Fear Not! Speak Out!

Acts 18:9   (NLT)   One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!

The Lord wants His people to be fearless; He wants us to be bold. He has commissioned us to proclaim the glorious message of salvation to the entire world. He does not want us to be intimidated into silence. The message is too important not to share. The need is too big not to be answered. God loves us so much and cares for us so much to leave us in the path of destruction and sure damnation.

There are reasons for fear: persecutions are real; threats are real—they can even be life threatening. But none of these have evaded God’s attention. Our loving heavenly Father is fully aware of all the challenges before us. He is fully aware that our journey as believers won’t be a walk in the park. That’s why He has provided everything to effectively accomplish our mission.

First, He changed us from the inside. He has given us the experience of what he wants us to share. He does not want us to preach the Good News of Salvation hypocritically; He wants us to live what we preach.  We are to preach salvation so He saved us first. Then He gave us His Spirit—not spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and sound mind. Those unseen changes radiates to the seen. We shine with the light of God through the fruit of good works, giving credence to the message we share, demonstrating God’s glory to others.

God empowers us to the detail—from the spiritual to the physical, from the invisible to the visible. He gave us his blood and His Spirit. He gave us His light. He has prepared divine connections—people who will be instrumental for us to faithfully, fearlessly and boldly proclaim the Gospel. His provision will come from many different angles, many different faces, many different places, even from very unexpected sources. They will come in different forms, people with different personalities, different status in society, of varying levels of maturity.

If needed, our precious Lord Jesus won’t have any problem appearing personally to strengthen us, to embolden us, to encourage and to comfort us. Now, we go without fear; that’s why we won’t be silenced; that’s why more people are saved.

 

Advertisements

Speaking of Repentance

Luke 3:3   (KJV)   3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins

Luke 3.13 - Speaking of RepentanceOne act—repentance—causes such immeasurably great results: forgiveness of our sins, assurance of eternal destiny in the presence of our dear precious Lord. It’s a message everyone needs to hear.

We don’t cower or withdraw from preaching the message of repentance. Although it’s not a popular subject, we don’t turn our backs on it. It is an essential message for an indispensable experience: salvation.

Others don’t like to be told to repent; it suggests sin and sinfulness. Although it’s a common knowledge that all sin, that nobody’s perfect, others would rather not be told about it. But we’re not moved by people’s words or reactions. We’re moved by God’s Word and His Spirit. We do what God says we do.

Wholesome Doctrine of Jesus

1 Timothy 6:3   (KJV)   3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness

We’re enjoying our lives as believers. That’s natural for people who’ve been richly given all things we need for our enjoyment. But we’re not without struggles. We have a very undesirable division going on in the beautiful body of Christ. The Lord Jesus prayed that 1 Timothy 6.3 - Wholesome Teaching of Jesuswe as the church be one as He and the Father are one. We’re still far from that reality. The issues and teachings dividing the church are disputable—non-essentials—as often referred to.

There are dangerous teachings though creeping in the church. I’m a personal witness to this. It’s rampant and it’s ongoing. The Scriptures teach us that the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus are in accordance with godliness—our Lord’s doctrine upholds godly living. But I’ve heard messages talking down on preaching about morality and good deeds. In trying to affirm the doctrine of grace—grace which we love and appreciate tremendously—they have condemned the wholesome doctrine of our Lord Jesus—godly living.

We teach godliness; other teachers consent not. Sadly, a lot of opposition comes from fellow Christian teachers. Truth is: it’s possible for believers to stray and follow Satan (1 Timothy 5:15). That’s why we’re encouraged to fight the good fight for the true faith, to hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called us… (see 1 Timothy 6:12). We don’t downplay God’s warnings: “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16).

God’s Word is replete with such examples of our Lord’s wholesome doctrine of godliness. Here’s just another example—just a short segment: “12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:12-14). This is our doctrine as people under grace. We don’t regret it; we don’t abhor it; we love it.

 

Uniquely Blessed

Matthew 13:16   (KJV)   16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

There is blessedness in perception: for eyes able to see and ears able to hear, minds able to understand, hearts able to feel, and spirits able to sense. God has given us, His people in the New Covenant, a unique and special privilege of receiving revelation of the truths Matthew 13.16 - Uniquely Blessedhidden from unbelievers, and truths hidden even from the Old Covenant prophets and believers who longed for what we now enjoy.

Praise God for favoring us with understanding not enjoyed by everyone. He graciously grants and blesses us with unique abilities to comprehend spiritual and eternal truths—Kingdom truths. The more we seek, the more we see; the more we see, the more we seek. We just keep increasing in Kingdom knowledge and understanding. Whether it’s from the Word, a direct revelation from God, or a preaching, whether it’s old or new gems He wants us to learn, we grasp them clearly.

