Summary: Be willing to stand firm for the truth of what you believe in. Sermon preached before our church voted to leave the PCUSA for A Covenant Order Of Evangelical Presbyterians denomination.
How many of you have ever been to a movie in which there is a scene in which an enemy is coming and everybody is getting tense, but the leader says “not yet, stand your ground”. Some people want to panic and the music is getting louder and the leader finally says “now” and the enemy is stopped or destroyed. The captain knew that if he reacted too soon the plan would not work. He knew he had to stand his ground even in the face of fear.
Or you may have been at a basketball game, and down by one point and the guy with the ball is dribbling as the seconds wind down on the clock. He waits until there is just two seconds left before going up to shoot and then he releases the ball knowing that it is all or nothing. He stands his ground lets go of the ball with nothing but nets as the time expires and the buzzer sounds.
We know what it is to celebrate the person who waited to the right moment and was brave enough to stand firm even in the face of fear and possible rejection.
Can you think of a moment in your own life in which you were able to stand firm in a situation. Somebody wanted to borrow money from you one more time even though they didn’t pay you back the other three times, and this time you said no and meant it. Someone wanted to talk you into doing something that you knew was not right, and even though your were tempted you stood firm and said no and went the other wa. Someone that you had reached out and cared for and been burned by, came back asking you for a fourth chance to take them back, but this time you stood firm and said no. Even though it may have hurt to stand firm, you were glad that you did.
Can you think of a moment in your life, when you wished you had of stood firm, but you did not? When that happens it leaves an ache in your soul. You feel like rejecting yourself, even asking the question, “what’s wrong with me, how could I have been so stupid.” How did I let him or her talk me into that. I knew I should have never accepted the offer, never signed the papers, or never went out with the person in the first place.
The World in which we live is constantly changing. That’s one of the reasons many of us stay broke. Just when we get what they told us we should have, they go and change it which means now to be accepted we have to upgrade the model. It can be the fashion style, the car we drive, the neighborhood we live in, the shoes we wear, the music we listen to or the colors we paint our homes. Those changes don’t affect us that much as believers if we can keep our priorities straight on seeking first the kingdom of God rather than seeking the things of this world with our tithes and offerings.
But then there are changes that take place in the world around us, that directly confront us as followers of Jesus Christ, because they force us to choose between being faithful to Jesus, and being loyal to others who may be our family or our friends. Or having to choose between Jesus or being afraid of losing something we have such as a position, status, or property.
Sometimes we think that being a Christian means God always has our back and nothing bad will happen to us. God does always have our back, but that does not mean God will guarantee to keep all the things that have been added to our lives in our lives. When we are faced with a choice between Jesus and what others are saying is best for me, which way are you going to stand.
One of the reasons the values of our society changes is that there is nothing firm upon which it stands. We were once under the delusion that our country had an anchor in its Constitution, and we boldly proclaimed “The Constitution of the United States” guarantees this or that. Now we have discovered, that the constitution is not really an anchor. It only means what the nine justices of the Supreme Court says that it means. They can add to its meaning and take away from its meaning with simply a majority vote of 5 to 4. They can find rights, that the original writers never put in the Constitution or even thought about. Out of a nation of 300 million people, one person on the Supreme Court may determine the law of the land.