ENEMIES OF THE CROSS

Following the attack on Paris France last night, came a statement from Isis taking full responsibility for the carnage: “Paris is the carrier of the banner of the cross in Europe.”

It is my guess that this assumption from Isis is referring to the Crusades or comes from the rich artistic history that expresses Christianity throughout Europe and especially in the many museums and churches in Paris.

Whatever the beliefs of Paris concerning their faith in Jesus Christ, there is no doubt a telling hatred in the statement from Isis. Paris was a target because of animosity towards the cross of Christ.

It didn’t matter that a bunch of people were gathering to hear a heavy metal band and not gathering for a worship service. None of these people were signing on to be martyrs for the Christian faith. However, because of Isis hatred for the cross, anyone who is remotely even connected to Christianity is going to be an enemy.

THIS IS NOTHING NEW.

In the book of Acts, Peter and John started preaching about the gospel of Jesus Christ. They began performing miracles and leading people to faith in the one who died on the cross for their sins. This did not bode well for the religious leaders of their day.

Acts 4:2 “They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead”

In Acts 4:12 the apostles dared to declare the radical statement that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

How dare these arrogant men claim that salvation is only found in their Messiah?

So, the opposition tried to shut the message up. They beat them, they imprisoned them, they threatened them.

AT LEAST THREE TIMES THEY WARNED THEM:

Acts 4:18 “Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus”

Acts 5:28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name”

Acts 5:40 “Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and let them go.”

In fact, the whole account of the book of Acts carries the theme of how the name of Jesus is spreading, people are converting to Christianity, the church is growing and jealous, controlling leaders are trying to shut the message down.

FAIRY TALES AREN’T DANGEROUS. TRUTH IS.

2 Corinthians 2:15,16 “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ to those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. Who is equal to such a task?”

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the smell of life to some because they experience forgiveness and freedom from sin. To others it wreaks of condemnation and intolerance from a God they do not want to submit to.

In the book of Acts and throughout history we see that persecution against the cross of Christ never kills Christianity but somehow spreads it. When a message is good, it just can’t be silenced.

The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians says this: “For as I have told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.” 3:18

There will always be enemies of the cross. They will continue to try to shut down the message. They will kill the messengers.

THIS IS NOTHING NEW.

It is sad that there has been and continues to be enemies of the cross. Here is the good news though:

Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardhship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

Romans 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Stand strong in Christ, for the cross has already defeated death. In the end, we will share in the victory.

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