Greetings In The Name Of The Lord:
Acts 4:19-20 (NLT)
19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
“Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
These are the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Pastor and Theologian who stood up against Nazi tyranny during World War II. He could speak these words because he lived them. After Hitler tried to silence him he went underground and established the Confessing Church, a body of believers who continued to believe the truth in spite of threats of the Nazi government. He established an underground seminary to train future Pastor’s of the Confessing Church. When the Nazi’s eventually shut it down, Bonhoeffer became a part of the group of German’s intent on overthrowing Hitler, and even came up with a plot to assassinate him. He was eventually arrested and sent to prison, but even then he fought the good fight of faith and wrote letters from prison to teach and encourage those engaged in the struggle for true Christian faith. However, on April 9, 1945, just one month before the Allies overran the Germans, the Nazi’s hanged him. Even in his last moments he continued to believe. “A decade later, a camp doctor who witnessed Bonhoeffer’s hanging described the scene: “The prisoners … were taken from their cells, and the verdicts of court martial read out to them. Through the half-open door in one room of the huts, I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued in a few seconds. In the almost 50 years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God” (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/131christians/martyrs/bonhoeffer.html?start=2). Let me ask you a question, are you prepared to die for Jesus Christ? Are you willing to, as Jude wrote, “…defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people” (Jude 1:3, NLT). Come on now, Pastor Mark, has it really come to that, I mean after all we live in America, right? In some ways it is coming, and in others it is already here! Are you ready to defend the faith, or are you content to live under cheap grace?