You have heard me talk over the years about the sins of our culture being the sins of the Church. Let me refresh our understanding of this perspective as we look in-depth at the challenges of going public with Jesus.
Unfortunately, our culture’s attitudes are impacting the Church more than Christians seem to be affecting the culture. What we are surrounded by will inevitably affect us. For example, I may not be a smoker, but if I live, work, and breathe constantly around smokers, I will still receive secondary smoke. Over time, the secondary smoke will affect my lungs.
We live in a culture that wants to “dumb God down” and make a Christian never want to go public with the name of Jesus. Culture delivers the message that we must maintain a commitment of silence when it involves talking about the exclusivity of Jesus.
Our culture challenges God by asking, “Why—if He is so loving and kind—does He allow so much pain and suffering in His creation? Give us an answer God, and maybe it will satisfy us and maybe it won’t.”
This attitude is in every aspect of American culture today, and it’s growing fast even among Christians.
We, as believers and followers of Christ Jesus, have been told to remain silent about the God Man. And more and more of us Christians are unwilling to break our code of silence that culture desires—not even to simply say, “Jesus Christ changed my life.”
When we do this, we’re seeking peer approval more than our Savior’s applause. I think it’s time to try to address this issue.
We have remained quiet in our networks about the gospel of Christ Jesus. This tells the world that what we have is not for them but just for us and our families. It’s completely personal and private and not something to share. So our Lord’s gospel becomes a “me” focus and not my world focus. But His redeeming love is meant to change us and to touch those around us. We must go public with our faith.
We cannot let our fear of the suffering that comes with a public faith keep us from the joy of seeing the lost experience new life in Christ.
"But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.' But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." -1 Peter 3:14-16
When Peter tells us not to fear the threats of others, he follows it by saying, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord (1 Peter 3:15).” This mindset must be anchored in the non-negotiable belief that Jesus is Lord—He is the sovereign Lord of the situation you are about to enter into.
God is in complete control of every circumstance I may experience. He wants me to trust Him completely through whatever physical or emotional pain may come because He can bring us and bless us through any situation.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.