Taking Criticism For Your Faith
Gossip as a sin is equal to murder. If you are doing what God's will says, you can stand tall under opposition. Don't be ashamed when persecuted, but give God glory.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ all right? Oh I trust so, bless your heart. I’m fine. Feel great today. Got up while it was still dark, of course, you know. It doesn’t get light until whatever time it is. And staggered around and drank a cup of coffee, and made some oatmeal. I like the old-fashioned oatmeal, do you? Takes a little longer to fix, but you have something to bite into. (Laughs)
So, a few minutes later, yours truly toddles downstairs to the studio here, and I’m with you. The miles drop away, and we’re together around the Word of God. What a delightful relationship that is. I treasure it. I’m so grateful for the privilege that’s afforded by these many radio stations for yours truly to share God’s Word. And I’m grateful for friends just like you. Bless your heart, thanks for being there.
You and I have been looking at 1 Peter 4. And he said in verse 15, “After having, after having pointed out that if you’re a believer, you have the privilege of shining under pressure.” But he says, “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” And the last time we were together, I remarked to you that most of us take a rather light view of gossip. We don’t really think too seriously about it because, well everybody gossips, don’t they? Everybody says, “I wouldn’t say a thing about him if it weren’t good, and boy is this good!” (Laughs)
Yeah? Well, you see what he’s done here, he, he said, “Don’t do these things.” And he puts you in a classification. The gossiper is classified along with murderers, thieves, and evil doers. Now that is a very serious concept. Why? Well, because idle gossip can kill a person’s reputation and sometimes break a person’s heart quite as effectively as though you stuck a knife in him. Had you thought about that?
Our Lord Jesus said seriously, “One day for every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” Be careful how you speak. Well, that gives a whole new importance to the seriousness of my conversation with others and the things about which I might idly hazard a comment.
Now and again I meet a man who’s very highly placed in Christian circles. He’s in the commercial end of some Christian enterprises. And he’s doing quite well, thank you. He’s feeling no pain. But when we meet, inevitably he’ll remind me that back in the 19- what it would have been… 19-, early 1950’s or late 1940’s. Whenever it was, back in those old years when I was just starting out in ‘Youth for Christ’, I had some contact with his life. And I had remarked that he would never amount to anything.
You know we make mistakes, and I made a mistake in evaluating that young man. He was young then, just, just a sprout coming up. And I made a mistake in evaluating him, and I figured him as a lightweight.I figured he’d never amount to anything, and I said so to somebody. And what do you think?Today you, in the 1950’s to the 1980’s, at least 30-some years later, I meet him. Now we’re good enough friends. We, we’re friends — there’s no enmity there. But inevitably he’ll remind me that, that I said that about him. All the years haven’t wiped away the memory of a casual remark that cut very deeply at the time.
I should never have said it, should I? Of course not. Ooh, be careful what you say, be careful what you say. Because gossip, idle comment about people, links you with some very serious evil-doing. You can kill a person or break his heart with your words just as effectively as though you had stabbed him, remember that. Peter says, “Don’t do it.” But he said, “Yet if any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf. If you’re doing the right thing and you’re attacked, hold your head a little higher and, and say, “I belong to the Lord.”
There is no denying the authority of a person who knows that he’s obeying God. Now I’m not advocating the hysterical behavior of people who do some outlandish thing and say, “God told me to.” You know, I’m not defending the neurotic or the psychotic persons, unfortunate as they are, with whom we have now and then to deal. That’s not it. But you can know the will of God, can’t you? Yes you can.
“In all thy ways, acknowledged Him, and He shall direct thy paths,” the Bible says. You can know the will of God. Paul prayed for the people at, at Colossae. And he said that, “You may know the will of God,” see? So you can know God’s will and, and you can by His enablement you can do it. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” So you can know God’s will, and by His enablement, and His indwelling Holy Spirit you can do God’s will. That is a fact for the believer right now.
Okay if that’s so, and if you know you’re doing God’s will as based on His infallible Word, the Bible, and as, as made possible by the indwelling Holy Spirit… If you know you’re doing God’s will, and then you get opposition from the world’s crowd, or even from, from either ignorant or malicious professed Christians — Paul includes them in, in the types of opposition in some of his writings. If you’re doing God’s will and then you get opposition from whatever source, he says, “Hold your head a little higher, don’t be ashamed.Let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on His behalf.” ‘Hallelujah anyway’ is the phase that a believer can use when he’s under pressure, if you know that you’re doing God’s will.
