NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND UP, CHRISTIAN! – by Eric C. Wheeler (eric@sharingtheway.com)

3/25/20 – (This word was given to me this morning on 3/25/20, and written in the middle of the Coronavirus outbreak and quarantine.)

I realize that some people are going to be greatly offended at what I am about to write. But truth be told, I don’t really care. Jesus and all of the true prophets were hated because they lived and spoke the truth. Jesus told us that just “as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26). Imagine what it was like when Noah was building the Ark. Imagine all of the scorn and ridicule, and the rolling of the eyes, that he endured while building his boat as he was speaking and preaching for so many years prior to the Flood coming. I bet nobody was taking him seriously while he was busily forsaking this life and this world and preparing for the next. I can’t begin to tell you how many people thought that I was crazy for leaving my job – my worldly riches, my comfortable lifestyle – while at the same time losing the respect and love of my wife and family – my children and my parents, as well as my friends – in order to follow the Lord and do what He was telling me to do. Countless people rolled their eyes at me, called me names and said that I was mentally ill, while abandoning me all because I took Jesus’ words literally when He said, “He who seeks to save and preserve his life will lose it; but he who gives up his life for My sake will find it” (Luke 9:24).

It grieves me to sit back and watch the whole world panic. And to hear and read the sad and dire testimonies of people in the medical profession share how they “literally have to choose between who lives and who dies”. It saddens me to watch theologians and churches close their doors, and now take the very same reactionary posture as their unbelieving worldly counterparts – yet for so many years past having first claimed to be representing Jesus Christ and His Way upon the earth. Most having never taught or personally practiced self-denial and “taking up their cross” in Christ and living a crucified life. And now that the “epidemics” that Jesus prophesied are here, they are quickly freaking out like the rest of the world. Shame on them. Frauds they are, and the religion they teach is in vain – just as Jesus said it would be (Mark 7:6-7).

I realize that these things are a harsh reality. And yes, some will have to die. But if you’ve been living a crucified life in Christ all along, what does that matter? Those who live in Christ and are dead in the flesh don’t have their existence and lives in this world anyway. The Bible says that “precious in the sight of God is the death of His saints” (Psa. 116:15) and that “whether we live or whether we die we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8). And again, God promises, “It is better to depart and be with Christ than to be here” (Phil. 1:23). So why all the fuss then? Why the hysteria? Jesus told us that these things we are now experiencing will be. He told us that there would be famines and earthquakes and pestilences (diseases and sicknesses) in diverse places throughout the world, and that those “who built their lives on the Rock” (on His sayings) don’t need to worry or be dismayed “when the floods and the rains and the winds come” (Matt. 7:24-27). Why are people freaking out then? Why are so-called Christians shutting their doors in fear?

I can understand if a person says in their heart, ‘Well, the rulers and civil authorities of the world – which the Bible says we are to respect and obey – are telling us that for the sake of others (“love your neighbor as yourself”), we need to close our doors and stay inside so we don’t contract their communicable disease or spread it on to others’. I can respect and appreciate that. Believe me, under the Old Testament the Bible most certainly teaches the principles of separation and quarantine. Yet, in the New Testament, I largely see a different modus operandi at work: visiting and caring for the sick; associating with people who have an infectious disease and laying hands on them for their healing; not fearing death or afraid of an illness which might lead to death; standing in the eye of the storm or sleeping on a boat in the middle of a storm; and not succumbing to fear in the face of death, or the loss of income, or worried about societal instability. I see a real and true Christian as a firm and unshakable lighthouse (“a city set on a hill”) in the midst of a violent and life-threatening storm – signaling the Way to True Life by way of “death” – taking up one’s own cross, even unto death or come what may. Where are those people? Where are the people the Bible speaks about that “stopped the mouths of lions; that walked into fiery furnaces; that defied king’s commandments and governor’s threatening; that walked into the arenas and coliseums to face certain death, knowing that God and His mighty angels joyously awaited them on the other side? Where are those Christians? Where are the ones who unquestionably put their faith and trust in Him even unto death?

Great men and women of old, true patriots, and unbelieving soldiers have all put their lives on the line for something they courageously believed in. And many of them did this, being willing to die for a temporal earthly cause. If they could do this for an earthly crown, where in the world are the Christians who claim that they personally know God and claim to represent Him and His eternal Kingdom, and who supposedly are fighting for an imperishable crown? Are they standing up in the middle of the storm? Taking up their God-given positions on the front lines? Or are they cowardly hiding in a corner somewhere? Worried and anxiety-filled just like the unbelieving world is? At a time when our fellow countrymen are afraid; and a dying world needs our strong leadership and Godly example the most; when society is faltering, and its economy is staggering, as the world is being completely shaken to its foundations; when peoples’ hopes and lives are crumbling because of the very things that Jesus told us would be coming, where should we be, oh Christian? Where should we be standing? Will we be standing in the eye of the spiritual storm or hiding our lamps under a bushel? Let every professing Christian examine himself or herself and decide what God wants and expects of them.

In one of the parables that Jesus gave, He prophetically spoke of ten “virgins” (“Christians” in today’s vernacular) that all heard a cry at midnight. He said that in the middle of the night, that is, in the midst of darkness – in the middle of the spiritual storm – a cry (a call) was heard. “Get up”, the Voice cried out, “and trim your lamps!” – that is, “assess your own spiritual life”. Do a spiritual accounting of yourself and see if you have enough Holy Spirit oil in your lamps to be a light to this world and make a righteous difference for Christ. Find out whether or not you REALLY DO have enough Holy Spirit in you to shine as a light in the darkness. Otherwise, the Lord asks, “Why are you taking My name in vain?”

 

Pease feel free to reproduce, reprint and/or forward as desired. Altering or editing is strictly prohibited. To contact us, send a request to info@sharingtheway.com or visit our website at https://www.sharingtheway.com/. Using an article for any form of advertising is strictly prohibited.

 

Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.