In the days when I was a police officer in Canada, the law was that it was a crime to do something that would cause harm to another person, but neglecting to do something that resulted in another person’s harm was equally criminal. Take a moment to think about that in light of the numbers of people in our generation who are about to perish without God. So many are living under the illusion that mankind can pursue his own objectives, follow his own reasoning, and still manage to arrive at some utopian end. Yet, in reality, the end that awaits those who choose to live without God is one of such terror that our minds cannot even begin to comprehend it.
You and I are aware of the reality of heaven and hell, and we also know that in between the two stands a Savior. We know the truth because the truth has set us free. The truth has made us into new creations and continues to usher us into greater measures of strength and freedom every day as we sincerely follow Christ. We do not hold to a mere concept about God, we have the living reality of God inside of us. And so the question arises: Why is it that we, knowing the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, so often remain silent?
The Root of the Problem
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:7-8).
Paul identifies the root of this problem of remaining silent as fear or more specifically, as I see it, the fear of man—a fear of retaliation and rejection. It is not debatable that we are going to experience rejection when we choose to stand for what represents God in a godless hour. Yet just as Paul warned Timothy, we are not to back away in the face of difficulty. God is willing to give us the power we need to partake of the inconvenience, the rejection, the scorn, the retaliation—these “afflictions” of the gospel.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed to the office of Senior Pastor in 2001. A strong, compassionate leader, he is a frequent speaker at the pastors’ and leaders’ conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world.