Saint, Why Sayest Thou Nothing? #4

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).

You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….

In Mark 14:27 (cf. Matthew 26:31), just before His arrest, the Lord Jesus declared to His disciples, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night.” Peter replied, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I” (Mark 14:29; cf. Matthew 26:33). When Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him thrice, Peter spake the more vehemently, and all the other disciples affirmed that, to the death, they would never be ashamed of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:34,35; Mark 14:30,31).

Once the multitude came and bound Jesus, “all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56). When thrice asked whether or not he was with Jesus Christ, Peter denied it all three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:55-62). “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62). The very men who claimed they were going to die for and with Jesus Christ, were the ones who abandoned Him during the moments leading up to His death!

Our flesh is weak, as the above verses demonstrate. We can say we will do one thing, but end up doing the opposite. Nevertheless, there is hope for them… and us! Many weeks after Calvary’s crosswork, these timid men, “…Prayed, [and] the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness(Acts 4:31). Earlier, on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter preached a magnificent sermon to Israel (Acts 2:14-40). “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (verse 4).

Notice this stark difference. Christ’s disciples were shy and weak in their own strength. However, when they relied on the power of the Holy Ghost, they boldly proclaimed God’s Word! The same is true with us today. We grow timid and fearful when witnessing because that is our weak flesh. However, God the Holy Spirit is more than willing to speak through us!

Saint, Why Sayest Thou Nothing? #3

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).

You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….

In John chapter 9, Jesus Christ heals a man who was blind from birth. Because it is the Saturday Sabbath, the pedantic, “law-keeping” Pharisees are filled with anger (verse 14). They proceed to interrogate and harass the healed man, further hardening their unbelieving hearts. Unless they can ask His parents if he was blind, they will not believe that he was healed. So, they call forth his parents.

Read their “testimony” in John 9:20-23: “His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.”

Notice why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” They would have to admit that Jesus Christ performed the healing miracle, and this they refuse to do because it would jeopardize their social standing. They would be labeled a “God nut” and they would lose their “friends,” so, they do not dare declare Jesus is Christ/Messiah.

John 12:42,43 summarizes this issue: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

People do not always welcome us with “open arms” when we preach the Gospel of the Grace of God, so we are prone to stay silent, just as these people in the Bible did, lest we are relegated to a “Bible-believing fanatic” status. This should not be so. Thankfully, with God, there is a solution!

A Double Promise, A Triple Failure, A Second Chance

Friday, May 4, 2012

“And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62 KJV).

Why is Peter weeping bitterly in today’s Scripture?

Moments from His arrest, trial, and ultimate crucifixion, our Lord Jesus tells His eleven apostles: “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written [Zechariah 13:7], I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee” (Matthew 26:31,32).

Jesus knows that He is about to be arrested. He explains to His apostles that they will be ashamed of Him and they will abandon Him when the soldiers come to capture Him. “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (verse 33).

The Lord Jesus then replies, “Verily, I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice [three times]” (verse 34). Peter argues, “Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee” (verse 35). In fact, all of the disciples agree they will not abandon Jesus Christ (verse 35).

Once Jesus is arrested, Peter goes to the palace to watch Jesus’ trial from a distance. On three separate occasions, Peter is recognized as a follower of Jesus, and all three times he denies he is a disciple of Christ (Matthew 27:69-74; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62); then, the rooster crows.

What a heartbreaking verse: And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Luke 22:61). Then today’s Scripture says, “And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

Peter miserably failed the Lord—thrice—despite his double promise not to. We too are sinners: oftentimes, we miserably fail the Lord, even when we doubly promise not to. But, just as Jesus Christ forgave Peter and gave him another chance (John 21:15-17), we are thankful that our gracious God has forgiven us in Christ (Colossians 2:13) and that He gives us second chances too! 🙂

Be Thou Partaker of the Afflictions of the Gospel

Thursday, March 15, 2012

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8 KJV).

Has God promised us Christians a “carefree, trouble-free life,” as today’s prosperity preachers assert?

Young Timothy, pastor of the Ephesian church, has grown weary because of satanic opposition: he is fearful, for the lost world has intimidated him to the point of discouragement and/or silence (verse 7). Timothy is ashamed of God’s Word, and of imprisoned Paul. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul encourages Timothy with today’s Scripture: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord!” “Speak up, Timothy! They need to hear God’s Word, so endure the suffering!”

Satan is against us, saints, because he is against our God. The devil wants to wear us out; he will use unbelievers—and even “Christian” brethren—to intimidate and mock us. Satan uses evil men to persecute us, so we grow “ashamed” of God’s Word, and then throw up our hands and quit! We need to be “partakers of the afflictions of the Gospel.” No greater privilege do we Christians have than suffering for the God who died for us!

