A number of people have expressed concern about the latest poster from Outreach Media displayed on the end of the church hall at St Peter’s (pictured). One person asked me, “If you want us to be a Growing Christian Community, why would you put a poster like that up? It is only going to drive people away!”
My response was “I love it!” – and here is why…
First, it expresses biblical truth.
Jesus said to all who would follow him, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” (Matthew 24:9). Paul went on to say, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Christians are a maligned and hated bunch of people.
Lisa Pearce from Open Doors says that, “If a Christian is discovered in Somalia, they’re unlikely to live to see another day”. The unreported truth is that worldwide religious persecution is utterly one sided – the vast majority is from Muslims towards Christians. So, if the secular media has given you an impression that all religious people just fight and kill each other then please reconsider.
Second, it challenges those who will think.
Remember that the vast majority of unbelievers who read the sign were not looking for a reason to come to church. They could not care less about Jesus. But some, in response to a sign like this, will turn their brain to thinking, ‘Why do Christians keep believing in Jesus when, in North Africa, the Middle East and many parts of Asia, Christians are vanishing. It seems a lost and futile cause.’ Thinking people may be encouraged to take their investigation further.
Third, it reminds us of what being a Christian is.
When we speak to someone about Jesus we are not inviting them into a club where peace, health, wealth and wisdom are guaranteed outcomes and everything is polite, rosy, middle-class and easy. The Kingdom of God is confronting, messy and dangerous. The Christian life is often challenging and for those who will speak of Jesus the opposition is often relentless. If this is not your experience, then perhaps you need to be rebuked by these words of Jesus, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15-16)
So my friends, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
I urge you to invite people to join our Growing Christian Community, but let’s not expect any favours from the world, the flesh or the devil. We’re not in Kansas any more!
With thanks to Outreach Media for their poster and regular newsletter.
Click here to read their information about the poster.