The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 24:11-20 Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work? My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; Know that wisdom is thus for your soul; If you find it, then there will be a future, And your hope will not be cut off. Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not destroy his resting place; For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him. Do not fret because of evildoers Or be envious of the wicked; For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
I was talking to a Christian brother last week who told a story that resonated through my soul, it echoed my own experiences as a believer, and it highlighted what I believe is a problem common to many Christians. The story was essentially this: He had spent many hours preaching on some hostile college campus, in one of the most liberal cities in America, speaking about some of the most hot button topics of our day, sharing the gospel faithfully. When he left, he got on the subway, sat down next to a fellow passenger, felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to share the good news, and suddenly could not. Fear of man struck him like a plague. He was paralyzed. Tongue tied. He did not know what to say, or how to even start the conversation. He went from bold to mute in a matter of minutes. Has this ever happened to you? You have an area of your life where you seem so bold, so confident, so sure of yourself when speaking of the glorious cross, but then other times fear of man stops you dead in your tracks. I’ve thought about this phenomena quite a bit, because it happens to me often. One thing I noticed, and my street preaching friend acknowledged this fact as well, is that, it seems that when there is an area of our lives where fear of man has stifled our evangelism, conversations become more and more difficult to have in the future, and the opportunities that seemed plentiful before, go away. It seems for me that when I lack faithfulness in the intimate areas of my life, the boldness and opportunities to minister in other areas seem to evaporate as well. How does this relate to our scripture passage today? Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. It is very tempting, and would be very easy, to look at our presence on social media, our street preaching and abortion ministry, and sit back saying “ SKC has the gospel sharing thing covered”. It could be tempting for us to look at our boldness in dropping the welcome to Clark County tract all over town, and all over the internet, and sit back as if we have just added the finishing touches to the Great Commission. At SKC, we ARE bold. We DO go to the hard places. We have two young ladies about to go to China to help orphans, and more going in the future. As a Church we have driven all over the state, and sometimes the country, to share the good news of Jesus, as we should. We are commanded to deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. In what you might call the high profile, very visible manifestations of this, SKC is faithful. But what about in your everyday life? Not hiding behind the keyboard. Not looking over the horizon to the next event. I am talking about the interaction with your coworker who hates his wife. That cashier at the store who looks frazzled. The family member who has all but been written off by you. Hold. Them. Back. We have a society falling off the edge at terminal velocity right now. It is tempting for us to push back on the culture in very visible, more band for the buck ways with the Good News, and we should. The internet has made it easy to spread the good news far and wide with a few keystrokes. Hallelujah! This is a blessing. We know that the gospel impacts all of life. It is the gospel that can change the abortion conversation in this country. It is the gospel that can turn fathers back to their children. It is the gospel that gives homosexuals hope. It is the gospel that rescues orphans and cares for widows. We recognize that faithful Christians in positions of authority can and do lead in ways that are faithful to God, which have God honoring impacts on our society. It’s why we rail against our godless government. It’s why we call fathers to repentance on the street. It’s why we take advantage of the internet. It’s why we go to the parades and festivals. However, let us not neglect the person sitting next to us. Let us not be cowards and neglect that coworker. Men, we must lead our homes. Our children will either be a scourge to this society, or will blend in with it and fade into oblivion. Ladies, don’t play nice with the feminism in co-op. Feminism is ravaging the women in our churches, you must speak up in your intimate circles. Husbands, lay your life down for your wives, which may mean going to battle and making some changes in your home. These very intimate areas, in our day to day relationships, will have tremendous ramifications for the Kingdom of God. Gird up your loins and remember why God caused you to be born again: it was for His Glory, not Your comfort. Hold them back. Be ready to preach in season and out of season the Bible tells us. That includes those areas of your life that try to occupy with busyness, because fear of man has you in chains. Oh hold them back. Let us kneel and pray, and confess how we have fallen short of His Glory.
Father of mercies, we cry out to You. We are so thankful for Your grace and goodness towards us. We thank you for opening our eyes that we may see, and giving us ears that we may hear. Father, we recognize that oftentimes, our sight and hearing are dull. Often, the heart of flesh that You put in, becomes calloused, and numb. Father, we are frequently paralyzed with fear, worrying about what man may say or do to us should we speak of Your Son. We often trade obedience, for comfort and peace. Your son Jesus said He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword, yet we avoid the difficult, intimate, costly confrontations, in favor of those that do not cost as much. Please forgive us of our sins. Please forgive us for our cowardice, our desire for comfort over obedience. Please fill us with Your Spirit. Father, give us strength, courage, and wisdom to hold back those stumbling to death. Please forgive us where we have neglected those closest to us out of fear, apathy, and laziness. Help us to fear You, not men and women of flesh. Please Oh Lord, help us to remember Your promises, that You will never leave or forsake us, and that You have overcome the world. It’s in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
[He] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. | 2 Timothy 1:9-10
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 9-30-18 liturgy of Sovereign King Church. Written by Aaron Sabie.)