Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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January 4 – Living With Persecution

“And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, Who through the mouth of our father David, Your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against His Anointed” — for truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy Servant Jesus, Whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.  And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the Name of Your holy Servant Jesus.'”  Acts 4:24-30

Devotional Thought For The Day

This was the reaction of the early church to some of the first incidents of persecution against the preaching of what Jesus had done and accomplished for us, for our redemption, salvation, and eternal life in heaven.  While these first Christians didn’t directly challenge the authorities, or put this quoted psalm in their face, their response was one of quiet confidence and certainty in the ascendency of God, His power and control over all things.  That they still had the weakness of sinful flesh is made clear in their prayer that God would grant courage to His servants, so that they would continue to speak His Word with “all boldness” in the face of all threats.

As we face growing hostility toward the ways of God, toward the preaching and teaching of His Word, both in regard to His call for repentance and faith in the good news of forgiveness, mercy, and salvation in Christ Jesus, and also His teaching as to what constitutes a moral, decent, and truly loving way of life, we can learn from these early Christians.  First, to remember and hold with certainty that God always remains in control, that He will “do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.”  We are never left to “fate” or “chance” or the evil and wicked will of others around us.  Second, to keep clearly in mind that the preaching of God’s Word, Holy Scripture, the Bible, is the critical thing – that which brings people to faith in Christ and into His kingdom, that they too may have eternal life in the glory of Christ’s heavenly kingdom.  Third, that this preaching and teaching of the glorious Gospel of God’s gracious mercy and love will continue until the end of time – regardless of the strength, power, and will of those who oppose it.  Lastly, that we too need to pray for God’s encouragement and strength to persist in “bold” proclamation of His Word.

In regard to this boldness, our witness should always be winsome, gentle, and reasonable.  But we should also have boldness, certainty, and calmness – even in the face of threats and intimidation and persecution.  We trust ourselves into God’s hands, knowing that whatever befalls us is part of His glorious plan – for the spread of the Gospel and the growth of His kingdom, and for our own good and blessedness as well.  Though it may not appear to be benefiting us at present, God knows how to bless His people, and whatever we may have to suffer in this life will be more than compensated in the life to come!

So let us maintain our scope, understanding that the victory already belongs to Christ, and that all who put their faith, hope, and confidence in Him will ultimately share in His glorious victory.  Let us also maintain our confidence and willingness to suffer for the sake of His word.  Let us also keep the central thing first – the preaching and teaching of His Word, the Bible.  And let us also pray God to grant us courage and boldness in living our lives to Him!  It will not be long until we also join the blessed throng in heaven, praising the Lamb Who was slain for our salvation, filled with the peace and joy of His power and love.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, You have seen the torturous persecution of Your people in all ages, and You have given courage and strength to Your people to continue speaking Your Word with boldness.  Grant us this same certainty and constancy, regardless of the cost or sacrifice that may be exacted from us.  Help us keep clearly in focus the futility of the enemy, and the ultimate vindication of You and Your people on the Last Day.  Amen.