Good People, or Born-Again Christians
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Greetings and welcome again to Meditation Moments, and again that wonderful old-time greeting, the Lord bless you, use your life, and make you a blessing.
On our recent tour, when we were speaking to different groups, we had the privilege of speaking to the Teen Challenge group both in San Francisco and Dallas, and it was there and elsewhere that we heard a number of times the following statement—that is, about some boy or girl who was a delinquent, that was made in reference to them. They’d been in some serious kind of trouble or trouble with the law. I heard folks say, “Well, he was always such a good boy. He never gave any trouble. He was getting along in school; he went to Sunday school some of the time…”
Just this week, this same thing happened here in the Los Angeles area, in California. A boy, only 16, for no reason whatsoever, climbed a hill and leveled his rifle on passing motorists, carefully aiming at each one. Three were killed and a number were wounded. Then the papers came out with this statement of his parents, and they said, “We never had any trouble with Michael. He was a good, quiet boy. He went to Sunday school. We can’t understand how this happened.”
But you know, one is left with the thought that this is perhaps not a Christian boy that was brought up in Sunday school, but just someone who attended once in a while. In one case the news media inferred that the boy was a Christian boy and constantly went to Sunday school, a boy that had committed an atrocious crime. But I became interested and found out afterwards that the boy had joined a social club in a church, but he had never been a committed Christian. He had never really known the Lord Jesus Christ, and of course was never a born-again child of God.
In the case of Michael Clark, he had given no trouble at home, was a junior in high school, a fairly good student, he had a nice home and fine parents. Yet one night he disappeared, took his mother’s car, a hundred dollars and his rifle, and only 150 miles from home, he wrecked the car, then fled to a nearby hill, and without cause at all began to level that gun on motorists. Right below on the highway, he was killing them. When the police closed in on him, he turned the gun on himself and took his own life. Tragic.
Yes, but I want to bring a little lesson out of it. Now over and over again I’ve heard people asking, “How could a boy of that type do such a thing? How?” Well, you know, God says the heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things.16 That’s the human heart without the Jesus Christ reigning in it. And if the Lord isn’t Lord over the life, that heart is just that way and will stay that way.
There are no words to express the difference between the life that is outwardly what the world calls good, good and circumspect, as was said of this one, and a born-again Christian life filled with the Spirit of God and led by God’s Spirit, and walking in fellowship with God. There’s all the difference in the world between those two lives, no matter how good that person seemed to be.
God’s Word says that “if we walk in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). It’s one thing to be shown in Sunday school or church that there is such a light, but quite another thing to step out in that light and walk in that light in obedience to God’s Word.
Given adequate temptation and adequate opportunity and adequate power of the Devil brought to bear on a life, the human heart is so wicked. Without Christ’s help, a person is capable of doing most anything.
You know, we’re living in the days when demon power is rampant all over this old world, and they’re attacking and tempting on every hand. We also have an abundance of dainty, polite preachers who do not think that such things should ever be mentioned in refined churches.
But the Word of God doesn’t fail to say a lot about it, to mention it many places, and it states quite clearly the Christian life is a warfare against principalities and powers.17 Satan knows that his power is threatened by God’s power, and that when God’s power is manifested in the life of a true child of God, that he has to contend fiercely against that child of God. He does try to break down that life and that faith.
It’s wonderful to know that though we are in a warfare, yet we’re in a victorious warfare for Jesus Christ, who won that victory on Calvary.18 That’s why it’s called the “good fight of faith.”19 We are in a fight, but it’s a good fight of faith because our captain has won and we’re on the winning side!
There’s a scripture in Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
So you just let a boy or a girl, no matter how good they are, let them be tempted, and by human estimates I’d say that they’re good—remember, I’m talking about the human heart. Let them come up against this warfare without the weapon that God has provided and without the armor that God’s Word speaks of in the sixth chapter of Ephesians, to put on the whole armor of God, and they’ll be helpless in this battle against Satan and the demons of hell.
The wonderful part about it is that everyone has a chance to have that armor. The real Christian has been given all the armor and the weapons to war with, mighty weapons of faith. The most powerful weapon in all the world is prayer, and then all the promises of God to back you up, to strengthen and empower, to give that victory.
Oh, thank God for that verse of scripture that says, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Say it over and over again when you’re tempted and when you think about those verses of scripture about Satan coming in like a flood, that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world, and that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us and gave himself for us” (Romans 8:37).
God’s Word says He always causeth us to triumph through the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14). He always gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan cannot overcome the child of God that has yielded his life fully to the Lord. He cannot do it; he has no power against him if he’s a fully yielded, dedicated Christian, because his life is hid with Christ in God.
The Word tells us so in Colossians, the third chapter: “Your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). God has promised that there’s no temptation over you, that has overtaken you, that you will with that temptation be able to make a way of escape.20
Oh, that’s when it’s so wonderful to be a Christian. You don’t fight with human weapons; you don’t go out in your own strength. That’s where Christianity makes its victorious contribution by giving you a marvelous ally who comes to the rescue in every time of temptation.
God’s Word says, and I repeat again, “when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of God will raise a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). Oh, there’s where the Christian has this mighty advantage over the unsaved person. They may be just as weak in the natural. They may have just as evil tendencies in the natural, but when they’re fully yielded to God, when they’ve turned their life over to Him, God orders that life and they have divine guidance and they walk in His Spirit. Then God’s there to help, and He does come just as He promised. He does come in. He does do for you what you could not do yourself no matter how hard you struggled.
When you come to the very end of yourself and stand before Him helpless, confessing that your every human effort has failed, that’s just when He comes to your aid and gives you the strength and takes you through. Oh, isn’t it wonderful when you think that we have such an ally as that; that the Lord is ready to help us anytime, anywhere, under any temptation. He’s going to make a way of escape. This wonderful secret, Christ in you, the hope of glory, has been such a blessing to me so many times.21
May God reveal it to you in all its fullness, and there it is, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” no longer the disappointing failure. After even when you grit your teeth and clench your fists in your determination, your self-effort, and your self-confidence that you’re not going to do certain things, or that you will live such a life by sheer force of your strong will, but then you have to simply and humbly confess that you’ve failed. You have to let Christ Himself come and abide. Then, when He comes in and does this and He says that, He gives the victory. Amen.
God bless you. He’s still on the throne, and prayer changes things.