Mark 8:31-32 ESV
“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”
When we teach the purity of the Scriptures, we will have people rebuke us, too, who will try to convince us that what the Scriptures say will happen, that they will certainly not take place. They will try to convince us that we don’t have to die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, but that we can still have eternal life with God.
And, they will try to persuade us that we are not required to suffer with Christ for righteousness’ sake. For, they want eternal life with God without first dying to sin. They want the promise of heaven when they die without first coming to the cross of Christ and surrendering to Christ as Lord.
So, they will try to convince us that God’s grace merely forgives us our sins, and that it guarantees us heaven when we die. And, they will try to persuade us that living holy and godly lives, in submission to Christ, and in obedience to his commands, is relying on our own works for our salvation, and that we are not to do that.
And, they will also try to influence us to believe that we can continue living in sin once we are “saved,” and that God even smiles on us while we live in open rebellion against him and against his word, and while we thirst after the lusts of the flesh rather than after God and his righteousness.
And, too, they will try to prevent us from sharing the truths of the gospel of our salvation, either by trying to shame us into silence, or by trying to persuade us that what we are teaching is false, or by trying to distract us with other things of this world, or by trying to convince us to not be so serious about the Lord, but that we should just relax and take it easy.
Mark 8:33 ESV
“But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’”
So, when we are faced with these types of situations, where people are trying to get us to back down from what we know to be the truth, and where they are trying to persuade us to compromise our faith and convictions, we must stand firm on the word of God. We must know the truth, and we must stick with it, no matter who is opposing us.
And, we must teach the difference between what is of man and what is of God; what is of the flesh, and what is of the Holy Spirit. For, so much of what is being promoted and taught in today’s modern church is of man, and it is of the flesh of man, and not of God, but it is contrary to God and to his word.
And, it isn’t the people out in the world, per se, who are the ones who are trying to persuade us to back down on what we believe, or who are trying to get us to be less serious about our walks of faith, or who are trying to convince us that God does not require repentance and obedience to himself.
Most of this kind of persuasion is coming from within the church, and from some of the leadership of the church – from pastors and elders and Bible teachers and small group leaders – and from other church goers who have bought into the ways of man in place of the ways of God.
Some of them are suppressing (stifling) and grieving the Holy Spirit. They are blocking him, and they are trampling “the Son of God underfoot.” They are treating “as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them,” and they are insulting “the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29).
Some of them are teaching the Scriptures out of context, and they are twisting them to their advantage, in order to deceive naïve minds, and in order to lead many away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ to living selfish, self-indulgent and self-gratifying lives free from the control of the Spirit.
Some of this opposition is coming from wealthy and powerful global leaders, who are lovers of what is sinful and what is unholy and impure. They are out to destroy Jesus Christ and his gospel, and his servants and messengers. So, they are authors of confusion and intoxication of the mind, the purpose of which is to lead people away from the Lord to what is of the devil.
Mark 8:34-35 ESV
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.’”
So, here is the truth, which we must guard in our hearts.
If we want to come to faith in Jesus Christ, we must deny ourselves, die daily to sin and self, and we must follow our Lord in obedience to his commands (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Jn. 10:27; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).
We must forsake our sinful lifestyles, leave them behind us, be renewed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and now, empowered by the Spirit, we must walk according to the Spirit of God in holiness and righteousness if we want to be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God.
For, if we hold on to our former lives of living for sin and self, we are going to lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for Jesus’ sake, i.e. if we die with him to sin and self, we will live with him for eternity (Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Hymn lyrics by William Williams, pub.1745
tr. by Peter Williams, pub.1771
Music by John Hughes, 1907
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold.
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer
Sin and Satan and the grave,
Sin and Satan and the grave.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee. Amen.
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