1Corinthians 1:22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom.
The Jews looked for signs and miracles. In Matthew 12:38, 39, the Jewish leaders asked Jesus to show them a sign to prove to them His right and authority to do and say the things He did. He replied that it is a wicked generation which seeks after signs, and that the only sign He would give them is His crucifixion, burial for 3 days, and resurrection. Jesus openly healed many sick, delivered many from demonic oppression, raised the dead on a couple of occasions, and more. He taught a degree of holiness that far exceeded even the strict regulations of the Pharisees, a holiness that begins in the heart (Matthew 5:20). Yet the religious leaders rejected Him because He would not perform on demand.
We often see the same thing in the church today. Professed believers often go chasing around the country to see a preaacher or evangelist where miracles are happening or said to be happening, not because they have need of a healing and are searching out someone with that Spiritual gift, but for the sensationalism, to watch God put on a show to entertain them. Signs are for unbelievers, and those who are established in the faith should not be chasing after them. I repeat the wisdom of Jesus: It is a wicked generation that runs after the signs and wonders rather than pursue holiness, love, and a relationship with the Living God.
1Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.
The preaching of the cross is, to the Jew and even many professed Christians, a scandalous truth that causes them to be offended and stumble. We live in an age where we want our ears tickled, and all too often try to downplay the seriousness of this salvation. We don’t want a religion in which we are told we must deny ourselves and pick up our cross to truly follow God. But Jesus said we cannot be His disciples if we reject this truth. He calls us to a higher pathway, but the road is narrow and difficult which leads to life, and few are willing to take that road (Matthew 7).
The time is coming soon, according the 2Thessalonians 2, that there will be a great falling away, or apostasy, as many who had claimed to be Christians will reject the faith completely to which they formerly claimed allegiance. This will happen because tribulations (testings) and persecution will arise in ALL nations, according to Matthew 24:9, 10, against those who name Christ as Lord. The time is coming, I am convinced both by Scripture and by prophetic words I have heard uttered, that even countries which have freedom of religion will begin to suffer serious persecution, to the point where it may even be illegal to openly practice our faith or gather in churches.
We see this beginning to happen already in most nations which have had some freedom of religion, as they become more liberal and socialist in their ideals. Some are no longer allowed to preach certain biblical topics such as certain behaviors being sin, such as homosexuality, while in others they can preach it within the church but cannot publish it or preach it on the street corner, declaring it hate speech.
Many believers will stand for God’s truth . But the world hates the truth, and the world and the devil work to infiltrate the church with a watered down religion, calling the biblical standards outdated.
When the time of testing comes, who will stand for Christ?
In the next post we will look at the power and wisdom of God.