Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don't Be Afraid to Live the Gospel of Christ

Today I read Acts 17 which is about Paul and Silas preaching to the people in Thessalonica and Athens. Apparently Paul was very, very zealous in his preaching, much like Nephi and Lehi in the America's who were so persuasive in their preaching that none could disbelieve what they had to say. But Paul in his preaching was apparently making many Jews angry and upset with him because of his zealousness in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So they took him to the city council, again, and accused him saying that he was preaching sedition and that there was another king besides Caesar, as if the Jews really cared if he was. But the brethren realized the danger and so smuggled Paul out of the city by night and brought him over to Athens.

Now Paul was supposed to lay low in Athens while he waited for Silas and the others to join him, but Paul could not sit silent when he saw that the entire city was given to idolatry. So he want to Mars Hill and began to preach to those who would listen. He actually generated quite a bit of interest because of the people and their desire to learn new things. Now Paul had noticed that the people had erected an altar that was entitled "To the Unknown God" almost as if they were afraid of offending someone, some unknown deity. So Paul tells them that this unknown God is actually Jesus Christ and uses their belief to build upon common ground and teach them about the right way to worship God. Now he has them all listening captivated and wanting to learn more until he mentions the resurrection. Once he mentions being resurrected he loses most of his audience because the Greeks did not want to be resurrected, they thought the idea of coming back into these imperfect bodies was silly.

But despite this, several people believe what Paul preaches and desire to hear more and eventually get baptized. Paul is an excellent example of fearing God more than man, as we have discussed in the past. When it comes to following the commandments of the Lord we need to make sure we are being zealous like Paul and putting our trust in the Lord instead of doing what the world tells us we should be doing. The Lord always has our best interest at heart, the world does not. The world wants what it wants and has the philosophy that whatever a man, or woman, does in this life, when they die that is the end of it. We know differently that there is a hereafter and what we do in this life affects the next life. So why would we listen and give in to those who are operating under a false philosophy? Why should be ashamed to admit that we serve the Lord our God? We should be proud of our testimony and unapologetic about our membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or whatever church you belong to. You should not feel embarrassed or imposing to ask that someone not swear in your presence. You have just as much a right to ask to not hear it as they do to say it. So speak up, be proud of who you are, a disciple of Christ. Don't apologize for not drinking coffee, tea or alcohol. Don't make excuses for not watching rated "R" movies. Boldly declare and explain why you don't do those things.

The scriptures declare that Christians are a peculiar people, and that is by design. Christ Himself told His Apostles that the world would hate and reject them because they were not like them. That it would happen because it had already rejected the Savior Himself. He prepared them for what was to come just as He has prepared us by giving us loving parents to guide us for those born into the Church, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost for all who have been baptized. The Lord wants us to be different so we can preach His Gospel to those who are curious about it. He wants us to stand out and be different because the world does not accept Him. The world has rejected Him and so rejects His truth. In this day and age it is ok to be a Christian, but most Christians are not following their own faith. They drink alcohol, they are promiscuous and do not live the law of Chastity, they use foul language and dress in ways unbecoming of disciples of Christ. It is up to us to set ourselves apart from all of that and stand as a witness for Him as we have covenanted to do. The Lord will bless us as we do this for Him and will help us in ways we can't even imagine. And the rewards are great beyond belief. All we have to do is put our trust in Him and do as He asks. Until tomorrow.

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