In Martyn Lloyd-Jones book, The Church and the Last Things, he points out four ways that the devil sets out to attack the church. Drawing from the book of Revelation, he shows that the devil draws from different agencies in order to attack the church. The first agency is that of the government. Referring to the beast found in Revelation 13, he writes:
… this beast is meant to represent the secular powers of the world as they are used by the devil to frustrate God’s plans and destroy the Church. The four beasts in Daniel represent specify secular powers. Now here is beast that stands for all of them together — secular power itself. In the time of John, of course, it was the Roman Empire, and perhaps even before that the Jews themselves. But since then it has been many other secular powers.
As we look at our own government we can see these truths being played out as well. The government, which is intended for the well-being of mankind and the peace of the Church, is now being used against the Church and the people of God. Every time a judge rules against the convictions of the saints on behalf of government-ordained sin, we see this reality. Every time the government uses its power to silence Christians and attempt to run them out of the marketplace of ideas, we see this.
This attack on Christians comes from both formal forms of government and informal forms of government. The former being the government erected according to the Constitution, and the latter being that in the form of the University. Both entities, through the creation of such things as political correctness, global warming, and the redefinition of marriage seek to silence those of us who hold to God’s Word and have a Christian worldview. I really don’t suspect that the next election cycle will cause a decline in this onslaught at all simply because I do not believe the Left will enter the next election cycle with any sense of honesty. That is always the downfall of our elections. The dishonest seem to prevail because they will use whatever means necessary to win, while those with integrity go forth in that integrity, and suffer the consequences. The one who will not cheat ends up losing to the one who will. For those who do, their driving principle is not rooted in having a sound character, but doing whatever it takes to win. Therefore the persecution of Christians that has only begun by our government and universities in the last few years, will only increase.
Secondly, Lloyd-Jones also points out that Satan will attack the church through false religion. In seeing what many attacked in his day, communism, Lloyd-Jones writes that those who attack that form of government were just as bad, if not worse, than the form of government attacked. He writes:
The Christian Church not only has to meet the devil in direct encounter and not only does it have to meet political and secular powers, it alway has to wage a war against false religion. It is not for us to compare these powers or to say which is the most dangerous. The important thing is to realize that they all have the same object, they are all used by the devil, and a false religion or a perversion of the Christian faith is as dangerous as a secular power. Now that is something which many people today seem to forget. The Roman Catholic Church would have us believe that the major opponent of Christianity is communism, not realizing that according to this symbol Roman Catholicism itself is perhaps as great a danger. Then there are people who hold a very liberal view of the Bible. These people deny most of the cardinal articles of religion, seemingly unaware that according to this teaching they themselves are enemies of the true faith, posing as great a threat as communism or any other form of secular persecution.
The problem with Lloyd-Jones’ statement is that he only names two possibilities for false religions, the Roman Catholic Church and liberal Christianity. I agree that both are enemies, but there are many more than just two, and yet at the same time, only one. Any religion that stands in place of the gospel, or opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, fits the bill. Any religion that adds to the gospel, takes away from the gospel, or declares another gospel all together, is a false religion. Any religion that denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, the reality that He is the Second Person of the Trinity, the reality that we may be saved in any other way besides Christ, is a false religion. Any religion that sets itself up itself as the head of the church, or requires membership in an earthly institution in order to be saved, is a false church. In fact, we could just refer to the three marks of the church and anywhere these three marks are missing, is a false church. These three marks are the preaching of the gospel (66 books of the Bible), church discipline, and the administration of the sacraments. Where these are done in accordance to God’s word, you have a true church.
Lloyd-Jones also goes on to mention two more entities that the Church must contend with and I will post those later in the week. But for now, we definitely see the rise of false religions and a government that is becoming more and more set on persecuting Christians. I would like to think that an election cycle could stem the tide of persecution to come, but it cannot.
Only the true preaching of God’s word can stem the tide, for only the gospel is the power unto salvation. But even then, is it really God’s will to lessen the rise of persecution? Realize that whenever persecution increases, so too do the number of true converts to Christianity. Therefore let us not fool ourselves into thinking that our LORD may stem the tide so that things get more rosy in our country. His purposes may be far greater than our personal comfort, peace and safety. And if in the midst of the persecution that is on the rise, He should return, well then, bring it on! Come quickly LORD Jesus.