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What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
What The Bible Says Good Samaritan's Penny Pulpit by Pastor Ed Rice
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On the Lord's Side (Independent, Fundamental, King James Bible, Baptist Sunday Morning Message for June 12, 2016 Salem Baptist Church, Cincinnati, OH Text: Exodus 32 Series: "On the Victory Side" Preaching: Pastor Phillip ...
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Link: http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/1517/fire-no-repentance-yesFormat: Web PageTopic(s): HomosexualityAuthor(s)/Speaker(s): Todd Pruit
Temple Baptist Church - 1-13-2019Romans 11:11-24Introduction: A. Verse 11 – The Nation of Israel rejected Christ and the Gospel was then preached to the Gentiles. As the Nation of Israel slumbers, the Church of the Living God grows.B. The diminishing of the Jews became the riches of the Gentiles. We are saved tonight because of the graciousness of God.C. Verse 11 – the rise of the Church stimulated jealousy in Israel. D. Verse 14 – “Emulation” – to excite or stimulate to rivalry. Through the mercy and wisdom of God, the diminishing spiritually of Israel has been a blessing to the world.1. The Establishment of the Church, the body of Christ. Verse 11 – “through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.”2. The Enrichment of the world. Verse 12 – “the riches of the Gentiles.” We have prospered because of the dispersion of the Jew. Look at the science that they have brought to us; look at the riches they have brought to us.3. The Establishment of the Nation of Israel. Verse 11 – “for to provoke them to jealousy.” Jealousy will show someone where their true love lies and bring them back to where they belong. Jews are now returning to the Promised Land through the help of the Gentile nationsE. Verse 15 – National Regeneration of Israel. “what shall the receiving of them be.” Ezekiel, chapter 37, “The Valley of the Dry Bones.”F. Verse 16 – National Re-consecration. “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lumpis also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” Israel will once again turn to God in true holiness, not outward Phariseeism. G. Verses 16, 32 – National Reconstruction. “for God is able to graff them in again.” Israel is one of the most powerful nations on earth.1. Most people only see one side of God. a. Some only see His goodness. (normally these are liberal thinkers) 1) All will be in Heaven one day. 2) There is no literal burning Hell. b. Some only see His severity. (normally these are pharisaical thinkers)1) They do not understand God's love. 2) They do not understand God's grace. 3) They do not understand God's longsuffering.2. An individual needs a proper perspective of God.a. God is good - 1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.1) God Is Good Because Of His Mercy (Mercy is not getting what you deserve) - Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.2) God Is Good Because Of His Love - Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.3) God Is Good Because Of His Grace (Grace is getting what you do not deserve) - Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:4) God Is Good Because Of His Longsuffering - Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;b. God is severe - Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.1) The Flood - Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.2) Sodom and Gomorrah - Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;3) Nadab and Abihu - Leviticus 10:1-2 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.4) Korah - Numbers 16:31-34 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that [appertained] unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.5) Mt. Ebal and Mr. Gerizim - Deuteronomy 11:26-27 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:6) Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5:5, 10 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.7) The list could go on – 1 Corinthians 10:6-12 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.1. God Is Good To The Nation That Fears Him.Psalms 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.Psalms 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. God Is Severe To The Nation That Rejects Him.Psalms 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.Deuteronomy 29:28 And the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.2. God Is Good To The Saint That Fears Him.Psalms 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.Psalms 111:5 He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.Psalms 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. God Is Severe To The Saint That Refuses To Serve Him.Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.3. God Is Good To The Sinner That Accepts His Salvation.John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.Psalms 40:2-3 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. God Is Severe To The Sinner That Rejects His Salvation.Revelation 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:Proverbs 1:24-29 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:Romans 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Temple Baptist Church - 12-30-2018Romans 11:7-12Introduction:A. Last week, we biblically answered the question, “Hath God cast away his people?” “God forbid” was the biblical answer. God loves Israel just as He love them in Jacob's day. He loves them with an everlasting love.B. The purpose of God concerning Israel has never changed and—one day— “Israel, my glory”—will once again be gloriously restored. God's purpose always has and always will stand.C. Though a remnant is being saved, Israel—as a nation—is blind to the New Testament and the Gospel. Missionaries cannot come to Israel as church planters. They must come as students, teachers, business people, or visitor visas. Church planting missionaries have their visas rejected.D. Their eyes saw but they did not see. Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (They saw Christ but did not see who He was. They tempted Him, they taunted Him, the tested Him, and crucified Him.)E. Their ears heard but they did not hear. Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?F. Israel:1. Verse 3. Killed God's Prophets. “they have killed thy prophets” Time and time again, God sent men of God to Israel and they systematically refused to hear God's voice.Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!Proverbs 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.Jeremiah 17:23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.Zechariah 7:11-12 But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. (12) Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the LORD of hosts.2. Verse 3. Destroyed God's Altars. “and digged down thine altars” Romans 11:9-10 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: (10) Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. (Their sacrifices became ritual, not faith.) Hebrews 13:9-13 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. (10) We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. (11) For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. (12) Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. (13) Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.G. Israel continually rejected the longsuffering and grace of God.H. “Unto this day” speaks of the continuance of Israel's blindness. They remained blinded to the Gospel in our day. Benjamin Netanyahu wishes us a Merry Christmas but, like the world, does not recognizes the Saviour as the Messiah.1. Israel was blinded because of National Pride. Acts 10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (To the Jew, Gentiles were sub-human and often called Gentile dogs. Jews do not listen to the witness of Gentile dogs. They though that they had to be right with God because they were of His people, Israel. Many people of our day believe that they are going to heaven based upon their parent's faith.)John 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.2. Israel was blinded because of their rejection of God's Messiah, their Propitiation. John 19:14-15 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! (15) But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. (Jesus Christ is LORD of all and there is no salvation without acknowledgement and acceptance of His Person. You cannot be saved and reject the Saviour!)Isaiah 8:13-15 Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.3. Israel was blinded because of their Self-Righteousness. Romans 10:3-4 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Salvation is to everyone that believeth, not everyone that worketh! Repentance from dead works and faith toward God is the only way of salvation.)
Temple Baptist Church - 12-30-2018Luke 9:57-62Introduction:A. In our text, we find three men who had a desire to follow Christ. I believe that every born-again believer has a desire to come to Christ and be where He is but, to be His follower, one must count the cost.who said, B. The first said, ““Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.” 1. He was a man with a right desire. I have no doubt that he was serious when he made that statement. 2. Many people, when asked if they are willing to follow Christ, will say the same thing but stop when it cost them something. They intend to follow Christ as long as it costs them nothing. Great intentions do not get the work done!C. But, when our Lord said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head,” we hear no more from this man. You see, it will cost you something to follow Christ. That is why so many begin with a right intention but never really follow Christ.D. Then, our Lord said to another man, “Follow me.” 1. Then, this individual said, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.” He had something that he wanted to do first. I do not think that his father had died yet because he was here listening to Jesus instead of at the “funeral home” with family. 2. I believe that what he was saying was this: allow me to stay at home until my father dies and I bury him, then I will follow you. (A.M.)E. Now, a third man says, “Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.” 1. This man makes sure that he gives his excuse for not following immediately before the Lord could say anything to him. 2. There are many people who want to follow Christ as long as they can do it on their time or stay at home to follow Him.F. Our Lord answered him with my text for this morning: “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”G. You see, following Christ requires cost, obedience, and continuance. Many start well, but because of the cost, quit. Their intentions were good, but somewhere along the way, their heart began to turn back to the place and people that they had to leave behind.Hebrews 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.H. God does not call everyone to leave home and family though, but I believe that every child of God should be willing to do so if the Lord called! 1. The servant is not greater than his Master so, as He left all for us, we should be willing to leave all for Him. 2. When God called me into the ministry, I and my family had to be willing to leave home, family, friends, job, and everything else to follow Christ. Could we have done less?I. You see, all three of these men came to where Christ was but were not willing to follow Him where ever He wanted them to go. 1. Last year is almost gone. It will be history in a couple of days and a New Year lies before us. the new Year is “history that has not yet been written.” A “tale that has not been told.” We cannot change history but we can re-write it well.a. There is nothing wrong with remembering last year. It was a good year. Some things could have been better but we are here this morning and not sitting at home.b. There is value in reflecting upon last year and changing what needs to be changed.c. There is need for repentance. Sorrow for our failures last year.d. There is need for resolve. A determination to not make the save mistakes.2. This year, we need to keep our hand on the plough! Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (We cannot follow Christ until we put our hand to the plough! Following Christ is a life of self-denial and cross bearing.)1 John 2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. (13) I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. (14) I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.a. You young families need to “step up to the plate.” As the older generation goes on to be with the Lord, this is, for the younger generation, becoming more “your church.” Get involved! What you leave behind will be all that your children will have.b. You middle aged families need to bear the burden of the work of Christ in spiritual maturity. c. Some of us are getting older but that is not a time for quitting. We need to make some adjustments because of age but each of us are still needed to get the job done. We cannot look back! We cannot quit, we cannot retire.3. This year, we need to keep our eyes on the Point, Jesus Christ. a. Keep our eyes on Christ and “plow to the Point!” When you plow a field, looking to the side or looking back causes you to become distracted and plow a crooked furrow. b. Keep our eyes on the Bible. May it ever be our guide! The Truth shall make you free and, if you be free, you will be free indeed.c. Keep our eyes on the Old Paths wherein is the good way. If we ever let up, then the Old Paths will be gone. Just look around at the direction and condition of churches in our day. They are not even a shadow of what they used to be.Conclusion: I preach this often and I always will because following Christ is of the utmost importance. We cannot follow Christ:a. If we lose sight of Him.b. If we forget the Word of God.c. If we leave the Old Paths.
