A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
For the next several days we expect to have some different scenery on our posts. Yesterday we came out to San Diego invited by long-time friends of our Daily Encouragement ministry who have a home overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a bit different than our usual rural America photos! We took a photo this morning from our temporary "office" although the fog has not yet lifted.
"Obeying Christ, Defying Caesar"
Message summary: When a choice is required of us, let us courageously and faithfully obey the commands of Jesus Christ, even if it defies the decrees of Caesar.
Listen to this message on your audio player. Due to being away from our home recording studio the sound quality is not very good!
Also our messages may be posted later due to time zone difference.
"We must obey God rather than men!" (Acts 5:29). "They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus" (Acts 17:7).
We recently heard a sermon in our church based on Romans 13 which gave many of us cause for reflection due to the current trends as our nation becomes more and more ungodly. What does the earnest Christ follower do when called or even forced to disobey what he or she believes, from Scripture, is a clear command from God. Well, we have some precedent in Scripture!
Today all around the world genuine believers are in various ways and to some extent defying Caesar (who represents the world system) and declaring another king, one called Jesus. We want that to include us and each of our readers. But we especially want to consider those who are paying a heavy price for it, including the 17 believers who were kidnapped in Haiti about a month ago, with only two having been released at this point. Today some will suffer in their stand for Christ, others will be imprisoned, tortured, and yes, some will die.
The first daily text sets a pattern for the church regarding our primary allegiance. The early disciples had heard Jesus proclaim the Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19,20).
It wasn't long into the church's history that this command was put to the test. The authorities charged the disciples, "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name" (Acts 5:28). Their response sets a pattern for obedience for all devoted believers with these well-known words, "We must obey God rather than men!" (Acts 5:29).
The second daily text is a summary of the charges against the young believers in Thessalonica after the church was established in their city. Paul and his associates, Silas and Timothy, had faithfully declared the Word of God, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead and that this Jesus is the Christ (v. 3). Although some believed, others opposed them. This led to persecution and Paul's expulsion. But the little church survived and the New Testament has two letters written to these believers; 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
"Caesar's decrees" in today's text were initially specific decrees made by the Roman emperor, but I feel they represent all of man's decrees that call for disobedience to Christ. Defying Caesar's decrees wherever and whenever they violate God's decrees remains the call to the faithful church.
The early disciples' courageous and unambiguous declaration must remain the declaration of earnest Christians throughout all ages, "There is another king, one called Jesus". The Greek word used for "another" is interesting. The word "heteros" means "another of a different kind."
Indeed, Jesus said, "I am not of this world" (John 8:23). And later He says of His followers, "They are not of the world" (John 17:16). Paul reminded the Philippians and therefore we are reminded today that "our citizenship is in heaven" (3:20).
The Gospel message is hindered and restricted in many lands and here in America there is an increase in opposition to those who boldly declare Jesus and the teachings of Scripture. In doing so the "decrees of Caesar" may very well be defied, for in many ways taking a stand for Christ defies the decrees of the modern Caesar. This is especially true concerning a number of "hot button" issues such as the Bible's teaching concerning our origins, sexual morality, abortion and the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Today let us, with renewed resolve, praise and live daily for this King Jesus. Whenever necessary may we boldly defy the decrees of Caesar and always faithfully declare Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer. If you have not already acknowledged that Jesus is King do so today. If you, like me, are a servant of King Jesus, let us serve Him faithfully and when necessary let us be willing to defy Caesar's decrees to avoid compromising God's truth.
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You've called us to be light in a world full of darkness. You've also called us to be peacemakers in as much as it is possible. Sometimes when we take a stand for righteousness it does not bring peaceful resolution, but instead further conflict arises. Then we go through a surge of emotions and doubts begin to arise regarding our stand. Would You help us to be diligent in our study, prayerful about our stand, and immersed in Your Holy Word. Lord, as we take a position against the evil tide of our land help us to be unapologetic in our stand and very consistent in our Christian walk. May we, by example and word, say to the fallen world that we serve not the god of this age, but we serve a King who is ageless and eternal. We lift up our persecuted brothers and sisters and their families who are paying a heavy price for their stand both physically and emotionally. May their spirits be strengthened as they continue to lift up their soul to You for infilling from Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Trust And Obey" Video Don Moen
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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