Summary: A 4th look at standing firm in our faith.
Stand Firm - Part 4
June 9, 2019
As you read the gospel of John, in chapter 16, Jesus tells the disciples that people will be against them. In fact, Jesus literally says, “whoever kills you will think they are offering a service to God.” That’s brutally pretty blunt - “Hey guys, I really want you to follow me, and also know that people will kill some of you.”
That’s pretty disconcerting. In essence, Jesus is telling them, if you want to follow me, know that people will want to kill you and some are going to succeed, believing they’re doing this for God, yet, it is against God that they are working.
How would you react if someone, well, not just someone, but your mentor, your leader - was talking to you and said, ‘by the way, some of you are going to be killed because of me?’
Wouldn’t you want to get up and run. See you later Jesus.
And as Jesus continued talking to the disciples, He explained that He was leaving them. In fact, Jesus says it’s better that He leaves them. It’s to their advantage. Because if Jesus leaves them, then the Helper, the Holy Spirit can become magnified in their lives.
I can only imagine the fear, the anxiety that would overcome the disciples. People are out to kill us and you’re leaving us!
So, as Jesus was finishing talking to the disciples and before He prayed in chapter 17, Jesus said –
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
I hear Jesus telling us don’t be surprised when you have tribulation. Tribulation, trouble, testing, temptations - - they’re all going to be present in our lives. They’ll come from many different places. They can be self imposed, they can be from outside forces, they can be from circumstances beyond our control. They can be intentional or they can be accidental. For whatever reason they occur, know that they do occur. So, don’t be surprised.
Jesus told the disciples people will kill them. John adds that the world will be very much against us. John wrote –
13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. – 1 John 3:13
We live in a world in which we are still surprised when someone tells us off because we profess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Or someone really doesn’t want to associate with us because we believe Jesus is the Savior and they believe anything and everything is the savior. Or they believe in nothing at all, other than themselves. People will be against us because we believe differently, even if we’ve done nothing to them. Just the fact that you proclaim Jesus is enough.
It can happen at work or with friends, when you’re challenged to do something you believe is wrong, but they don’t. What do you do? Hopefully you stand up for what you believe in, in Jesus, and don’t give in to what they want. Your witness will make a difference. Others will notice who you are in Christ. But it may be difficult.
So, for whatever reason, don’t be surprised when something that’s not good happens in your life. Obviously, we don’t want that to happen, but know it does.
So, when problems come, what do we do? We need to plan what to do . . . But what we need to do, should have started before the troubles began. You see, if we’re not prepared for what’s happening, then it’s an uphill battle.
It’s kind of like when I go to the dentist, I usually take some tylenol before you I go. It always hurts, but I want to get ahead of the pain. I’m not an advocate of taking pills, but I do believe that when I’m in pain, I should do something about it.
I have a bad back, and I try to stretch on a regular basis. If I don’t, I pay the price. Stretching after I do something isn’t the solution, it’s getting my body prepared. You’re going on a long car ride with the family. What do you do before you go? You make sure everyone’s used the bathroom, you make sure everyone has something to do, you make sure there’s gas in the tank, you make sure there’s plenty of coffee and chocolate. Now, you’re ready.
The same thing really happens with life . . . how can we prepare ourselves for what’s going to happen, because we shouldn’t be surprised when something bad happens to us?
Part of the remedy comes in our relationship with Christ and one another.
One of the verses I really appreciate is when Jesus tells us in John 15 –