Week of Jan. 5
Standing Up for Truth
The Truth of Christ has not changed since before time began. God is constant and true; He does not change. Yet throughout history, humanity has tried to transform God into its own image. When people do not like something in God's Word, they try to twist it to fit their own needs and agendas. When people try to understand God through their worldly views instead of through the Holy Spirit's discernment, they are easily fooled by Satan's lies.
All around us we see the consequences of these deceitful hearts and judgment errors. We see the Gospel being watered down for the sake of appeasing the culture. We see Christians allowing the name of Christ to be trampled and ridiculed. We allow false teaching into our churches and homes. But how many of us stand up for God's Truth? How many of us confront those lies and false doctrines? How many of us defend Christ's name when we hear it mocked?
We may follow Christ in our hearts. We may boldly profess His name in the company of other believers. We may worship Christ in the security of our church pews. But how do we react when confronted by our worldly culture?
The church in Pergamum also endured intense social pressure to walk away from the Truth. On the outside, the church seemed to be following God's commandments. Inwardly, they allowed the culture to weaken their courage. They began tolerating the customs of their pagan society. They permitted false teachings to infiltrate their church. They remained followers of Christ but chose to blend in with society instead of standing for His Truth.
While Jesus encourages them in their suffering, He admonishes them for tolerating what they know to be false doctrines and teachings: "I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam…[and]…the Nicolaitans" (Revelation 2:13-15).
Jesus knew the Pergamum believers faced intense attacks because of their faith. He knew that Satan held a stronghold in their city. Jesus was aware of their situation, just as He is aware of everything that we face today. He knows it is not easy to feel the pressure of a godless society. Yet the world's opposition does not excuse us from speaking against the lies of our culture. Jesus still expects us to stand up for His name and His Truth.
Even though we are called to stand firm for the Gospel, we should not be surprised when the world rejects our stance on Truth. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood" (1 John 4:4-6).
We can praise God that He does not expect us to make this stand on our own. He will be right there with us, no matter what persecutions we face. He has given us every tool and weapon we need in our spiritual fight. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes…so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:10, 11, 13).
If we continue on the road of compromise, eventually we will face serious consequences. Jesus is appealing to each of us to change our lifestyles before it is too late. He knows the pressures and temptations we face, and He wants to give us the strength we need to stand against these attacks. He wants to give us courage to denounce sins, errors, and false teachings. He wants us to speak up when we see people twist the Gospel message.
Pray for God's strength to stand up for Truth. Pray for wisdom for the words to say and the right times to say them. Pray for His comfort and protection as your face the enemy. Commit today to stand up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near."
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