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Take God’s word and turn to Revelation chapter 2 and verse 18. Want to begin this morning a two-part sermon on this, the fourth letter in a series of seven letters that Jesus sent by the hand of John to the churches in Asia Minor and we’re only going to make a start. In fact, we might just get the introduction finished to be quite honest about it, but I want to speak this morning on the subject when tolerance is intolerable. Thriller, interesting sermon this morning. I think it meets us at the intersection between the church and the culture.
Revelation 2 verse 18, “And unto the angel or, slash, messenger of the church in Thyatira write: These things says the son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and His feet like fine brass. I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience. And as for your works, the last are more than the first. That’s a great thing to be able to command someone or a church about that. They’re doing more I than they’ve ever done before. They’re growing, expanding in their walk with God and their work for God. I know your patience and your works at the last are more than the first.” Verse 20, “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you because you allow that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols. I give her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.” Isn’t that a sad comment?
Verse 22, “Indeed, I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. Now to you I say, unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine who have not known the depths of Satan. As they say, I will put on you no other burden but hold fast what you have till I come and He who overcomes and keeps my works until the end, to Him, I will give power over the nations. He shall rule in with a rod of iron. They shall be dashed to pieces like the potters’ vessel. As I also have received from My father and I will give Him the morning star, He who has an ear, let Him hear what the spirit says to the churches.”
The message coming out of this letter this morning is the tolerance can become an intolerable thing and we need to hear that because ours is an increasingly live and let live society, where the only real rule is whatever you do, don’t hurt someone when you do it. The word of the day is tolerance. Tolerance has become a cultural buzzword and we’re told to accept any behavior by any person regardless of how that behavior might conflict with our beliefs or confront our convictions. In fact, in this post-modern era, tolerance may soon be the only virtue that our secular society embraces.
More than ever, Americans are bowing at the altar of tolerance and worshiping at the shrine of broad-mindedness. No one wants to be thought as narrow-minded. Today, in the land of the free, it is considered the unpardonable sin to try and bind someone’s conscience or limit someone’s actions to a single moral code. That’s why we have the fight over the 10 commandments that we do because the 10 commandments are right.
Situational ethics are in. What’s a situational ethics? Well, situational ethics believes that right and wrong vary from situation to situation. That right and wrong vary from society to society. That what’s right in one incidence for someone may not be right in another incidence for someone else. Listen to me. Mark this down. The new leper of modern society is the man or woman who believes that what they believe others should believe. They’re the outcasts in a society that believes that there are no absolutes except this one absolute that there is no absolutes, although they have one absolute. That cancels out everybody else’s absolutes. Something incoherent about that idea, but we’ll leave it there.
Ours is a society that tolerates anything except intolerance. Ours is a cultures that has a pervasive tolerance and pluralism that rules all final truth, claims as arrogant, inappropriate, in fact, a form of terrorism. Did you know that it’s a biblical Christian, someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the only son of God and only savior of man, that some consider that to be a form of moral intellectual terrorism? A pastor in a mainline liberal denomination compares those who believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to the terrorists of September 11th. Let me quote him. “This is the same kind of absolutism that the September 11th terrorists expressed claiming that there are way is the one, the true, and the only way. This is the kind of absolutism that leads to disrespect, and disrespect leads to intolerance, and intolerance leads to discrimination, and in extreme cases, leads as we see were terrorists to violence.”
Apparently, mind you, the extremism of His words don’t bother him. The incitement to hatred and discrimination against biblical Christians are morally acceptable to him. For this man and for our society, there is no hierarchy of thought. There is no nobility of ideas. All views have been flattened out and are to be considered valid and deserve equal time and equal thought. Although to be honest, this thought isn’t not modernist.
Reading a wild back in May 1955, the debate was conducted over the BBC entitled Christianity versus Atheism. Churchill objected to the programming. The BBC spokesman responded, “It is our duty to truth to all allow both sides to the debate.” Churchill shot back, “I suppose, then, if there had been the same devices at the time of Christ, the BBC would’ve given equal time to Judas and Jesus.” But that whole idea has been heightened in our day. All thinking ought to be comparative, not competitive. On the campuses of our universities, oncologists, did you know that students in higher education are being taught not to fear error but to fear intolerance? In fact, the whole end of modern higher education is this, to leave the student at a place where they do not believe that they’re right. In fact, they know that they’re not right at all.