The Bible Confronts a Major Modern Misconceptionby Colin Eakin"How do I know if I am a true Christian?"Have you ever asked yourself that question? God says you should. Paul writes to the Corinthian church, "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Cor. 13:5). So those who desire to be true followers of Jesus Christ are expected to assess whether Jesus truly lives within. How is this done?This question was anticipated and answered by the Lord Jesus Himself. He told a group of recent Jewish believers, "If you abide in my Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31b-32). So according to Jesus, the criterion for knowing who truly belongs to Him is fidelity to His Word, which brings knowledge of truth, which brings everlasting freedom from the sin—its penalty, its power and (one day) its presence altogether.Well, how hard could that be—staying true to Jesus' Word? One look at the modern evangelical church would indicate harder than you might think. In fact, one of the most astounding and appalling realities of our present day is how many would-be faithful followers of Christ regularly imbibe teaching that is not only not what Christ taught, but is in fact the exact opposite! And of all the topics where what the Bible teaches and what is commonly taught as true are most at odds, at or near the top is the anticipated response of the world to the Christ-led life.Take, for example, the latest book from the pastor of one of America's largest churches. In it, he claims that if Christ-followers were to live out the faith as was originally taught and exampled by Christ, the appeal of that faith would be irresistible to a watching world. Similarly, another American megachurch pastor and popular author this past year exposited Matthew 5:20 for his congregation as follows:To understand Jesus, we might actually translate Matthew 5, verse 20—a really core statement in the Sermon on the Mount—"Unless your 'likeability' surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." We think of righteousness as this kind of cliché, pious thing, but really it's very much . . . to be a likable, caring, loving person.Is that true? Is the authentically lived, Christ-led life "irresistible" to a watching world? And is "likeability" an anticipated assessment we should expect those outside the Church to attach to the genuine Christ follower? What is the biblical testimony in this regard?Answer: it would be hard to parody what the Bible has to say more outrageously. The modern evangelical notion that authentic Christianity and its eminently "likeable" Christ-followers should be "irresistible" to the surrounding world could not be further from what the Bible actually says. This would even qualify as outrageous lampoon—such as from the Babylon Bee—were it not for the fact that these teachers are 100% serious. As it is, the only way such evangelical charlatans can get away with this scandalous deception is that their listeners must never bother to open and read the Bible.Here is how "irresistible" Christianity was at its outset. Nearly two years into Christ's ministry, the question on the mind of one witness was: "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" (Luke 13:23). And Jesus does not contradict this assessment, but informs His followers that the path to salvation is agonizing! (Agonizing paths, it should be obvious, are not irresistible.) Then, by the end of Christ's earthly tenure, after thousands upon thousands had heard His message while eating divinely-prepared food and being miraculously healed of every condition imaginable, the sum total of believers was not many more than 120 in an upper room in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15), with 500 more in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6). Even given generous approximations, the "conversion rate" of Christianity while the Son of God walked the earth seems to have been in the neighborhood of 0.1%—hardly an "irresistible" number.As for the "likeability" of true believers, Jesus says to those He sent out during His ministry, "You will be hated by all for my name's sake" (Mt. 10:22). (Likeability, it should be obvious, does not induce hatred). He says of the future destiny of His followers in His Olivet Discourse, "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake" (Mt. 24:9). And in John 15:19, He declares to His Apostles, "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you." So, according to Jesus, the faithful life of believers engenders hatred from the world, a far cry from "likeability."Well, maybe these were ominous predictions of Christ simply because He knew that His fallible followers would fall so far short of His example. But Christ was "likeable" while here in earthly form, wasn't He? After all, if we as Christians are to be His "likeable" followers, our Mentor must have epitomized this quality, right? The answer is found in John 7:7, where Jesus says to His brothers (who, at this point, were not yet believers in Him), "The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify about it that its works are evil." And in John 15:18 and 20, Jesus provides clarification to His above warning (John 15:19) to His Apostles: "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you . . . Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his Master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you."Wow. Jesus says He wasn't likeable because of His message, and His Apostles were given the same unpopular message, guaranteed to make them pariahs. So Jesus was hated, as were His Apostles. But maybe that all changes by the time the Church gets off the ground. Doesn't God want His church to be popular? Isn't that how it grows, through pragmatic, "seeker-friendly" methods designed to optimize the appeal of Jesus? What is the expectation of the NT writers on this topic?To this, we find that Peter's expectation of odium and mistreatment for faithfulness to Christ is no different from Jesus' day. He informs his readers:"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you" (1 Pet. 4:12-14).Paul, too, anticipates the unpopular nature of Christianity and its converts when he preaches in Lystra that entrance to the kingdom of God is fraught with many tribulations (Acts 14:22). In 2 Cor. 11:23-28, Paul itemizes exactly how "resistible" his message was as he details the litany of imprisonments, beatings, and near-death experiences that it brought. And toward the end of his ministry, he writes to Timothy, "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Tim. 3:12).So, the anticipation of Jesus and His Apostles is animosity and persecution for the faithful, just as Christ Himself received. They anticipate that most will reject the far-from-irresistible message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:47), and will turn on those who devotedly proclaim this gospel. In fact, the atrocious interpretation of "righteousness" as "likeability" in Mt. 5:20 is especially egregious, because not only did Jesus teach the exact opposite, but He did so only moments earlier in the same talk! He declares in Matt. 5:10-12:"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."Clearly, Jesus is not on board with the idea that His message is supposed to be "irresistible" to the world and that his followers would be known for their "likeability." These specious musings are so opposite from what Jesus actually had to say that, again, the natural impulse is to assume it is all meant as satire, except for the dead-serious nature of its exponents.So if, in reality, the biblically-expected response to gospel presentation is mostly rejection of its message and revilement of its adherents, how then are those adherents to stay faithful? After all, no one in right mind would choose a life of rejection and persecution without some compelling incentive. Without a gripping motivation to remain true, the tendency to defect would be overwhelming. In fact, even during the earthly ministry of Jesus, many of His followers deserted Him as the cost of discipleship began to hit home (cf. John 6:60, 66). As Paul writes to the Corinthians, "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Cor. 15:19).But it is not in this life that the believer has hope. Rather, faithful followers of Christ are those who have relinquished all earthly attachments, including their own lives, in hope of the eternal blessing to come (Luke 14:26). They are those who have denied themselves and daily take up the cross of shame and reproach originally intended for Jesus (Luke 9:23). As Paul explains to the Galatians, "But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." True followers of Christ are those who have already been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20) and now consider it a small thing to forsake everything for His cause.Referring back to Matt. 5:12, Jesus actually exhorts the maligned believer to "rejoice and be glad" for such mistreatment. Why? Jesus goes on to link suffering on account of Him with one's eternal reward. His undeniable implication is that one's experience of persecution is a barometer for how faithfully one is proclaiming the gospel, which in turn brings greater blessing in heaven. In fact, if one is not experiencing any persecution from the world, one must wonder if he or she is really living a life faithful to the Savior.Finally, Jesus connects the suffering of His present faithful with the treatment received by His former Old Testament prophets. These "spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. 12:24) now enjoy the incomparable bliss of holy communion and perfect fellowship with God as they await their promised resurrection (Dan. 12:2; 1 Thess. 4:14-16). Today's faithful are to look to these heroes of the past, those " . . . who died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth" (Heb. 11:13). These prophets of old—"of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:38)—desired something beyond this world, "a better country, that is, a heavenly one" (Heb. 11:16), the same heavenly dwelling Christ has prepared for all who repent and believe in Him (John 14:3).So, to review:Christ's true followers abide in His Word, a considerable challenge given the abundance of anti-biblical notions in today's modern evangelical morass;Christ's Word promises widespread rejection—not "irresistibility"—of the Christian faith, and widespread persecution—not "likeability"—for Christ's faithful followers;One's experience of persecution is a barometer for how faithfully one is sharing the gospel message of "repentance and the forgiveness of sins" (Luke 24:47);In like manner, one's eternal reward will directly depend upon one's faithfulness in the face of persecution;Christ's faithful followers are to endure persecution like the prophets of old by anticipating the glorious reward that awaits them in the coming age.Dr. Colin L. EakinPyromaniacDr. Eakin is a sports medicine orthopædic surgeon in the Bay Area and part time teacher at Grace Bible Fellowship Church's Stanford campus ministry. He is the author of God's Glorious Story.
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