A Voice in the
Wilderness

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Re: Open doors and many adversaries

"For a great and effective door opened to me, and many are opposing."
(1Cor16:9)

What an absolutely -fascinating- verse! and it goes contrary to most 
modern thinking. When I was a youth my dad pastored a little church. A 
'good' attendance was about 20. If 40 came for special meetings, that 
was a 'crowd'. I would always see these 'mega' churches all over...  
observing their "success", sometimes wondering what was 'wrong' with 
our church...why there were not more people.  When I graduated high 
school and went away to Bible school, I attended that first summer, the 
church near the school...with over 1000 members.  And in my mind that 
was a 'better' church. After all, it had originally been founded years 
previously by the 'great' John G. Mitchell. Don't get me wrong, Dr.
Mitchell -was- a good Bible teacher.  But did a membership of 1000 
people make the church a 'good' one?

Since those years, now, 'big' churches are in the -multi-thousand-
range. Why... isn't there a church in Korea boasting 50,000 or more?
Para-church groups like Promise Keepers and Women of Faith boast of the
'thousands' who participate in their movements. TV evangelists have
multi-million dollar budgets. Large "successful" organizations.

But what is God's 'gauge' of success? Is it the path to "numbers"?  
People look at the smiley 'happy' people, and label it 'success'. But 
Paul says of his 'successful' ministry, "many are opposing".  What 
Jesus says about the 'great numbers' is that they are on their way to 
"destruction" (Mt7:13)

If you are experiencing 'high praise' from -many- people, Jesus says,
"Woe to you when all men shall speak well of you! For so their fathers
did to the false prophets." (Lk6:26) But the path of His servant is
"tribulation". "In the world you -shall- have tribulation.." (Jn16:33)
Remember.. "the servant is not greater than his master. If they have
persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.  If they have kept My
saying, they will also keep yours." (Jn15:20)

How did Jesus' ministry progress? When He proclaimed Truth about what 
it -really- meant to be saved, "from this time many of His disciples 
went back...and walked no more with him." (Jn6:66) And as His ministry 
was ending, even the twelve scattered from Him. (Jn16:32,Mk14:50) 
(Although John and Peter followed Him at a distance) And after the 
crucifixion, the disciples were so disillusioned, some went back to 
their former 'trade' as fishermen. On all human accounts, a big
'FAILURE'.

Many of you write to me from time to time. Some tell of your "church" 
you fellowship with. Some of your churches have websites, and other 
ministries God has given you to do. Some of them consist of your 
'family'. Period. In other cases I read/hear of your fellowship 
consisting of 5-6 people. You see, Jesus said of that "narrow-gate" 
that there are "-FEW- who find it." (Mt7:14)

Even now, as some of the Russian states' 'honeymoon' with freedom is at
an end, the government is starting to reinstate laws regarding
churches.  China has similar things. Government-control over churches.
They must be registered. If a fellowship has less than "100" members,
they are required to close their doors. Thus, true Believers are again
starting to meet in secret...and are faced with reprisals for
non-compliance.

You see, the unregenerate know that true Godliness does not exist, for
the most part, in the 'large' organizations. They -particularly- don't
like the small 'house-churches'. They seek them out, like cancer, to
destroy; because they know that such groups are truly committed to the
Lord.

Are you a -small- group? Rejoice! Do you receive opposition for your
faithfulness to the Lord in your 'smallness'? "Rejoice and be
exceedingly glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For so they
persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Mt5:12)

Amen!