But as you and I reflect on this whole idea of tolerance, I want you to think with me for a couple of moments about the trouble with tolerance. This kind of tolerance is so evident in our culture. I know this is a longer introduction but I don’t often address this issue and it is where the church and the culture meets. And it is an issue here in the letter to the church at Thyatira, the issue that Jesus addresses is an intolerable tolerance among the Christians at Thyatira. They were suffering something that to Christ was insufferable.
You and I need to be careful that we don’t cave in to an unbiblical tolerance. Here’s the trouble with the kind of tolerance that’s being advocated in our society. Number one, the trouble with tolerance, as we have defined it in modern day America, is that we have redefined it. Tolerance no longer means what it once meant. I’m for tolerance. You’re for tolerance, but I’m not for the tolerance if being defined and redefined by our culture. Webster defines tolerance is this, “The allowable deviation from a standard, sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices, differing or conflicting with one’s own.” Did you catch that?
Tolerance is not the denial of a standard. Tolerance is not the denial of an acceptable truth. Tolerance is the respecting of differences and the protecting of someone’s right to dissent from that standard or to deny that truth, but it is not the denial of the existence of truth or overarching standards or real realities. A tolerant society is not one that denies that some things are better than others or that some things are true and some things are false, but that opposition will be heard in opposing opinions. Respected, respected, yes but not necessarily embraced or given legal status. That’s not how we understood tolerance in the past.
But today, tolerance means that every opinion is okay and nothing is to be censored and nothing is to be put down. Now if you think about it and you’re thinking people, that’s inherently silly and it’s historically untrue and unjustified tolerance has never meant that all views are equal. It is simply meant that all views are to be heard and there is a right to dissent. In fact, D.A. Carson in an excellent book, I think, entitled Love in Hard Places, he throws like this idea that if you and I embrace the modern idea of tolerance, meaning that all things are equal and should be given equal thought and equal time, if you and I buy into the idea that there’s neither good nor bad and that all ideas are equally good, he raises this question, think about it then, what is there to tolerate? You ever think about that?
In fact, post-modern thought makes tolerance not necessary because if you’re going to tolerate something, it means that you disagree with it and you want to perhaps hold out the possibility and argue for the possibility that what is embraced by the other person is absolutely flat out wrong, evil, unacceptable. That’s what tolerance is. It’s to be it in the marketplace of ideas and ideologies. It is not the denial of the hierarchy of thought or the nobility of ideas, one better than the other, one greater than the other, one truer than the other. Tolerance run amok in our society brings an end to tolerance because there’s nothing to tolerate if everything is flattened out to equality.
In fact, by the way, got a little bit of an excursion here. I recommend a little book entitled A Cultural Shift by Al Mohler of Southern Seminary. He really deals with some cultural issues in one particular chapter in this book, the Cultural Shift, and there’s a follow-up book called The Disappearance of God. That’s worth your time. Also, he cannot addresses this idea of offensiveness the that we’ve got even as Christians to be careful about this idea that I have the right not to be offended, because if you get down to the heart of the thinking behind this idea that I have the right not to be offended, you’re really buying in the political correctness. Follow the argument.
You see our society and the media within that society is banding over backwards to ensure that nobody takes offense from an image, perhaps of a cross, or a portrayal or word spoken. And when that is taken to an nth degree, it shuts down to be it. It doesn’t allow for vigorous argumentation and protestation. In fact, if you think about it, tolerance run amok forgets that a free society and free speech within that society begins at the point where people say something you cannot stand. Now you and I can be offended about things that shouldn’t be said about Christ or about Christianity. We should be able to protest that, but we shouldn’t seek to censor that because in censoring that we’ll end up censoring ourselves. That’s the whole point of tolerance in a free society, that enshrines free speech, you are going to hear stuff that offend you. And if we buy into this idea that we have a right not to be offended, all debate is silenced and all argumentation ended and you’re back onto a flat earth with flat ideas.
