Courage to Follow Christ Alone:
When those among the Jews recognized that they were responsible for crucifying Christ, they immediately came under conviction that all was not right, that their religious system had gone astray in opposition to God. The words of Peter accurately describing their guilt, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Act_2:36
As history is repeating itself in the departure of the churches from the will of God the question they asked is the same question all true hearted souls will be asking, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Notice the answer that follows, was it to be baptized in the name of a new church opposed to the Jewish system, or was it to come under the direct leadership of one of the apostles? “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Act 2:38-39”.
The lord has been seeking to get us to come to him personally, alone, without interference of another, “Has not the Lord told us, “Seek ye MY FACE”? And will we not individually respond, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek”? Psalms 27:8
What did being cast out of the temple mean for the Jew, did it mean he was lost from the friendship, and fellowship of his fellow Israelites? Did it mean that the days of feasting, the national holidays, the social gatherings he was to be excluded from, would he be looked upon as strange, different, unaccepted. Was he now to be a foreigner amongst his own people. What power, and extended influence this system must have had over a people who had come outside of the covering of God, lost their spirit of independence, and yoked themselves to an apostate system that demanded their strictest servitude. Is this not the same spirit met in the churches today.
“The plain straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel
because of their sins. God holds His people, AS A BODY, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them”
“As they persisted in their rejection of the gospel the apostle [Paul] ceased to preach in the synagogue.”
Great danger is the philosophical teaching of the transfer, trade, barter the platform of Christ for the platform of man. The only sure footing the bedrock of Christ where we are to build for eternity is being squandered for the shifting sand of men’s ideas. These ideas not brought into the subjection of Christ and not eliminated when found faulty constitute a new system of religion in opposition to the Creator’s plan of salvation. The gospel is to free men from every obstacle in the way of forming a character free in Christ Jesus. It is the truth that sets us free from concepts, ideas, and practices that have been formed in the institute of Satan and keep men’s minds bound to the world, its ways, and practices. These ways, the spirit of the world, it’s competition, struggling to rise above another, seeking attention, gratifying self, have found their ways into the church.
It is at the point of surrender, when the sinner yields his will to Christ, that a new power takes custody (control, ownership) of the new heart.
Then a revolutionized formation (new creation) occurs which man can never accomplished for himself.
The origin of the work is supernatural and it accomplishes what only divinity could do in human nature..
It is divine power alone that brings about the new birth.
The first and highest evidence of the new birth is found in the blessing God has promised to all those who experience this vital connection with Him….
I heard they cast you out… this will happen, true followers of Christ are going to lose friends, family, their Church also…
You remember that Jesus once went searching for a man who was cast out of church and “when he had found him, He said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”
Why do you think that Jesus chose those first words to a man who had just lost all that was dear to him, dost thou believe on the Son of God? John 9:35
Why did John pick those first words of Christ as a poor unwanted castaway was found by Jesus? Weren’t other words of compassion spoken?
These were spoken because the salvation not offered at the synagogue must come from Christ.
Secondly the words do have an “End Time Scenario” and give us an example to follow. 1Cor._10:11
This man not satisfied with a church whose advantages were for this lifetime alone. They offered friendship, a meeting place, earthly comfort, affiliation, and the approval of men, and turning from these he rejected them all, and did “ count them but dung, that (he)(…) may win Christ,” Php 3:8-9
He sought the “Righteousness by Faith” direct from Christ. If men are hid in Christ the gospel will be a direct offer they will allow nothing else to get in the way as they present Christ the sinners only hope. Christ will be recognized in his people.
The righteousness by faith message cannot be received until we count all things as Paul “but dung” for the excellency of knowing Jesus. read Phillipians 3:1-10
Consider that you have just been cast out of everything that your family, your country, your fellow citizens believe in. You have been rejected by society, the church of your birth, and the friends that attend the church that you love. Now the question is in as gentle of a manner that can be poised pointed at all your recent conflict of hope, healing, sorrow, and love. “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”
The question contains within it consequences for any further advancement in the truth, “Will you believe in me at the loss of country, family and home?”
This story also contains the resemblance of THE END TIME TESTS FOUND IN THE GREATEST WARNING EVER GIVEN TO MAN:
- Who will you believe
- Whom will you worship
- Will you compromise for fear of wanting food & clothing
- Are you ready… the hour of his judgment is come
(see these 4 tests found in Revelation 14:6-10 and 13:17)
This man betrayed into spiritual darkness by countryman, left to formulate an answer for his position by his own parents, chooses to stand alone and witness to truth regardless of consequences. We are told this will be our test!
To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few–this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.
It was the Holy Spirit that remained along side the man while the church leaders forced questions upon him seeking to confuse his senses, and cause him to not render a testimony which could have an effect upon the people. For if this straight testimony was received by the people they then would be enabled to comprehend the freedom found in the everlasting gospel preached by Christ.
