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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Most Timid Christian Will Be Given A Greater Boldness

There are many of us who are born to this life with a tendency to develop an introverted personality. How does this introverted personality affect your life as a Christian? It may be difficult for this person to witness his faith in a hostile worldly environment. God will, however, provide for the most timid of us. Has God made you bold in the Gospel since your conversion? On the other hand, do you worry about being offensive to this friend or to that acquaintance if you share the good news of Jesus Christ? Is boldness a spiritual quality we should seek or is it inappropriate for our culture and times?

After a confrontation with the local religious authorities – Peter, John, and company once prayed, “‘And now, Lord, . . . grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:29-31, ESV)

Paul had faced cultural conflict but revealed his source of strength in these words, “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” (1 Thessalonians 2:2, ESV) Paul had found boldness in God. We see that the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to speak of Christ with boldness.

How long has it been since you prayed, “Lord, give that kind boldness to me. Help me to open my mouth and to speak as boldly of Jesus Christ as I ought to speak”? Have you never prayed that way? The verses above demonstrate that it is a spiritual characteristic greatly to be desired. Should we be less bold than these disciples were?

Was not Christ, Himself, bold in delivering His message of judgment and mercy? If we believe in the seriousness of the message, how can we speak of it lightly and timidly to others? Have you ceased to believe in the wonders of heaven? Do you think the torture, agonies, and weeping of hell are uncivilized myths? You cannot. If you count yourself among the converted, pray for a holy boldness to confront the world with the Gospel. Eternal life is a serious matter.

John Owen On Preaching With Power

John Owen, by John Greenhill (died 1676). See ...

John Owen

Quoting the great Puritan, John Owen:

A man preacheth that sermon only well unto others which preacheth itself in his own soul. And he that doth not feed on and thrive in the digestion of the food which he provides for others will scarce make it savoury unto them; yea, he knows not but the food he hath provided may be poison, unless he have really tasted of it himself. If the word do not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.

 

Can Christians Live In The World Without Becoming Worldly?

Has worldliness found its way into the Church? Does it really matter how Christians live their lives outside of the church? Can believers live in this world without becoming worldly? I believe it can be done. Why? God has proclaimed it in his Word. What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said:

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:15-18, ESV)

Separation from the world’s value systems is evidence of a work of grace in the heart. A person, who is born of the Spirit, seeks to separate himself from the evils of worldliness. Many church leaders desire to make Christianity easy and to avoid self-denial. We hear professing Christians saying that we should not be too narrow and exclusive. They believe we may go anywhere, and do anything, and still be good Christians. It says in God’s Word, “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you. . . .”

If you believe that anyone is a Christian who goes to church, in spite of how he lives or believes, you probably think very little about separating yourself from worldliness. But if you read your Bible, you know there is a difference between believers and unbelievers. An unsaved person thinks mainly on the things of this world. He is more concerned with pleasing man than pleasing God. This is why Christians must be a “peculiar” people, living their lives in a way that separates them from the unsaved.

Paul says to the Corinthians, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)

The true Christian refuses to be guided by the world’s standard of right and wrong. The rule of most men is to go with the flow. Whereas, the true Christian will ask, “What does God say in the Bible about this?” He believes that nothing is right that God declares wrong.

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