Here’s a second thing. The trouble with tolerance, as we have redefined it, is that it denies reality and the implications of theology. You see it’s fashionable today to be searching for truth, but what’s unfashionable is should you find that truth and share with others, then you’ve become a bigot. I like what G. K. Chesterton said that an open mind has the same purpose as an open mind to ultimately find something satisfying and solid to close on, and that’s a true statement. And this false idea of tolerance denies reality and the implications of theology that there is truth to be known, that there is a freedom work to think within. There is a worldview of life that’s better than others. You see, to be tolerant is not the same as believing truth is pliable and reality relative, which is the mantra of the post-modernist.
Tolerance, properly understood, does not deny the existing of a freedom of reference unbending truths or inflexible standards. In fact, there is a place for intolerance, because there are certain things that are real, true, true for all times and all peoples. There are certain things that are true. And our denial or our disagreement with them won’t change that reality. Give you an example. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit at sea level. That’s just a fact. You can go to the bank on that. You can count on that and that doesn’t change. It doesn’t boil at 150 degrees Fahrenheit or 189 degrees Fahrenheit, 212 degrees. Water freezes at 32 degrees, not 23, not 31. Here’s another fact. Objects heavier than air are always attracted to the center of the earth. You may not believe in the law of gravity, but try and jump off a building and you’ll soon believe in the law of gravity. You can break it, but in the meantime, you’ll be breaking yourself.
There are certain laws, natural and supernatural, realities and truths that are unbending and require us to be intolerant of their denial and their reality. A compass always points to the magnetic north and all sealers and aviators would do well to learn that fact to either live or die by it. None of us want post-modern pilots sitting in the cockpit. Tolerance can be stretched, can’t it, over too greater an area of life. Some things are to be tolerated, but other things teach us. There is a place for unyielding conviction intolerance towards certain things.
Life requires a certain intolerance. Life requires a certain lack of dissent and disagreement with certain realities. There are certain laws that work in life, and life works best within them. Now let’s take this one step further. Here’s the trouble with tolerance. As we are redefining it in our culture, it denies reality and the implications of theology. People hold their hands up in heart and say, “How can Christians be so dogmatic and exclusive in telling other religions that they’re false and that every follower of Mohammed and Buddha need to turn in repentance to Jesus Christ? How I did it is that? How archaic is that? How can you believe that?” I’ll tell you how I can believe that. That’s the implication of theology.
The reality is that, for a Christian, and you can disagree with this, but don’t deny this, disagree with it, but don’t deny it’s reality, that for a Christian there is, but one way and that’s because there is but one source of truth for the Christian, the Bible. And in that one source of truth, the Bible, we learn about one God who had one son who came to die on the cross for our sins that there may be but one way back to the Father through Him. That’s what the Bible teaches. That’s what Jesus taught. The Christians believe in the objectivity and veracity and authority of the Bible and the fact that it discloses the one true and living God who appeared in history bringing salvation to all men through the death and resurrection of His son.
And therefore, by impulse and by implication, Christians are intolerant of any truth claimed apart from scripture and any truth claimed divorced from Jesus Christ. Why would they be intolerant of that? Because the Bible says that it is the truth. Jesus prayed that the Father would sanctify us by the truth. Thy word is truth. Jesus said, “I’m the truth.” And so for the Christian, there is truth. There is an unbending and flexible reality to life and it centers in the person of God and the person of His son and the framework we think life about within is the framework set by God’s word.
If there is, as the Bible teaches, but one Lord and one God and Father of all, then there is but one faith and one hope of that calling and one meter between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. You say that’s pretty narrow, but Jesus said, “Didn’t he? The narrow is the way that leads to life.” Jesus said in Matthew 12, verse 30, “If you’re not for me, you’re against me.” Jesus said in John 3, verse 36, these words, John 3, verse 36, “He who believes in the son that’s Him has everlasting life and He who does not believe in the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him.” Jesus is saying, “There’s salvation in Me and there’s mission outside of Me. There’s life in Me. There’s death outside of Me. There’s light in Me. There’s darkness outside of Me.”