They could have heard Christ’s call: come out and follow me. That call offered a place of true worship next to his disciples. It offered liberty from the shadowy substances which un-comprehended left the Jewish religion blind and in bondage to those hungry for position.
They would have also been saved from the abomination of desolation that has its fulfillment in that great last day event Christ seeks to save us from. But these Satan would not afford, and so we find Satan on the ground leagued with the church leaders in an assault to stop the straight testimony.
With many words they tried to confuse him, so that he might think himself deluded. Satan and his evil angels were on the side of the Pharisees, and united their energies and subtlety with man’s reasoning in order to counteract the influence of Christ. They blunted the convictions that were deepening in many minds. Angels of God were also on the ground to strengthen the man who had had his sight restored.
The Pharisees did not realize that they had to deal with any other than the uneducated man who had been born blind; they knew not Him with whom they were in controversy. Divine light shone into the chambers of the blind man’s soul. As these hypocrites tried to make him disbelieve, God helped him to show, by the vigor and pointedness of his replies (straight testimony), that he was not to be ensnared. He answered, “I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be His disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art His disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence He is.”
The Lord Jesus knew the ordeal through which the man was passing, and He gave him grace and utterance, so that he became a witness for Christ. He answered the Pharisees in words that were a cutting rebuke (Straight Testimony) to his questioners. They claimed to be the expositors of Scripture, the religious guides of the nation; and yet here was One performing miracles, and they were confessedly ignorant as to the source of His power, and as to His character and claims
“Why herein is a marvelous thing,” said the man, “that ye know not from whence He is, and yet He hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this Man were not of God, He could do nothing.”
The man had met his inquisitors on their own ground. His reasoning was unanswerable. The Pharisees were astonished, and they held their peace,–spellbound before his pointed, determined words. For a few moments there was silence. Then the frowning priests and rabbis gathered about them their robes, as though they feared contamination from contact with him; they shook off the dust from their feet, and hurled denunciations against him,–“Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?” And they excommunicated him.
Jesus heard what had been done; and finding him soon after, He said, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?”
For the first time the blind man looked upon the face of his Restorer. Before the council he had seen his parents troubled and perplexed; he had looked upon the frowning faces of the rabbis; now his eyes rested upon the loving, peaceful countenance of Jesus. Already, at great cost to himself, he had acknowledged Him as a delegate of divine power; now a higher revelation was granted him.” Desire of Ages page 474
In response to the question, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” The young man repeats none of the conflict. He doesn’t stop to tell all he has passed through as he picks himself up from the church steps. The words “I thought the church stood for God. I believed that my priest represented the true God. We have the truth.” None of these words are spoken. Alone the question is asked…. “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?”
How could the man born blind already be calling Jesus Lord? “Who is he Lord, that I might believe on him?”
The Holy Spirit had directed the path, and prepared the heart to set it in the only direction of true belief in Christ, the only source of life. And if the Holy Spirit has not done the work upon the heart from the very beginning, if it was done by man, then it’s a counterfeit, it is a false conversion. It can not stand and bear witness to the truth.
But here is someone in the first moments of their new birth experience proving their allegiance to Christ. He stands in opposition to the unbelief of his pastors, inside an apostate church among whom are those found in the unfortunate position warned by Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Act_5:39
Hear the man standing up before these high church officials giving a straight testimony on who Jesus is. “(…) Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.(…)If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
Now friends, that was long ago, and things have changed, right, but that was the straight testimony regarding the faith of Jesus at that time. A sinner cannot do miracles therefore He is righteous. That was the righteousness by faith message accepted by this man, and it took all for him to drop the presentation of glory of Israel offered by the priests to receive the further revelation of the glory of Christ.
When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
For years the church has been looking to man, and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus in whom our hopes for eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave his servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angels message, in clear distinct lines.
Have you ever heard a sermon on why the seventh day Adventist church needs the third angels message preached to them? The spirit of prophecy states above that the message that came in 1888 was “the third angels message”, and since my baptism I have never heard one sermon on why Adventist need the third angels message for themselves.
“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ”. (Review & Hearld 9-16-1902) Are we prepared to see our own nothingness… is that a hard message for us to receive? Will we not be clothed with Christ righteousness until that message is accepted?
Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden… Our only hope is perfect trust in the blood of Him who can save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.
The uttermost is saving from self not in self. The satanic character of sin is exposed as people trust in self, lean upon men, and lose sight of the great necessity of either coming under the divine influence or sorrowfully remaining in confusion.
Do you have the courage to follow Christ even if no one else will… do you have the courage to stand for Him and acknowledge Him, to honor His Character, His beliefs even if others reject Him? You can for He loves to strengthen the weak, enrich the power, and unlose the stammering tongue. Today friend please, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7.”