Monday, September 21, 2020

'Be Not Ashamed of the Testimony of our Lord!'

What a glorious Morning here in Spring Hill, Florida today! I welcome you to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries. I’m your host Leonard V. Johnson. Already a year has gone by since I was ordained a minister by Mr. Michael C. Garrett of the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ! And I’ve loved and enjoyed every moment! I never imagined in my youth that I would become a minister, I never dreamed that would happen to me! But here we are – and I am so grateful to Almighty God that I get to speak to all of you. Indeed, the Sabbath day is an absolute retreat for me. And it is a day to truly relax and enjoy every week, and to enjoy all of you – God’s people – and realize that we’re doing something in this world that is a true sign between God and us – the keeping of God’s holy Sabbath. And that makes me feel wonderful! And I feel very relaxed on Sabbath morning – I feel a great deal of hope and a great deal of pure happiness about doing this great work of God.

Now - why would you ever want to be a Christian!?

After all – wouldn’t it be much easier to not keep God’s holy Sabbath day –just to stay at home and do what you want!? Why go through the routine of getting up, getting dressed in some of your best clothes, just to go to church every week to worship and praise GOD and study His living word!?

Isn’t being a true Christian difficult!? Isn’t it against the grain of society!? Isn’t it restrictive and difficult to follow!? Wouldn’t it be much easier to just go with the flow and be undetected by the world and go about pursuing this world’s pleasures!? And there are certainly plenty of worldly pleasures dangling behind every window!

Isn’t our goal in life – to get more!? More money, to find security, and to have enough to be arrogant!? And I say that because there are a few people that I know that came into money - and it truly changed their character – and are now arrogant.

Well, isn’t Christianity just another form of self-denial with all its rules and regulations, its discipline, and restrictions on “having fun” – which most young people believe that’s what religion is all about. Why have all of these rules!? Who needs more rules – anyway!?

Friends, what can true Christianity do for you!?

First – what is Christianity anyway!?

In the Book of Acts, the 11th chapter is the very first use of the word “Christian.” And most of you are familiar with this passage –

Verse 25 – “Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. 26) And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. …” – now, Antioch – called Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient Greek city on the eastern side of the Orontes River with a population of upwards of 500,000 people during the Roman-Seleucid times. The city was founded near the end of the fourth century BC. It was the 3rd largest city in the Roman Empire – a very predominant city along a main route to Asia Minor. Also, recall, Antioch was the city from which the apostle Paul departed from on all of his missionary journeys. “ … So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

Now, some of the bible commentators will say that that might have been a derogatory name. Such as the Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible which says, “This name originated not within, but without, the Church; not with their Jewish enemies, by whom they were styled “Nazarenes” (Ch. 24:5), but with the heathen in Antioch, and (as the form of the word shows) with the Romans, not the Greeks there.” 1 ‘Those weirdos – those people that are different!’ The Jews certainly didn’t give them the name Christians – because they would’ve had to acknowledge that Jesus was the Messiah. And they certainly wouldn’t do that!

The name Christian – refers to the people of Christ or the followers of Christ.

And, who was Christ!?

If we go back to the very first verse of the Book of Matthew, the apostle Matthew calls Him – Jesus Christ. The name Jesus is Greek - Ο ιησούς (Iēsous) – and is translated into English as Jesus. It is a translation of a Hebrew word - Y'shua, and is etymologically related to the name Joshua. And that name actually means savior.

Now, the word Christ – is not Jesus’ last name. It is actually a Greek term – Χριστού (Christos) – which means Messiah or the Anointed One. And, you’ll recognize that that name is mentioned throughout all of the Book of Daniel and all of the Jews in the 1st century there would have recognized that name Messiah – because it’s mentioned in the Book of Daniel, actually telling them when the Messiah was going to come. Messiah also means the Deliverer.

So, where did Jesus originate – where did He come from anyway!?

