“In the various crises that have occurred in the history of the church, men have come to the front who have manifested a holy recklessness that astonished their fellows. When Luther nailed his theses to the door of the cathedral at Wittenburg,135 cautious men were astonished at his audacity. When John Wesley ignored all church restrictions136 and religious propriety and preached in the fields and byways, men declared his reputation was ruined. So it has been in all ages. When the religious condition of the times called for men who were willing to sacrifice all for Christ, the demand created the supply, and there have always been found a few who have been willing to be regarded reckless for the Lord. An utter recklessness concerning men’s opinions and other consequences is the only attitude137 that can meet the exigencies of the present times.”138
There is coming a time and perhaps it is already here where many in the body of Christ in countries with little or no persecution will have to take a stand for truth in these end times. There will be such a strong apostasy139 that will overtake many churches, denominations and groups that the true body of Christ will be called out by God to meet together under the Headship of Jesus Christ. These gatherings will be led by servant leaders who know the true Shepherd140 and will lead the flock of God into holiness and purity.141 There could be a time coming soon when even the weakest, simple believer in Jesus Christ will have to take a courageous stand for truth and God’s Word. Are you willing to stand amongst all those in Hebrews 11 that stood for faith and righteousness? Are you willing to stand with the millions of Martyrs before the throne of God?
May it be so that God would raise up many to stand up and be counted with those in history who had such a love for Jesus the Son of God that they sacrificed their homes, their possessions, their jobs, their friends, their lives, their all.142 These believers in Hebrews 11 suffered much, being scattered from home to home, cave to cave, den to den. Like the prophets of old “they were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.”143
The world was not worthy of them and will not be worthy of us if we follow steadfastly in their example and ways. Nothing less than a full recovery of the Church in the Book of Acts is the crying need of these last days. May we simply be found willing in the day of His power.144
God is calling many of His saints to take a radical stand for truth and seek to be the Bride of Christ in view of the soon coming of the Lord.145 This will mean bearing the reproach of Christ, not only from the lost world, but also from a believing Christendom that has not submitted to God’s Spirit in these last days. “So Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood. Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His Name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”146
Such a following of the Lord in this day will seem strange to most, yet it is out of a desire to be only involved with what the Lord is involved with. If the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit’s power are absent from the modern church, then such a church cannot be the Bride of Christ. “Oh how He longs to hear those voices of repentance and intercession asking Him—and saying to Him, Lord, if You don’t go with us, we aren’t interested in going anywhere. We’re not interested in church anymore if You Yourself are not present.”147 When the Lord comes in the midst of His Church in full splendor we will see the glory of the Book of Acts again.
May we be of those that are fully pleasing148 to the Lord in these last days as we step out to follow the Lord “outside the camp.”149
135 Wittenberg, Germany (1517)
136 There is a time when there needs to be a holy boldness from the simplest of saints to follow God rather than men and question even the most practiced tradition.
137 Though we need to fear the Lord alone and not care for the opinions of men, if men disagree strongly with us we must show the character of Christ in meekness and love. If we have to separate, we should do so in the most honorable way possible, not speaking evil of others.
138 Frank Bartleman (1871-1936)
139 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Matthew 24:12
140 John 10:14
141 Ephesians 5:27, Ephesians 1:4
142 Hebrews 10:32-35
143 Hebrews 11:37-38
144 Psalm 110:3
145 1 John 2:28
146 Hebrews 13:12-16
147 Allan Halton
148 Revelation 14:4, Colossians 1:10, Ephesians 5:10
149 Hebrews 13:13
Author: Gospel Fellowships Network