Sunday Sermon 27 July @ 9am — Stand Up-Stand Up for Jesus

Stand Up-Stand up for Jesus

Sean Cloete — Elder

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight Lord – my rock and my redeemer. This is the day that the Lord has made. We shall rejoice and be glad in it.

During the week I ran into a friend of mine – whom I hadn’t seen at church for a month or so.It turned out that he had been away on holiday – so no cause for alarm. In conversation he told me that he was fighting with God because God had not answered his prayers.

I told him that I thought there was nothing wrong with fighting with God because in a close relationship there are often differences of opinion – and in healthy relationships we need to talk about things that bug us.

It reminded me of a sermon I preached a month ago in the 2nd Service about the Voice of God – and how we can hear Him. If you are waiting for Him to whisper in your ear ….. it may take while and this may not be the way He wants to speak to you.

Also, when you are going through something hard – and wonder where God is. Remember the Teacher is always quiet during a test. Maybe the time is not right for him to speak to you yet.

Winston Churchill once said – If you’re going through hell — Keep going.

These words could just have just as easily have been written by Paul as he battled along on one of his missionary journeys into the wild beyond.

God is never early – never late. He is always on time. He knows what we are all going through. And He knows when the time is right. Most often God speaks to us through His Word.

So this is why it is crucial for us to know the Word of God.

Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians – By knowing God through His written Word and His spoken Word; we can recognize the schemes of the enemy so that the devil is less likely to outwit us.The devil can imitate God but he is a created being – just like we are.

There is no reason to be afraid of him. He was defeated when Jesus Christ died on the Cross. Love is the antidote for what the world can throw at us – and Love is something that the Devil will never have.

The Reverend Dudley Tying was an American Pastor, who served in the Church of the Epiphany, in Philadelphia in the middle of the 19th century. He was an outspoken, powerful and uncompromising preacher, known for taking strong stands against evil, no matter what the cost. The members of his church were very unhappy about his forthright statements and his clear stance against slavery.

His sermon regarding the evils of slavery in America is still in print today.This sermon resulted in him being removed from the church he was preaching in at the time. On Tuesday, March 30, 1858, Tyng preached a sermon on Exodus 10:11 – go now you that are men, and serve the Lord – to a large congregation at a YMCA mass meeting. The good Reverend delivered his message to 5,000 men that day. More than 1,000 of those men responded to the altar call, to receive Jesus as their Savior. Just over a week later, the Reverend Tyng lay dying as a result of a tragic accident. His final statement, whispered to friends and family, was Let us all stand up for Jesus.

The Sunday following the Reverend’s death his friend the Presbyterian Pastor George Duffield preached a sermon on Ephesians 6:14 – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, as a final tribute to the words of his friend the good Reverend. He finished up his sermon with a six-stanza poem. Copies of the poem were printed and distributed to the congregation. One of the pamphlets fell into the hands of the editor of a local Baptist Newspaper. The editor was so impressed with the verses that he printed them in his Newspaper.

The poem Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus, has since become one of the most recognized hymns in all English-speaking Christendom.

There is a common thread that runs through this morning’s readings. The writers, David, Matthew, Paul and Peter have a common message – if you look carefully.

God’s Love for us. But His Love doesn’t come cheap.

God wants to save us.

  • From the world.
  • From Satan
  • From Death

Jesus did all the work for us on a cross 2000 years ago. All we have to do is believe. Jesus died for us. And because of his Resurrection – we are saved. And our reward is Eternal Life.

As Christians we need to make a Stand for our Faith. We can’t go on pretending that everything here on earth is fine and dandy. What are we going to do about it?

Why does the world we live in have such a blinkered view of Christians?

As a result of this the world believes that:

  • It’s not cool to be a Christian.
  • It’s boring being a Christian..
  • How on earth can you have any fun if you’re a Christian?
  • The world doesn’t know – and doesn’t care.
  • And because they don’t know – how can they believe

In its wisdom the world is moving away from Christianity – and many people are moving away without knowing it. Do we know what is happening in the world? Or maybe we’ve just let Stuff Get In the Way of Our Relationship with God!!

We let the world get the better of us – we become tired, stressed, overworked, afraid or just busy being busy. For most people Sunday has become just another day.The view that many people have is that there are other things we can spend our free time doing.

The word on the street is that other religions have become more popular because they are more interesting.But these other religions are all created by man – and not God.And man has convinced his fellow man that this is the way to go. If you walk down the road right now you will find more people at the market, out shopping – and there will be more people in the coffee shops right now that in Church.These are the people that need to be reached.

