The Cost of Faithfulness
As you know I just returned from the Shepherd's Conference. The topic for the conference was faithfulness. There was a whole host of topics on faithfulness. Faithfulness in evangelism. Faithfulness in preaching. Faithfulness in prayer. Faithfulness in worship.
This morning what I want to look at is the cost of faithfulness. In our day and age this is a topic that we need to know... we need to well. It is something that Jesus taught on. It's a topic that's throughout the New Testament. The cost of faithfulness.
We are going to spend our time primarily in Matthew, in the book of Matthew. So I invite you to turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Matthew. And we're going to look at chapter 11, verses 2 through 6. I'll begin with verse 1, but we'll go through two through 6.
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
It's a stinging statement that Jesus makes there at the end: “blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”
So out topic is faithfulness. The cost of faithfulness. Faithfulness to speak for God on behalf of God is a given. It is expected in the New Testament. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10,verse 32:
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”
These statements are even more explicit, and more difficult that just speaking about the law of God, or God's own self-revelation. So if it is expected, if it is necessary, if it is obligatory, that we publicly identify with Christ, who He is, His divine nature, His sovereign lordship, His being the exclusive way to the Father. If we are to be heralds of those truths, defenders and proclaimers of those truths, then how much more are we to be faithful to the basics of what God has revealed?he basics. The things that are often less debated throughout human history. Things like the deity of Christ have been highly debated. His sovereign lordship has been highly debated. But other aspects of God's self-revelation have been less debated. But at various times throughout human history some of God's law has been attacked and debated. We could give a couple of examples...
Things like the value of all human beings. The fact that all human beings are made in the image of God, and therefore have inherent worth. Whether we're talking about African slaves being sold on the slave market, or whether we're talking about little babies being butchered so they can be harvested for body parts. Other times what's being attacked is the reality that the only thing that qualifies as marriage is one man, as defined by God, with one woman, as defined by God. Sometimes that God made male and female is attacked. And sometimes all of these are attacked at the same time. Sometimes culture is so totally depraved that every institution that God has created is under attack. Individual identity. Marriage. Family. The sanctity of life. And when you see that you can turn to the book of Romans... chapter one. And when you see that every institution God has created is under attack, then you know that we have reached, as a culture, what is the third stage of God's judgment. So, look with me briefly at Romans one. I just want to set little bit of backdrop as to where we are, Cannon Beach Bible Church, where we are today... as a culture in the world around us.
We're going to start in verse 18 and work our way through. Romans chapter one verse 18 says:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.”
So what we see is that God's wrath is revealed. It comes down from heaven against men who suppress the truth. I would remind you of the Declaration of Independence of this country. In this church we don't have an American flag up here. We won't boast in our country, but I will remind you of the Declaration of Independence. One of the opening lines says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are CREATED equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
You see, for these men who started our country, they say it is self-evident. We don't need to look anywhere in a book... we don't need to look anywhere... it is self-evident that men are created and that they're given rights by their creator. So in one sense, whether you've thought about it or not, there is really nothing more un-American than to deny the creator. To be an atheist is to be as un-American as you can be because this country was founded on the very idea that men are created and given rights by their creator. But what happens is that men begin to suppress that truth in unrighteousness. That's what Romans says.
So, we'll continue on here... verse 20:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.”
This is man exchanging the creator God for an evolutionary world view. The creature becomes the creator. And what does God do when that happens? Well we read that right here, verse 24:
“Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
So the first step of God's giving over of mankind... the giving over is explained here... that they are given to the lusts of their hearts to impurities so that their bodies would be dishonored. That is a sexual revolution. A sexual revolution. And some of you are old enough to remember this county's our sexual revolution not that many decades ago. Because men had rejected God, God gave them over and they got worse. But it continues... verse 26...
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”
We see that we move from a sexual revolution to a homosexual revolution. And that is exactly the trajectory that we've been on for the past decade. But it doesn't stop there. God continues to pour out His wrath. We see in verse 28:
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness...”
That is the third step. God giving a culture over to depraved mind. The depraved mind means worthless. That's how it's translated, and Titus chapter one verse 16 reads:
“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
Hebrews six verses 7 and 8 say:
“For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”
So when a culture rejects God, suppresses what is true about God in unrighteousness, there is a three step process of God giving over that first results in a sexual revolution, the second step results in a homosexual revolution, and the final step is that man is given over to depraved mind so their minds are now worthless. And we see that in our culture. The basic ability to think logically and rationally has been completely abandoned. The laws of logic aren't even taught in school any more. It's all emotional rhetoric. It's almost impossible to have logical, rational dialog these days. Even with people who aren't outwardly horrendously wicked. Just with the average unbeliever, logic has been abandoned. Because God has given the culture over to a depraved mind. Their minds are now worthless. They are worthless to do the things that God created them for. That is to serve Him and worship Him.
Now it is not to say that man stops being an image bearer. Man is always an image bearer. It is just to say that God has so removed His restraining grace that the culture is now in full out rebellion.
But, regardless of the particular divine law, the divine revelation that's being rejected, God's people are expected to stand for Him. They are obligated. It is required that we be His ambassadors. We're expected to ne His evangelists.
Let me say it this way. Saying the same thing, but saying it a different way. God's people are expected to love their neighbors. It may seem like I switched topics, and if it does seem like I've switched topics, then there is a breakdown in your understanding between loving your neighbor and standing for God's divine law, because they are not mutually exclusive. Standing for God's divine law and declaring God's divine law IS LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR.
Our culture has so infiltrated the church that we've bought the lie. That it's unloving to declare God's law. It's unloving to tell people what God has said... that their lifestyle... that their choice is sinful. It's unloving they tell us, but that's not the case.
Cannon Beach Bible Church - A Grace Advance Church
264 East Hills Lane
Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Sunday Service: 10:30 AM (Sunday school available for children 5 yrs and younger)
Adult Sunday School: 9:30 AM