“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5, KJV).
This timely verse provides a picture of our world in the time of John’s writing and is also a stark image of our world today.
Sadly, man all too often has no time for God’s wondrous Light. Man denies it, tries to discredit it, hides from it, and follows false lights, believing them to be just as great as the Light of the True and Living God.
I would like to travel back to the early days of Christianity in the inspiring book of Acts to see how Peter and John approached such challenges to the Gospel. In Acts 4:5-12, we see believers facing oppression from the Sanhedrin (the Jewish high court) and the Sadducees (a political-religious body that persecuted Christians).
Peter and John were in prison because their message was causing people to follow Christ all over the region. In this passage, Peter and John had to face Annas, the senior ex-high priest, his son-in-law Caiaphas, the reigning senior high priest, and other kinsmen of the high priest.
These leaders were infuriated that people were following Christ … just as people despise His message today. Our passage in Acts reads:
“And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’”
These words should inspire us to work to win people to Christ as never before. There is so much non-truth in our world today and people need to hear that there is “no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” What a message!
We need people today who are like Peter and John — bold, compassionate, never-say-die ambassadors for Christ who are not afraid to take a stand, even at the threat of persecution or intimidation. We need people who love lost souls more than their own comfort!
I want to hearten you today with FOUR ENCOURAGING VERSES that are designed to keep us focused on Christ and not on the factors that sometimes compel us to keep our salvation to ourselves. Let’s look at these wonderful passages (all NKJV):
• John 15:18-19 — “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
• Matthew 5:12 — “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
• I Peter 4:16 — “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”
• II Corinthians 12:10 — “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Following Christ is sometimes a difficult course. That’s why we see so few who are willing to labor in the fields that are white unto harvest.
But I am committed to reaching the lost for Christ. Through ministries like our Liberty Church Network, we continue to plant churches and train pastors across America because we, like Peter and John, want to win people to Christ.
And through our Elim Home for Alcoholic and Drug-Addicted Men and our Liberty Godparent Home, we are helping people reach their potential, no matter what their past may be. We also remain on the airwaves for the same reason: to call people to a relationship with Jesus.
I want to tell you something — the pastors we are training are unlike a lot of pastors you may know. We are training them go out with their congregations into local parks, into some rough neighborhoods, and into needy sections of town so that people can hear about Jesus. We are charged to reach these folks because Jesus loves them.
This type of ministry sometimes means we face opposition. Further, for our church planters overseas, some face vicious persecution and we do not even release the locales of some churches, for safety concerns. Still, we carry on because it is what we are commanded to do.
By supporting this ministry, you are taking a stand for Christ and you are supporting local pastors and church leaders — men very much like Peter and John — who are intrepidly taking the Gospel to many people, no matter the cost.
As we showed through the last couple of months’ reports, we are seeing souls dramatically saved. I am so thankful that you have partnered with me in this ministry. I know it’s easy to grow weary as we witness so much unrest and violence in the world, but we are seeing God wonderfully at work in what we are doing for Him!
Your friend in Christ,