So – how should Christians stand up for their faith in such an anti-Christian world?

As Christians, the two things we can do to stand up for Christ are to live according to His Word and grow our own knowledge of Him. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said – Let your light shine before me.

This means that we should live and act in a way that supports what we read in His Word.We should also arm ourselves with knowledge, both of the Gospel and of the world around us. Critics of Christianity are becoming more vocal – Bible in Schools story on the North Shore as documented in the press.This is partly because there are many people who do not believe in God or understand the truth about Him at all.

The vast majority of those who do not believe don’t care enough to bother believers. The few angry, vocal, bitter unbelievers make enough noise to seem more numerous than they are.

Most non-believers have no personal reason to see Christians negatively, but they pay too much attention to the loud anti-Christians so they just assume this to be true.This is something we have been warned to expect.

The best thing to do in this case is to fight back with a passage from the Bible that addresses the situation.True Christians are known by their actions. In Matthew 7 we read – by their fruit you will recognize them. And remind critics that absolutely no one lives without sinning at all – Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

An important thing to remember is that no one, no matter how persuasive, can force anyone to believe anything he doesn’t want to believe. No matter what the evidence, no matter what the argument, people will believe what they want to believe. Conviction is not a Christian’s job – the Holy Spirit will do that. What is really disappointing to me as a Christian – is that there are many atheists who have who have read the entire Bible looking for ammunition against Christians …. BUT ….. there are many Christians who have hardly read the Bible at all. Knowledge is the weapon, and we become bullet proof when we let Christ direct us in how to use it. So we need to know our Bibles.

The Apostle Paul had a lot to say about Standing up for Jesus.

 1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

1 Corinthians 15:1
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.

Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 3:16

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Ephesians 6:10
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

The Apostles

Have you ever thought back to what you read about Jesus’s Disciples in the Gospels – and the mistakes they made? These were the same men who became the Apostles and were prepared to die for the message they brought to the unbelievers and for their faith.

As Disciples they were unreliable, prone to falling asleep when they were keeping watch, they let Jesus down frequently, were guilty of not listening or not trusting Him. Peter denied Him, Thomas doubted Him and He had to handle the ambitions of James and John – amongst other things.

In fact – when Jesus was with them it was if they were just along for the ride. They didn’t have to think or do anything for themselves. So, how did they go from frightened, timid followers of Jesus before his death, to bold evangelists willing to die preaching his resurrection.

God transformed them from Disciples to Apostles – He changed them into different people to the ones they were before. It was only then that they woke up and realised why Jesus had chosen them and what they had to do. There were no more mistakes after this Transformation.

They took the Gospel to the known world and even beyond the confines of the Roman Empire – they went to :

  •  All of Roman occupied Europe – including Spain, Britain and Ireland.
  • Parts of modern-day Russia, Ukraine and Armenia.
  • Egypt
  • Turkey
  • Libya
  • Iran
  • Ethiopia
  • Mauritania
  • China
  • India

There were 13 Apostles in total:

But what became of these Great Men of Faith?

  1. Simon Peter – Crucified in Rome
  2. Andrew – Crucified in Greece.
  3. James (son of Zebedee) – Beheaded in Jerusalem
  4. John – the only who lived to old age but the Romans did try and kill him by throwing him into a pot of burning oil. Died of natural causes on the island of Patmos.
  5. Phillip – Beaten, Crucified then Beheaded in Turkey.
  6. Bartholomew (also called Nathaniel) – Beaten then Crucified in Armenia.
  7. Thomas – Stabbed in India.
  8. Matthew – Beheaded in Ethiopia
  9. James (son of Alphaeus) – Beaten to death in Egypt.
  10. Jude (also called Thaddaeus) – Beaten to death in Syria.
  11. Simon(the Zealot) – Crucified in Persia
  12. Matthias (the Apostle who replaced Judas Iscariot) – Stoned to death in Jerusalem.
  13. Paul (also known as Saul of Tarsus) – Beheaded in Rome.

Even today people are still dying for their faith around the world.

It has been estimated that in 2012 approximately 146 000 Christians were put to death because of their faith.

Most of these deaths happened in:

  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Iran
  • Egypt
  • Sudan
  • China
  • Afghanistan
  • Indonesia
  • Somalia
  • Laos

No one – except Christians said anything. We are so fortunate to live in a country where there are no restrictions.We can worship what we want and where we want. But the majority of us choose to turn our backs on Christianity.

Why is this? What are you doing about this …… and how far are YOU prepared to go for your FAITH ??

May God Bless us all

Amen

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Posted on July 30, 2014, in Sunday Morning Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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