This verse is probably one of the best known verses in the Bible. It may be very well-known but we had best not get complacent about it. Do we believe what this verse says? Is there really only one Name under heaven whereby we can be saved? Would you stake your life on it? In today’s society with its anti-Christian bent, we had better be sure we believe it if we are going to stand up for Jesus because there are thousands of our brothers and sisters around the world who are doing just that–giving their lives for Jesus. If we believe then why do we get so mealy-mouthed around the religious people of the world? There is not one religion that makes this claim, only Christianity. Our beliefs had better be rooted in Jesus and our lives built on Him. Otherwise, when the storms come and the winds of doubt and fear start beating us up, we will fall. If you read the full passage above, then you will know that verse thirteen says that the council of leaders knew that Peter and John “had been with Jesus”. Isn’t that what we want others to see in us? Enough of the likeness of Jesus that they will know that we have spent some time with Jesus. Jesus died for all sinners, we owe it to Him to let the whole world know. Are we ready to stand up, speak up and die if we have to? Let us all pray that if that time comes in our lives that we will be ready to meet the challenge and joyfully go home to be with Jesus.
“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
When we rebel and refuse to accept God and His plan of salvation, He becomes angry and His wrath can be as dreadful as His love is wonderful. We don’t hear about the wrath of God from churches much anymore. But we must always understand that God is a jealous and a wrathful God to those who refuse to believe in Him and His Son, Jesus. Once we are saved, we do not have to fear the wrath of an angry God. That, however, does not give us free rein to do whatever we please. We won’t lose our salvation or be turned away from heaven, but God does discipline His children. So we should strive to live a Holy lifestyle on a daily basis and encourage others to do the same. Then, our lives will be filled with joy and we can live in anticipation of the day that Jesus takes us home to be with Him forever!!
In our busy lives, we often get impatient with God when He doesn’t deliver exactly what and when we want Him to. But, take a look at history, He has never been early and He has never been late. Mary and Martha thought surely Jesus was late, but, no, He was right on time for God to get the glory of resurrecting Lazarus from the dead. He lives outside our time and only sees the “now”. If it is always “now”, and it is, then He can never be early or late. His great love for us compels Him to act “at just the right time.”
We should always remember that all of us were once sinners and slaves to sin. We lived ungodly lives satisfying the ungodly desires of our flesh. We wasted our lives chasing after earthly pleasures that fade away with the dark of night. But, Jesus Christ, through His mercy died for us and we have been justified by His grace. We could not and can not do anything to save ourselves. So, we need to keep those thoughts in mind and always live our life remembering that we owe a debt of love that we can never repay. We need to thank God may times every day for all that He has done and is doing for each of us. We can show our gratitude by telling the old, old story that is still true today. We were born in sin and needed a Savior. Jesus is our Savior and our Lord. The story never changes. Tell it to those God puts in your path today. And tell it with love. Let our thoughts, words and actions lift up Jesus. We live in a fallen world filled with lost people looking for an answer to their feelings of loneliness and worthlessness. Our lifestyles should show them that there is only one answer and that is Jesus.
What was the attitude of Jesus while he was here clothed in human form? He came first as a servant, giving up all of His glory. He came to earth just as an ambassador to a foreign country. He had access to all of the power and the angels of heaven yet He limited Himself to live as a mere human. He never used His powers to advance Himself as humans see advancement. The instances we read about of Jesus using His powers are actions that advanced the Kingdom of God here on earth. He could have called on legions of angels to protect Him at any time yet He chose to suffer and die for our sins. He ate with sinners. He showed mercy to the poor and to the needy. He could have allowed Himself to be crowned king by His followers. Instead, He chose to live a life serving others. He was a giver and He gave up everything to die on a cross for our sins. He gave His lifetime and His life for us. How much of our time are we willing to give up for Him? We are all familiar with the saying “time is money”, perhaps we should consider tithing our time as well as our money.
Verse 1 of Psalm 1 shows a progression of acts; walking, standing, sitting. Isn’t this how we usually progress in making friends with people? First, it is a casual meeting where a few words are exchanged. If we find that enjoyable, the next encounter, we spend a little more time with them. After the casual greeting, we start a conversation about something that is of interest to both of us so we stand around and chat. After a few of these sessions, we decide to have coffee (or whatever your preferred beverage is) and we sit together. By this time, the relationship has developed to the point that our words and opinions are influencing the other person. Either they are influencing us to agree with them or we are influencing them to agree with our opinions and beliefs. We may do this without any conscious knowledge of it as it happens. That is the warning in verse 1. Don’t do these things with the wrong people. As new Christians, we need to spend our time meditating on God’s Word so that we will be prepared to witness to sinners. Once God has prepared us, then we can sit and talk with sinners for a while. As we mature spiritually, there are still times that we need to withdraw from worldly conversations to pray and meditate, just as Jesus did on several occasions. We need to refuel for the next encounter that God has planned for us. On this earth, there will never be a time that we are so mature spiritually that we can abandon the reading of God’s word. It we think that we have reached that point, that is pride and we are headed for a fall.
1Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. — Galatians 6:1-3 NLT
Yesterday, I wrote about witnessing by spending time with sinners. We are called to do just that, but in doing so, we need to use wisdom and discernment. Being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit does not keep us from making bad decisions. If we have weaknesses of the flesh, we need to avoid those situations where we would be needlessly tempted. We don’t put ourselves in harm’s way unless we are sure that we have been called to do that. Just as it would be foolish to step into the street in front of a speeding truck to try to prove that God always protects us, it is foolish for us to put ourselves in dangerous situations if God has not called us to do so. Not many of us are David Wilkersons (The Cross and the Switchblade) who can successfully face the dangers of the worst parts of New York City to witness to gang members. Nevertheless, we all have a calling to witness to those around us. The mission field starts in the home and goes outward from there. We do not want to be like the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19) who ended up battered and naked. We must use discernment in where, when and to whom we witness, but that is never to be used as an excuse not to witness. We may not be sure of all of God’s will for each of our lives but there are two things we can be sure of in this journey with Jesus. We are to make disciples as we go, we all have our marching orders to do that. We are supposed to restore the fallen as well, but do so circumspectly avoiding the very appearance of evil.
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”– Matt. 28:19,20 NLT