Stand Strong

Don't be offended and insulted – they aren't after you. They're after the Lord. They don't hate you because of you – they refuse what you stand for.

Scripture: John 18 :25, 1 Corinthians 2


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ alright? Yes, it’s your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back, believe me, here with you sharing the Word of God. What a precious, wonderful few minutes this is each day, and I’m thankful to God for it.

Well, it’s early in the morning. I know many of you listen to the broadcast either some at noon, some afternoon, some supper time, and some late at night. But I like to make these broadcasts in the early morning hours because I think the majority of our listeners hear the program in the morning. And I like to feel like you feel [chuckle] when you get up. And you don’t want somebody yelling at you in the beginning of the day. As a matter of fact, you don’t want people giving you good advice and say, “Now this is what you ought to do.” So what I try to do is just open up the Word of God and talk with you as though I were sitting across the kitchen table or riding in your car. I hope that’s all right.

Well, we’re in John chapter 18, and I’ve come now to consider what happened with Simon Peter in this matter of being identified as belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ. A sidelight on this is that twice in the account given to us by the Apostle John, it said, “Peter stood and warmed himself,” verse 18, verse 25.

Small thought here. The more concern you have over creature comforts, the less effective you might be in your service for the Lord. Now maybe that statement is the victim of the ancient post hoc ergo propter hoc. Be after this, therefore because of this. Maybe there isn’t any causal relationship between these two things. But I’ve observed that that’s what happens. You get caught up in the desire for things, the desire to be comfortable, the desire to look good. Or as it was in this case, the simple desire to get warm. Nothing wrong with that. But it seemed, as I read the record, it seemed that that was the most important thing in Peter’s mind at the time. Well, maybe I’m mistaken. We’ll find out when we get to Heaven, we’ll ask Simon Peter about that, won’t we?

“Peter stood and warmed himself.” That’s all that it says about him in a positive manner. He was busy taking care of Simon Peter. Well, anyhow, the servants and officers stood there and the damsel that kept the door. Now John was known unto the High Priest and he spoke to the damsel, the little girl or the young woman who was the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. Then she said, “Art thou not one of this Man’s disciples?” Aren’t you one of them? Have you heard that recently concerning Christians?

Our two older girls, when they were in high school, came home crying and crestfallen, and I said, “What in the world is the matter?” “Oh,” they said, “our gym teacher told us, ‘We have an awful lot of trouble with you Fundamentalists, you refused to do the things that we do.'” They had said that they didn’t wanna take ballroom dancing, which was then being taught in gym. “We have a lot of trouble with you ’cause you’re one of them.” So they came to me and they said, “Papa, are we oddballs? Is there something wrong with us?” [chuckle] Bless their hearts.

That problem is still with us, beloved. And some of you, I fear, have been busy dodging it and trying somehow to be comfortable in the situation. You wanna think about that for a little while? This young lady said, “You’re one of them.” He said, “No, I’m not.” Well, what happened? Verse 26, “Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore… “, now the gang got around him, “Art thou not also one of His disciples?” He denied it and said, “I’m not.” “Aren’t you one of them?” “No, I’m not.” “One of the servants of the High Priest… “, this is verse 26 in John 18, “Being his kinsmen… “, he was related to the man whose ear Peter cut off and whom the Lord Jesus healed, put the ear back on again. I wish I could have seen that. I could just see that fellow putting his hand gingerly up to his right ear and feeling, and saying, “Yep, it’s there, alright. It was off a moment ago and it’s there, alright.” [chuckle]

Well, this fellow was related to the man who had been injured. And he said, “Didn’t I see you with Him in the Garden? Aren’t you one of them? And you, didn’t I see you?” You have to realize it was pitch dark and all of the light that was available was from those flickering torches that were in the hands of those who came to apprehend the Lord Jesus. Peter then denied again.

I wanna talk with you then in these moments, my beloved friends, about the test that faces us all, the age-old problem of whether to be identified as one of them or try to remain unnoticed and anonymous. Our Lord Jesus warned us about that. He said, “The world hateth you and it hated Me before it hated you. Don’t be surprised,” He said, “if the world hates you.” He said in his Sermon on the Mount, “Rejoice and be exceeding glad. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and shall persecute you and shall say all manner of evil about you for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

And James, in his book, says, “Count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of testings because the trial of your faith worketh patience, but let patience have her perfect work that she may be grown-up, mature, lacking nothing.” Paul the Apostle spoke about the offense of the Cross. “We preach Christ crucified, unto the Greeks foolishness, unto the Jews a stumbling block, but to us who believe, the power of God.” But he talked about the offense of the cross in Galatians 5:11. Now, is that still applicable? Oh, my, yes. You can talk about God in a general sense and people will listen and even reply in friendly fashion. But if you speak about the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ, you immediately find that there is a disguised and sometimes quite undisguised resentment. “Why do you bring that in?”, seems to be the question. The offense of the Cross.

Stephen spoke to the crowd that was later to murder him and he said concerning the Lord Jesus that they had treated Him just like they treated all the rest of the prophets, and they had rejected Christ and now they were the murderers of Him, said Stephen. And it said, “When they heard this, they were cut to the heart.” See, they were deeply convicted. Conviction doesn’t always result in conversion. A number of times, as in this case, it results in violent opposition. They were convicted by the truth. They were cut to the heart, and it says they gnashed on him with their teeth and they threw him out of the city and killed him by throwing stones on him till he died.

There’s a tremendous enmity between the unsaved human heart and God, and this has been true ever since man fell into sin. Paul recognizes that. He said, “If when we were enemies… ” this is in the Book of Romans. You remember that passage? “If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more now being reconciled we shall be saved by His life.” Romans 5:10, “We’re without strength,” verse 6, “we’re yet sinners,” verse 8, “and we’re enemies,” verse 10. “Dead in trespasses and sins,” Paul says in Ephesians 2:1.

Now why is this? Well, it’s because the unsaved mind simply cannot take in, it cannot stand, I guess we could say, the truth of God. 1 Corinthians 2 says, “The natural,” that is unsaved, “man receiveth not.” He rebuffs them. He doesn’t take ’em in. He refuses them. “Receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them for they are foolishness unto him.” He rebuffs them. He can’t understand them, he goes on to say, because they are spiritually discerned. The Holy Spirit of God is the One Who enables you to think in line with God’s eternal truth. Well, that’s the problem wherever you go.

See, don’t be insulted and offended because people rebuff you on account of the fact that you’re a Christian. “Aren’t you one of them? You’re one of those Fundamentalists. You’re one of those evangelicals. You’re one of those Christians.” How often you and I have heard that through the years, haven’t we? And it hurts.

I’m not glossing over the fact that it’s unpleasant. But don’t be offended and insulted, because they aren’t after you, they’re after the Lord. They don’t hate you because of you, they refuse what you stand for, alright? What do you do about it?

First, point to the resurrected Christ. Everything the apostle said in those post Pentecost days when the church was just beginning, centered upon the message, ‘Jesus is alive.’ You can do no better than that 2,000 years later than to point to the risen Christ, Jesus is alive. I know Him. He dwells within my heart.

Second, let God work through your life. The things that happened as a result of their day to day ministry were eloquent proof that Jesus is real.

Third, rejoice as they did, because you’re counted worthy to stand with Him. They departed from the presence of the people who had beaten them, rejoicing that they were thought worthy to suffer shame for His name. Face up to the fact that you belong to Jesus, hold your head high, and testify to the fact that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Father God, today, we pray that we may stand bravely and happily for the Lord Jesus in the midst of opposition wherever we encounter it. In His name I pray. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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