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“And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” — Acts 4:31 (NASB)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”— Proverbs 16:3 (NCV)
THE LORD WANTS HIS BELIEVERS to proclaim His truth to a dark and hostile world. He has commanded us to do so, and He has promised to help us do it.
Yet, way too often, those who call themselves Christians sit idly by, while those hostile to faith malign Christian beliefs and values, falsely accusing believers of a hatred and bigotry toward their fellow citizens.
That lie is used repeatedly by those lobbying for laws and practices favorable to a homosexual or transgender lifestyle, practices that God clearly has denounced in His Word. (Romans 1:26-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Jude 1:7)
THERE IS NO EXCUSE for anyone claiming to be a follower of Christ failing to step up and boldly proclaiming God’s Truth — His love and mercy, but also His judgment and wrath. Proclaiming one side of God’s glory while denying or ignoring the other side is false testimony.
We do no one any good when we fail to tell them the totality of God’s Word, both of His blessings for obedience and His punishment for continued and willful disobedience.
Here’s what the apostle Paul says in Romans 6:16 (NLT): “You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.”
WHEN THE LORD TOLD HIS DISCIPLES to go into the whole world and teach all that He had commanded them, He assured them that He would go with them. He promised that power would come upon them from the Holy Spirit, whom He would send. (Matt. 28:19-20)(Acts 1:8)
There is every reason to believe that both the commandment and the assurance the Lord gave to First Century Christians are ours to claim as Twenty-First Century Christians.
The mandate is the same, the assurance is the same, and something more is the same: the Truth is the same.
Jesus told us that He is the Truth (John 14:6) and that He and His truth remain the same throughout all time. (Hebrews 13:8)
OUR LORD ALSO TOLD US to expect blowback.
The world loves darkness more than the Light (John 3:19) and because the world hates Jesus, He told us the world will hate us, too. (John 15:18)
What should our response be to such attacks?
Here’s what the Lord’s half-brother James said, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” — James 1:2-3 (ESV)
WHEN THE ENEMY strikes back, we can take comfort in the experiences of those who walked before us and know we are joined in the battle with those walking alongside us.
“When we, as spiritual men and women of prayer and faith, attempt to do something significant for God, the enemy is sure to resist us,” Pastor Jim Cymbala writes. (1)
But we can take heart. Cymbala tells us that we do not fight the battle alone. “He (the power of God) meets us in the moment of battle. He energizes us when there is an enemy to be pushed back.” (2)
Pastor Francis Chan exhorts us similarly: “If we can humble ourselves and learn to absorb rants graciously, our best days can be ahead of us.” (3)
THE OPPORTUNITIES TO WITNESS for the Lord are all around us. We see them every day. Sometimes it’s a result of something someone says or maybe something we read or it’s on mass media. It might be the hurtful comment from a loved one or the malicious comment from a co-worker or neighbor.
We cannot escape from the evil around us, nor should we try. The solution is not for us to run and hide —it’s for us to stand our ground and confront. Yes, we are told to be gentle and loving in our response (1 Peter 3:15) and there are many teachings in God’s Word exhorting us to be patient and respectful of others. (Proverbs 15:1; James 1:19)
But let us as believers not think, even for one moment, that our Lord is not charging us with the awesome task of speaking for the Kingdom when the opportunities arise.
Just before His ascension, Jesus gave His disciples this command (Acts 1:8 NIV), and it is a command that He gives us, His followers, today:
“You will be my witnesses.”
Let us rejoice!
- Cymbala, Jim. Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (p. 208). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
- Cymbala. (p. 173). Kindle Edition.
- Chan, Francis. Letters to the Church (p. 201). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.
O FATHER GOD, our Heavenly Father, we rejoice that You have made us in Your image and for Your glory. We rejoice that you who have made us neither slumber nor sleep but keep watch over us day and night, reassuring us that no one can snatch us from Your hand. We know that You are with us when the times are troubling and when they are pleasant, when we are broken and hurting, and when we are at peace and feel blessed. O Lord, Your steadfast love endures forever. Lord, give us those opportunities to tell of Your goodness to us that we can be a blessing to those You place in our lives. In Jesus’ almighty name, AMEN
Questions for Personal Meditation and Group Discussion:
- Do you believe in God’s commandments and promises, that He wants to use you and other believers to further His Kingdom and that He will be with you — in spirit and in truth — all the while?
- Can you trust His word, as revealed in the Holy Bible, that He loves you and wants a personal relationship with you? If not, what do you see as the roadblock? Is it God’s problem or your problem? Can you take that problem to God in prayer and let Him solve it for you?
- Have you really and truly confessed your sin-filled heart to the Lord and asked Him for forgiveness, repenting of your sin and seeking His Lordship in your life? If not, please do so now. He has told us in His Word your eternal fate rests on this one act. He has assured each of us of forgiveness and salvation if we call on Him.
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