Almost eighty years ago my grandfather purchased a vehicle that had a “new” invention in it, a cigarette lighter, simply push it into the dash hole provided, wait a few moments, and it would begin to glow. One of my uncles happened to be in the car that day, very young at the time, and wanted to know if that lighter got hot. My grandfather said, “Touch it and find out,” and my uncle did. I was told that story many decades ago for the first time, and each time it was told afterwards, he would always hold up that finger that got burnt. Use that type of common sense, life application today and you will be hearing from some form of child protective services.
Here is the analogy I offer to you today, and it has to do with these verses, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) and 1st Peter 3:15, so that you can give an account. But beyond that, how many of you are giving an account of your faith because of what you have read in the Scriptures, and how many of you have life applications that you can offer, what many call their testimony.
Many will stop when the account of how they met Christ, or perhaps better yet, how they responded when He called them, and then offer no more, and many of those have been saved a very long time. Paul gave his response once, or at least only one time that we are told of, in such a way that some might see it as almost conceited, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee.” (Phil. 3:5) What he was telling those present that day was that he had every right to speak as he spoke, he had the credentials to back up his words. And so that is your question today, if you will, when you speak to others about Christ, do you speak as one with authority, as one who has experienced and known God, as one with a burnt finger.
This type of confidence in most churches today is frowned upon, it comes across as condescending to the hearer, as contentious, as “I’m better than you,” when it is never offered as such. There are many “weaker brothers” (1 Cor. 8:11) these days, and it seems as if they want to stay that way, they will rarely if ever step out in faith, for that may mean not only an inconvenience, but the possibility of trials and tribulations, they will skirt around the valleys whenever possible.
We should never attempt to deviate our path around what God has placed before us, “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) The fellowship of the Lord’s suffering (Phil. 3:10) is not something that people look forward to these days, they will willingly read Isaiah 53:5-6, something my lovely wife nearly always sheds tears over when she reads these passages, where we are told “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 53:3) Yet, reading is easier than experiencing, and experiencing these traits of our Lord is not on the priority list of many who profess His name.
If you have not experienced Christ, if you cannot say that you not only know Him, but have known Him, if all you have is a worn-out Bible, but no life altering experiences through Christ, then you may want to check the validity of your supposed salvation. As a born-again believer, you are supposed to be carrying your cross, (Matt. 16:24) no one without one will walk into the kingdom. (Luke 14:27) It is heavy, it is a nearly constant burden, it tears into your flesh, and you carry it willingly. My uncle paid a price for his inquisitiveness, one that hurt for a little while, are you willing to pay a much higher price, every day of your life, until that cross is lifted off you forever? Because that is what you have been asked to do.