Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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March 15 – Soldiers Of The Cross

“Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town.” Matt. 23:34

Devotional Thought For The Day

Jesus spoke these words to the Scribes and Pharisees. They are equally applicable to a wide range of “self-righteous” people today who reject the Gospel, despise God and His Word, and vent their wrath and anger against Jesus Christ upon His servants. Note that the persecution takes place “in your synagogues,” that is, within the church itself. Those whom Jesus sends into the harvest to tend to His lambs are first abused within the church, then driven out and “persecuted from town to town.”  Religion has always been a tough business – made so by those who have no faith in the Gospel, who do not understand the distinction between God’s people and mere religious institutions, who do not really believe that God is around watching over His people, and who therefore view religion merely as a tool of manipulation, power, personal wealth building and self aggrandizement. Those servants whom Jesus sends – “prophets, wise men, and scribes,” are often caught in the tumult.

Each week I get an email update from Voice of the Martyrs. Each week the content is essentially the same – descriptions from various parts of the world of what Jesus foretold being fulfilled. This week I read of Jeremiah Small, an American teacher from Washington state who was in Kurdistan, teaching children at a Christian school, who was shot to death by a student who was upset by Jeremiah’s “promotion of Christianity.” A church in Turkey was attacked. Christian men in Morocco were arrested, and a young man kicked out of his family for becoming a Christian. Similar things have happened even in churches in America. What moves people like Jeremiah to risk life to teach about Christ and promote Christianity in hostile environments?  Jesus gives the answer: “I will send you prophets and wise men and scribes.” We must not forget this – it is the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who sends His servants to preach and teach His Word to us, and when we abuse them we are really abusing Christ Himself.

It angers me, and also makes me very sad, when I consider all the “Christians” living in America [some of whom are “members” of our churches] who are under no such threats or difficulties, who do not risk arrest or attack from neighbors or being shot to death for going to church and receiving the blessed love and forgiveness of Christ in the Sacraments, but who chose not to “attend.” For what? For sleeping in, reading the paper, a leisurely family breakfast, a walk, skiing, camping, yard work, a home improvement project, some sports event? There is a bloody spiritual war taking place, and we want to be “part-time soldiers” who stay on the sidelines a good part of the time? It is highly unlikely that anyone will get shot while attending instruction in God’s Word conducted by Christ’s “prophets, wise men, and scribes” – and yet many people refuse to be students of God’s Word, fearful, I presume, of what they might hear Christ teaching them [from Holy Scripture, the Bible].  It is astonishingly sad and grievous – and so much more so to our dear Lord and Savior, Who took our sins upon Himself and suffered wretched condemnation and death in our place.

Not all persecution is overt and violent. Deserting the life of the church is also a form of subtle persecution. Forsaking the true church and the teachings of Christ for false churches, cults, and sects, which deny and pervert the teachings of Christ and promote their own man-made teachings, is persecution of the true church and the true prophets sent by Christ. Being a “part-time” Christian is forsaking the cause, and erodes morale within the church, and is therefore a form of subtle persecution. Do not be deceived, there are hundreds of subtle ways in which the mission of Christ is opposed, and the life of Christ’s servants and His church are persecuted. Simple apathy, lukewarm commitment, and half-hearted involvement are among them. Give thought to this, rejoice in Christ’s forgiveness, and pray for the church, especially those whom Christ sends to the forefront of the warfare.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for sending your servants to bring Your Word, the glorious good news of Your forgiveness and salvation into the world.  By them we also have come to know and believe Your great love for us, that we may rejoice in Your salvation. Help us to understand our times, our lives in this world, and the warfare we have been called to. May we be whole-heartedly with You – on Your side, and fully committed to Your cause.  Preserve us from persecuting Your church and Your servants – even if only by our apathy and lack of commitment. Amen.