While there are many political, religious, ethical, and moral thoughts and points of view on the matter of ISIS, we all know that murder is evil. I do believe though that for Christians, that is all who are Born of God in Christ Jesus, we have a bigger hope than stopping the killing of Christians. It is a good hope to want this to stop, but it is also contradictory to the promise of God for His people. Scripture is replete with examples and certainty of suffering and martyrdom, especially for those true Christians who stand in opposition by their lives and worship against a way of life that is wicked.
So, let’s hear God’s voice on some areas that we need to be careful not to forget:
- That this is not new. Christians have been slaughtered for millennia and it should be expected. (2 Tim3; 1 Peter 4)
- There is no power under the sun that can stop it. Only the preaching of the gospel can change the heart of man. There is no possible remedy apart from God recreating a murderer into a new life. So we must pray, not “politic.”
- Let’s not forget that evil or martyrdom is not greater than the evil of murder. This includes the killing of the unborn, the ignoring of the ill, mentally ill, or elderly, and also the gossip from the mouths of many as they slander their neighbors and their enemies.
- Recognize that even in the darkest hour, martyrs of Christ are “like” their Savior as Paul proclaims that he desires to “fill up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ.”
- Those who are dying by the sword are not begging for their lives but just as it began with Stephen in Acts 7, it continues today as those who are preparing to die are really preparing to live as they pray for their oppressor’s souls. After all, Paul did the same thing when God saved him.
- It is an honor to be killed for the faith, even though it is evil. Acts 5:41 shows that the disciples rejoiced that they were worthy of being beaten for the sake of Christ. This is surely crazy! Yes.
- Praying not just for the Christians, but for the gospel to go out. God uses martyrdom to SHAKE the trees of harvest as He did in Jerusalem in order to bring the gospel to us…
- Praying and loving our enemies is one of the KEY maturities of regeneration. If we hate ISIS, we do not have the love of God in us.
- Let us not think for a moment that this will not happen to true Christians in our nation. It will if time tarries. The question is will it be our ISIS persecutors or our so-called Baptist brothers who take off our heads? The true church does what is necessary to continue to preach the gospel in obedience to Christ, even at the cost of death.
Much more is in my heart to share, but time has put an end to my pen. Let’s leave with God’s sovereign word to guide our thoughts on the above list.
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And
“If the righteous is scarcely saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. (1 Peter 4:16-19 ESV)
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself. (2 Timothy 2:1-13 ESV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 ESV)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Romans 12:14 ESV)
Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus. (Acts 5:41-42 ESV)
For His Glory by His Grace,
Pastor James Tippins