Religious freedom in America has, in the passing of one generation, come to mean freedom for everyone to exclude Christianity from the public place and Christ out of Christmas (Make no mistake, it is only Christianity that is being excluded from the public arena). By its very nature Christianity isn't a private matter. Paul knew that and paid dearly. He and the gospel message faced constant resistance from religious people who conspired to kill him and diminish his message.
As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, Christians in America will pay dearly for their beliefs.
I would be considered an unbearably selfish person if I had the cure to cancer and kept that good news to myself. In the same way, sin is a cancer eating away at the heart of our society, our relationships, and our world; and Christianity is the only religion in the world that offers a genuine solution.
Unlike Islam and all other religions, God in Christ Jesus moves toward man in redemption, offers sin's forgiveness, and comes in peace. So, why do so many conspire against Christianity and its adherents?
Jesus provides that answer, "For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:20).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is just as powerful today as it was in the first century. Paul wasn't ashamed of the Gospel, proclaiming in it "the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16) and he suffered for its proclamation.
For most Americans, Christian persecution has been minor. Until now. Even if we suffer for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ we must still share the Gospel. Some that hear will turn from their sin and turn to the Lord Jesus in faith. Though we are shut out, we cannot shut up!
"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29).
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
- What takes place that exposes the plot against Paul's life?
- What does this tell you about God? circumstances?
- What accusation does Tertullus bring against Paul?
- How does Paul reply to his accusations?
- What does Felix recognize about Paul?
- What, in Paul's defense, provokes fear in Felix?
- How long does Paul remain in custody?
- What changes take place in the political realm while Paul remains in custody in Caesarea?
- What does this teach you about God's ways?
Ask the Lord to help you to boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.