God cannot be your father unless I am your savior, and that’s the plan teaching of the gospel. If you’re going to deny that, you have to deny the veracity, objectivity, and authority of the Bible, and if you can do that, then that’s fine. I have no fear. I have no savior, but we’re not going to play this silly game that everything’s the same, that all ideas are noble, that there’s no hierarchy of thought. That doesn’t square with life. There are some things that are real, and there’s some laws that you must live your life according to. And the implication of Christian theology is there is, but one God and father of all, and He sent His only-begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
From the wood of the cross, Jesus, the carpenter, constructed a bridge from earth to heaven between a holy God and a sinful world and He who you know sin, according to the Bible, was made sin for us so that we, in turn, may be made by God’s grace and in the free offer of His mercy, righteous before God through the death of the just for the unjust. We read about that in 2nd Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3, verse 18. Listen to me. According to the Bible, you can’t do an end run around Jesus Christ and wind up in heaven. That’s just a fact. That’s the truth as I find it written upon the pages of God’s word. And therefore, it’s an intolerable thing for the Christian to be told that they cannot and must not cure the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ.
First of all, we believe that’s a travesty and a turning on the head of the whole idea of tolerance and it’s certainly asking too much of the Christian. That’s why the Christian will be in conflict with the culture that’s riddled through with post-modernism and relativism. For us, there is only one way to the Father and that’s through Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. If you’ve visited London, you may have entered upon Charing Cross train station. In 1291, the Charing Cross was erected in London. It was one of 12 crosses erected along the road of Queen Eleanor’s funeral, which stopped and rested along the way to her burial at Westminster Abbey. The original cross decayed over the centuries and was taken down in 1865. It was replaced by a replica at the nearby Charing Cross station, but the spot where the Charing Cross originally stood is the official center of London.
All distances are measured from there and what a picture of the message of the word of God. The cross is at the center of history. The cross is the pivoting point of eternity. Jesus Christ came to die upon a cross for your sin and in my sin. There is no hope beside him and beside that. In fact, a young boy got lost in London one day. The police trying to help him find his way home, asked him did he remember where he lived. He said, “No.” One of the policemen said, “You know what? Where do you live from Charing Cross?” Young boy said, “You know what? That does ring a bell. If you get me to the cross, I’ll find my way home.”
By the way, as I’ve just said, Christians will be singled out and are being singled out by the secular media for unequal criticism. Evangelical Protestantism constitutes the new Taliban in America. If you want to be popular, you might think of becoming something other than a Christian because it costs to stand up for the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ in a post-modern culture, riddled through with relativism. The Christian is a wart on the face of post-modern society and make no mistake about this. Relativism leads to persecution because in a society that rejects absolute truth, there is one unpardonable sin and that is intolerance.
And Christians are the prime suspects in that crime because they’re the most intolerant. They are monotheists. They believe in only one God. They believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, incarnate and flesh. They believe that he lived the sinless life, died in atoning death, rose bodily from the grave, he has ascended to heaven. He’s the only mediator between God and man. They have one string in their bow and they pluck it all the time and it jars upon the ears of a post-modern culture. You and I need to awaken to that fact. We will be the new lepers of the 21st century unless things change. We will be the odd man, right? That’s what’s so relevant about these letters. Jesus tells even this church in Thyatira they need to hold on till He comes.
In fact, I was reading an interesting article this past week by Kenneth Hutcherson, Ken Hutcherson, senior pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Washington. He was a former NFL linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks. Ken Hutcherson wrote an article entitled Stop Being Evan-jellyfish because he says, “The Christians are going to face censorship and conflict in the days that lie ahead.” In fact, he makes this comment in the context of an argument about homosexuality and the clamor for equal rights by the homosexual community and what they try to do to normalize their abhorrent behavior is they argue that their struggle for equal rights is the struggle of the Negro in America.
They try to put themselves in line with Dr. Martin Luther King and the struggle for the African American to be accepted as a full and equal citizen in the United States, something that was not given to them. In those days of racism, many African Americans were considered last and human denied their votes in an equal and free society and what Ken Hutcherson argues for along with others, Jesse Jackson, who’s not usually in the same company with Ken Hutcherson, they argue that’s… They connect the dots in a way they kind of be connected because the homosexual community has never been denied their human rights or considered less than human. Their behavior might be abhorrent, but they’ve never been considered to be a subcategory of society. Also, they’ve been never denied their voting rights like the African American.