Others don’t listen. They close their hearts. It’s not that they’re not presented with the same “sights and sounds”—spiritually. It’s their reception that’s blocked. They close their eyes and ears. God doesn’t force them. But they miss out on much of the blessedness of genuine seekers. The less they listen, their understanding is lessened. We need to keep praying for them. Some will turn to God; others won’t. Whatever the result of our prayers and other attempts to bring them to understanding, we’re appreciatively diligent with the favor we receive. We don’t stagnate; we keep growing. We don’t treat our blessedness lightly; we value them. We don’t waste them; we use them—serving the Blesser, and serving others.

No Worry; No Fear

Matthew 10:31   (KJV)   31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Fear not! Those are very reassuring and comforting words from our loving and beloved Lord and Savior. He told us that as His followers, we will be treated extremely badly; that’s for sure. For others who don’t have a personal, loving, saving relationship with Matthew 10.31 - Sparrows Don't Fear; More So UsHim, that’s really dreadful. But for us, He also gave the reason not be scared: we are very valuable to Him.

We have a mission to accomplish. Our mission involves people. We are sheep among wolves. And the pack of wolves that devoured our Master will do us no less. We are rejected, accused, and some of us have been arrested, and punished unjustly. We are betrayed, at times, even by those very close to us—hard to believe—but it happens. We are hated by the rich, famous, and the powerful influencers of culture.

We don’t cower to and withdraw to fruitlessness. God turns our worst experiences to great opportunities. God has worked through them for those in high places to see and hear the witness of God-loving and neighbor-loving people. We see how real God is, how present He is, how wise and powerful He is. So we continue to lovingly shine His light. We hear from Him in the silence of our “date;” we boldly shout His words “from the housetops.” Others don’t like what they hear. They try to harm us. But they can only touch our bodies. None can touch our eternal beings. Only God can do that, and we’re happy because the only One Who has the power to decide where we spend our eternal destiny—He Who values the sparrows—values us way much more, loves us, and cares for us. With all that, why fear?

We continue to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons. We freely receive; we freely give. We’re threatened with prison and sword; we respond with the gentle force of God’s love—nothing to fear with that.

Preach to the “Choir”

Luke 4:44   (KJV)   44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

Luke 4.44 - Preach to the ChoirJesus preached outside of the walls of the synagogues; He also preached in the synagogues. Implied: there were people in the synagogues who needed to hear the Good News.

Going out to all the world and preaching the Gospel rings very loudly from our pulpits and that’s very good, but it will be a huge negligence on our part if we forget that there are people sitting on the chairs or pews Sunday after Sunday who still need to be preached to.

It’s important for us to declare God’s message of salvation to the lost. Most of them do not come to our places of worship. We go where they are. We also recognize the obvious truth that not everyone who gathers together with us for worship and the preaching of the Word is a believer.

There have been many times when I heard testimonies of our very own church people share how they got saved long after they’ve started attending our church gatherings. Praise God for that. That’s why we preach the Good News and we teach God’s principles; we evangelize and we disciple. We do this when we gather together as a local church in a particular place, and we do this when we part ways and go as individual churches to our personal spheres of influence—our own “worlds,”—our own mission fields.

At times, it’s worthwhile preaching to the “choir;” so let’s continue preaching in our “synagogues.” There’s a big probability that some of those in attendance may be with us bodily—geographically, but not yet a part of us as a church spiritually.

Divine Prerogative

Acts 16:7   (KJV)   7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.

It’s okay if we don’t fully understand all of the Lord’s ways. That’s just expected: the finite can’t contain the infinite; our limited brains can’t contain omniscience. Besides, there are things the Lord prefers to keep as secret. Those secret things belong to Him. There are acts-16-7-divine-prerogativethings He reveals to us; those are opportunities He gives for us to enjoy, to be guided by, and to show our loving obedience to Him.

Who would have thought that the very detailed instructions of implementing the Old Testament sacrifices were symbols and foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus and His sacrifices? He wants us to go, preach the Gospel to everyone, and make disciples of every nation, but there are times when the Holy Spirit stops us from going to preach in certain places. We don’t know why God’s people in the Old Covenant weren’t allowed to eat such and such kind of food, but we’re allowed to eat them now. We don’t understand why they were unclean before and they’re clean now.

Most of God’s people then may not have seen the mysteries of God, but what mattered much is that they willingly, humbly, and lovingly obeyed our sovereign God. God surprises us pleasantly and repeatedly with His ways. We’re comforted knowing that our heavenly Father is predictable; predictable in a sense that He has revealed much of His will, ways, and plans to us; unpredictable in a sense that He’s the sovereign God—totally and absolutely free to do what He wants to do, when He wants to do it, how He wants to do it. Look at the weather forecast: there are times when they’re accurate, but there are times when they aren’t. Somehow, during those occasions, God decides to blow the wind different from expectations. I say, in those times, it just shows: God is God, and He really has the final say.

It’s okay, we don’t sweat it; we trust. I have pretty good hypothesis about His surprising ways; it remains to be seen. As for now, we restfully trust and lovingly obey His leading. So far, He’s been perfect. And oh, He’s perfect, and will always be perfect. He’s really worthy of all our worship, love, trust, and surrender.