Together in a Hostile World

No matter how hostile the world may become towards Christians, the Lord always has fellow believers available to us for support. We were never meant to stand alone, and we should be available to encourage other believers as well.

The apostle Paul faced countless persecutions as a Christian. From stonings to beatings to imprisonment, all of this was part of his experience as a minister in a world hostile to Christ. He even wrote some of his epistles while in chains, but he never failed to close his letters with greetings to his friends and fellow workers.

As he closes the letter to the Romans, he greets Prisca and Aquila, who risked their necks for him (Romans 16:3). He always had fellow prisoners and fellow workers. Though Paul was often alone, he was never alone, and neither are we. At this moment, we are surrounded by fellow believers. If we do not realize it, it is because we are not as involved in the local church as we should be.

There are two main reasons we often neglect the church as believers. The first is that our hearts are elsewhere. We are not that interested in the cause of Christ because we are pursuing something else. We are not concerned about having fellow workers because we are not a fellow worker.

The second reason we avoid the church is that it usually involves some people who are divisive and create obstacles. They live lives contrary to Christ and teach doctrines contrary to the truth. Such people have hurt many fellow believers. Paul makes it clear that we are to avoid such people, for they do not serve the Lord but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the heart of the naïve (Romans 16:17-18). Though we are to stay away from such people, we are not to avoid true believers, and too many of us have thrown out the baby with the bathwater.

We need each other now more than ever. As the culture continues to suppress the truth of God and grows more vain and futile in its reasonings, aggression against the people of God will increase. In such a world, we are to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil (Romans 16:9), and the only way we can do that is if we stand together.

Join with others in the work of Christ. As Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it, “It is the greatest campaign known to man.” Do not be so caught up in worldly pursuits that you miss out, and do not try to do it alone because you want to avoid the few wolves within the fold. God did not give us new life in him to walk alone. As we band together, take heart, the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet (Romans 16:20). Realize, when Paul says “your feet,” he does not mean you as an individual, but you as the church as a whole.

God is able to strengthen you according to the gospel (Romans 16:5), and the primary way he does that is through other believers. Not only does your local church love you, but all the churches of Christ stand with you. You are not alone.

-D. Eaton

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