Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Staying Strong To the End

Our pastor at church on Sunday was going over the disciples Jesus calls unto Himself in Mark 3. It made me consider how far they had grown by the end of their lives, and finished the race well.


In growing old, they grew in love, but not compromise.
They loved Truth more, as well as hated error more.
They didn't pretend some fake humility of "ignorance" --they KNEW the Truth and stood firm in it with grace and power of the Holy Spirit.


So many professing Christians today compromise as they get older. I don't know why. But we have examples of men who stayed true to Christ Jesus the Lord, and His sheep. It CAN be done. Going off into liberalville in the golden years shouldn't happen. Instead, as men and women grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, they should be discipling the younger men and women to stand firm. Just like Paul, Peter, John and Jude did. We need men and women who won't give up Truth for relationships, to pass on their biblical wisdom, to train, the next generation.


As it is, we've got a LOT of people who think doctrine doesn't matter.


But it does.

I was so encouraged to see how some men truly did finish the race well, they fought the fight, they did not compromise. May the Lord ignite the same love, passion, wisdom, and discernment in all of us who are truly in Him.


Also, I've thought how incredible it is to see Scripture in such amazing harmony.


Mar 3:13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons.



Jesus called each by name (some by new names), by HIS will, not their own. He did this so that they might be WITH Him.


Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.


How faithful the Spirit of God is! Were they educated? Did they go to seminary? Did they have degrees? Did they have a website or write a book? Did they have a library full of their favorite theologians?


No.



Simply uneducated men (by the world's standard--a bunch of nobodies), who had the mark of Jesus all over them. Confounding the "wise" of the world, these men were KNOWN to have been with Jesus.



And that included dear Peter, the man who at one point was afraid of being identified with Jesus, now stood clearly with Him.



So amazing!


1Co 1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
1Co 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1Co 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1Co 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
1Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
1Co 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
1Co 1:29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.



1Co 2:1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.
1Co 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1Co 2:3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,
1Co 2:4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
1Co 2:5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.



1Co 2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.



That is why the apostles were so effective. They were not using men's logic rules, philosophies, or argumentation; they did not try to sway others by degrees, drop names of theologians they idolized and used as some sort of spiritual standard, or appeal the fallen mind of men. They certainly did not pull up false teachers so that both truth and error could equally be heard. They stood firm on the Truth, not giving an inch to false brothers and false teachers.

They simply proclaimed Christ Jesus and Him crucified, in the power and grace of the Person of the Holy Spirit. They feared God not men. They actually believed that the Gospel IS the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, first to the Jew then to the gentile.

In their twilight years, they didn't fein mock humility of "not knowing" the truth and therefore pretended to go to others to learn the truth. Rather, they GREW in the Truth, so that at end they could say:

1Jo 2:21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT, and because no lie is of the truth.

Ignorance isn't a virtue, and we see that in Scripture. The apostle of love also was the one who told Christians to not even greet a false teacher for in doing so they will partake of his wicked deeds. He had a heart for Truth and souls and didn't give up the fight and compromise because of relationships. He, along with Peter, Jude, etc. stayed strong.

I pray that those in Christ will too.