Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.” John 15:18-19 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Satan hasn’t stopped us yet, and he’s not going to stop us now.”
Over the last few days we’ve been considering how it is that on this side of the cross we – the followers of Jesus – are to be on-mission with Him in this world blessing people in His name and sharing with them the Good News of the Gospel. And we have considered the fact that often that mission can seem a lot like “Mission Impossible”. Sometimes it can be just plain hard! We also thought about the fact that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare as the forces of Satan oppose our efforts, but we also found that Jesus promised us that His kingdom will prevail and the very gates of hell will not be able to stop it (Matthew 16:18)
In John 16:18-19 Jesus told us it wasn’t going to be easy. Satan, the forces of evil aligned with him, and the people in the world under his sway, all hate Jesus and therefore they will also hate and oppose those of us who follow Him. That’s just the way it is. And, it has always been like that. From the time of those first followers of Jesus, down through the last 2000 years and right up until today, Christians have always been opposed by the forces of evil in the spiritual realm and in the world. It’s no different for us today but remember, you’re on the winning side! The very gates of hell cannot prevent us from accomplishing the Father’s will.
To prove that point let me share some statistics with you. There are approximately 7.5 billion people living on earth this morning. 2.4 billion of them profess to be Christians. That’s roughly 1/3 of the entire population who profess to follow Jesus. Your guess is as good as mine as to how many of those professing Christians are true followers of Christ but still, 1/3 of the population of the world claims to be. Despite all the satanic opposition Christians have faced over the last 2000 years, there are more Christians in the world today than ever before. Yes, the kingdom will grow and prevail and the gates of hell cannot stop it!
Here’s another fun fact: Although it’s difficult to accurately calculate what the total population of the earth has been over the 2000 years since the time of Christ (estimates vary), the right number seems to be right around 60 billion. And likewise, it’s difficult to estimate how many professing Christians there have been over that time (although thanks to church records this one is a little easier to calculate), but there seems to have been approximately 3 billion up to the current generation. Adding the current 2.4 billion to that number, the total number of professing Christians ever, since the time of Jesus, is somewhere between 5-6 billion. Not bad for a movement that started with a scared bunch of dejected disciples huddled together in an upper room in Jerusalem!
Courage my friends. Satan hasn’t been able to stop us up to this point and he’s not going to stop us now! We’ll think more about this tomorrow.