Turn with me in your Bible to the Book of John, the 1st chapter

I’ll never forget when I first read this to one of my best friends up in Oregon – we were both about 14-years-old at the time. I was spending the night with him at his house, and we had decided to study the Holy Bible. His mother and father went to church every Sunday and would drag their “heathen” child along – kickin’ and screamin’. And, he was asking me about Jesus Christ, talking, and having a discussion. And I turned to this Scripture – even though I was 14-years-old – our Lord Jesus Christ had revealed to me what this passage truly means. And, it says –

Verse 1 – “In the beginning was the Word [the Logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2) He was in the beginning with God. 3) All things were made through Him, …”

Who was the Word!? Well, let’s see if it tells us –

“ … and without Him nothing was made that was made.” – are we talking about the distant galaxies, our solar system –this blue jewel, planet Earth, suspended in space – what the solar physicists call the ‘Goldilocks planet’!? Certainly nearly every astronaut – having looked at the Earth from a distance of 248 miles above the surface of the planet for the first time – has reported having a “spiritual” experience – as Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell remarked, “the vast loneliness up here … makes you realize just what you have back there on earth.” Realizing that all of humanity exists – 7.8 billion people – on this one planet!

Verse 4 – “In Him was life [He created life], and the life was the light of men. 5) And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” – and we know that when God’s light shined on this Earth – it didn’t register to them who He truly was.

Verse 10 – “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.”

And my friend – when I read and explained this passage to him – I said, “He was there in the beginning with God. He created all things. Who was the apostle John describing here!? No one can have the credentials of the Word except Jesus Christ of Nazareth.”

And his response was, “Well, where’s the Holy Spirit?”

“What!?” I asked.

“Well, isn’t God a Trinity?”

And, from that question, I proceeded to show him a few reference Scriptures – like John 17:3 and 1 Corinthians 8:6 – which lists only God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Well, what about 1 John 5:7?” he queried.

Surely, he would have heard this Scripture preached and taught at Sunday church as proof of the Trinity. When I turned to that Scripture in my Bible, he noticed that I had marked through that verse.

“How dare you mark through God’s word!” he screamed, tossing his Bible onto the bed and walking out – not giving me a chance to explain.

So, John 1:1-4, 10 tells us that He was the very one that created the world, the earth – who was there in the beginning with God that said, “Let us make man in Our image.” – Genesis 1:26 NKJV.

Verse 11 – “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” – we know that He came to the Jewish society there, and they didn’t recognize Him.

Verse 12 – “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, …” – what an enormous promise! “ … to those who believe [on] His name.”

That is the Jesus Christ we worship here.

So, as I had asked - who was Christ, and where did He originate!? Well, He was in the beginning. And we realize from this passage here that believing in who He is comes with an amazing and an incredible promise – as is stated, “the right to become children of God”! Wow! Think about the implication!

A Christian then is a follower of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. But, what does that mean!? Well, you listen to Him, you read what He says, you obey His words, you believe His testimony.

And, what was it that He said!?

If you would turn with me to the Book of Matthew, the 5th chapter and read some of the things which He said –

Verse 3 – “’Blessed are the poor in spirit, …’ – what does that mean!? Well, the Greek word for “blessed’ is makarios – meaning happy. Where can you find true happiness? Well, He is about to tell us here. This is what brings true happiness – the believers inner condition if he applies these things to his life. ’Blessed [Happy] are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom [from] heaven.’

Verse 4 – “’Blessed are those who mourn, …’ 
Verse 5 – “’Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.’” 
Verse 6 – “’Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, …’ 
Verse 7 – “’Blessed are the merciful, …’ 
Verse 8 – “’Blessed are the pure in heart, …’ 
Verse 9 – “’Blessed are the peacemakers, …’ – not those who like to stir up trouble, but those who try to get along with everyone.
Verse 10 – “’Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, …’ 
Verse 11 – “’Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.’

And He goes on to tell them that they are the salt of the earth, like a light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. That they are to be humble, to quietly give – not sound a trumpet – ‘look everybody at what good deed I’ve done!’ But to not let your right hand know what your left hand does when you do a good deed. That they were to lay treasures up in heaven, and to not be judgmental, but to let God be the Judge. And in the end of that He says, “’Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.’” Because the living word of God tells us, “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense” – Deuteronomy 32:35 NKJV. And friends, what is this whole world about!? Getting vengeance. Suing someone. Making them pay – right now. And of course these were things which Jesus Christ absolutely spoke against.

And, what were His commandments in the Book of Matthew, chapter 5!?

Verse 17 – “’Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.’ – ‘I came to do these Laws.’

