What’s The Worst That Could Happen? They Kill Us?: Standing Up For Jesus When It Counts

Posted: March 5, 2015 in 42-Gospel of Luke

Luke 12:1-12 — Jesus said, “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He is the one to fear.” Wow, you cannot put it any more plainly than that. Jesus lays it out there. The plain truth.

The illustration that comes to mind here is my relationship with my brother when we were kids. My brother was, in those days, a Sheldon Cooper kind of guy. It was not the fact that he was super-intelligent, but it was the fact that he let everybody know it all the time. He was the classic super smart guy with awkward social skills and one of those people that seemed to naturally draw the ire of other school kids. He was a straight A student. I was a good student too, though, where he would make straight A’s, I would make one or two B’s to go with my A’s. School came easy to him whereas for me I was good at it but I had to work hard. He was socially awkward whereas I was the one who easily made friends. A lot of the ease I had in making friends was simple watching him destroy himself socially with ease. What does this have to do with what Jesus said? Read on. He was so socially awkward and seem to easily (whether knowingly or not) cause people to dislike him intensely and pick on him. Me, being the social chameleon, sometimes would join in on the ridicule of my brother. My father used to give me some stern talking to’s about blood being thicker than what. About the fact that family is what you have when you have nothing else. He is your brother, Mark. Stand up for him. You can fight among each other here at the house but when you walk out that door, you defend each other to the death! But my brother made it soooo easy not to like him. Why was I saddled with this? He invites it and he is just down right mean sometimes I would tell Dad. No matter says my Dad, he is your brother. When we move to the next church I serve, who is going with you? Your friends here or your brother. Stand up for him!

Fear of social rejection. Fear of being considered an outcast. Fear of being singled out. Fear of opposition or ridicule can weaken our witness for Christ. Often, we cling to peace and comfort of the crowd at the expense of our walk with God. Jesus reminds us that we should not fear others or what they can do to us but rather we should have healthy fear of God who controls our eternal consequences. We should not let fear of a person or group keep us from standing up for Jesus. Today, in this world, it is becoming increasing unpopular to be a Christ follower.

There are so many things today where the social attitudes toward what is right and wrong is changing, slipping, and being modify to suit the pursuit of self-indulgence. We are challenged by a world where sexual promiscuity is glorified. We live in a world where morality is relative and there are no absolute truths. We live in a world where people who are considered out of touch with the times if they have fundamental issues with the gay, lesbian, and transgender lifestyles. We live in a world where we are vilified for having issue with marriage being between only a man and a woman. We live in a world where Muslim violence is ignored in the name of giving them equality. We live in a world where the very holy book of Islam is laced with contradictions and calls to violence is ignored in the name of religious tolerance. We live in a world where there is no need for Jesus Christ because all roads lead to heaven. No matter what you believe it’s OK as long as it works for you. You can believe whatever suits you because God would never send anyone to hell. These philosophies better suit our anything goes lifestyle that we espouse today. If you are against any of this new anything goes world philosophy, you are intolerant. We live in a world where there is intolerance for perceived lack of tolerance.

Do we blend into the crowd like I did when my brother and I were young? Are we to compromise our beliefs just to be accepted in the culture? Do we become like the culture just so we can “put butts in seats” in church? Or do we stand firm on the Word of God? Are there lines we will not cross just to engage the culture around us. Do we become chameleons and change with the winds of culture? Or do we stand on the principles of the Bible, the eternal truths of God. Do we believe the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible? Yes, were are to go into all the world and make disciples. In doing that we are to engage the culture. However, we do so in a way so that we can identify the ways in which we can make the gospel real to the worlds in which we engage. We are to make it real for them by placing the eternal truths of God’s Word into their context, their frame of reference. Paul once said that he was a Greek to the Greeks and a Hebrew to the Hebrews. It did not mean that he compromised his principles. It meant that he couched his witness for Jesus Christ into terms that his listeners could understand. The message never changed. It was always about Jesus.

Certainly, we are not to be Westboro Baptist-like when we engage the culture on issues that are blatantly anti-biblical, but we are to lovingly engage the culture and show them their need for repentance and their need for Jesus Christ. We must show them love without payback. We invest in the lives of those whose lifestyles are in opposition to the Bible and earn the right to speak plainly about the consequence of sin. We should never throw the Word of God under the bus in order to engage the world. We should contextualize our message to their world but the Word remains constant. Just as I should have stood up for my brother back in the day simply because he was my brother, we should never throw our beliefs under the bus just to blend into society. If we blend in so much that no one can tell the difference between us and the non-believer, then what do we have to offer this world that is different that the mess that they are already getting.

The world is eating itself alive with its lack of moral standards and absolute truths. Broken homes. Children growing up without fathers. 15,000 murders per year in the USA alone. 70,000 forcible rapes each year. One (1) in 4 women can expect to be sexually assaulted in some way during their lifetime). 27 Million people are in slavery (sexual or otherwise) around the globe. It is all a maddening testament to the fall of man since the Garden.

Do we become like the madness just to fit in? We should live our lives like the Christians of the first century who lovingly engaged their society but were willing to die rather than compromise their beliefs. Our eternity with Jesus is much much longer than anything that can happen to us here. Let us be courageous and engage the world with the eternal principles of our Father and do so in a loving way that sometimes will cause us to be rejected. Love can change the world if we do not compromise but do so in a way that demonstrates the love of Jesus Christ. They can kill the body but not the love of Jesus Christ in us. Let us be different. Let us not throw Jesus under the bus when it counts. Love can. Love can. Love can.

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