What can we do ??

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After my Sunday Sermon from 2 Thessalonians 2 on how the “Mystery of Lawlessness” (i.e. The Anti-Christ) is “already at work” around us – I’ve been asked “What can we do?” 

Jesus was asked that question regularly when He lived among us in body ~2000 years ago.  At that time, the Jewish people were being oppressed by the overwhelming power of the Roman Government. Many people understood (or misunderstood) the Bible to say that that when the Messiah came, He would overthrow the human government and establish the Kingdom of Heaven.  Even Jesus’ disciples were ready to take up pitchforks and torches and march on Rome.  But Jesus told them (Mat 26:52), “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”  Instead, Jesus told His disciples to go into the world and preach the Gospel and leave the overthrowing of human governments to God.

As Jesus sent His disciples into the World, He told them Mat 10: 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” 

 What does it mean to be Wise as Serpents?   It means to avoid confrontation with a superior force as much as possible. For example, if you confront a snake, it will seek every opportunity to get away from you, but will bite you as a last resort. Jesus said that in Mat 10:23 “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another.” In other words, try to get along with “the powers that be”(Rom 13) as much as you can.  Because usually those who challenge an overwhelming government – die.

What does it mean to be Harmless as Doves? It means Stay on Mission.  Our mission is to share the Gospel of Christ — which is a Gospel of Peace and the Love of God.  Now this does not mean that everyone – even our government – will treat us peacefully and lovingly – but that is the ethic that God has called us to live. Governments (even governments that used to believe in God) can change and turn against the Church – the People of God.  And WHEN that happens, to be “Harmless as Doves” means “We ought to obey God rather than men.”(Acts 5:29)   And THEN what happens?    Mat 10: 17 [Jesus continues] But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils… 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

Notice that at no point does Jesus advise us to rebel against the government. Instead, we are to use our persecution as an opportunity to witness for Christ.  We do that by following the orders of our government until the orders of our government conflict with the orders of our Lord.  And even then, we are called to disagree and disobey our government GRACIOUSLY.

Jesus tells us to live out this “Wise as Serpents  / Harmless as Doves” attitude without Fear. Mat 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

This “Wise as Serpents / Harmless as Doves” attitude is HARD to DO — in fact it is impossible to do without the Holy Spirit.  Nevertheless, Jesus said in Mat 24: 12 [in the Last Days] lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”   He/She who endures… who continues to love… who continues to be on mission…. who continues to show and share the Gospel (even in hard times)… shall be Saved.

What can we Do? We can work together to stay “On Mission.”