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On June 26, the Supreme Court decided that it had the authority to redefine the definition of marriage. Already we are seeing repercussions from that decision.

We can argue about the validity of the decision and whether this was a decision that the Supreme Court should have made, but that will not help in the short or long run. Christians in America have just enter cultural and political atmosphere that is more like that of the first century than any generation since the founding of the United States. We are not left to wonder how we should respond or where we go from here. We have the guidance of the Word of God and the example of those first few centuries of Christianity. They lived in an environment that was hostile to what they believed. The majority of the citizens of the Roman empire, where Christianity spread, was antagonistic to the believers and the gospel message. So, how do we respond?

First, we respond in faith toward God. God is still on the throne. What has happened has come through the permissive will of God Who promises that “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” Christianity has always been purified and prospered under persecution. When we are opposed by the enemy without, we have security within Christ.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”

Secondly, we obey God. Faith without works is dead. It is time that we stand up for Jesus through holiness in word and deed. It is time to renew our commitment to Jesus as Lord of our lives. It is the will of God, “…that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men… (1 Peter 2:15).”

Being faithful means that we will obey our Lord even when it is uncomfortable and dangerous. Jesus promises that if we are “…faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Revelation 2:10).”

Thirdly, we respond with love and grace to those that oppose us. “…the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2:24-26).” We should never be hateful to those that oppose us. Don’t call them names, curse, or physically abuse them. We should witness to them in gentleness and love knowing that only God can change their minds and hearts.

Fourthly, we follow the leadership of Jesus, by asking two questions: What would Jesus do, and What did Jesus do? As Christians we are disciples of Christ. We are to be like our Master, knowing that we may have to suffer along with Christ.

Those early Christians were faced with a simple choice, obey the king and place a pinch of incense upon the altar to Caesar and proclaim that “Caesar is Lord.” To disobey meant to the government that you were not a loyal citizen. Those that were not loyal to Caesar were considered a threat and would be punished even to the point of being executed. Christians were considered a threat and were persecuted just for being loyal to Christ. That is the risk that we take for standing true to Jesus by following and obeying Him. Count the cost and take your stand with Jesus.

Fifthly, we are to be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).” That means that as a Christian I am careful how I respond to those who are not Christian and may be hostile to the gospel. We are to “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time (Colossians 4:5).” It means that as a church we are to be prepared to deal with all the issues challenging our society. It means that each of us are prepared to stand for Jesus no matter the cost. It means that we study the Bible so that we will be “…approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).”

In closing, I would like to say to those that disagree with me, I love you and want you to know the same Savior that saved me. I don’t hate you, but desire that you might know Jesus Who came to earth to save sinners like you and me. I warn you to flee from the wrath of God that is coming on all the earth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3).”

If you have any questions, we invite you to visit with us this Sunday. Bible study is at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:50 a.m.

We are located at 711 W. Washington Ave. Visit online at http://www.facebook.com/calvarymissionarybaptistartesia.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Smith is the pastor at Calvary Baptist Church.)