God’s Word for You
1 Peter 5:9 Stand firm in the faith
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, May 26, 2022
9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (NIV)
On the 31st of October, 1817 (the 300th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation), the King of Prussia attempted to extend his reign over the church and tried to force all protestant churches (Lutheran and Calvinist) to adopt the same liturgical service form, the Prussian Agenda, which the king himself had written to force a fellowship between Lutherans and Calvinists in the matters of preaching, prayer, and the Lord’s Supper. By 1834, most of the churches had been forced to join. Lutheran pastors had been driven from their pulpits; some had been imprisoned. In some cases, district authorities broke church windows when they were unable to get through locked doors. The king thought it would be wise to send in dragoons, hussars, and other soldiers armed with swords, muskets, torches (for setting buildings on fire) and even cannons, just to keep the Lutherans from singing hymns and praying together in the churches where they had worshiped since they were baptized. At the church in Honigern, armed soldiers were ordered to force reluctant Lutherans with rifles and bayonets to attend services of the new “Union” church. A decade later, Lutherans from Prussia and Saxony began to leave Germany altogether. Ships filled with Lutherans fled from their oppressive kings, obeying God rather than men (Acts 5:29), and prayed for a fair wind to carry them to America. Some of the refugees arrived in Missouri, some in Michigan, others in Wisconsin. They were welcomed by both citizens and authorities.
Sometimes the devil uses kings, celebrities, Hollywood producers, courtrooms, cowering school boards, anonymous thugs, and the siren call of political correctness to do his work. Some of his slaves have multiple degrees, some don’t have a high school diploma. Some think they’re doing the work of God. But whoever attacks the church because it is teaching the Word of God hates Christ and is enslaved to Satan.
Christ tells us to learn his word, to meditate on his gospel. “Make disciples by baptizing and by teaching them,” he said (Matthew 28:19,20). We confess with David, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:24). We live according to God’s promises, not the empty threats of shouting mobs.
Our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world are being bullied into accepting the world’s philosophy, the ever-changing sexual issue-of-the-day, extremist views about economics, medicine, and a hundred other things, and a world that has taken up a new motto: “If you disagree with me, I will say that you hate me.” Jesus said: “The world hates me because I testify that what it does is evil” (John 7:7), and again: “All men will hate you because of me” (Luke 21:17). Whatever venom comes your way, stand firm in the faith. Do not trouble yourself over things God does not command or forbid. Meditate on his holy word. Pray for one another. Fill the pews of your church. Do not allow false fellowship to infect your church; fellowship is based on the happy discovery of a shared faith, the same faith at all points. It cannot be forced on people, or else the church will shatter into splinters. “Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them” (Romans 16:17). “Those who cause divisions” include governments, especially local governments and public school boards, who want to dictate what the church will teach, what its people will believe, and will attempt (and sometimes succeed) in destroying the churches themselves. The only true way to resist them is to learn the word of God and apply it. True Christian love resists the devil and stands firm in the faith.
Pastor Timothy Smith