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Here are a few tweets to get you thinking.

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Lebanese man gets 300 lashes, 6 years for helping woman convert to Christianity

There is your headline. Amazing, isn’t it? The fact that a country like Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries can treat humans like dogs because they believe in a different religion and god than they do. American’s yell, intolerant!! But I wonder is this really the same type of intolerance our own country displays towards religion? This shameful act of punishment is intolerant and happens because the very core of Islamic culture breeds hatred and violence for others. The Koran teaches it and no matter how you interpret your version of Islam you cannot get away from the fact that the Koran teaches violent intolerance.

“There is zero tolerance for any non-Muslim religions in Saudi Arabia.”

–Nina Shea, Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom

But let’s not forget what our own country is like. This is America where freedom, liberty, and equality still exist in some form, right? Is our own country growing closer to this level of intolerance and hatred. I think so. I fear for our country and our skewed morality.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

–Isaiah 5:20

Just because one religion (example: Christianity)  won’t freely accept all types of lifestyles does not make it intolerant but truth. Truth holds true to the standard for which all else is called false. For how can one act in such a way without any convictions towards the left or the right? Would I whip someone 300 times for choosing the homosexual lifestyle or aborting babies?? No! Should anyone do such a thing to anyone who does not live after the same lifestyle as their own? No! But it does not mean one must accept opposing lifestyles as good and right for themselves. Condoning and condemning are the natural recourse of believing in anything worth believing. TOLERANCE DOES NOT MEAN ACCEPTANCE.

Check out this article that gives a similar viewpoint to this idea.

Tolerance Does NOT Mean Acceptance

But when it comes down to it, Christian’s are to love all types of sinners because we are sinners ourselves. We do not pretend to act holier than thou but rather reach out in love in order to share the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. After-all, Jesus was the one who ate with Publicans (lying, cheating, thieves) and Sinners. (prostitutes, drunkards, obvious outright unrighteous) – Luke 15:1-2

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?”

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Why do we get bombings and people trying to kill one another?

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Why is everyone angry all the time?

We have been waging a war since the beginning of time between good and evil. However, God wins. Externally, it may look like Satan is winning because we see tragedy, death, hatred, and wars. Suffering evidences itself because sin is still prevalent. I am a saved victorious Christian and a son of God but that does not make me immune to my sinful “DNA” and my desire to do wrong. Through Christ I have conquered sin however until he returns I am in a struggle between good and evil. An unsaved individual regardless of position and location is unable to please God and therefore must only please himself. This is done through a variety of means and one of the ways we please self is to seek revenge, destroy, and hurt other people in a twisted effort to elevate ourself and/or our cause. God gives hope that shames our pride and gives us new life capable of communing the Creator. We must not minimize the hope given to us by Christ but we must magnify His work on the cross.

So why is everyone angry all the time and why is everyone trying to kill each other? Well, one reason is they have not believed in Christ’s attack on hostility, for Christ killed all hostility and has replaced all strife with peace.

Ephesians 2:12-17

Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Eph 2:17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Here are some notes that I took and used to preach a short message from. (I hope you can follow my train of thought as I walk through the passage and take several words and break them down.)

Kill the Hostility
  • Separated 
    • positional separation we aren’t on God’s team, we are the enemy
    • Aliens– foreigners, unknown, strangers, not citizens of God’s country
  • No Hope
    • without God we have no hope for any kind of future
    • in the world and of the world without God’s plan of redemption
  • In Christ Jesus
    • picture of proximity
      • far and near
      • Jews and Gentiles are made one church in Christ
    • to be brought near means to have access to God
    • He died not only for Jews but for all his sheep even those who were far off
  • He is Peace
    • Peace vs. Hostility
    • Hostility, bombing, killing, murdering, racism, abusing… is torn down and replaced with peace through the love of the Savior Jesus Christ
    • the wall of hostility could be an example of the inscription that alienated Gentiles from entering the inner courts of the sacred Jewish temple. A gentile would be killed if he crossed that wall and entered the place where only the privileged Jews could.
    • In the same way we as SINNERS get to talk to a God who is HOLY. Because Jesus covered up that inscription for us and he is now on our team inviting us to join him at the banquet table to eat and commune with the Trinity.
  • Abolishing the Law
    • the Mosaic law and commandments are now nullified and the result is a NEW MAN, a new human race (new Adam), who is now capable of pleasing God because of the blood of Christ covering our wickedness.
    • ONE MAN made peace for all men
    • vs. 16- one man in one body through the cross – the gospel
  • Killing the Hostility
    • the hostility between the two warring parties was made peaceful through a negotiation –  a hostage had to be sacrificed
    • Christ’s reconciliation has killed the hostility that stood like a wall between us and peace with God.

Iran puts five Christians on trial for their faith