If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (1Peter 4:14-16)
PETER IS TALKING TO EVERYBODY. In that day, when the Christians were persecuted in Jerusalem and left town, they went everywhere preaching the Word (Acts 8:4). There weren’t any apostles or pastors among them. The promised Messiah had come, had been crucified and resurrected from the dead.
THEY BELIEVED IT AND WERE WILLING to leave their homes and businesses to be true to Him and to keep out of jail. So, preaching was no big deal to them. They were NOT pastors. (Preaching and pastoring are two different things.) Preaching is done in the pulpit AND “out there” where there is no pulpit.
I HEARD A PREACHER SAY: “We should live and preach so that if people get mad, it will be because of our position and not because of our disposition.” Pastors should NOT use the pulpit to vent their personal frustrations. Picking on people in the pew is not nice or smart. Preach the Word of God. That’s why you’re there.
IN OUR TEXT, PETER IS TALKING BROADER than to “preachers” as we think of them today. The New Testament tells us several ways people are called of God. Called to be saints (Romans 1:7). Called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Called unto the fellowship (1Corinthians 1:9). Called unto His kingdom and glory (1Thessalonians 2:12). And there’s more.
WHEN GOD CALLS A PREACHER IN A SPECIAL WAY, to deliver His message, the people may not get a warm, fuzzy feeling from it. Getting right with God can be…unpleasant. Jesus commented: The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (John 7:7) Jesus was generally liked by the common people but He was not always a good mixer.
CHRISTIANS ARE CALLED TO BE LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD and sometimes there’s no nice way to do it. If you plow close to the corn (I heard this when I was a boy) it may make some mad. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (Matthew 15:12)
NOT ONLY WAS JESUS A PERSON OF LIGHT, He said: Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16) Is carrying God’s lantern too heavy for you?
DO YOU SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING? If we are going to walk with God, if we are going to be Jesus’ disciple, we are going to make some people uncomfortable. Even if you don’t write “holy” on your sleeves, you are not going to fit in. People may gang up on you and accuse of things that are not true. They may reproach you and try to shrink you down to their size. Before our text for today, Peter had already said: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (1Peter 4:4)
IF YOU RUB SOMEBODY THE WRONG WAY and they target you to be smeared with lies, just make sure it’s not true. Go on your way and don’t try to defend yourself against every lie that’s told on you. When my first wife died, and they did an autopsy, they cut a place on the calf of her leg and forgot to sew it up. When a nurse came along and saw it, she gossiped to everyone who came into the clinic that we may have had a fight.
SHE MENTIONED THAT I WAS GONE A LOT AND PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW much about me. The tale spread. One of my daughters-in-law happened to be in a clinic where the story was being discussed and she confronted the lady, a senior, with a bit of fervor. Another nurse pointed out that the lady being reprimanded was elderly, to which my daughter-in-law replied: “Then, she’s old enough to have learned to keep her mouth shut.” (Nice to have someone on your side if you are reproached.) I didn’t know about all this until several months later. Nobody told me.
IF WE DRAW REPROACH BECAUSE OF A TRUE TESTIMONY FOR JESUS CHRIST, so be it. Don’t sweat it. Let it go. Don’t spend time trying to defend yourself. Move on. Anyway, the gossipers in town will not stay on your case very long because gossipers feed on a constant supply of idle tales. They must have a new tale every few days to keep their ego up. If you are the subject of gossip, just hang on and you’ll be out of date in a few days.
OUR TEXT FOR ODAY SAYS TO BE HAPPY ABOUT IT. That may require some practice, but it IS the way to handle it. Make it a practice not to answer your critics. Just go about doing good. Try to do at least one thing every day to help somebody (and don’t write it in your diary to keep track of what a nice person you are). Jesus went about doing good. That was part of His ministry.
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38) If you can’t heal all that are oppressed of the devil, you can still go about doing good. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
OCTOBER 9, 2019 – WEDNESDAY
A.M. 1Samuel 22-24 P.M. Luke 16:1-18
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Memory Verse:
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1Peter 4:10)
Song for Today:
Let Me Walk Close to Thee (2:27) – (Haven of Rest Quartet)
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