Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Standing Boldly For Truth And Right

“The next day many Jewish leaders, religious scholars, and elders of the people convened a meeting in Jerusalem. …. They made Peter and John stand in front of the council as they questioned them, saying, ‘Tell us, by what power and authority have you done these things?’ Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered, ‘Respected elders and leaders of the people, listen. Are we being put on trial today for doing an act of kindness by healing a frail, crippled man? Well then, you and everyone else in Israel should know that it is by the power of the name of Jesus that the crippled man stands here today completely healed! You crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth, but God raised him from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that you, the builders, have rejected, and now he has become the cornerstone!’ There is no one else who has the power to save us, for there is only one name to whom God has given authority by which we must experience salvation: the name of Jesus.’” —Acts 4:5-12

What a contrast from the night that Peter denied even knowing Jesus. Why did he deny Jesus? Because he feared what others might think or do. Now he faced the religious rulers who had even more power than the people who had “rightly” accused Peter of being a Jesus follower.  Have you ever been accused of being a Jesus follower? I don’t mean recognized by other Jesus followers. I mean accused of embracing God’s truth in the face of a culture who has rejected that truth and calls it a lie?  A culture that says if you don’t agree with us – agree to call what God has said is wrong to be right – then you are a bad person.

“How favored you become when you are hated, excommunicated, or slandered, or when your name is spoken of as evil because of your love for me, the Son of Man.” – Luke 6:22

How often have you read those words – I hope often – and didn’t really see that as something that would ever happen to you?  I mean don’t most people think of Christians as being good people? (a rhetorical question)

Just remember, when the unbelieving world hates you, they first hated me. If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you. I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be mine.” – John 15:18-19

Because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you.  I didn’t say it. Jesus, the Son of God, did. We have been separated from the world. It doesn’t really matter all that much until you don’t embrace something that is wrong, by God’s definition, as right.  Then you will be accused of being evil. How important is it to you for that not to happen? To be rejected by your culture – maybe even people you care about because you refuse to embrace their sin? This is not about a lack of love for people.  God loved us while we were yet sinners and Christ died for us.  No, it is about embracing sin.  Sometimes it is hard to separate the sin from the sinner. Throwing the baby out with the bath water, if you will.  That separation is a reflection of our spirituality. It is a boldness that comes from the power of the Spirit in us. Just like Peter standing before the Jewish leaders. 

Imagine if we said to God – “God, we don’t need a savior, what we need is for You to change Your mind and agree that we are not sinners.” We want God to agree that the life we have chosen and the things that we do are not really bad. 

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” – Isaiah 5:20

If you are going to take a stand for what God has declared is good – you will not be able to stand on your own – Just like Peter – you will end up denying the Faith for acceptance from the culture – and perhaps from people you know personally.  You will try to justify your choices out of compassion for others.  Truth does not change no matter how much we want it to.  Our willingness to stand for truth and the Word of God does – depending upon our hearts’ devotion.  The Church looks too much like the world because it has rejected the truth for a lie.  Think about it. 

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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