For the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ

Following those that have gone before us


The Scriptures admonish Christians to stay to the road most frequently traveled, that is the road or pathway that the Lord Christ laid out for His disciples to follow.  By the world’s standards, it is the road not frequently traveled on, simply because this path gets more narrower the longer you travel on it.  The longer you walk in the Christian life, oftentimes the more difficult it gets.  Why?  The Lord expects more from you.  Once the Lord gets you past the baby hurdles, the steeper the mountain climbs He begins to take you through on your way upward.  For the most part, your Christian brothers and sisters will be there to coach and cheer you on, however, sometimes there are those who claim to be Christian who do everything in their power to cause you to stumble.  We even find evidence of this in the first testament Scriptures.

Jeremiah 19:14-18

Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which comes from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; to make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passes thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head. I will scatter them as with an east wind before the enemy; I will shew them the back, and not the face, in the day of their calamity. Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the Word from the prophet. Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

 

Israel had tired of hearing the admonitions of the Lord from the prophet Jeremiah, who obviously was intonating dire warnings from the Lord God Himself. When people (whether or not they consider themselves to be the people of God) rebel against the Lord God, and they continually hear prophetic utterances declaring that they need to repent, a heart that becomes hardened is often the result. This is what can be observed in this passage; so let us look at:

Jeremiah 19:18c

Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

The heart being hardened is what produces this sort of response, even from people that consider themselves to be born again Christians. This is not something that most people like to think about, let alone talk about, so when the Holy Spirit begins to convict people, this will be the ultimate response if they do not repent. So let us look at a passage in Acts which also confirms this:

Acts 7:54-58

When they heard these things they were cut to the heart (conviction), and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the Glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him, and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.

Imagine…grown men putting their hands upon their ears to shut out Stephen’s words. But they weren’t just words that Stephen was speaking, it was the Holy Spirit that was speaking through Stephen. This is why these people felt convicted and were cut to the heart. They knew that what they just heard was an accurate description of their spiritual state and so they hated the one who was bearing the message. If I myself speak words, they are just my words and they might contain some power or they may not. But if I am led under the unction of the Holy Spirit, then my words cease to be “my words” and they become the “words of the Holy Spirit”, with power and authority.

But as this passage depicts, when they were convicted, the first thing that they wanted to do was to cause the irritation to go away, even if it was to murder the irritation. Now let us return to Jeremiah, which upon further consideration, this is what was happening to these people. They were being convicted and they wanted Jeremiah to be quiet and speak no more. However, they were not to the point of murdering Jeremiah, but they were going to set up a campaign of lies and innuendoes against the prophet.

Jeremiah 19:18c

Come, let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.

Often, when a person stands up and makes an apology for the Word of God, the devil determines to try and destroy the believer by discrediting his/her testimony by belittling and spewing forth lies and innuendoes in an attempt to get the apologist to be quiet and stop speaking the Word of God.  We as the people of God are to make an “apology,” which in the Greek, is the word Απολογια, or apologia, which means to make a cogent defense, or a strong defense.

Revelation 12:10-13

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the BLOOD of the LAMB, and by the WORD of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death. Therefore rejoice ye heavens, and you that dwell in them.  Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

So as Jeremiah and Stephen was doing, so are we to be busy occupying ourselves by carrying out the business of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be making an Απολογια, or a strong and cogent defense of the Word of God. Let the _evil rant and rage as he hears us make bold proclamations of the Glory of the Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our King!  Let those that continue to stand, pray for those that have fallen away from the narrow road that our Lord commanded us to walk.

So even as we continue to walk, we need to remember that we are enveloped by a host of faithful servants who are there for our example.  We only need look at:

Hebrews 11:1-2

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

If you live in the greater Chicago Metro area, and you need prayer, you can call the ministry at (773) 255-8730.  We will be glad to pray with you and assist you in your endeaver to stay on the straight and narrow path that our Lord Christ commanded that we walk.

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