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). In verse 11, Paul speaks of his “persecutions” and “afflictions,” “but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” How did God deliver him? The end of today’s Scripture tells us: “according to the power of God.” In order to endure Satan’s attacks, we rely on God’s power, not on our strength and resources (or we shall be defeated) (2 Corinthians 1:8,9).

“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation” (2 Corinthians 1:3-10; 2 Timothy 2:11-13). We have God’s sufficient grace to comfort us: “Therefore I take pleasure… in reproaches,… in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong(2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

So, be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel!

As We Stand Before God Our Saviour

Friday, October 14, 2011

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV).

Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians concludes with a reference to the rapture, Christ gathering the Church that is His Body (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:17; 5:23). Actually, today’s Scripture describes an event that will occur after the rapture.

Saints, one day (the rapture), the trump of God shall sound and we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)! After the rapture, we will stand before “the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

The Judgment Seat of Christ is not where we answer for sin, but rather when Jesus Christ evaluates our Christian lives and spiritual maturity. Each of us will give an individual account to the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10). Jesus Christ will compare our spiritual maturity (the doctrine we believed) to Paul’s epistles. On this basis, the Lord will give us a role (a position in the government of the heavenly places) (Ephesians 2:6,7).

But, notice Christ’s coming in today’s Scripture is not His coming “for all His saints” (the rapture), but rather with all His saints.” After the spiritual capacities of the members of the Body of Christ have been judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ, Jesus Christ will take us with Him to meet God the Father. Today’s Scripture describes when Jesus Christ will present us to our Father God. Wow!

God the Father will then appoint us to those positions of the heavenly government that Jesus Christ determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Remember that our individual roles (offices) are determined by how much sound doctrine we built up in our inner man. This is why dispensational Bible study, “rightly dividing the word of truth,” is so important. We do not want to stand before God “ashamed,” which will SADLY be the case for many Christians because they never studied the Bible God’s way (2 Timothy 2:15).

Whose Praise Do You Love?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42,43 KJV).

How much are willing to risk (and perhaps lose) for being God’s child, a member of the Body of Christ? This present evil world, despite its religious façade, is not God’s friend. It will not be a Christian’s friend either. The world hates Christ living in us just as it despised Christ living during His earthly ministry!

We Christians face great opposition. Wanting the world’s acceptance, our sin nature gravitates towards mimicking the world’s actions. Satan takes full opportunity of this, encouraging us to live in rebellion against God’s will for our lives. Lest we be condemned for being “Bible nuts,” we are intimidated to keep silent about God’s Word. At this point, we have abandoned the grace life for the disgraceful life.

In today’s Scripture many of Israel’s “chief rulers” had trusted in Jesus as their Messiah-King. Fearing the unbelieving Pharisees would belittle and ostracize them, and loving “the praise of men more than the praise of God,” these believing chief rulers kept silent about their salvation. Sadly, they were unwilling to lose their social standing for Jesus Christ!

Daily, we Christians feel peer pressure to believe the world’s foolishness, go where the world goes for “entertainment,” and converse like the world speaks. Our sin nature wars inside each of us, fighting against the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 7:24-25; Galatians 5:16,17).

If you let the Holy Spirit do His mighty work in you, expect the criticism. Be willing to risk it all for Jesus Christ. We may lose “friends,” our jobs, even our lives, but we have a far better inheritance in heaven. Saints, never will we receive “the praise of men” for being King James Bible grace believers, but we do have what matters most—“the praise of God.” We walk by faith, content in that regard.

Send It to the Cross of Christ!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14 KJV).

Are you bothered by past failures and sins? Plagued by shame and guilt? Sin destroys. It rips apart friendships and marriages and it causes heartache and bloodshed. Furthermore, it robs us of peace and joy. Oftentimes, those we love most are the people we hurt the most. Those who love us the most usually hurt us the most. How do we deal with these sins? Send them to the cross of Christ!

Our Apostle Paul was once a wicked, hell-bound sinner. Saul of Tarsus tortured, imprisoned, and even killed Christ’s followers (Acts 22:19,20; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13). Until his dying day, Paul never forgot his past. He had caused believers to suffer tremendously. How did he survive that guilt and shame during his 30-plus years of ministry? He sent it all to the cross of Christ!

In 1 Timothy 1:13, Paul discusses his persecuting those saints. Today’s Scripture says, “the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” No matter what Paul had done in the past, the Lord forgave him according to His exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love.

Verse 15 says: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Christ came to save sinners. Paul recognized that he was a wretched sinner, but a sinner was the only person the Lord Jesus Christ could save!

Today, by faith, we follow Paul, the first sinner to become a member of the Body of Christ. We too have been saved and forgiven according to God’s exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love. If someone wrongs us, or we wrong someone, send it to the cross of Christ, where God dealt with all sin, for all men, for all time. Christ died to “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

Beloved, send it to the cross of Christ where it belongs!