February 12

  • Luke 14:26“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

Mark 6 and Matthew 14 tells us about the end of John the Baptist’s life. He preached repentance of sins, and called out Herod for taking his brother’s wife for his own. Herod imprisoned him and ultimately beheaded him. John loved God and hated his own life. It cost him, but he proved himself a true disciple.

  1. When the rubber meets the road and you are faced with physical opposition for being a Christian, and maybe even death, what have you done to prepare yourself to be resolute in your stand for Christ? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Easy believism is a lie that has infiltrated our pulpits for decades. It says, simply, that all you need to do to go to heaven is pray a prayer of faith, collect your “Get Out Of Hell” card, and be on your merry way. That way of thinking says (rightly so) that salvation is not of works, but then it proclaims (wrongly) that you do not need to do any good works after you are saved. Jesus proclaimed that you cannot be His disciple unless you stop worshipping yourself and wholly follow Him. James said that if you don’t do good works, then you don’t have faith. John says that if you hate your brother you are not saved. Salvation is not a passive condition for the Christian, but an active one. Jesus is the one Who wholly saves us, but if He has saved us then we will have His Holy Spirit indwelling us to work in and through us. That work of the Holy Spirit is known as the perseverance of the saints. No perseverance means no Holy Spirit. Think about it.

But, keep in mind here that salvation is not just proven by our good works and active faith, but by our self-denial and sacrifice. Just look at John the Baptist who died for daring to call out the regional ruler for having an illicit marriage. Just look at Stephen, Peter, and Paul whom we know were martyred for Christ. Or John who was (according to historians) boiled in oil, and when he didn’t die, was sentenced to the island of Patmos.

  1. Why is it that a Christian who lives fully for Christ, even to the point of death, is viewed by other so-called “Christians” as a fanatic? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. Have you ever witnessed people judging, maybe even mocking a zealous Christian who is on fire for Jesus, who proclaims Him constantly, who prays in public and maybe even carries a Bible around? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________
      1. Now honestly, have you ever been the one to mock and judge such a Christian? ___________________________
    2. What embarrasses you about publicly proclaiming your Christianity? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Book Recommendation: Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the Worldby John MacArthur

A noticeable trait in the Bible is that when our sin is exposed for what it is, we fight back. We attack the messenger as well as the message. John exposed Herod’s sin and he fought back by imprisoning John. Jesus exposed the religious rulers’ sin repetitively and they fought back by conspiring against Him continually, and finally having Him brutally beaten and then crucified. Yet, as we discussed two Sundays ago, Jesus is the Light that has come into the world to expose darkness, and those who worship themselves and their sin hate the Light—they hate Jesus. And just as John the Baptist preached repentance from sins and pointed people to Jesus, we must also preach Jesus even if it means death.

  1. Pray now to God a prayer of commitment to Him regardless of what life brings you. You may live peacefully until you die, or maybe you will be tortured for Christ. But, each of us must dedicate our lives to Christ regardless of the circumstances.
  • For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.—Philippians 1:21