I expect the lost to lie, cheat, and steal, I expect them to revolt when they cannot have their way, individually and corporally, I expect vanity, pride, lust, greed. They are not doing anything out of the ordinary when they seek for power, when that power leads to corruption, when that corruption and desire drives them to the brink of war and beyond, these things are all expected and do not surprise me one bit. I used to be one of them, I now by the grace of God have an advantage over them, I can look upon these actions from the outside, if you will, I now see them for the truth of what they are, childish, petulant children who have the ability to maim, kill, persecute, and destroy. It is a sad little game I pay little attention to anymore, for it serves no purpose in the eternal, save for the opportunities He has blessed me with to attempt to reach them for Christ, to show them the folly of their ways, that soon each and everyone of them will be forgotten. (Prov. 10:7)
Not so with my brothers and sisters in Christ, what is expected of them is to reach out to the lost, to speak to all who will listen about His saving grace through Christ Jesus, to stand against evil, to be righteous. What is most prevalent today though seems to be silence, and every rationalization under the sun is given for it. They do not feel called to speak, they have not felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit, they do not know enough of the Scripture, they are just not the talking type. They will say they cannot discern between debate and argument, they do not want to come across as judgmental, trust in this my friends, I have heard them all, this is not a subject I learned last week, if there is one subject in this area that the spiritually growing man of God understands well, it is all the excuses those in the body of Christ have for not standing up for Jesus.
Every single one of them boils down to one truth though, they are afraid, they fear. Take some time and do the research, how many times do you read in the Scriptures, “Fear Not,” how many times did our Lord say, “Where is your faith,” this is nothing new, those of you who take every opportunity to witness for Him understand exactly what I am talking about. When we witness it in those who claim to know Him as their personal Savior, we stop in wonder, we are perplexed, for they tend to live continuously in this matter of personal fear, not of the knowledge that they are denying the commandments, but of personal fear, the fear of man. They live in a world of fear, personal fear, yet claim Christ as Lord.
And we are not speaking here of the fear of death or persecution at the hands of others, but a simple irrelevant fear that they may not be liked, that they may receive a disapproving look, that the personal character traits they claim for themselves, who they believe themselves to be, will be questioned. They do not love as they claim to love. The fruits of the Spirit they claim to possess are only visible internally, at best they are the same as the lost whom the world calls nice, polite, kind, not contentious, there is little externally that differentiates them from those who still deny Christ.
This overriding fear begins to be incomprehensible to those who have given it over to Christ. It requires much love and compassion to understand, the one who now no longer fears man in this area needs always to recall the moments in his past where he too experienced these anxious moments, when the fear of being ostracized from the crowd overran his desire to serve. Pity is the emotion we feel for them, frustration, even anger, for they say one thing in private, they proclaim His glorious name to the congregation in praise and song, but they refuse the personal responsibility and possible repercussions of self in the world of man, outside of the church doors, when they are unlocked, of course.
I can envision myself after days, probably only hours of physical torture renouncing His Holy name, for I am just a weak man, I possess little strength and courage, but to deny to speak His name because someone might laugh at or mock me, to not speak of the wonders of His glory because I might not be liked, I might say the wrong thing. This excuse, not one of these excuses, is going to stand before the Lord, and I fear that many who remain in them will not either, at least not until the great white throne of judgment.
I cannot stress those points enough, the Scriptures are more than clear in this area, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) Not the interior emotional contexts they hold, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Not just when you feel secure doing so, not just when there will be no personal cost to yourself, especially when it is nothing more than the fear of fear. “Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.” (Prov. 3:25)
We are all going to be held personally accountable, if you will not stand for Christ before men, what makes you think you are going to have any confidence at all in you when you stand before the Lord Jesus Christ.