If you are doing the will of God, you will face opposition.

You may or may not agree with that statement. However, I believe that it is true and that if we are to be effective in God’s work, then we are to expect opposition. Jesus indicated that we would be persecuted for our faith. (See the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 or Mark 4.)  Again, He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (from John 16:33). So why should we not expect trouble?

The early church faced persecution (read that “opposition”) which resulted in the worldwide scattering of early believers and consequently allowed for early expansion of the church into the known world. So why shouldn’t we expect opposition?

If then I am true in my assertion that we will face opposition for doing the will of God, what could it possibly mean? First of all, it means that working beside God in the work that He assigns for us will not be an easy task. Certainly there will be joy in the accomplishment and there will be growth along the way, but it won’t be easy.

It also means that if we are NOT facing opposition—or opposition does not arise in the course of time—we may be about something that is not the will of God in the first place. Keith Green suggested in 1978 that the church is not about God’s business. Here’s a sample of his observation:

 

The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can’t fight
Cause it’s asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you’ve been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can’t even get out of bed

Oh, Jesus rose from the dead
Come on, get out of your bed

(from “Asleep in the Light” on the No Compromise album, Sparrow, 1978)

 

There are a couple of warnings that arise from this understanding of opposition though. First, we should not go out looking for opposition. If we simply go about the business of God as we know it to be for us, the opposition will rise up to meet us on the way. This also means that we shouldn’t go about our Kingdom building in a manner that is offensive to people. Christ told us that the Gospel message would offend those who do not receive it, there is no need for us to be offensive in its proclamation.

Secondly, it isn’t necessary for us as the church to manufacture our own opposition. I think that denominations serve a great purpose as people begin to live their spiritual identity. I do not agree that we should argue over the bestness or rightness of our denomination—everyone loses in this proposition: the defender of the denomination because he thinks his is the right way, but can’t convince his neighbor, and the unbeliever who sees the argument, because he thinks there is no unity in the body of Christ, and walks away unchanged. Instead, we should remember that we are on the same team, working for a common goal—one that has been set by our Lord and Master, and not by the leaders in our particular brand of church. Again, the opposition will crop up without our sowing it amongst ourselves.

So what should we do? The work Christ has set before us. Do it willingly, unashamedly, and courageously in the face of the opposition. And then rejoice that Christ gives us the strength to stand and not fall asleep.

 

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