In fact, here’s the thing that struck me. In this article, you may want to look it up on the website, Ken Hutcherson says this, he says, “I’ll tell you who is the one that faces discrimination today.” In fact, he says this, “I think that Christians are the new Negro. It’s the Christian community that will be ostracized. It’s the Christian community that will be put down. It’s the Christian community that will become a subcategory of civilized society. It’s the Christian community that will be denied its rights, because they’re the intolerant ones in a tolerant society.”
Now we know that they’ve got things back to front. It’s back to Isaiah, right? We’re calling good evil and evil good, but that’s where it’s at folks this morning. I know this has been a long introduction and we really haven’t gotten the text. I’ll just take a couple of minutes to introduce to you the city and the church, but no, this is where you and I live, and we need to think through the issue of tolerance becoming intolerable and that certainly was the case here.
Just for a couple of minutes, hang in there. I want to end the second service where I ended the first. Let me just talk to you quickly about this letter. As we move from what we have just said, we transitioned to the fourth of these seven letters and the issue here is the issue of the sin of tolerance. Yeah, you heard me right. I didn’t say the sin of intolerance. I talked about the sin of tolerance. There’s some things that are not to be tolerated in the mind of Jesus Christ.
Look at verse 18 and the angel of the church in Thyatira, right? “These things says the son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and His feet like fine brass. I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience. As for your works, the last is more done the first. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you. Look at these words. You allow… That could be translated tolerate, forgive, suffer. You suffer allow and forgive that woman Jezebel.” Well, look at her next week. That’s probably not her name. It’s a kind of synonym for what she was doing. She was like the Jezebel of the Old Testament. She was corrupting and compromising the community of God’s people. We’ll look at this devil and address next week.
But I want you to notice here Jesus is upset for them allowing the unallowable, suffering the insufferable, tolerating the intolerable. They were putting up with that, which he wanted to put out of the church, Jezebel and her children. I would say that’s her followers probably more than her physical offspring. They should have been shown the door and then the door should have been bolted. The sin of toleration is the toleration of sin. Jesus is upset. This is what I’ve against this church. They are tolerating the intolerable. The black and white issues of my church are being smudged into an indefinite gray. This is a church that was far too accommodating. Think about that. The church can be far too accommodating.
Two things quickly, the city, the church. The city, now let’s learn a little bit about this city. It lay on the road between Pergamos and Sardis. It was approximately 40 miles southeast of Pergamos. Pergamos was the most northerly of the seven cities, so the postman would go up and at the top of the roller coaster can come and dine the other side. That’s what’s happening here. He’s about to get to Thyatira and come, dine. This was a city without an illustrious history like Ephesus. It had no political clout like Sardis and it had no religious mecca like Pergamos, but it was a city of great commerce because it lay between two valleys that had rivers running through them and therefore was a magnet for trade. The coins of the time show us that. The records show that the city had more trade guilds than those listed in any other Asian city. There were metal workers’ guilds. There were bronzesmith’s guilds. There were leather workers and tannery’s guilds, potters and slave traders and most of all clothiers and dyers of cloth.
Ladies, if you wanted to shop Thyatira was the was the place. It had outlets and shops and bazaars. In fact, the Acts 16 verse 14, we read of a lady from this city. Remember her? She comes to Christ and fell off high. Her name is what? Lydia, a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira. This was a city of commerce. And this was a problem because these trade guilds were a mix of a chamber of commerce, a trade union, and a masonic lodge. You didn’t get anywhere. You weren’t allowed to do anything if you weren’t a part of the trade guild.
And so it was tough for Christian businessman to do business in this city without compromising their commitment to Jesus Christ, and that’s the issue that Jesus addresses and Jezebel is encouraging them to compromise their commitments and core values by going to these trade guilds that usually began with a dinner. Prayer was offered to the patron God of the guild. There was wine. There was meat sacrifice to idols. There was cult prostitution usually to be enjoyed at the end of the evening when everybody had got loaded or stoned. That’s how business was done. That’s how life was lived in Thyatira. This church was beginning to lose its edge. Its distinction was rather indistinct. They were suffering things that were insufferable to Christ. They were giving up their commitment encouraged here by this false prophetess and the world was in the church rather than the church being in the world for the glory of God. The pressure was immense.