Verse 18 – “’For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.’ – and Jesus elevated God’s Law to a spiritual plane. He told those people there in Jerusalem and in that surrounding area of Judea that of course you are not to kill – but He even went on to say that if you have hatred in your heart for your brother, you have already committed the act of murder! Because it’s the same in God’s eyes. It is not just something which you physically do – but is more of a spiritual condition.

Verse 19 – “’Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.’

Now, over in chapter 6 of the Book of Matthew

Jesus continues to go through a lot of valuable information and commandments which He gave. And be sure to read through those.

Verse 31 – this, of course, is addressing those who worry about where they’re going to live, what they’re going to wear, how they’re going to pay the bills, what they’re going to eat – and how they’re going to get through the day. ’Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32) For after all these things the Gentiles seek. …’ – the rest of the world, that’s what they seek. “ … ‘For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33) But seek [you] first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.’ – that is an amazing passage – isn’t it!? It implies that we put it in God’s hands and do not worry. The worry we put in God’s hands and we let Him worry about our future and how we are going to be provided for. But that we focus our main attention on His kingdom – and doing what is righteous.

And, what was His testimony!?

Turn with me to the 7th chapter of the Book of Matthew

Verse 13 – “’Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.’ – the whole world is like a giant Mississippi River flowing down into the Gulf of Mexico. Practically everyone in the world is going in that direction. They are absolutely buying in to the evil of this world and are being swept downstream! But He is telling us that we are to swim upstream.

Verse 14 – “’Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the Way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.’ – what an amazing thought!

That was His testimony – He wanted people to realize that it is a difficult course to walk in the shoes of a Christian.

In the Book of Matthew, the 21st chapter

He gave a prophecy here.

Verse 28 – “’But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29) He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30) Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go.’ – now, this is a parable that Jesus is giving to these Pharisees sitting there.

Verse 31 – “’Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said to Him, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors [publicans] and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. 32) For John came to you in the Way of righteousness, …’ – John the Baptist came preaching righteousness. “ … ‘and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors [publicans] and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.’

And, of course, they realized that that parable was talking about them! That these publicans and harlots had actually repented at the preaching of John and they believed on Jesus Christ and they were going to be one of the very first ones to march into God’s kingdom! Yet these self-righteous religious people that were standing with phylacteries strapped to their foreheads and left arms – with long fringes on their garments – were saying, ‘Yes, Lord, we’ll do everything You tell us to do!’ But in their heart they never did it! And when this realization came over them –

Verse 45 – “Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. 46) But when they sought to lay hands on Him, …” – they’re furious, they want to kill Him! “ … they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.” – they were scared of the people, because His popularity had grown by then.

Our Lord Jesus Christ would later say in John, the 14th chapter

And, friends, a lot of people will make the excuse – like my beloved wife – “I don’t want anything to do with religion!” She famously states, “One can believe in God without religion.” When in T R U T H true Christianity brings true happiness. It brings real genuine joy and peace within your heart – about your current situation but also concerning the future.

Verse 6 – “’I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one [no man or woman] comes to the Father except through Me.’ – there is only ONE WAY to eternal life and that’s through Jesus Christ! Sadly, a great many people in this world – and I would hazard to say this includes my wife – believe in an ‘Oprah Winfrey God.’ That there are millions of ways to salvation – which flies in the face of Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ who says very clearly – “’No one comes to the Father except through Me!’” It has to be through Jesus Christ! It has to be a certain way!

Back in the 6th chapter of the Book of John

Verse 44 – “’No one [no man or woman] can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day [on the resurrection day].’

So, Christianity, technically, is not something that you can choose. Christianity is something that chooses you. God the Father reaches out – like I said at the beginning, I can’t believe that it’s already been a year since Mr. Garrett ordained me in Owensboro, Kentucky! But above that – I can’t believe that God the Father reached out and grabbed somebody like me!? What in the world did He want anything to do with me!? Like King David wrote, under divine inspiration of God’s Spirit – “What is man that You are mindful of him.” – Psalm 8:4 NKJV. When you look at God and who He is and His great glory and power which He possesses – the absolute perfection in which the universe was built, like a perfect Swiss watch. This whole Universe revolves and rotates and spins around itself – GOD IS PERFECTION! God is the source of all knowledge, source of all power, the very center of love, absolutely perfect and genuine! Why would He have anything to do with an old ex truck driver like Leonard V. Johnson is beyond me!? But yet He reaches out because of His great Master Plan and purpose for each and every single one of us! Like our Lord promises in John 1 – because He wants sons and daughters to Himself. Friends, He wants that! He desires that! And He’s waiting for that moment to occur. And sadly, most people are completely ignorant of the fact that a great plan is being worked out here below – on this E A R T H! That we have a tremendous purpose in this life – but most people are so busy paying their credit card bill, or mowing the grass, or worrying about what other people think of them, or worrying about what is going on in Washington, D.C. in politics – except our very purpose for being here. And the very purpose for which Jesus Christ came to this earth.

