Bible Ballistics: Vol. 7 No. 18 What’s Your Answer???
I’d like to take some time today to deal with a topic that is dear to my heart, the Word of God. Because it is in the Word of God that we find the wisdom, grace and truth that we need to live and walk confidently before our God, and before a lost and dying world. We must remember that we are in enemy territory—the enemy of our souls; the enemy of mankind—and we will encounter opposition. Almost the entire book of 1 Peter deals with believers’ suffering for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and my friends it’s where we also are living.
If you haven’t noticed, we who are living out our Biblical faith in the world today, are encountering opposition, ridicule and even outright suffering for that faith, and we must prepare ourselves for the increase of this kind of response in our culture. We are living in a time when Biblical Faith is in 180-degree opposition to the trends and direction in which our American culture (and the world) is heading. We have opportunities to make a difference, but to do that we must, I repeat, we must, equip ourselves with the Word of God in order to be able to “give an answer”—the right answer—for what we believe and why. We are “hate mongers” as some accuse us, because we know that truth is truth no matter whether people want to hear it or not. We must understand that the world is headed to “hell in a hand basket”, and if we don’t warn them, then we stand remiss before God. We must share the “Good News”, but in order to do that we must also share the “bad news”– that the “wages of sin is death”—and not only is sin deadly, but hell is hot and eternity is long. Yet there is ONE way (and only ONE way) to avoid hell, and that is through the substitutionary, atoning payment for sin that Jesus Christ made at the cross. As Peter reminds us:
“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake,
happy are ye:
and be not afraid of their terror,
neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always
to give an answer
to every man that asketh you
a reason of the hope that is in you
with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:14-15
A “reason of the hope that is in you”—that is our call, our goal, our passion. We are to share the hope that is “in you”, yet we can’t share what’s “IN” us, unless Christ IS “IN” us!!! He is our hope both now and in eternity—the ONLY hope for all mankind. We can’t give an answer unless we know the answer, and Jesus is the answer to every question!!! But if I’m not His, and He’s not “IN” me, and I’m not “IN” His Word—then my answers may be askew. Do you have the right answer? Do you know Jesus, who is the answer? Is He in YOU?
“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
28 Whom we preach,
warning every man,
and teaching every man in all wisdom;
that we may present every man perfect
in Christ Jesus:
29 Whereunto I also labour,
striving according to his working,
which worketh in me mightily.” Colossians 1:25-29
Our confidence IS “Christ in you, the hope of glory”—it’s what God does in and through us when we receive Jesus Christ and His saving work in our hearts and lives; and when we know the truth we have the opportunity to warn men of the coming judgment and the deliverance and salvation available in Jesus, only Jesus. As Jesus proclaimed in Revelation 3:20:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
When we hear the voice of the One who died for our salvation, and open the door to Him, HE WILL come in and abide with us. And having Jesus abiding with us, and abiding in and with Him is “priceless”, learning that it’s all about HIM, and not about us. We come to know that we are “striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily”!!! It’s Him mightily working in us! You see Paul isn’t talking about “his” own mighty work, but about “God’s” mighty work in and through him. And that’s what God wants to do through you and me, if we’ll but trust in His power, and walk in His truth and grace continually.
Are we willing to pay the “price” no matter what God asks us to do, no matter whether it’s big or small in the world’s eyes. God wants us to recognize that HE is the power, and when we are yielded to Him, we can do HIS work mightily, but the price may include opposition and persecution. Yet we will never walk through anything alone. Our confidence is in our God, not our circumstances. How much confidence do you have in God? Have you been in the “Word” enough to know that you know, that you know? Only familiarity with the Word and its author will build that kind of confidence!! I’ve got to tell you, I trust Him, yet with the unsure father who answered Jesus question about his faith, I also have to ask God to help me:
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Mark 9:23-24
Oh, that we could understand that Jesus is ready, willing and able to “help thou mine unbelief”!!! Jesus is faithful to display His power and grace in our lives, even as we face our limitations, because HE knows our needs and our shortcomings, and He has promised that we’ll never walk alone!
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:5-8
Praise God that we have the ultimate assurance and confidence– “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”! We can take confidence in HIS Sovereign control in all things, especially in our personal life!!! No matter our circumstances, we can walk in confidence even when suffering or persecutions come our way. And my dear friends, if Jesus Christ delays His return we will see more and more suffering and persecution. What will you do when what we believe to be truly “Biblical” faith and practice is against the law? Endure or fold?
“For this is thankworthy,
if a man for conscience toward God
20 For what glory is it, if,
when ye be buffeted for your faults,
ye shall take it patiently?
but if, when ye do well,
and suffer for it,
ye take it patiently,
this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called:
because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example,
that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin,
neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled,
reviled not again;
when he suffered,
he threatened not;
but committed himself
to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self
bare our sins
in his own body
on the tree,
being dead to sins,
should live unto righteousness:
by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray;
but are now returned
unto the Shepherd and Bishop
of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:19-25
The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is the key to confidence. As He endured all that He went through for us, knowing that God was in charge; so we can do as He did, and commit ourselves “to him that judgeth righteously”! We can trust that God is at work on our behalf—conforming us into the image of the Son.
“And we know
that all things work together
to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate
to be conformed
to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate,
them he also called:
and whom he called,
them he also justified:
and whom he justified,
them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us,
who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son,
but delivered him up for us all,
how shall he not with him
also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing
to the charge of God’s elect?
It is God that justifieth.” Romans 8:28-33
So just a word of encouragement for your week, may you rest in Jesus and trust all your difficulties to HIM and His grace, His power and His Word! After all:
“If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Remember, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13