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Aug
19

Marks of a World Changer: #4 Confidence in the Face of Opposition

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So far this week we’ve looked at three marks of a world changer. World changers are people of unwavering conviction; committed to practicing spiritual disciplines; and consistently put compassion into action. The fourth mark is that world changers are confident in the face of persecution. Reading on in the fourth chapter of Acts, the Bible says, “So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, ‘Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.’ The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot. For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than 40 years” (Acts 4:18-22, NLT).

When the gospel advances someone is going to become upset. Notice this conflict was not over something insignificant like the color of the carpet or anyone’s musical preference. It was over the core conviction that Jesus had been raised from the dead. The apostle’s affirmed it, but the religious leaders denied it. When they were commanded to “shut up,” the apostles confidently stood their ground and recited their preference to live under the pleasure of God’s affirmation than to comply and conform to the pressure of public opinion.
I think this begs a very provocative question: What would it take to shut you up? What would it take to silence your witness or to stifle your conviction? Those who aspire to change the world in Jesus name cannot be silenced.

The obvious response to this line of thought could be something to the effect of, “This is America…who do I know that suffers persecution?” Good question. Let me encourage you to become acquainted with www.voiceofthemartyrs.com. This website is devoted to telling the story of the persecution of Christians around the world. We presently live in a world with some 171 nations. Of the 171 nations, 54 of them have made it illegal to adhere to Jesus Christ as Lord. The persecution and martyrdom of Christians in the 21st century is at an all time high. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.

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