We will answer to Christ
When people stand up for the Lord and his work, cults and counterfeiters will try to capitalize on it, Satan will try to destroy it, and even well meaning church people will try to discredit it as being too controversial and not “seeker friendly”. All of this happened to Paul in his ministry around the known world. What are we to do? If we strive for academic credibility, those of the higher criticism genre beat us down. If we appeal to the common roots of the working class with a message of power, we are discredited by those who know us; “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things? And they took offense at him.” But Jesus said to them,
“Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.”
Even Jesus’ miracles were ascribed by the spiritual leaders of the nation to be from the power of demons. So, you cannot please everyone. Bottom line is to know that you have the authority of God as you speak his word and to work in the power of the Lord in your circle of witness to those whom God has placed you with and let the Lord determine the extent of your effectiveness.
What would the Lord say about you?
2 Cor 10: 7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. 8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: 9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. 10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. 11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present.
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. 17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the God who knows your heart. Live your life worthy of me, cleanse yourself of works of unrighteousness, and I will use you as my representatives and will lead you to whom you should speak. As you study to show yourself an approved workman who rightly divides the word of truth, and who is ready to give an answer to any man who asks you for a reason for the hope that lies within you, (I AM that hope that lies within you, do you know me?) don’t be concerned about what you will say. Say what I have placed in your heart and let me deal with their hearts. Don’t compare your ministry’s effectiveness with others, because each one must answer for themselves, and then I will reward each person for their part in my ministry. To each I have given differing gifts, but it is I who am the one who uses each person to make my church grow as I use some to plant and some to water. The common denominator is speak where I have you and don’t worry about the others.
God’s Word is our only authority
In the days of the first century, the Apostles were bringing new revelation to the Jews from God which had not been revealed in their Old Testament; particularly pertaining to the church – the bride of Christ – a mystery of God. Their message, contrary to what they previously knew, was that we are no longer living under Mosaic Law, circumcision, or the Temple system but by the power of the Holy Spirit to work out God’s righteous standards in us. Even though the Apostles’ message was substantiated by Divine power and signs they could not avoid being stoned by the Jews in many cases. Our message is the same as theirs, our authority (the Word of God) is the same, and our substantiation by living by the power of the Spirit is the same. Why should we expect different responses than what the apostles received? Jesus even said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” The Gospel is an “offense” and a “stumbling block” to those who are perishing, even in many kinds of our so called (“christian”) church denominations. Nobody wants to be told that their “good works” can’t help them and that consequently they are perishing. Can you blame them? They would rather hurt you than admit that they are sinners and need to receive eternal life. Take comfort that our vindication and commendation will come in the end.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – Peter.
More to come,