Summary: Christians and leaders alike will be criticized and persecuted. Take a look at how Moses dealt with being in the crosshairs.
A. The story is told of an elderly lady who came to church one Sunday.
1. An usher said to her “Where would you like to sit?”
2. She said “I would like to sit in the very front row.”
3. He said, “No, ma’am. You don’t want to do that. Our preacher is very boring. He’ll put you to sleep. Let me seat you somewhere else.”
4. The elderly lady was appalled. She said “Sir, do you know who I am?” He said “No.”
5. She said “I am the preacher’s mother.”
6. He quickly asked, “Ma’am, do you know who I am?” She said “No.”
7. He said “Thank God!”
B. Oh, how easy it is to be a critic and to criticize.
1. And those who get criticized the most are those who are taking a role of leadership and those who are trying to do something good for the Lord.
2. Aristotle wrote: “It’s easy to avoid criticism: all you have to do is say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
3. Jake Lougee has a quote at the bottom of his emails. It is a portion of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speeches and it goes like this: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
a. How true that is, it is not the critic who counts, but the one who is in the area who is actually attempting to do something good.
C. Last week we talked about drawing near to God with reverence and awe and I challenged us to make a renewed effort to walk more closely and intimately with God.
1. But do you know that if we determine to invest our lives in God and cultivate an intimacy with the Almighty, that we are asking for it?
2. When we step out in faith, we make ourselves a target of criticism and of Satan himself.
3. Anyone who determines to walk with God becomes a target of the enemy.
4. That’s what the two Scripture Readings I chose for today have to say.
a. 2 Timothy 3:12 says: In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”
b. The Amplified Bible puts it like this: “All who are determined to live a devoted, godly life will meet persecution (that is), will be made to suffer because of their stand.”
5. This is what Peter also warned us about in his first letter: Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
D. If we don’t draw close to God and if we don’t attempt to accomplish things for the Lord, then there is no need for Satan to make us a target.
1. If we compromise our walk, and aren’t really very committed, then why would Satan waste his time on us, we are not a threat, and are already halfway in his camp.
2. But on the other hand, if we determine to stand alone and against the tide, if we attempt to live according to biblical standards, then we can be sure that the enemy will seek to devour us.
3. We can expect flaming arrows from the evil one.
E. That’s one of the interesting things about the spiritual war.
1. The second we become a Christian or take a stronger stand for the Lord, that’s when, as the saying goes, “all hell breaks loose.”
2. A person might say, “I really thought that my decision to walk with God would cause things to get better, but in fact, it was after that point that they got worse.”
3. The reason for that is because that’s when Satan puts on a stronger attack.
4. But, please, know that all is not lost – our great hope and assurance is that the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)