About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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Privacy Issues In An Anti-Christ Culture


He was summoned to the office of the administrator.  He couldn't believe his ears.  Being dumbfounded, he was clueless to know how to respond.  They had just let him go after being the nursing home's chaplain for 18 years.  There was nothing to discuss.  The decision had been made.  It was a privacy issue.  


While in a prayer meeting of Christian residents in the nursing home he led in prayer for a sick resident.  "It's a violation of privacy to pray for a person in a public building without having his permission", they said.  During a chapel service he shared how Jesus had delivered a resident from alcoholism.  Again, "you can't share how Jesus changed the life of a person in a public building without having his permission.  It's a privacy issue".   


She was a volunteer and while assisting a diabetic resident in the nursing home's coffee shop a cafeteria worker offered the diabetic resident a sugar laced muffin.  "He's a diabetic", the volunteer was overheard saying.  "He shouldn't eat that muffin".  She was subsequently chastised by the administration.  "You can't divulge such personal information in a public place without having permission.  It's a privacy issue". 


Our society, led by government, no longer let's us pray for a brother or share how Jesus can change a life in a public building without having permission to do so.  No longer can we help a poor old diabetic soul in a public building without having his permission.  All this in a society where governments spy on our phone records, peaks into our email and Facebook accounts, and has the ability to watch what we type on our computers in real time.  This done in the name of national security without our permission and without our knowledge. 


I understand the pros and cons concerning the invasion of privacy in the name of national security.  I know they're not actually listening to our phone conversations without a warrant, or so we're told.  I'm also aware of the human tendency to take a mile when given an inch.  Government, as important as it is, is taking their mile.  The apostle Peter lived in a society where government went well beyond a mile, a place where western governments appear to be heading.  For this reason we should pay careful attention to what Peter tells us concerning submission to government.          


Talking about privacy issues, imagine yourself as a Christian in Peter's day.  You're sitting in the privacy of your living room when all of a sudden your front door is kicked in by Roman soldiers.  You're arrested and literally dragged off to prison.  It's not a matter of spying on phone records.  It's a matter of violating you as a person in the privacy of your own living room.    


With this in mind Peter tells you, "Submit yourself for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to kings governors who are sent by Him to punish them who do wrong " (1Peter 2:13)  Submitting to the very government who is out to execute you might be hard to handle. 


The apostle Paul concurs with Peter for the reason why we should submit to government.  "There is no authority except that which God has established". (Romans 13:1)  We submit to government because God put your particular government in its place of authority.  You scratch your head in amazement.  Why would God put these thugs into a position of power?       


Both Peter and Paul tell you that government is to act on God's behalf to administer justice by punishing evil doers, but what happens when government becomes the evil doer?  Who administers justice to it?  "Vengeance is mine says the Lord". (Romans 12:19)  The Lord will act on His own behalf by punishing the evil government that refuses to submit to Him.     


The parable of the unmerciful servant as recorded in Matthew 18:21 to 35 expresses how this works.  After being relieved of a financial debt he owed his master, an unmerciful servant encountered a fellow servant who owed him money.  Showing no mercy he demanded immediate repayment as he choked his fellow servant.  So, in anger the master of the both servants turned this unmerciful servant over to the jailer to be tortured. (verse 34)  Thus is the fate of an unmerciful government who fails to act in accordance with its master.  


The first generation Christians were peace loving people.  They did their best to submit to the authorities as they were taught, but their ultimate allegiance was to the Lord Jesus Christ, who their government was to serve.  So, when the Roman government failed to submit to God and demand ungodly submission from its subjects, Christians had no choice but to respectfully decline the government's demands.  Instead, they joyfully accepted the consequences of civil disobedience, which for Peter was death.


Peter's Roman world is becoming our world.  Christians are beginning to experience a similar conflict with an anti-Christ culture.  Peter warns us in advance when he says, " be not surprised at the painful trial you are suffering but rejoice that you are participating in the suffering of Christ". (1 Peter 4:12-13)  Becoming like Jesus was Peter's ultimate desire, even if it meant becoming like Jesus in death.  We should consider what participating in Jesus' sufferings mean.  We might also want to practice up on our rejoicing skills.  We'll be expected to use them some day.    


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