I’d take a bullet for Jesus. Really?
AUGUST 4, 2022
I’d take a bullet for Jesus. Really? Let’s talk about it on this edition of Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Pete Alwinson is a former pastor, founder of ForgeTruth.com, and the author of Like Father Like Son. And he’s been teaching us all this week.
Thank you Matthew. And hello Key Life. This is Pete Alwinson sitting in again for Steve Brown this week. And I want you to know it’s been fun to be with you guys, and I hope that you all have been able, like I have, been able to circle back to the Beatitudes and think through these great statements of being attitudes of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but my attitudes are not always great. And I need the Spirit of God at the beginning of the day, in my daily appointment with God to get me ready for the day. Especially when we think about this last Beatitude of Jesus, the most difficult one. Let’s wrap up our week as we take a look at this whole idea of persecution and taking a bullet for Jesus. Here, it is.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
And then he emphasizes it again.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You know, temperamentally, and I’ve done a lot of studying on the temperament over the years. Temperamentally I’m a little bit of a schizophrenic. I mean, I am an extrovert, but the reality is I’m strong, but I want people to like me too. And the gospel has had to transform my temperament because this one is difficult. I want people to like me. I don’t want people to talk bad about me, but over the years, both have happened and I’ve come to terms with it. And so, really, I think it’s a good thing for us to answer the question temperamentally how do you, how do I respond when people persecute us, when they push back on us, when they talk badly about you, when they criticize you, particularly for the fact that you’re a Christian. How do you respond? Do we have any defense, is really part of the issue here. And I want to wrap this up today by saying that yes, we do. We do have a defense for the gospel of Jesus Christ, even when we are persecuted. So, what’s our defense? Well, it’s several fold. First of all, our defense is really the weapon of the Christian life. This is one way that we fight back against the criticisms that others may lay against us, as they sabotage our name, simply because we follow Jesus Christ. In I Peter 2:2-12, Peter says.
Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles. So that in the thing, in which they slander you as evil doers
because you’re a Christian
they may because of your good deeds as they observe them, glorify God on the day of visitation.
And then he even goes on and talks about how we ought to be in culture.
Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evil doers and the praise of those who do right.
Look at the defense here.
For such is the will of God that by doing right, you silence the ignorance of foolish people.
I love that. Act as free people, do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond servants of God, honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King. And so, really we live out the gospel, we hunger and thirst for righteousness, as we said earlier. Remember how all of these build on each other? That if we are poor in spirit, we come before God, we’ve come to the end of ourselves, we mourn over our sins. And then, we hunger and thirst for righteousness, which makes us meek. And that meekness then leads us into a whole new way of hungering and thirsting for righteousness again as we move out in relationship to other people. And so, the reality is we live out the grace energized Christ life. Not because we’re trying to earn our salvation. No, but because salvation has been given to us. And we defend the truth of the gospel by a life well lived in front of other people out there. I’ve got to tell you one time I was at my desk in my study at home, which looks out into our street and a guy came by and let his dog, use my front lawn as the bathroom. And I know that happens here all the time. And I was not very kind about it when I went out and talked to the guy. I should have stayed in my office. I didn’t. And then later when he came by, I got a chance to follow up with him. And I just confessed my sin. And I said, I’m sorry, I wasn’t nice. And I, and he said, no, you weren’t. And I said, I was an idiot and you know I know better, I’m a Christian and I shouldn’t, he was shocked out of his gourd, that I would come out and confess to him. But the bottom line is, it is a defense for the gospel. I wasn’t living up to my role as a Christian and God used it, I think, in his life, until he moved out of the neighborhood, for which I’m glad, because then I didn’t have to see him and utter experience shame. No, but it was good. We do have a defense for the gospel. It’s the weapon of the Christian life. And then there is the weapon of literally defending the gospel, by defending Christian truth, that’s called apologetics. And I love the study of apologetics. And over the years, grace has taught me not to want to just win arguments, but to really care about the eternal soul of somebody who is struggling with and even rejecting the truths found in the Bible and the Bible itself. So, apologetics comes from a Greek word, that means defense, not apology. And I read a great book recently, and I think Steve’s talked about it on a recent broadcast Is Atheism Dead?, as he interviewed Eric Metaxas. Guys, it’s really, probably the most important book I’ve read in the last 25 years. It’s a great summary of the discoveries and archeology and science and helping us see how all the advances in those areas really support gospel and Biblical teaching. There’s a whole lot of other books out there to learn, to defend your faith. William Craig Lane, A Reasonable Response. Lee Strobel is sort of one of the gurus of our day in this whole thing, The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith. John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God. There’s so many of them, but I really encourage you, as you think of these Beatitudes to step out and to take opportunity to defend the faith. Even if it means you don’t know that you’re talking about. We learn how to defend the faith, on the job, as we seek to do it. And it might bring persecution, but it’ll make you happy. And so, let me wrap up our talk this week by talking a little bit about how persecution makes us happy. It really does, because if I am persecuted for the sake of righteousness and for the sake of the gospel, I’ve really received a compliment. You know, I have, as Steve often says about himself, it’s doubly true for me. I have a face for radio, when I tell people I’m a pastor, they’re shocked, they go really? You don’t look like a pastor. And for that, I’m eternally grateful. I’m not sure what a pastor ought to look like, but I don’t look like one and I’m happy about that. But when somebody says you’re a Christian, I didn’t know you were a Christian? That’s not a compliment. And so, when I suffer for the sake of righteousness and I get to tell people I’m a Christian and they push back and make fun of me, it’s really a compliment because I belong to the most high God. I am the deeply, beloved, redeemed son of the most high God because of Jesus. And that’ll never change in all time and eternity. And so are you. And it makes us happy and blessed to know that we are in. Secondly, persecution for the sake of righteousness and following Jesus, it makes me happy because I see that I’m dangerous to evil and to untruth. You know what’s killing our culture, what’s making us cold, is unbelief, is the absence of gospel truth in American culture these days. And we really are dangerous people, we Christians. If we believe the truth and we seek to live it out in our lives and even talk about it and witness about it, we’re dangerous to evil and untruth. And I am really, really happy to be one of those very few people, to be seen as dangerous in this country. Well, I know the reality is to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness proves through true faith. In Christ, we belong to him forever and ever. And so, be happy when you’re persecuted for the sake of righteousness cause you’re in. You belong to the most high God. You take it to heart. Amen.
Thank you Pete. Pete Alwinson there teaching us about the Beatitudes and wrapping up, not just this week, but his whole series on the subject. If you haven’t heard any of the other weeks in this series, be sure you swing by Keylife.org where you can stream those for free anytime you want. And don’t forget to join us tomorrow. Steve will be back and together, he and Pete will host the ever popular Friday Q&A. Well, I don’t know about you, but I was blessed by Pete’s teaching this week. And that’s why I’m excited to tell you about something special we’re doing. We’re offering a CD featuring a sermon from Pete. It’s called The Father You Need. In this talk, Pete talks about our need for a father and even how the best fathers still make mistakes. So, where does that leave us? Well, actually it puts us in a great place because Jesus can connect us with their Heavenly Father, the Father we ultimately need. You can get that sermon at no cost just by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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