Just Jesus and His Cross

Our society is more fractured now than it has ever been in my lifetime. You would be hard pressed to pick any social topic, be it ethnicity, gender, economic, political persuasion, the morality of computer games, or anything that comes to your mind, if you say what you think online, in a forum, on facebook, and now even face-to-face, the topic will immediately spark a vicious debate with no possibility of anyone changing their mind. These are not exchanges of ideas but mechanisms for demeaning people. 

Christian, we are all created in the image of God; do not participate in this useless “arm wrestling” that tempts even the best follower of Christ to create homegrown scripture to bolster their position.

Instead, the next time someone tries to draw you into a debate, say what Paul said to the Corinthians, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (MSG), “You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.” I think we can learn something from Paul’s approach.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

Acts 5:41, Counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Acts 5:41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name [of Jesus].

I grew up during a time in America when being a Christian was respected, even by people that didn’t attend church. Regardless of ethnicity, the majority of Christians attended a local church, at least for Easter Sunday. If not, who would marry them and bury them?

Please don’t misunderstand me; during the time to which I’m referring, some people held sickening, shameful, sinful attitudes and perpetrated immoral actions in the name of Christianity. Sadly, this flaw of humans has been true throughout history. Not just in the Church’s history but for all the history of humankind.

However, the Christians to which I’m referring strove for what the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 3:26-29, which states, “So in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” In Jesus, we are all equal, and our mindset and actions should display this.

Being a Christian was much different when I was young.

Though the same truth remains true in our modern culture, Christianity no longer is tolerated. We, as Christians, can learn to handle this shift from tolerance to hate by reading the book of Acts. Acts give us a glimpse into the society in which the Apostles lived, and that society’s transition from tolerating Christianity to killing Christians.

Whether society accepts the message of Jesus, the Name above all names or they reject the message and punish the messengers, we must not waiver in our walk with Jesus.

If, as followers of Jesus, others accept us we thank God and if ridiculed, libeled, or physically abused because we publicly acknowledge our faith in Jesus, we still must do as the Apostles did – we praise God and thank Him for counting us worthy to suffer for Jesus. Just remember what the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:1, Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

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