Here's a total NON-news flash: The world is full of bad examples.
Bad examples from Hollywood...from Washington...from Lansing...and even from Kalamazoo.
Even in the Church--the worldwide family of those who believe in and follow (at least, theoretically) Jesus Christ.
Bad examples are everywhere...so where are the GOOD examples?
In this 6th letter to the churches in the book of Revelation, there's one. This letter is to the church in Philadelphia (In the Ancient near east--not the one in PA)!
So many churches had been confronted in these chapters...over things like comprimise, tolerating sin and evil within, inconsistency in commitment, and the desire to 'fit in' with this world...that it's refreshing to hear of a good example!
“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth." (Revelation 3:7-10)
There are a lot of important points in there (best reserved for more in-depth Bible study), but the important overall point is that this church, which was apparently relatively small, had power--Power to stand firm. Power to NOT compromise. Power to remain firmly committed to the Word of God--to GOD'S standards and teachings--not this world's!
This church had endured persecution, and was remaining true and loyal. They had not 'denied [the name of Jesus]', but had kept worshipping and following Him. This meant more than simply resisting the pressure to recant their Christian testimony--it meant being faithful to Jesus in every way!
It's not just about what we don't do that God is interested in...it's about what we DO do! It's about how we live our faith out...not only the things we avoid, that matter.
Jesus promised to rescue them from the trial which would come upon the world (the rapture?...unclear in my mind), but again the point is that BECAUSE THEY HAD BEEN FAITHFUL, He promised to deliver them.
So, what's this mean to us?
If you're a believer, it should be an encouragement to you! Jesus sees our deeds! He knows when we remian faithful, despite pressure to 'cave' and outright opposition to our faith--or to key elements of it! He will give us the power--even in small congregations, and even as individuals--to overcome...and He will give us a permanent and secure place in His Kingdom.
This should also be a reminder to remain faithful! Despite opposition, despite pressure, despite all those who say that following God's word is ...old, antiquated, out of date, irrelevant, ignorant,...or whatever else, that we remain faithful!
God sees you! He knows! He WILL deliver you and give you peace!
Onward to Victory!