Christianity is a way of life.

I’d like to go now to the Book of Acts, the 16th chapter, and share with you what the apostle Paul experienced when he came to this realization himself –

Now this is the apostle Luke writing here – verse 16 – “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit for fortune-telling. 17) This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, ‘These men are the servants of the Most High God, …” – did that demon actually recognize who the apostle Paul was!? Well, I have a story – once, as I was walking out of a truck stop, an exquisitely dressed black man began calling after me, “Hey, can I get a ride!?” As I turned around I saw that this well-groomed man was dressed in the finest dark suit I had ever seen, with gold cufflinks, a gold chain, a gold wrist watch, and shiny black dress shoes. A chill ran up my spine. As I kept walking, he began following me and called out again, “Hey, can I get a ride!? I just got off the bus.” I had assumed that he meant a Greyhound Bus, although he didn’t have any bags or luggage – and I had not seen hardly anyone in the truck stop, so I knew he wasn’t telling the truth. “No, I’m not going to give you a ride,” I said sternly, as I continued walking away from him. He began to follow more briskly, “I’m just going down the road.” Then he stopped suddenly and yelled, “You’re not going to give me a ride!” – which was more of a statement than a question. Friends, was this a demon trying to trick me!? Did he recognize me – and know that I would soon belong to Jesus Christ!? Well, they certainly did recognize Jesus Christ when they said, “’What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’” – Matthew 8:29 NKJV. They recognized who Jesus Christ was! And I believe they recognized who the apostle Paul was. Recall when some of the itinerant Jewish witch doctors took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over some who had evil spirits? And there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish priest which were doing the same – and an evil spirit said to them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” And the evil spirit leaped upon them, overpowered them, causing them to run out of the house naked and wounded!? Here this demonic spirit recognized Paul, and out of her mouth she said, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the Way of salvation.” It is a way of life! It’s not a ceremony, or burning a candle, or lighting a match, it’s not waving a metal thurible around suspended from chains, or holding up a monstrance as an object of how pious you are! Or worshiping before some statue.

In the 19th chapter of the Book of Acts

Verse 1 – “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. …” – now, this is not his first visit there. He’s going to find twelve converts here in Ephesus on this trip.

Verse 2 – “he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’” – they didn’t experience Pentecost. All they had heard about was the preaching of John the Baptist. And they had actually been baptized – but they had never received the Holy Spirit.

Verse 3 – “And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ 4) Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’” – the very One!

Verse 5 – “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6) And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues [languages] and prophesied. 7) Now the men were about twelve in all.” – with tears probably streaming down their faces, the Holy Spirit coming upon them for the very first time. God opening their eyes.

Verse 8 – “And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9) But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way …” – it’s interesting how he wrote this term here. “ … before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.”

And of course, Paul, he faced that obstacle everywhere he went.

Over in the 22nd chapter of the Book of Acts

The apostle Paul was nearly beaten to death on a number of occasions. And if it hadn’t been – on this occasion – for the Roman soldiers, they probably would have succeeded. Remember he had went down to Jerusalem and they became so enraged with Paul – they thought he had taken some Greeks into the temple and they went out to beat him half to death, and Roman soldiers came and grabbed him – and we know that ultimately Paul would appeal to Emperor Nero in Rome. But look here on this occasion, as they were taking him up into the castle – he was walking up the steps and he beseeched the Roman soldiers to turn and speak to the priest and to those Pharisees and Sadducees that were there having a melt down throwing dust up in the air and wanting to kill him. And he turned and spoke in the Hebrew language to them, and look what he says –

Verse 1 – “’Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.’ 2) And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said: 3) ‘I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, …’” – and, of course, Gamaliel was one of the most famous preacher and teacher of the law there in Jerusalem. “ … ‘taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.’” – ‘I was just like you – I was one of you!’

