We love to hear from you! Some of your letters this week have been very precious. There’s one that touched my heart a great deal. It was from a mother that told about how her boy seemed to be slipping. He was in the service; he is overseas. His letters show that he‘s slipping away from the family moorings and from the Word of God, not like the boy that left home; and she begged for prayer.
You know, it isn’t so easy to stand amidst some of those things that are going on where boys are encamped together, and at the battlefront together. There are lots of temptations.
Some of us as Christians, we’re not willing to come out and out for the Lord, and to be so deeply dedicated and so absolutely surrendered to the Lord and speak out boldly for Him. We ask our boys to be bold about their witnessing and their testimony when they are in camp, but I wonder if we always are so bold about it?
Do you know what I think about this scripture, “Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:1–3). We’re not willing to be the least bit despised for Him, though, are we? As I say, speaking out where we should for the Lord, and not being afraid of man—no fear of man being in our hearts whatsoever—daring to take a stand for the right, and for God’s Word. But He was despised.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4–5)
Oh, this wonderful passage in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah! You are quite familiar with it, but I just wanted to call attention again to what He has suffered for us and yet how little we are willing to suffer for Him.
Recently, I was with a group—I wasn’t in my own home, but in theirs—and they were watching something on television that I just couldn’t understand how any Christian could sit there and watch. I thought some of these things that are coming on the television, some of these things over the radio and on the newsstands and the magazine racks—that if we were courageous enough to take a definite stand against some of these things, if we were bold to speak our convictions and do something about it, that some of these things wouldn’t happen.
There are enough Christians in this world that if they would rise up and boldly throw the weight of their influence towards putting Christ into the schools, and the Bible and prayer back into the schools, and Christ back into Christmas and back into Thanksgiving and all of these different things, why, they could stem the tide of this awful materialism and wickedness and pornography and vileness and unbelief.
He died that we might have liberty. He was poor that we might be rich in spiritual things. And yet we are not willing to make this sacrifice. I say, dearly beloved, that to be a secret disciple and make no personal, public testimony isn’t being a real dedicated, consecrated Christian.
We are just so afraid, some of us are, that it would make us seem peculiar or different from the crowd. Isn’t that so? I believe that something has got to be done that will put teeth into our conviction and a fear of God in some of our conferences, and dynamic decisiveness in our negotiations so far as our government is concerned.
We have heard so much about the dedicated communists and their cause and world domination; and they are certainly dedicated, super-sacrificial, and super-determined and super-active, that’s true. Too many of us in this wonderful land of ours, however, are passive, and our senses are somehow dulled about our duty to stand out to speak boldly.
In the sixth chapter of Ephesians it talks about this boldness.22 Oh, that God would give some boldness that we might stand out for the Lord Jesus Christ, and take such a definite stand that we’re utterly fearless about what people say and what they think about us!
I think we’re just dulled by too much luxury and too much prosperity, and maybe by all of our gadgets. Our senses are dulled by what we see and hear of crime and sex and the world on TV and the radio, and what we see about us. Our conscience is dull because we have become hardened by constant contact with it all and we don’t do anything about it.
But when I think of Jesus, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. (Isaiah 53:5) And as it says in 1 John 3:16—not John 3:16; that is a wonderful verse—but 1 John 3:16: “That He laid down His life for the brethren, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
How I pray some days that God will raise up more leaders who will acknowledge God as sovereign, the Bible as our guide, and free from the fear of man, that they might be willing to die for some of their convictions!
You know, among professing Christians today we have got quite a problem along this line; there isn’t this boldness. So many try to figure out just how far they can go and yet not hurt their reputation; how far they can stand for Jesus Christ and yet not in any way make themselves peculiar. They don’t want to be real outstanding Christians for fear of being called fanatics, or fools for Christ’s sake. (1 Corinthians 4:10) They want to be very dainty and aloof in their Christian walk and not disturb anybody.
Unlike those that walked with Paul, of whom it was said, “These are they that turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6) They were called disturbers, all right! But their names live to this very day and their influence is still felt, while the passive compromisers that are drifting around today are just drifting into oblivion.
I believe the Christian life is a devoted, dedicated life. You know where the power lies in a Christian life? In that very thing—in the depths of its devotion, in the height of its consecration. That’s where the power lies, in the extent of its dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Such a dedicated life doesn’t figure on moderation. It doesn’t figure on saving their reputation. They don’t say, “I’ll just partake a little of this and that, but I will be moderate.” Instead of that, he sets the force of his entire life towards that which is the world’s hope through the Lord Jesus Christ, and he won’t compromise with any of it. I know people like that. I know the kind of folks that take that kind of a stand for the Lord, and my, they are brave souls.
The issues of Christian living are like patriotism; they need to be more sharply defined than the world defines them: they have got to stand out sharp and clean-cut, and clearly defined. I am going to repeat again, that there is a tendency today on the part of Christians to cut corners and bend rock principles, to make them fuzzy and uncertain.
But the kingdom of God is founded on absolute things, absolute truth, absolute candor and sincerity. “Thus saith the Lord” is what a Christian stands on, and these are the principles that America was founded on.
Across from us today there is both a kingdom of Satan and a nation that is no less absolute in its falseness and influence which damns the souls of men. But there is no bridge between, beloved. You can’t try to confer and negotiate for a bridge between the two. You just can’t; there is none.
So far as Christ is concerned, the Christian must face the question of whether his allegiance shall be one and undivided, completely surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ. I say it again, I want to repeat it; therein lies the power of the Christian life. Its influence and its blessing lies there alone.
The day is now here when Christians are going to have to give bold expression to their convictions. That day has come. There are forces at work in the world, and nationally, that are pressing in on us at such an alarming speed that we may suffer like the martyrs of old if we don’t every one of us, quickly, openly, espouse the cause of Christ fearlessly.—The greatest cause in all the world: this precious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. There isn’t any place now in this crisis for a chameleon character that changes color with every crowd and melts into their surrounding world without any convictions or moral courage.
Of course it will cost something! The espousal of every great cause has cost something. Some of the greatest of men have risked everything, even their heads, to courageously declare their allegiance to Jesus Christ, to stem the tide of materialism.
I want to close by asking, do you have the moral courage to take your stand openly with the great of the ages? And at every opportunity give expression to your Christian conviction no matter what the cost in popularity or position? Joseph of Arimathea didn’t, “being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews.” (John 19:38)
Do you do something secretly for fear of the opinions of others? There is a heroic element that is necessary today. Do you have it? When the opportunity arises, do you come up with that heroism? “He that came to Jesus by night, being one of them”—yet he was fearful to stand out. (John 7:50) Are you in the same class as that one?
The Bible says, “I hate halfhearted men.” The cause of Christ is suffering today because of halfhearted Christians. The great army of God is engaged in a life struggle.
So what are you to stand by? God bless you.
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:19–20)