The world mocks the Church and we call it persecution. This is a picture of a magnetic car sticker which was being offered by the Washington State Democratic Party on their official web site. I heard of it through an email that was asking that we request an apology from those that produced it. In reality we owe an apology to God and the world for giving them a legitimate reason to make such an emblem!
It's true, such a sticker would raise the ire of the ACLU and many others if aimed at groups other than Christians. Equally true is the fact that there are going to be hypocrites in any given group of human beings. But God says the Church should be the one place that hypocrisy is not found, yet sadly, it abounds. Hypocrisy in the Church is the excuse of many for not coming to Christ. Indeed sometimes it is an excuse for their own running and hiding from God- and not a legitimate reason. But for many, it is a real concern. We promise them a changed life from the inside out as a result of the grace found in the cross, but they often don't see it demonstrated. They rightly wonder: Can it then be true? (see footnote for a response to this objection)
Sadly, if we are honest, they have a reason to claim that there is hypocrisy in the Church. Of all the people in the world we have the most light, but so often we too hide in the shadows. I haven't researched it myself but I've heard many sermons stating that indicators of moral decline, such as falsely calling in sick, divorce and teenage pregnancy rates are as high in the church as they are outside the Church. I think it could be true.
I wish we were living the Godly lives that would invite true persecution. The truth is they mock our sin and weakness, and rightly so. Wisdom cries out in the streets and even in the mouths of the unGodly; this weakened and worldly likeness is not the body of Christ that the world is dying to see. We have begun building and not counted the cost, we try to hang on to our comfort and pleasure, and still name the name of Christ while those around us silently slip into hell. If we truly believe what we profess then we must lay down our lives for the Lord and his gospel. We must ring the bells of salvation for all to hear. Throw caution to the wind and announce to the world that Jesus is Lord! The time for lukewarm, half-hearted devotion to Christ is past. Arise Church of God, arise from your slumber before you are spewed out of the mouth. Jesus is calling us to be radical disciples who leave all for Him. Are you not even able to leave your television?
Please read the words of Jesus carefully:
Luke 14:25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
28"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'
33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
34"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Jesus said to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". The goal is that every believer take seriously the privilege and command of Christ to go into the highways and byways and compel them to come to His feast.