Why do we celebrate on Good Friday? Should we be mourning instead like Catholics do? Should we be sad and depressed because we remember the death of Jesus? And speaking of the death of Jesus, why did he die? Did he have to die? It’s good to ask the “Why?” questions. We have to be careful not to be too comfortable with our traditions and fall into a mindless routine every year at Easter. Keep reading as we will look at answers to those questions.

One of the reasons Jesus died is because of the wrath of God. If God wasn’t angry at sin, there would be no Good Friday to celebrate. The word wrath means anger. God’s wrath is consistent and pure. It is His Holy, Righteous and Just reaction to sin, the only proper reaction for the One who is Himself Holy, Righteous and Just.

What is the cause of God’s Wrath? Why is God angry at us? It’s because of our sins. It’s because of our rebellion against Him. It’s because we say “No!” to God. Instead of obeying Him, we do what we want to do.

All people, being sinners, are the objects of God’s wrath. Psalm 7:11 says “God is a just judge. And God is angry with the wicked every day”. Ephesians 2:3 reminds us that before we became Christians we were all children of wrath. And in Colossians chapter 3 we read “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.” We tend to forget the wrath of God because it is not something tangible, we can’t take a picture of it with our camera.

Many mistakenly think that because God does not immediately act against them in judgment, they have escaped His judgment. They may even think that God is as carefree about sin as they are, and so they sin all the more. But they only guarantee for themselves a more severe judgment when God’s wrath finally falls upon them.

I am glad that at Emmanuel Baptist Church we regularly hear about God’s wrath, and especially on Good Friday. Sadly, many don’t hear about God’s wrath, not even on Good Friday. That has also been my experience. Growing up, I have often heard an emphasis placed on the physical suffering of Jesus. How much He suffered because of the whipping, how much he suffered because of the nails in His hands and in His feet, and I heard about how horrible death by crucifixion was. Don’t get me wrong, there is horrible suffering brought by these things. But most sermons stop there. And if you stop there, you miss the Gospel, you miss the “Good” in Good Friday. We are not saved because Jesus had nails in His hands. We are not saved because Jesus died of asphyxiation on the cross. We are saved because He took the wrath of God for us! His body was broken for us! God crushed Jesus instead of us! Jesus took our place! He took our punishment. He suffered for all those who would ever believe in Him.

Many other people besides Jesus were whipped. Many other people were crucified and had nails in there hands. But none of those people died for me. None of those people could. Only Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God who could appease God’s anger toward us.

You might say “Wait a minute! What’s up with all that talk about God being angry at us? The Bible says that God is Love. After all, 1 John 4:16 says “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”” Yes, one of God’s attribute is Love. Another one of God’s attributes is Justice, and because of His Justice He must punish sin. God’s attribute of Love and Justice are not opposites, but instead they come together perfectly. John 3:16 and 17 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” But those who refuse to trust in Jesus as their substitute must bear God’s wrath themselves. John 3:36 says “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Romans 5 verses 8 and 9 says: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”

As you are celebrating Good Friday, my fellow believers, remember the wrath of God. Remember Christ’s body broken under the wrath of God for you. Remember the sinless blood of Jesus that was spilled as a payment for your sins to satisfy God’s Holy wrath against you. Remember the Gospel. God treated Jesus on the cross as if it was you and I hanging there. Jesus Christ willingly took the punishment we deserve. And through His death, we have peace with God. Glory to God!

Why Christians Should Read The Bible?

Imagine that your neighbour’s husband or wife was serving overseas with the military. Now, also imagine that your neighbour did not read emails, or open letters that came from their spouse. Christmas cards and birthday cards were being left unread, too. To top it off, what if phone calls were going unanswered?

You might conclude or suspect that there was something wrong with that marriage. It is the same thing with Christians who do not read the Bible. Something is missing, and there is no way to disguise it.

Why should you read the Bible? Is it an obligation? Is it a pleasure? Or, is reading the Bible a sign of your spiritual maturity? Reading the Bible is all of the above. But, fundamentally, to love God is to love His Word.

Jesus often taught with parables and stories. Many apply in this instance. If your father were incredibly rich, would you attend the reading of the will? Of course you would! You would want to know what your father left you in his will. Wouldn’t you? The Bible says that we are co-heirs, joint inheritors, with Christ.

If it is anything else, the Bible is a legal document that explains what you have inherited from your Father in Heaven. We inherit these things by faith in Jesus Christ, who was made flesh, and who died for our sins. Jesus rose again, and is at the right hand of the Father. That is what the Bible says.

The Bible is not a story about people who came, lived and died a long time ago. The Bible is about YOU. The Bible contains God’s purpose, and His plan for YOU. The Bible openly makes promises to you. If you are born again, then you know that your faith has been counted onto you as righteousness.

The Bible is personal. It pertains to you. If you love God, don’t you want to know what He thinks? If you love God, don’t you want to know how to please Him?

We want to encourage you to start reading the Bible today, and a little bit every day at the very least. To start you off, here are some things to watch for as you read:

1. (Genesis 3:22-24,  1 Corinthians 15:22, Romans 7:18, Galatians 5:19-21) Understand your culpability: You are guilty of having sinned against God, deserving of punishment, unworthy of consideration except by virtue of the sinless life and death of Jesus Christ. The only way to avoid your just punishment is to repent and trust the Lord.

2. (Hebrews 11:5-6) “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” You please God by believing in Him and trusting Him.

3. (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Understand that God wants good things for you.

4. (Romans 8:17) “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” Understand your legal standing: You are a child of the King. We are co-heirs with Jesus.

5. (John 10:10) Understand that you have an enemy. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Also read (I Peter 5:8-9)

6. (Jeremiah 31:33) “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Understand that God can put His law in our hearts.

7. (John 14:15-18) “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus did not leave us alone, and God has has not left us friendless.

8. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” Your life is not your own.

9. (Romans 8:28) “ And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” God has a plan to use even your failures and missteps. But, you have to try.

Imagine that you were put on trial for crimes and you were found guilty. The penalty for such crimes, once the charges have been read, once the evidence has been given, and once the law has been clearly stated, is death. If someone explained that you can avoid the sentence, would you want to know more? If someone were willing to take your punishment for you, how would you feel? Would you take a moment to talk to that person? Would you be grateful?

The Bible is a lease signed by God that explains what you have the right to expect, but it also describes what is expected of you. There is not a document in the world more personal and pertinent to you. There is no document that is more peculiar to you – nor will there ever be.

If you are not reading this book, the Bible, then something is missing. You are like your neighbour who claims to love a spouse, but cannot be bothered to read mail and email messages that come from overseas.

But, God is waiting for you. Christ is waiting for you. Christ is the good shepherd who will pursue you. Luke 15:7 says that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Pick up that book and read about yourself in its pages. That is how to read it. God had this story written for you before you were born, and he means for you to know so many things.

Pick it up today, even if you also go to church. Pick it up especially if that is all you are doing – going to church. Read it to find out who you are in Christ. You are a sinner in desperate need of salvation. Who is Christ to you? He is your savior. Find out first hand what your pastor has been telling you in church.

Did you already knew the answer to the question we have posed: Why Christians Should Read The Bible? If you did, you are blessed, and you have knowledge that can be used to bless others. Share it.

You cannot grow any other way.