Bought with blood

Over the last few days we discussed the ordination of those who live in unbroken sin, and how that affects the church. How do, or should, we respond to these attacks against the church?

The church is the community of believers established by, and united in, Christ. He wanted those who believed to care for each other, to be a place where sinners can go and be introduced to God, where God would be present as people gather in His name, where there will be teaching, praise, prayer and care.

The leaders of this community are appointed by God, and have a special responsibility:

Act 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

We also see that there will be challenges to this body of Christ:

Act 20:30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

The leaders of the church are responsible for caring for the church in such a way that it stays true to the Gospel, the very core of teaching in the church. Therefore, they are also responsible for standing up to those who draw the people in the church away from the Gospel.

In this case, it is sad to see that even the leaders have become twisted. The “new” gospel is indeed bent out of shape, unrecognizable by Biblical standards.

What are we, those who witness this apostasy with indignation and sorrow, to do about it?

1. Firstly, the core message of the Gospel in all it’s glory and wisdom must be widely and and unrelentingly preached to all, even the leaders of the countries we live in:
Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Col 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,
Col 1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.

We must stand up for what is right. In many countries there are proposals on the table to classify speaking out against homosexuality as hate speech, punishable by law. It is clear that this may lead to persecution of Christians, and seems to be designed exclusively to do so. We must be ready to face that persecution.

2. The church must not fail those who Christ died for: Eph 3:16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
Eph 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
Eph 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
Eph 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The community of believers must lead people to grow in the Spirit, to give knowledge that leads to sanctification, and to demonstrate the love of God. That love includes demonstrating the hatred God has of sin, and how the love of God has overcome that sin. The church must expound the power of God to overcome all evil in us, not compromise with evil for sake of the world.

3. Fulfill the mission of the church in the community, and submit to His leadership, so that God may be glorified in His body:

Col 1:2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
Col 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
Col 1:4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,
Col 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
Col 1:6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing–as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
Col 1:7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf
Col 1:8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
Col 1:9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
Col 1:10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Col 1:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
Col 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Col 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
Col 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
Col 1:22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
Col 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Col 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
Col 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,
Col 1:26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.

Stand strong in the faith. This issue is not going to go away, and may even affect us legally going forward. It is our duty as Christians to proclaim all of the Gospel, creation, fall and redemption, to all people. We must not gloss over that which separates us from God, and utterly and totally rely on His power to overcome that, and proclaim that to all sinners.

Edit: In case you thought I was joking, here is proof of the coming persecution:

Hate crime bill in Congress

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