In the early Christian book The Acts of the Apostles, the disciples of Christ claim, "We cannot help but speak about what we have seen and heard!" (Acts 4:20) They had met God, a man. He turned their water into wine, healed their sick, fed the hungry, and taught them to repent from evil deeds and to love one another. They even witnessed Him give a dead body new life. Most importantly, after the extremely conservative, very evangelical leaders of God's people at that time period had him killed Him for disobeying their rules, He raised Himself back to life!

In those days, about 2000 years ago, the Christian community was not only closer in time to Christ, they were closer in character. They were neither legalistic nor judgmental; they shared freely with the needy and the sick. The love and power of God, whom they called the Anointed One, flowed through them and changed the world immediately and forever. At first, many in the world hated them just as they had hated Christ, and many Christians were killed. This was because Christians refused to worship the Roman Emporer as God, and they did not follow the traditions of the conservative evangelicals either. They also helped many who were despised by society at the time, the sick, the elderly, widows, and orphans, and they did this free of charge. Therefore, those who profit from taking advantage of the needy hated and persecuted Christians too.

Fast forward 2,000 years, and oh how times have changed. Christianity has spread and become a world religion. However, today people hate Christians for very different reasons. Unfortunately, in America, people often see Christians as judgmental, legalistic, overbearing, and even hateful.

The holy Spirit of God warned the early Christians that demons would deceive Christian churches into teaching a way blocked with legalism, judgment, and burdens instead of teaching God's Way. This prophecy was so important it was recorded in holy Scripture in 1st Timothy chapter four. If you're interested, you can click here to read about just a few of the ways thes passage applies to the present times. Relative to when Paul prophesied, we are the "later days," and elsewhere the Apostle wrote, "from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears." (Acts 20:30)

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