Sunday, December 27, 2015

Proclaim the Truth or Hide the Truth

There was a small class of 8 students in a college class I was taking...many... summers ago. I don't remember how the conversation started, but I remember there was a young lady who was adamant that God did not exist. Another student started to say something, but this young lady had a very powerful personality and it was clear to both of us that it wasn't going to matter what we said. Unfortunately, we kept quiet. I could see it on the faces of that other student and the teacher that we all wanted to say something but we didn't. It was a moment I will never forget. A moment of missed opportunity. We were all too afraid to speak up about Jesus to a young women who obviously needed Him. I think that I remember that moment on occasion because I regret not speaking up; not sharing Jesus right then. Why didn't I? I was scared. I was afraid of what the other students would think about my belief in Jesus.  And, I was afraid that if cornered with a question, I wouldn't be able to explain why I was a believer.

While reading in the book of Luke last week, I ran across a section of scripture that I have been meditating on for some time and it caused me to remember that story.
"One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”
He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?” 
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”
So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.” 
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” Luke 20:1-8
Just before this story, Jesus had come to Jerusalem riding a colt. His disciples, or followers, came out to greet Him, praising God because they recognized Him as the King that comes in the name of the Lord. They knew the scriptures and how Jesus was fulfilling them. The Pharisees and chief priests were livid and wanted Jesus to rebuke His disciples for claiming that He was the King. Jesus said,
"I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:40
And then He said,
"If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes." Luke 19:42
There are some people who just don't see who Jesus is; their hearts are not open to accepting that Jesus is the Savior much less God in the flesh. In this little story, I believe Jesus was revealing the reason why some people can't see Him and why it is so important for believers to speak up and acknowledge Jesus to others.

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he entered the temple to teach. The teachers of the law, chief priests, and leaders all wanted to find a way to kill Him. After an attempt was made to try and trap Jesus, Jesus also asked them a question, which actually trapped them instead. It is obvious that these teachers of the law and priests were interested in finding fault in Jesus so that they could have Him persecuted.

Jesus knew their hearts and knew that since they wouldn't open their hearts to believe, they would never see the truth. So, because they refuse to be open to the possibility they could be wrong, the truth was now hidden to them. Jesus said, since they wouldn't answer, then He wouldn't reveal who gave Him authority.

Just like the young woman who refused to believe in God, she was so closed off that the mystery is completely hidden from her. If something was said that may have given her pause for one moment that there was a possibility she could be wrong and that there was a God, she might would have a conviction from the Holy Spirit. Instead, nothing was said so she refused to acknowledge there is a God. She had no conviction from the Holy Spirit so she continued to believe she was right.

The reason I thought about this young lady is because I wondered how many times Christians fail to acknowledge God in front of people that truly need to know His truth. We fail to show God to others because of fear from the people around us may get uncomfortable, or we may step on someone's toes, or say something that offends them. In my case, I was young and cared more about keeping peace rather than expressing my beliefs and stirring up conversation I might have had trouble explaining. Looking back, it is something I regret very much and have asked God's forgiveness for not speaking up.

Do we tend to back off from expressing our beliefs and our faith because we are afraid we can't explain our beliefs or because we don't want to offend anyone? So, like the Pharisees, is it easier to stay quiet and say 'we don't know' or nothing at all? How wrong is this line of thought!? Especially, if faith comes from hearing. It isn't our job to convince someone to have faith, but it is our job to proclaim the gospel with the message of truth so that the Holy Spirit can do His work in the heart.
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ." Romans 10:17
When Jesus said, "if you, even you, knew that this day would bring you peace - now it is hidden from your eyes", could this be a lesson for the believer not knowing the truth of His word and now mysteries are hidden from OUR eyes as well? My experience tells me that if I had spent time learning the Bible, when I was younger, then I might have been more confident in my interaction with her; more truth would have been revealed to me so that I could have shared it with her.

I believe this is why even we have trouble understanding the mysteries of God - which keeps others from understanding the mysteries of God. When we don't acknowledge God when we need to (or live as examples of Christ as we should), do we continue to hide a knowledge of truth, not only from others but also from ourselves? When we fail to seek the truth and live out our lives as godly examples, do we shroud the truth from others that need to know it and hear it?

If we truly believe that Jesus is our Savior and know that He is the only way, the truth, and the life to access God and Heaven, why then don't we pursue the knowledge we need in order to share the truth with those who don't know it? Why don't we live out the gospel and become examples for the rest of the world?

Until we, as believers, seek the kingdom and call out to God for knowledge and wisdom of His truth, I fear many will remain in the dark. I fear the truth will remain hidden for those that need believers to stand up and acknowledge God in a world whose hearts continue to become closed off to the truth of Jesus.

Believers, let's stand up for the gospel and boldly proclaim the good news! Let's be the light for those who live in darkness.
"Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But, whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33 
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Lord, I pray for that young woman. I pray that she found the truth and knows Jesus as her Savior despite my disobedience. Father forgive us when we aren't obedient to sharing our faith in word or in deed. I pray you will fill us all with a desire to proclaim the goodness of your name and your promise to save those who believe in you. Give us a spirit of great BOLDNESS to live out our lives as believers in Christ and let us not be a stumbling block to those who are seeking the truth of Jesus. Amen.

2 comments :

  1. Hi Amanda,

    I dropped by as promised from FOCB.

    I really like the look of your site although I find the text a little small.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and exhorting us to be ready to give a reason for our faith. I know I have been thinking along similar lines recently and feeling guilty that I do not share the gospel with others mainly because of the fear of being rejected, or being accused of ramming religion down someone's throat.

    Keep writing and sharing, as led by the Lord.

    Best wishes,


    Carol
    https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com
    https://apurposedrivenachiever.wordpress.com

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    Replies
    1. Carol, Thank you so much for stopping by!! I appreciate ANY and ALL feedback from all readers! I have adjusted the font size to aid in better readability. I appreciate your comment about the post as well! You are welcome to visit Heart Java any time! Happy New Year!!

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