Verse 4 – “’I persecuted this Way …’” – what way!? The Christian Way. “ … ‘to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.” – the apostle Paul had authority from those priests letters that allowed him to go and haul people out of their very homes and even put them to death.

Verse 5 – “’as also the high priest bears me witness, …’” – ‘ask the high priest if I’m telling the truth!’ “ … ‘and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.’” – so, he would go out of the city into other regions and get these people, bind them and bring them to Jerusalem for a trial.

Verse 6 – “’Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven [the atmosphere] shone around me. 7) And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ – do you think that Jesus Christ got Paul’s attention at that moment!? Paul didn’t understand Christianity – until this very moment! I think there will be many people in this world today – called so-called Christians – who will discover that they had been persecuting the true people of God. That there was a begotten child of God who had been there in their presence to help explain the Way all along. But like Saul had been, these so-called Christians think of themselves as religious, and righteous, fighting against the very begotten children of Almighty God! And Jesus had to blind him along the road, knocking him down, to get him to realize that ‘you have actually been fighting against Me – Jesus Christ!’

Verse 9 – “’And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. 10) So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’” – an instant change in attitude! Notice the difference in humility! “ … And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ – and the apostle Paul went on to write fourteen books of the Bible, and became instrumental in the very beginning of the planting of churches all over Asia Minor.

Let’s also look here as the apostle Paul was before Antonius Felix, the Roman procurator of Judea Province 52–60 AD. In chapter 24, of the Book of Acts

Verse 14 – “’But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect [heresy], …’” – these Jews that were placing the apostle Paul on trial and trying to kill him, they thought he was heretical - that he was teaching heresy. “ …’so I worship the God of my fathers, …’” – what a most amazing and bold statement! “ …’believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15) I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.’” – friends, what an amazing passage!

The apostle Paul would later go on and say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew [Israelites or the chosen ones] first and also for the Greek [the Gentiles].” – Romans 1:16 NKJV. He came to the point where he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ – he was not ashamed to say the name JESUS CHRIST out in public. And even to profess His name to these leaders, and even eventually to the leaders in Rome.

Turn with me if you would to the Book of Colossians, the 3rd chapter because in my notes I have included this –

This is what Christian behavior is all about, and I think Paul put it really well here writing this letter to the church at Colossae, he said –

Verse 12 – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, …” – this is the mercy which is deep down inside of your spirit. “ … kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering [patience]; …” – and how long should we be patient!? A day? A week? Is it seven years? How long will you wait for somebody!?

Verse 13 – “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14) But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17) And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – a glorious victory will be won at that stage of your journey to eternal salvation.

He goes on to talk about that wives should submit to their husbands and how the husbands should love their wives and that all the children should obey their parents – with all of that in a Christian home. And, of course, there are warnings against disobedience and rebellion –

1st Peter, the 4th chapter

Remember – there’s the question: why would you want to be a Christian!?

Verse 13 – “but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14) If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed [happy] are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15) But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16) Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”

Verse 17 – “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; …” – think about that! Judgment is going to begin at the house of God! “ … and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” – certainly something to contemplate – isn’t it!?

2nd Peter, chapter 2

Verse 2 – “And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3) By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”

Verse 4 – “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, …” – and here he’s talking about God casting out the demonic spirits from heaven itself. “… but cast them down to [Greek – ταρταρόω, tartaroo, meaning “a place of restraint”] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.” – he gives this as an example of evil – what God thinks of evil – and what He did about it!

Verse 5 – “and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, …” – only one family! Because iniquity had become so great upon the earth God drowned the whole earth except for one family! He is giving us these huge examples of WHAT GOD DOES TO EVIL AND WICKEDNESS!


You need to think about what God is going to do to wickedness, because here are huge pillars of examples of what God thinks about evil – and what He intends to do about it!

Friends, Christianity holds all the answers to the problems of this life, it looks beyond the temporary state – beyond the here-and-now – and focuses on a glorious future! However bleak things may be, however bad things may get, the true Christian always has their sights set on the future glory – the finish line and the great rewards – and eternal life in the family of God.

Do I want to be a Christian and receive honor, and power, and strength, and contentment – like I’ve never felt my entire life – and be a child of God!?

With all my heart do I! □


1 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A.R., Brown, D., Jamieson Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Whole Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1982, pp. 1098.

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