I’ve found that it does me good to hurry on back to my Lord if there’s opposition in anything that I’m trying to do. Because sometimes God slows you down for His own purposes. I have told you the story about my plans for expanding the campus of the college back in the 1960’s. And the Lord slowed me down so I wouldn’t sink the thing. Two other colleges within a very short distance of us in the same county, went broke in those years because they expanded too fast. God kept Bob Cook from doing that, and I’ll always be grateful.
So, sometimes the opposition and sometimes the delay is part of God’s provision. But sometimes also you get opposition from the devil’s crowd. And when that happens, he says don’t be ashamed; hold your head high. You are somebody, you are a child of the King. You’re royalty. You’re God’s representative of this old Earth. Hold your head high and glorify God.Praise the Lord, hallelujah anyway.
That my friend, will see you through many a situation that would otherwise devastate an ordinary human. “Glorify God on this behalf”. What does he mean? Glory to God because I’m being opposed — that’s what you say. Don’t be ashamed because of this, but glorify God because of this. That’s the way we would put it today. Can you get hold of that? Don’t be ashamed because you’re being opposed and things are going not as well as you had hoped. Instead, because of the opposition, and because of the turmoil, and because things are going wrong, but you know you’re doing God’s will; he says glorify God because of it.
Why? That in all things God might be glorified through our Lord Jesus Christ, see? That in all things. Go back to verse 11” “That God in all things might be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Romans 8:28 has meaning in that, and in this connection. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Be all things.
You remember Dr. H. A. Ironside, some of the old-timers? He had his favorite illustration based on this verse. And he talked about apple pie. Do you recall that, any of you? Apple pie. He said, “Take the ingredients of an apple pie, what are they? Flour, lard or shortening, salt, sour apples, sugar, cinnamon, little lemon juice, and ice water. None of them by themselves is very glamorous or appealing or, or tasteful. But you put those ingredients in the hand of a skilled pastry baker; some of you ladies know how to make pies that are just out of this world. You put those ingredients in the hands of the person that’s skilled, and about an hour later out comes that beautiful luscious apple pie.”
There is nothing so delightful as, as the, the fragrance of an apple pie baking in the oven. Unless indeed it’s the turkey that goes along with it. (Laughs) “Hey, none of those elements by itself is very glamorous: flour, salt, sugar, sour apples, little lemon juice, ice water, cinnamon maybe, or whatever you put on it. No one of them by itself is something that you would just be very happy to have. But put them together, all things work together,” said Dr. Ironside, “for good to them that love God. That God in all things might be glorified.
What are you facing today? Well I have no way of knowing, beloved. I know some of you have a very rough row to hoe today. Some of you have heartache, and some of you have heavy financial burdens to carry, and some of you have a job situation that’s pretty rocky, and some of you have a domestic home situation that’s breaking your heart. I know, because you’ve told me.
And as I think of you just these moments, I think, “Oh God, help that one, and that one, and that one. Help them to stand tall and glorify God.” Help them to glorify God because it’s happening, because God is bringing them through. God lets things happen so He can bring you through. “When thou passeth through the waters, they shall not overflow thee. God wants to bring you through today, let Him do it. Hold your head high. Say, “Lord I’m yours,” and glorify God. Give God the glory — halleluiah anyway — and He’ll bring you through.
Don’t collapse. Collapse and self-pity keeps God from working in your life. It’s a kind of unbelief. Don’t collapse and, and, and go into self-pity, and a slough of despond. Instead, stand tall for your Lord Jesus Christ, even though the situation may be desperate. God is still on the throne, He hasn’t forgotten. As I often say, “He didn’t bring you this far to drop your now.” “For He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’.”
Glorify God even in the mist of the problems. Halleluiah anyway, is the motto for the victorious believer. Well, you put that on for size, will you? Try it in your own life today. I know it works. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there. So you try it out by faith, and God will see you through.
Dear heavenly Father, today oh may we be people who shine under pressure as we glorify our Lord, I ask in Jesus name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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