Sometimes my wife and I imagine starting a church. (Were it not for the absence of God’s “thumbs up” we’d probably have started one already.) As we were dreaming yesterday, we wondered what the “Advertising Agency” of the church might look like. I know that many churches have this or something like it. They’ll put ads in newspapers, radio, and websites. But I always find those ads lacking. They don’t go the full distance in explaining the good and bad of being a Christian. I’ve been studying Luke and recently looked at Luke 21:12-19.
But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.
My fear is that my church might only include the last line in that paragraph. And I too, am quick to point out the joy and love that I feel by knowing God and his Son but I am usually much slower to describe the path it took to get there.
Note the last line contains the word “gain.” In Greek it also operates as “purchase.” Our endurance means we purchase our lives. We could never afford our life and it is given to us with joy but it is no free gift.