Bible Ballistics: Vol. 10 No.13 Fighters Or Faith-ers???
Yes, I know ‘faithers’ isn’t a real word, but I chose it to make a point; we live in a culture, even much of our (so called) Christian culture has chosen to “fight” rather than suffer for Jesus in ‘faith’. Let’s observe what Isaiah said about the character of the coming Savior, Messiah and Redeemer.
“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.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God,
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one
to his own way;
and the LORD hath laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed,
and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:3-7
Jesus came to be the suffering servant that Isaiah described, to pay for your sin and mine, to suffer the punishment for your sin and mine. Yet what was HIS reaction? He “opened not his mouth”, even when taken to the “slaughter”, and before the “shearers” He “opened not his mouth”! Even Pilate couldn’t understand this kind of humility!
“And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.” Matthew 27:12-14
And in John’s account more of the same:
“And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
11 Jesus answered,
Thou couldest have no power at all
except it were given thee
therefore he that delivered me
hath the greater sin.” John 19:8-11
Jesus again and again reminds us that when we follow Him, we will face opposition because “men love darkness rather than light” (See John 3:19)!!! And when we follow Him, He clearly told us that people would often treat us as they treated Him, but that they are, in actuality, rejecting God and His kingdom–The God who will hold them accountable! We will all give an account of our choices and actions. Without focusing on the contextual interpretation of the following passage, I’d like us to simply see that Jesus says that everyone will give an account for their choices, in this account He relates just before He went to the cross!
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred,
and fed thee?
and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger,
and took thee in?
and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick,
or in prison,
and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them,
Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it
of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me….
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me,
into everlasting fire,
prepared for the devil
and his angels:………
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying,
Lord, when saw we thee an hungred,
or a stranger,
or in prison,
and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye did it not
to one of the least of these,
ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away
into everlasting punishment:
but the righteous into life eternal.” Matthew 25:37-46
Jesus clearly tells us that when people mistreat (or treat kindly) “the least of these my brethren”, it is the same as doing that kindness or unkindness to HIM! (Hopefully we can come back to this passage at a later time, and talk about the “specific” interpretation and application within the total context of these chapters!) I only want us to see from Jesus’ words, that when we are HIS—we can trust HIM to care for us who are HIS brethren! We don’t have to fight for ourselves or take our own vengeance (ever), for truly, “vengeance is mine….saith The Lord”!
“Recompense to no man evil for evil.
Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible,
as much as lieth in you,
live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves,
but rather give place unto wrath:
for it is written,
Vengeance is mine;
I will repay,
saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger,
if he thirst,
give him drink:
for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:17-20
We have a higher calling; we march to a different drummer—the commands of our Lord Jesus, not the call of the world! But how do we accomplish this high calling? Only One way, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is given to all who come to Jesus in repentance and faith. (See Romans 8:9)
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away,
the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart,
I will send him unto you.
8 And when he is come,
he will reprove the world of sin,
and of righteousness,
and of judgment:
9 Of sin,
because they believe not on me;
10 Of righteousness,
because I go to my Father,
and ye see me no more;
11 Of judgment,
because the prince of this world
13 Howbeit when he,
the Spirit of truth,
he will guide you into all truth:
for he shall not speak of himself;
but whatsoever he shall hear,
that shall he speak:
and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me:
for he shall receive of mine,
and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath
therefore said I,
that he shall take of mine,
and shall shew it unto you…
33 These things I have spoken unto you,
that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation:
but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world.” Portions of John 16:7-33
“I have overcome the world”! Amen and Amen! But there is even more—Jesus has overcome the world in a way that the world doesn’t understand, and we must pursue His ways and not the world’s! Simple but not easy! Jesus went to the cross willingly for us, I just can’t believe that He expects us to follow HIM kicking and screaming all the way. (Please understand, I’m not saying we aren’t to stand up for truth and right, but we are to stand in obedience and compliance with the Word of God, not with the ways of the world!)
“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.” Luke 9:23
Now taking up our cross isn’t a reference to the daily aches, pains and difficulties of life, it is a reference to “dying” to self while living for Jesus, by His Spirit’s power and grace! Not exalting ourselves but humbling ourselves before the Holy God and His Son Jesus, who has saved us by HIS blood!!! What less could we give?
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
To continue our consideration of whether we are living as “faithers” or ‘fighters’, let’s look at what I consider to be one of the ultimate passages on “Christ-like” living.
“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself
of no reputation,
and took upon him
the form of a servant,
and was made
in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion
as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also
hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name
which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
of things in heaven,
and things in earth,
and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God
the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
Won’t you join me in seeking the face of Jesus, and pursuing a life that reveals the “mind of Christ” to a lost and dying world in need of a Savior? And may we remember what Jesus Himself said about our attitude:
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:11
And as James calls us to remember about “faithers”! “Saying so” doesn’t make it so! But a transformed life will be evident!
“What doth it profit, my brethren,
though a man say he hath faith,
and have not works?
can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked,
and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them,
Depart in peace,
be ye warmed and filled;
notwithstanding ye give them not
those things which are needful
to the body;
what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith,
if it hath not works,
18 Yea, a man may say,
Thou hast faith,
and I have works:
shew me thy faith
without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith
by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God;
thou doest well:
the devils also believe,
20 But wilt thou know,
O vain man,
is dead?” James 2:14-20
Do you have real “faith” that is displayed in a Christ-like mind-set as pictured in Philippians 2? Or does your life say you’d “rather fight than switch” (pun intended!)!!! Are we humbling ourselves before God and others, or exalting ourselves because we’re too proud to bow? A question that only you can answer, but don’t wait to long!
“He hath delivered my soul
from the battle that was against me:
for there were many with me.
19 God shall hear,
and afflict them,
even he that abideth of old. Selah.
Because they have no changes,
therefore they fear not God.” Psalm 55:18-19
Let’s fear God, yield to His Spirit and live by faith, rather than walk (or fight) in the flesh? Blessings on your week!