“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20)
Whenever Paul taught publicly he ran the risk of starting a riot. At Ephesus, an enraged populace perceived that Paul’s message sought to dethrone their patron deity, Diana of the Ephesians. “After the uproar was ceased” the embattled apostle sensed it was time to leave. (Acts 20:1)
Where idolatry flourishes and iniquity abounds the godly shall suffer persecution. (2 Tim. 3:12) In order to escape this persecution many “hold back” truth that is unpopular. Fidelity to God and His Word becomes even costlier when darkness shrouds a land. Paul refused to put the light under a bushel. To shine with the truth reproves darkness and invites the wrath of the rulers of this dark world who find ways to punish those who won’t come under their control.
The first form of punishment is usually monetary. In this country, stripping non-compliant groups of their tax emept status will begin to put the heat on. If that doesn’t work, other methods will be utilized. In China, the fires of persecution have burned hot for decades. Unless believers agreed to teach within the bounds set for them by the authorities they were not permitted to hold meetings in public church buildings. Thus, the underground house church movement was born. But in those secret settings, “from house to house,” the unvarnished truth of God went forth, and “nothing that was profitable”was kept back.
What will we love more in the days ahead, our fine houses of worship or the church herself? The house church movement in this country has only just gotten started. Soon enough, it will be where the faithful are forced to meet. Will you be faithful to your Lord and His Word? Begin to prepare your spirit now to go underground.