A Decision for and a Protest Against

Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” once said to  a 19th century congregation, “Learn to say no! It will be more use to you than to be able to speak Latin.” Spurgeon, pastor to thousands, whose sermons were published worldwide, also said, “Neither when we have chosen our way can we keep company with those who go the other way. There must come with the decision to stand for truth a corresponding protest against error.”

He was talking about the importance of having convictions and being able to stand up for what you believe in, even if it means that uncomfortably you must at times say, “No!”

As believers, we are called upon to maintain a testimony for our Lord and Savior in a world of which the Apostle John spake when he wrote: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passeth away…but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (I John 2:15-17)

To do so will require convictions. Some may be “ordinary” mundane things about what to eat or what not to eat; others may be extraordinary—matters of faith and practice that to bend upon would sorely wound one’s conscience: “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23b)  “Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.” (Eph.6:14) Believers today and throughout history have “gone to the stake,” as it were, because they have been unwilling to bend on what they hold as a Biblical conviction.  History is tinted red with the blood of martyrs who have been beheaded, burned at the stake, beaten to death, or drowned because they would neither bow nor bend. Here is a brief list of core Biblical convictions that are principles upon which every believer would, I believe, rightly stand firm upon today:

(1) Whatever the Bible says is so. It is our final authority of faith and practice, and “all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim.3:16) “To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no truth in them.” (Isa.8:20)

(2) The main purpose in living my life is to bring glory to God. It is not to make a name for myself, nor to “do my own thing,” nor to “enjoy myself while I do it my way.” God’s Word says, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev.4:11)

(3) My body is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit, and therefore I should glorify God in my body and not defile it by what I do with it, or by where I take it. I cannot justify wrongdoing in this temple by saying, “I am only hurting myself.” In sinning with, to, and through our body, we grieve God’s Holy Spirit, hurt our loved ones, our teachers, and those who have looked to us as examples. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Cor.6:20)

(4) The local church is the organism through which God is fulfilling His divine purposes today, and I will, therefore, be actively involved in the ministry of a local, New Testament assembly of believers: one that preaches the whole counsel of God and is engaged in obeying the Great Commission as given by our Lord in Matt.28:18-20—a church that I can support with my presence, prayers and pocketbook. A church that is unashamed of the preaching of the Book, the Blood, and the Blessed Hope of His soon return. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” (Heb.10:25)

(5) Children are an heritage of the Lord, and as a parent it is my responsibility (and privilege!) to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” (Ps.127:3) “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov.22:6) “And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children..” (Deut.6:6,7) It is not the responsibility of the school, nor of the church, nor of the state to train up our children. It is our God-given task, and we must hold to the conviction that nothing on our calendar from day to day is more important than this training.

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.” (I Cor.16:13,14)

(To be continued)

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