ADVERSITY IS THE FOOD OF A CHAMPION

Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly, That people do not believe in you or in your ideas does not necessary mean that you are not good or that your ideas are not good enough. The problem is not with you but with them. For every great invention, we have today encountered this opposition.

If you, therefore want to be great you must learn not to live your life based on the opinion of others but on your convictions, This is true on the personal level. As long as you live with one foot in the world, living according to the world’s values and for the world’s goals, Satan won’t trouble you. You can go to church and even pray and read your Bible, and he won’t mind. But the minute you wake up from your spiritual lethargy, shake off the worldly mindset, and commit yourself to radical obedience to Jesus Christ, you will encounter spiritual opposition.

This also applies to churches and church leaders, Whenever godly leaders attempt to rally God’s people to advance His kingdom, opposition will hit. Satan doesn’t mind when churches gather to sing and to hear soothing sermons about how to use the Bible to achieve personal success. Those churches are no threat to his domain of darkness.

But when a minister preaches the gospel that convicts sinners of their sin in the presence of a holy God and points them to the cross of Jesus Christ, look out! When a minister calls the flock to obedient, holy living in this wicked world, look out! When a minister directs the vision of the flock toward the unreached nations who are waiting to hear the gospel, look out!

The enemy is committed to opposing that kind of work. We need to be ready for such opposition and know how to respond to it.

HERE IS HOW

  1. Do you see the never-changing pattern that is used to oppose the truth? It’s the same method today as was used 2000 years ago. Nothing changes. Perhaps you are such an opponent of the truth of the Gospel.
  2. You first argue against the truth. And if your arguments against the truth don’t prevail? Then you try to assassinate the character of the person presenting the truth. And if his character is above reproach? You will then resort to silencing the messenger of truth in some way.
  3. Granted, many people are murdered for preaching the Gospel. The main reason, of course, is that very few preachers actually preach the Gospel. And presenting the facts of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ without properly setting those facts within the context of God’s Law is not necessarily preaching the Gospel.
  4. But in those cases where the Gospel really is preached the tactics used have not changed at all. This is because man’s sinful nature has not changed down through the centuries. You are as utterly depraved, and without love for God, and enslaved to sin as any lost person who has ever lived.
  5. When the claims of Christ from God’s Word are preached to you, have you ever argued against the conclusions instead of opening your mind and heart to accept the truth of what is said? If so, you are at stage one of opposing the truth.
  6. Have you ever resorted to arguing against someone who is seeking to bring you to Christ, perhaps by referring to the so-called Christian hypocrites you know, or the charlatan preachers you are aware of? Maybe you only put up such arguments in your mind. No matter how you do it you are engaged in character assassination. That’s stage two in opposing the truth.
  7. And when you walk away from the person who is trying to get you saved, when you don’t want to talk about it, when your mind wanders during the preaching of the Gospel, or when you won’t come into my office to talk to me about your soul, you have moved to stage three. You see, when you do that you have silenced me, or that person who seeks your conversion. You have done enough to ensure that you don’t have to listen to me or that other person anymore.
  8. You Christians here today, have you noticed how faithful preachers are attacked? If the enemy of truth can’t argue with his doctrine they assassinate his character. If that doesn’t work they try to silence him. How will enemies work to silence a preacher? There are many ways to silence a preacher short of killing him. Get him fired. Refuse to attend Church. Distract yourself if you are in Church. The details vary but the goal is the same. Make it so you don’t have to listen to him anymore.
  9. Or, if you are a real demon, you work to so discredit the preacher so others will not seek his counsel, so others will not make use of him as a guide to Christ, so others will not trust him. If you know someone who does that then you are acquainted with a real viper.
  10. Friends, the method of opposition to truth has never and will never change. When you see this method being used on me, or when you become aware of this method being used on you or some other Christian, the person who is using this method has identified himself as the enemy of truth.
  11. Now, let’s learn from this. Let me give you some pointers to help you avoid being drawn into anything you should not be involved in:
    First, never allow yourself to be drawn into argumentation with a lost person or dangerous brethren. Proverbs 13.10 says, “Only by pride cometh contention.” Contending for the faith is not the same as arguing. Arguing, contention in the context of Proverbs 13.10, is the result of pride and is just plain wrong.
    Second, and this is for you lost ones, Proverbs 3.30: “Strive not with a man without cause, if he hath done thee no harm.” Why dispute with a man who has no desire to hurt you, but to see you blessed of God? Why oppose the man who supposedly introduced you to Christ or who ministers to your children? Or why get nasty with someone who only wants to see you come to Christ?
  12. If you will humble yourself in the sight of God you’ll not argue as Stephen’s enemies argued with him. And if you will simply leave people alone who mean you no harm you’ll not assassinate the character of others, as Stephen’s enemies tried to assassinate his character.
  13. But what if you are the one on the receiving end of the opposition? What do you do when you are attacked? Well, before you are attacked make sure that any attack that comes against you will be the result of opposition to your position, not opposition to your disposition. Make sure people are not offended by your personality, even if they are offended by the truth of your doctrine.
  14. That done, make very sure that you do not back down when faced with a spiritual assault. The real difference between a Stephen and a tough-talking man who shows cowardice in the face of the enemy is what happens when the shooting starts.
  15. Brethren, if you enter the conflict right with God, opposition does not mean things have gone wrong. Opposition means that things have gone right. We are, after all, in a spiritual war!
  16. Does this mean that Christians should go looking for fights? Oh, heavens no. Never go looking for a fight. I hate worse than anything in the world to fight. But when you are doing what a Christian is supposed to do the fight will occasionally come looking for you.
  17. If it hasn’t happened to you before, you now know what shape it will likely take . . . because, with a wrinkle here and a slight modification there, the method of opposition will be the same: argumentation first, character assassination second, and third, somehow assure silence.
  18. First, you will argue. Maybe not out loud. Perhaps your argumentation will be in your heart and mind, disagreeing with what I’ve preached from the Bible. Please understand that, ultimately, your argument isn’t with me, but with the One Who wrote the Scriptures I’ve quoted, God.
  19. Second, character assassination. Maybe you will try to discredit the message by looking at a personal flaw of mine, seeing me as being inconsistent, or thinking of that hypocrite preacher or lying Christian you know. But remember, assassinating the messenger’s character reveals the weakness of your own position, not it’s strength. And you still have not refuted the truth of God’s claims, that you are a sinner in need of the only Savior, Jesus Christ.
  20. Finally, there is the attempt to silence. Fidget during the sermon. Think about something else. Distract yourself in some way. Leave and decide not to come back. Kids will play with the person next to them. Mothers will unnecessarily tend to their children to distract themselves. We had one guy who could never sit through a service, but had to go out and blow his nose or something every single service.
  21. Friend, why not just stop? Respond to the truth. Come and talk to me and let me guide you to Christ. If you don’t God will pour out His wrath on you.

Fly unlimited

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