Summary: When confronted about my faith, what can I say?
WHAT SHALL I SAY?
* Have you ever been in position where you NEEDED to say something and didn’t know what to say? Certainly, we all have. Quite frankly, every person holds some fear of being in that situation.
* When does this seem to happen? Well two of those possibilities are when you receive REAL GOOD news or REAL BAD news. For instance, someone you love receives the news that they have an incurable disease, you know you SHOULD say something, you WANT to say something, but you really don’t know what to say. Or how about when someone says, “you are my hero, you have inspired and impacted my life in ways which you will never know.” What do you say? What words will have meaning at a time such as this?
* Last week, from God’s word, we were reminded that God is for us!! In fact, since February, we have been studying the heart of the gospel and have found many such encouragements along the way. Folks, GOD IS FOR US!! And He proves it by His words, His actions, His plans, and His leadership. Everything He does is for us. He has provided for us, He has given us a promised progression, and has developed a plan for us.
* Our scripture begins today with a telling question, “What are we to say then?” My question is very simple, “What shall I say?” If God is actually for me—what am I to say? I suggest 4 responses we have.
1. I am vindicated – The word vindicated means to be cleared of blame, guilt, suspicion, and/or doubt. Paul asks 4 questions in almost a rapid fire succession which reminds us that we need to be vindicated; “Who is against us?” “Who accuses us?” “Who condemns us?”, and “Who can separate us?” From these questions it is easy to assume that there is going to be a “WHO.” There are going to be those who are against us, who will accuse us, who will condemn us, and certainly who will attempt to tear us away from God. Know what is very sad today? Some of these come from inside the fellowship of a “Church.” Opposition, accusation, and condemnation, are a prevalent part of the modern day church in America and it’s really sad.
* However, make no mistake. People who are in opposition to the gospel are only puppets. The real opposition is the spiritual forces of evil, the rulers, authorities, and powers of the darkness. When Paul wrote this letter the opposition was coming from outside of the church body and was intense. The accusations were many.
* Here is his encouragement for us today; When are you (and you will be) opposed, accused, and condemned, be sure and recognize the source and know that, in Jesus Christ, you have been vindicated and there is no condemnation (Verse 1). It is because of the grace and mercy of God that there is no condemnation. We have been set free and vindicated of all our sin and shame. Because of Jesus our past is eternally forgiven and forgotten.
ILLUS: Down in Brazil, Maria, a girl who had recently become a Christian, stepped carefully down the well-worn path of the river bank. She had come to get water. Usually she found other women at the water’s edge, but this day she was alone. As she stooped to dip the pot into the stream, she happened to glance to one side — and froze with horror. From the bush on the bank not fifty feet away, a large crocodile emerged, stalking to attack. There was no time to run away or jump into the river — what should she do? “Lord, save me!” she cried. Instantly as the crocodile dashed at her she found herself heaving her water pot with all her might into its open mouth. Distracted, it let her escape. Seeing her rushing home almost out of breath, Maria’s relatives quickly gathered around her to find out what was the matter. Her enthusiasm knew no bounds as she told of her miraculous escape until she noticed that no one seemed to believe her. She was a new Christian, and if her relatives didn’t believe her, certainly the townsfolk wouldn’t, and they would not think much of a type of Christianity whose followers told such lies. Maria at first was heartbroken, but she committed the matter to the Lord. Ten days later she was walking back to the spot where she had nearly lost her life. But this time a big crowd had gathered. They were listening to a couple of fishermen who had a story to tell. She arrived in time to hear one of them say, “Yes, we found a big dead crocodile decaying on the sand down the river. And we found a water pot in its throat. It had choked to death.”