Stand Up and Die

Are You Willing to Stand for Christ? 1 Cor. 16:13
A soldier entered an underground church and raised his gun.

“Deny your faith and go home, or stand where you are and be shot.”

Scores of people fled while a remnant of scared but faithful believers slowly stood to their feet.

When they were alone, the soldier lowered his gun and explained that he himself was a believer, but he couldn’t take the chance of identifying himself among those who feared man more than God.

Dear Christians, would you have stood or fled?

We answer this question every day in subtle ways:

Will we stand up for Biblical truths regarding salvation, hell, repentance, Christian values, abortion, transgenderism, homosexuality, pornography, premarital sex...

Or will we scurry out the door to the false security of our fallen culture?  

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:11

Let's stand!
For more on this subject: Is Jesus Likable? and Hard Teachings 
Note: I heard this story many years ago and it was said to have occurred in a Communist country. I believe it to be true, but I no longer have the source. Even if it is not true, it makes an excellent point.
Next week Bible Love Notes will address sexual immorality, not a popular subject in our degrading culture, but it's important for believers to understand what Scripture says so we can take our stand as Christ-followers.

4 Signs of Childish Faith - 1 Corinthians 13:11

4 Signs of Childish Faith - 1 Corinthians 13:11
It's good to be childlike, but bad to be childish.(1)

We're born with folly bound up in our hearts (Proverbs 22:15). Children are egocentric, thinking they're the center of the world.(2)

Becoming an adult means putting away childish selfishness and learning self-control, self-denial, and discipline.

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11

Mature faith is evident in:
1. Whom we honor.
Do we admire people for their faith or for worldly, selfish, childish reasons (James 2:1-9; 1 Corinthians 15:33)? 
2. What we value.
Are we pursuing God's purposes or youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22)?
3. What we believe about ourselves. 
Are we self-esteeming and self-defensive or humble and teachable (Romans 12:3; Proverbs 15:31)?
4. What we believe about God. 
Do we expect God to be our servant or do we seek to be His servant (Romans 12:1; Colossians 3:23)?

May God help us identify areas where we need to put childish ways behind us.
(1) Being childlike is being humble and dependent Matthew 18:4
(2) See Created and Born
Additional resources and Scriptures for each point above:
1. See "Who's Your Hero?" and "Christians Look at Hearts"
2. See "Needs and Desires" (for parents) and "8 Narcissist Problems"
3. See "3 Reasons the Centurion Amazed Jesus" and "Feeling Good or Being Good"
4. See "3 Lies That Take Our Focus Off God" and "God is an Equal Opportunity Employer"

Peace is Not the Highest Good

James 5:19-20 - We have a responsibility to our fellow believers
Romans 12:18 commands us to live at peace as far as it depends on us. 

But this doesn’t mean peace at any cost.

It’s good to overlook small offenses, but we should not condone sinful behavior in fellow believers simply to avoid conflict.

Addressing sin can get messy, make us unpopular, and cause unwanted conflict (John 15:18; 2 Timothy 3:12). 

But we have a responsibility to warn people of danger, even if they refuse to listen (Ezekiel 33:1-6).

The stakes are high:
“If someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.” James 5:19-20 

We must speak the truth in love and help those who are on the wrong track, even if it disrupts the peace (Ephesians 4:11-15).

I'd Give Anything....Not Really

What we mean when we say "I'd Give Anything to do that"What we mean when we say "I'd give anything to be able to do that." 

When I lived in Hungary, there were many times I wished I knew the language, but this is one thing I never said:

“I’d give anything to speak Hungarian!”

Do you know why?

Because two decades earlier I heard Elizabeth Elliot speak, and she said whenever we say this we’re actually saying, “I’d give anything—except what it takes.”

Yes! Yes! Igen! Igen!*

Despite the fact that Hungarian is an extremely difficult language to learn, I could speak it if I was devoted to learning it. 

I’m well aware that I did not make it a high priority. 

But sometimes I de-prioritize something unconsciously. And I bet you do too.

Periodically it’s good to evaluate our conscious and unconscious priorities and offer them to the Lord in prayer. 

“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

We should want to make every effort - give anything - to fulfill God’s purposes for our lives (Philippians 3:12-14).

copyright 2012, Gail Burton Purath
* Igen is yes in Hungarian

5 Characteristics of False Repentance

5 Characteristics of False Repentance & Some Good Bad ExamplesThe Bible describes insincere repentance and gives us the examples of Cain, Joseph's brothers, and King Saul (Genesis 4:1-16; Genesis 50:15-17; 1 Samuel 15). 

People who insincerely repent: 

1. Are sorry for getting caught and suffering consequences, not sorry for their sin (Genesis 50:15-17). See I Doubt They Genuinely Repented and  Three Motives.

2. Believe they should get off easy (Genesis 4:13).(1) See Anatomy of An Insincere Repentance. 

3. Blame-shift, excuse or minimize their sin (Genesis 4:9; 1 Samuel 15:24). See Good Sins.

4. Demand forgiveness and/or preferential treatment despite their sin
(1 Samuel 15:30). See: He Apologized for His Affair, But Didn’t Repent.

5. Think it's wrong for people to judge them even though Scripture commands it for their own good (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:9-12).

(1) An article called Consequences of Forgiven Sin explains that God may give penalties for forgiven sin “(1) to demonstrate the exceeding evil of sin, (2) to show that God does not take sin lightly even when he lays aside his punishment [eternal consequences], (3) to humble and sanctify the forgiven sinner.”

Would you like to do a short Bible study on this subject and explore some of these examples more thoroughly? Check out today's Bite Size Bible Study.
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