I believe it was Dietrich Bonheoffer – a German pastor, seminary professor, and theologian who spoke often about “cheap grace” and “easy believeism”.
His concern was that the Christian message was simply not being embraced because we lived with and accepted sin in our life – using the idea of grace to receive forgiveness as the reason why sin in its various forms did not concern us (cheap grace). And that the Christian faith was about taking up our cross daily and living a sacrificial lifestyle so as to invest in the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations and people groups around the world. He believed (and I share that belief) that to be a believer and embrace the Christian faith meant willingly embracing sacrifice and being willing to die, if necessary, for what one truly believed. He did die at the hands of Hitler just as World War Two was drawing to a close.
I was reminded of this man (one of many Christians who have impacted my life and walk with God) as I was reviewing my marginal notes in a book I finished reading on a flight to somewhere a number of months ago. When reading I seriously destroy books by marking them up with various symbols and notations – then go back when time allows and transfer these ideas, thoughts, insights, and tid-bits into my computer filing system for use in my preaching and writing.
The book I was taking notes from is by Brother Yun and it is called “Living Water”. If you have not read it – you should. It is a slow read as it involves serious, indepth analysis of one’s walk with the Lord, much repentance, a few “Aha experiences” when the lights go on and someone is home … a book that will transform you and your relationship with the Lord.
In this book – page 203 – Brother Yun states…
“In China we always teach five things that all disciples need to be ready to do at any time. We need to be ready to pray, regardless of the circumstances. We must be ready to share the gospel and always ready to suffer for the name of Jesus. We also teach every disciple in China that they must be ready to die for Jesus Christ, and finally they should be ready to escape for the gospel if the opportunity presents itself, for Jesus said, “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another” (Matthew 10:23)
Did you catch these five things they teach new believers – those being discipled into the Christian faith?
1> The necessity and need for prayer at all times
2> Ready to share the Gospel regardless
3> Ready to suffer for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel
4> Ready to die for the Gospel
5> How to flee to safety if the Gospel is being rejected where you are currently sharing it
Were you taught these things when you were first born again and being discipled into the Christian faith? I certainly was not.
I believe we are entering a season when the western Church – the Christian faith North American style – is going to be seriously opposed. In fact, I believe we are entering a season when the western Chrurch and our ‘cheap grace’ and ‘easy believeism’ will be seriously tried and found wanting and lacking in substance. I believe we are about to enter a season when opposition will quickly turn to persecution and all this “fluff” will be removed – and many people will simply walk away because being a Christian will cost them more than they are willing to pay…
I look forward to these tough times as this fire will purify our faith and remove the dross out of our lives and we will see the true Church of the living Jesus Christ which, I believe, is much smaller than the current visible Church. As a result of this opposition and persecution we will look at what we truly believe and what it is we would be willing to die for – the true Gospel as set forth in Scriptures. Much of what is now preached will simply be proven to be non-biblical and man-made. As a result of persecution and opposition we will need to travel light and keep short accounts (be forgiven regularly and deal with offenses immediately) and so will find our relationship with the Lord and the Holy Spirit much more alive and vibrant. And, the Gospel message – Jesus saves – will dominate our thinking and witnessing to others about this salvation will be our primary goal and function in life.
I look forward to this time of opposition and resulting persecution. I am really looking forward to it!