Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When the World Hates You . . .

I came across this incident as I was reading a book by Michael Raiter, the Principal of the Bible College of Victoria. It reminds us of the reality of our situation in the world, namely, that the world hates followers of Jesus Christ; Christ's people are involved in spiritual warfare; our armor and weapons consist of quiet lives of love and truth, and the proclamation of the gospel. --Bill

"A number of years ago I had the privilege of pastoring, for a short time, the Protestant International Church in Islamabad, Pakistan. My wife's brother and his wife attend that church. They were there on Sunday morning, March 17th, 2002. The preacher was speaking from John 15, on the text, 'When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you.' The last words they remember him uttering were 'Suffering is part and parcel of the Christian life.' They didn't hear anymore of the sermon because a Muslim man entered the church and threw several grenades into the congregation. They sustained injuries, and a young Afgan boy sitting just two chairs away from them was killed. In total, there were five dead and 46 injured. In his e-mail to us, Joel wrote that 'in 2 weeks (at Easter) we celbrate the ultimate victory of our Lord.' That is the weapon with which Christians fight in their struggle. When a grenade is hurled, they stand firm trusting in the ultimate victory that Christ has won. That is their shield of faith. After the blast, church members began to reach out in love to those who had been hurt, and to pray for them. But not for them only, also for the perpetrator of this awful crime. That is the armor that God covers his people with: lives of faith and love. And how did this little band of wounded, but faithful, Christian warriors respond? What was their counteroffensive in the battle with the enemies of the gospel? On the following Easter morning they launched their attack. There and then they boldly proclaimed that Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, is Lord of Lords, and the Judge of all the earth. On that day they took up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

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