Two days ago, my post referred to Dietrich Bonhoeffer; now there was a man sold out to Christ. It’s called zeal & passion & enthusiasm. “…His word was in my heart as a burning fire…” (A) “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace…”(B) “…being fervent in the Spirit, he spoke & taught diligently the things of the Lord…(C) There has been a long line of sold out believers, to name a few: Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Deborah, Elijah, Amos, Ester, John the Baptist, Origin, Irenaeus, Wycliffe, Gregory, Jon Huss, Martin Luther, Menno Simons, John Knox & Wesley. Some looked forward to Messiah, some back. That list does not even scratch the roll call. Remember, Elijah, when he thought he was alone, was told there were 7,000 other believers who hadn’t bowed to Baal.(D) They all were anointed, brave & strong.
O VICTORY IN JESUS, MY SAVIOR FOREVER. In the past the Spirit, gave me power & protection, not because I prayed for these, but as a by product of the anointing which came on me, because in a crisis I put myself into deep faith in heavenly Father. You learn faith by doing faith, or what has been called faith filled “life service” rather than “lip service”. Once in prison, several Nazis took me into a cell to threaten me because I refused to be racist. I told them as if we were having a nice conversation over coffee, “I am a man of God, I can’t play racist games.” “If you don’t we will kill you.” “As a man of God, God may or may not protect me, but either way I can’t be racist.” They let me go. Little did I know that this drama in a prison cell had an entire balcony of non-racists of various “races” watching what would happen. There was positive excitement when I emerged unscathed. I was not trying to be brave, I was simply focused on doing what is right, i.e. living my life in Christ….after all that is who I am. When Daniel and the others went into the fiery furnace, they said something similar to me… to paraphrase: “God may or may not rescue us, but no matter what we will not compromise, we will do what is right.”(E) But God’s ways are not a Hollywood movie script. He places limits on evil, but evil can still roll in hard on us, & God’s heroes don’t always make it to ride into the sunset. Five godly missionaries to the Amazon were spotted by a tribe that had not seen Caucasians before. The tribe thought they were cannibals, ambushed & killed them all. I could tell even worse heart wrenching stories. Not only the godly men in Babylon, but also I in prison in essence said, “God can save me, whether He saves me who knows? but I will faithfully serve him no matter what.” The Christian life begins at Calvary!
LIVING GODLY IS NOT FOR WIMPS & COWARDS. The shepherd boy David faced lions & a bear by himself and killed them. That experience was training grounds for bigger things. He went from lions to a giant. David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him [Goliath]; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”(F) David’s courage & faith had been in action long before he met Goliath. As a boy facing lions & bears, he had been in training; but how many of us if we had faced an angry lion would deal with it like David. Would we have not tried to run & considered it misfortune, rather than an opportunity to grow in faith & courage?? It is good to be challenged. And guess what–you do have a wild mean-eyed lion after you!! He is Satan looking for a way to devour you!(G) In the real world, there are real dangers. “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force….He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”(H) So let us add muscle to our ministry, courage to our calling, & grit to our godliness. When we get over our fears, and move forward in faith, we actually become dangerous. Christ did not die to make us “nice wimps”. “The righteous are bold as a lion.”(I) For all of us, boldness comes with a price, for the 5 Amazon missionaries, the price was their lives. Yahshua told a story about a man who refused to take a risk; the servant said, “I was afraid.” Yahshua called the man wicked & lazy.(J) God wants His people to stand erect & be unafraid of the enemy. “Be strong and of good courage”, He told Joshua.(K) And Joshua is not the only one, many have likewise been told in Scriptures (and throughout history), “Be strong & of good courage.” “Be ye doers of the word, & not hearers only! (L) “Blessed are they that hear the Word of God, & keep it.”(M)
IT’S YOUR CHOICE. No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to make poor choices. If you decide you want to be something better, then stop your poor choices and be that better thing.
WHEN YOU STAND, GOD STANDS WITH YOU. Fear knocked, faith answered, and nothing bad happened. The man of God will be “thoroughly furnished unto all good works”. (N) Mercy me, you think if you are nice, that roaring lion will be nice back??! Don’t run, in faith stand on the promises of God. Nothing is accomplished by giving in to bullies, it just makes them bolder. Christ had substance, he turned water into wine that had some kick to it. Now the churches want to turn wine with some solid kick back into nice lukewarm water! The first church I went to told me Christ’s miracle had turned water into grape cool-aid. Wake up! Nice is not going to win this spiritual war. Being nice to the roaring lion Satan is going to get you eaten, because he is not a kitty-cat. That is not one of the weapons of our warfare that brings the house of evil down. Samson was hardly nice, when he prayed for forgiveness & the power to move that big support column.
RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION. When we have a sold-out zeal for God, we get downright disgusted with the gross violations that gross sinners perform. “Be angry and sin not.”(O) There is a place for total disgust, and the indignation that moves us to stand up for God. And there is a place in our boldness for humility. A woman wanting a blessing from Yahshua boldly grabbed his clothing, “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” And Yahshua marvelled at this woman’s faith!!(P)
NOT ALL BOLDNESS & COURAGE IS FROM FAITH. Christian boldness is not meanness, power hungry, domineering & controlling. It is mixed with love & righteous indignation. Nor is Christian boldness & courage without a streak of fear…but it is so much faith, that fear takes a back seat, and is not in the driver’s seat. Godly boldness & courage is restrained & righteous. I need to do God’s will no matter what. “If you know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them.”(Q)
HOLLYWOOD & THE WORLD SEE CHRISTIANS AS WIMPS. Watch a hundred Hollywood movies depicting Christians and you see 100 films depicting stupid wimps. Actually it takes moral courage not to join the party of sin. But you would not know it from listening to the World. Plus they want Christians to be seen but not heard, just a toothless old dog they can kick when they are angry at God. That’s why they passed the Johnson Amendment, forbidding churches to discuss anything immoral that they legislate. They want Christians safely tucked into their churches having pot roasts. In the early days of the church, when the Christians still had the genuine anointing of the Spirit on them, (instead of a fake one that makes them bark like dogs), the world marveled at their boldness!(R) So quit being a bland toothless mutt that they can kick! You learn faith by doing faith. Apply the Word of God to your life. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”(S) You want to be a person of faith, then do it. Of course you have fear. Admit it to God, confess it and have faith.(T) “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong & of good courage…”(U)
FINAL CONCLUDING THOUGHT: Christ did not die to make you a nice wimp, but he told us the Kingdom of heaven has to be seized with violence (“biazo” in the orig. Greek…meaning a “strong pressing force”). Don’t do things half-way!
(A) JER 20:9b (B) ISA 62:1a (C) ACTS 18:25b (D) 1 KGS 19:18 (E) actual words at DAN 3:17-18 (F) 1 SAM 17:32 (G) 1 PTR 5:8-9 (H) MT 11:12,15 (I) PRV 28:1 (J) MT 25:24-28 (K) JOSH 1:9 (L) JAS 1:22-25 (M) LK 2:28 (N) 2 TIM 3:16-17 (O) EPH 4:26 (P) MT 15:27 (Q) JN 13:17 (R) ACTS 4:13 (S) ECCL 9″:10 (T) PS 34:4 (U) JOSH 1:6-7a