In fact, little footnote, that pressure was worked out in the life of Karl Marx. In fact, it probably put him off religion to some degree, because if you read something of his story, the man who kind of founded communism and called religion, the opium of the people, when his family moved, I think it was from Russia to Germany, his father was a Jew, but he converted to Lutheranism because he realized that if he was to do trade and commerce in that city. He’d be better off being a Lutheran than a Jew, and I’m sure the young Karl Marx saw the expediency, the lack of commitment on his father’s part. Why should he commit himself to something his father wasn’t committed to? Dads, our sons are watching the way we do business, the way we act and the way we live.
Last thought, the city, the church, in terms of the genesis of this church, we cannot be dogmatic. There is the possibility that Lydia, we talked about her in Acts 16 verse 14, that after her time in Philippi, she returned with her household that had been saved and baptized and perhaps became the catalyst of the magnet for a new work of God. That would be a thrilling possibility. Another possibility, even a probability, is that Paul’s converts at Ephesus evangelized that region of Asia. You can read about that in Acts 19 verse 10.
But here’s what’s interesting. My last thought as the team comes up, did you notice that this is the longest letter of the seven, the longest letter of the seven? Christ is more to say to this church than to any other church, and I find that interesting because this is a church probably small. We don’t read anything in the New Testament or extent church history about the exploits of this church within this city. This was a small church residing in the least important of all the city’s Jesus addresses the letters to. Did you get that? The longest letter to the smallest church in the most insignificant place. Surely, it has a couple of applications. One being sin in the church is a big deal no matter how small the work or insignificant the place. I have this against you.
I appreciate that you’re doing more than you’ve done before. Nevertheless, not withstanding of a problem, you’re tolerating the intolerable and the struggles of a small church at the beginnings of a work are no excuse for a lack of holiness or church discipline. I’ve often seen it to be the key said, as a church emerges or a work begins, all sorts of excuses are made, all sorts of latitudes taken as to why there’s no church order or no church discipline that won’t wash it with the risen Christ. No matter how small or insignificant the work or the place, you better be on your game because the risen Christ is watching.
Here’s the last application. Christ is just as much concerned about a small work in a lesser city than about a big work in a greater city. I find that interesting. Ephesus, Pergamos, they were the kind of New Yorks and the Los Angeles of the day, but here you have this little church in a blue collar city, more like deep Detroit or Cleveland, not known for its history or its temples or skyline, but nestling amidst all those buildings, amidst that city as a little bond of God’s people and Christ has got his eye on them. Leon Morris says this, “The longest letter of the seven letters is written to the church in the smallest and least important time. The values of God are not the values of man.”
There are no small churches. There are no little places. Bigger is not necessarily better in God’s mind, and every seminarian needs to remember that. In fact, given the nature of this latter and the struggle to keep the church pure, every young seminarian might do well to hear the advice of Spurgeon to an aspiring minister who asked that Spurgeon would indeed recommend him to a bigger church. When Spurgeon learned that he had a congregation of 100, presently, Spurgeon said, “You might find that quite enough souls to give an account for on the day of judgment.” There is no small church and there is no little place. Christ stands amidst the candlesticks, the small as big to Him, and he wants just as much purity and passion from the small church as the big church.
Let’s pray. Lord, we thank You for this reminder this morning. Oh God, it meets us at street level. We see our society tumbling into a post-modern pet without a bottom, without a sure foundation to stand on. You know God, You’ve called us to be salt and light in this world. You’ve called us to give testimony to Jesus Christ, the only son of God and the only savior of man. And we realize, oh God, we will be called at the carpet for it.
Our society tolerates everything except intolerance and claims to truth centered upon any one person or anyone religion, and we know, oh God, that’s antithetical to your calling upon the church in the world. Therefore, oh God, help us to stand fast, to hold on, to be unwavering in our commitment to Jesus Christ always abounding in the work of the Lord. God, we pray for our culture today for our leaders. Lord, may they truly understand what true tolerance is. May Lord the finding documents of our nation guide our decisions. May we not find rights where rights are not to be found. May we not deny rights where rights are to be found, and we thank you for the free expression of religion in this country. Lord, help us not to be silenced. Help us not to be boded into submission. Help us to be bold and not to suffer what’s insufferable, but at the same time to be gracious and put up with that which offends us because vengeance is yours. It’s not ours. And these things we ask and pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.