Thursday, April 22, 2010

Persecution in Israel

On Sunday, our church heard a sermon from the letter to the Church at Philadelphia (not Pennsylvania) in Rev 3:7-13. Tim Juhnke also played a video along with the sermon. But like many churches, he didn't play a clip from a popular movie or something else to entertain us. This was more like an illustration that gave a very good idea of the kind of persecution that the church in Philadelphia was going through. Here is the video that was shared.

Messianic Jews (i.e. ethnic Jews who have believed in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God) are being persecuted for worshiping Christ in Israel.

Two things come to mind.

First, what is our reaction to our Jewish friends in Israel who are persecuting Christians? It goes without saying that we ought to pray for them. Jesus said to pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:44). But what about evangelism? In this sermon, Tim speaks against John Hagee's dual covenant view. Hagee teaches that we do not need to evangelize Israel, just to bless them and God will bless us. But as Tim powerfully points out:

The only way a Jew will ever participate in the Kingdom of God is through their Messiah Jesus Christ. And if we love Israel, if we love the Jewish people, the greatest thing we can do for them is present to them their Savior Jesus Christ, for He alone is the entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Second, what kind of persecution are we willing to endure for the name of Christ? In fact, Paul says that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Tim 3:12, emphasis mine)" Tim wondered what the impact would be to Faith Community Church if we had to walk through a mob of people screaming insults to get to worship Christ. What are we willing to risk for Christ?

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