*Who will you obey?*
We ought to obey God rather than men!
The time is coming when we, as Christians, will have to decide who we will obey.
There is coming a time when our loyalty WILL be tested.
· Example of the home Bible study in California that was disbanded.
· The Hate Crimes law:
The government has now officially placed limits on what parts of the Bible we can preach and teach from, and they have clearly said that homosexuality is off limits.
Romans chapter 13 clearly defines our obligation to be subject to the government, but the Bible also teaches that those obligations have limits.
When the law of the land contradicts God's law, then we are to obey God (period).
The government has no legal right to limit the parts of the Bible which I can use, and when they do that they are violating God's law.
· Aiken County family court case: It CAN happen here!
We (Christians) should all follow the examples of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-nego, Peter, John, Paul and many others as they chose to obey God over man.
This is just the beginning, the door has been opened and there WILL be more restrictions placed on Christians.
· These things are a sign of the times, they have to happen.
· It just means that time is drawing shorter.
*Why should we obey?*
*Acts 5:30-32NKJV \\ 30*The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
\\ *31*Him God has exalted to His right hand /to be/ Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
\\ *32*And we are His witnesses to these things, and /so/ also /is/ the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
*Positive Aspects of persecution:*
· *It keeps us focused* – When everything is rolling along just fine, we tend to forget about God, or at least become apathetic.
We lose our focus, our faith level drops.
· When things go south, we Christians tend to unite together and focus a common goal.
It energizes us.
· Some “Christians” will not have the stomach for the fight.
They will drop by the wayside.
At the risk of sounding insensitive, this is good for the church.
It gets the lazy and unfaithful out of the way of the of the Bold and Faithful servants.
· Persecution ultimately strengthens the church.
*The choice is yours:*
*Luke 12:4-5NKJV \\ 4*“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
\\ *5*But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! \\ *Joshua 24:15NKJV \\ 15*And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that /were/ on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.
But *as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.*”
*We are to suffer Joyfully, and offer a sacrifice of Praise: rejoice or rejoicing occurs 287 times*
*Colossians 1:11NKJV \\ 11*strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with *joy*;
*James 1:2NKJV \\ 2*My brethren, count it all *joy* when you fall into various trials,
*Philippians 4:4NKJV \\ 4*Rejoice in the Lord always.
Again I will say, rejoice!
*Hebrews 13:15NKJV \\ 15*Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of /our/ lips, giving thanks to His name.
· The sacrifice of praise must be offered continually to qualify as a true sacrifice.
*James 3:10NKJV \\ 10*Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.
My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
*Colossians 4:6NKJV \\ 6*Let your speech always /be/ with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
· Consider the example of Paul and Silas:
· *Acts 16:22-25NKJV \\ 22*Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded /them/ to be beaten with rods.
\\ *23*And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw /them/ into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
\\ *24*Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
\\ *25*But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
· *They weren’t complaining or sulking, They were singing hymns!*
*How will you handle the coming trials?*
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