Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
November 2, 1997
Last Updated :
December 31, 2012
A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath, Satan: Liar And Deceiver, Avoid Time-Wasting Goats, Fiery Destruction Of The Wicked, Stand Fast And Contend For The Faith, Find A Proper Balance, We Will Always Be Rejected By The World, We Are Children By Adoption Through Faith, Strangers and Pilgrims On The Earth
A Soft Answer Turneth Away Wrath
As we have seen, it is unrealistic to expect that you will win every single battle while you are out witnessing. While you may not like it, and while it may possibly wound your pride -- maybe you need it -- there will be times when it will simply be best for you to quietly and obediently leave the premises before you find yourself in even worse trouble. Consider the wisdom that is found in the following verse:
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."
Proverbs 15:1, KJV
As we saw earlier, if instead of softly saying "Yes, officer; I'm leaving the premises now", you decide to foolishly resist his order, become confrontational with him, and start making a speech about your rights as a citizen of your country, then do not be the least bit surprised if you do in fact stir up his anger, so that he has no choice but to deal with you in a more forceful manner. Trust me; you really do not want to do that. As we all know from certain incidents that have come to light, while there are many good, decent police officers, at the same time, there are also those renegade officers who do tend to overreact when placed under stress. Again, just think about how much better you could have invested that time that you spent sitting in that jail cell. So please remember that "A soft answer turneth away wrath."
Satan: Liar and Deceiver
Considering that we are involved in real spiritual warfare, it is important to know who our enemies are. Naturally, we know that our primary spiritual enemy is Satan himself. In fact, in the original Hebrew language, "satan" -- which is actually pronounced saw-tawn' -- means "adversary" or "one who withstands". As I more fully explain in articles such as "Satan: His Origin, Purpose and Future", as well as in the series "Satan" King of Empires, King of Tyrus", this is precisely what that demon of darkness has been doing ever since he was ousted from the Heavenly Kingdom. He has been resisting and fighting against our Heavenly Father and His Divine Authority, and endeavoring to frustrate His plans. Through lies, deceptions and distortions of God's truth, the Devil has been engaged in all-out war to deceive humankind, so that we too will rebel against God. Consider these verses which expose his evil character and wicked machinations:
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3:1-5, KJV
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ . . . And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
2 Corinthians 11:3, 14 KJV
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
1 Peter 5:8, KJV
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV
Avoid Time-Wasting Goats
It goes without saying that if Satan really ran around in a red suit with a pitchfork in his hand and sporting two horns and a tail as he is so often erroneously depicted, he would be easy to identify. Obviously, that is not what Satan even looks like, and that is not how he operates. Oh no; he is a lot smarter than that. He does not normally confront us in face-to-face battle. Instead, he uses his human emissaries to harass us and waste our time.
As I mentioned earlier, it is only once we come out of the trenches, invade his territory, and engage in witnessing to the lost people of the world, that the Devil shows his face by way of the people that he controls. Soon enough you will find yourself being confronted by hecklers and other types of goats who will try to distract you from your witness. At such times, it is important that you resist the temptation to engage them, because that is exactly what the Devil wants you to do. He wants to suck you into his trap. As I explain in "Should Christians Engage in Doctrinal Debates?", the time that you spend arguing doctrines, or rattling swords with an unreceptive goat, is time wasted.
Engaging in such exchanges with the goats is also a waste of your energy, as well as an exercise in futility; because the truth of the matter is that a man convinced against his will, is of the very same opinion still. I can tell you from my own witnessing experiences that such people are not the least bit interested in hearing the truth. Their minds are already made up. Their sole purpose is to harass you, and to try to make you look foolish in front of your audience. Such people are hardened of heart, spiritually blind, and quite often even past feeling the conviction of God's Spirit working in their lives, because their conscience has been "seared with a hot iron". What this phrase means is that such people have been spiritually cauterized, so that they have become insensitive to God's Spirit.
While some of the following Scriptures are really describing the unbelieving Jews of two millennia ago, sadly, they could just as easily be describing the antichrist hecklers, yabbuts and goats who populate our modern world as well. As you read these verses, please notice that a few of them clearly state that the reason why these unreceptive people, troublemakers and reprobates do not understand the message of the Gospel, is because they have not the Spirit of God. We must conclude then that they have the spirit of the world, and the spirit of Satan, who is the adversary of God. That is why they enjoy attacking God's children and faithful witnesses:
"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."
Matthew 10:16, KJV
"He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
John 8:47, KJV
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."
1 Corinthians 16:22, KJV
Please note that in the previous verse, the word "anathema" means "accursed".
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness."
Ephesians 4:17-19, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
1 Timothy 4:1-3, KJV
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith."
2 Timothy 3:1-8, KJV
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
2 Peter 3:3-4, KJV
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
1 John 2:22, KJV
"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."
1 John 4:3-6, KJV
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
2 John 1:7-11, KJV
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Jude 1:3-4, KJV
"These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit."
Jude 1:16-19, KJV
Fiery Destruction of the Wicked
While such hard-hearted people may mock, scorn and belittle us and the Christian message which we bear, as they are in fact appointed to do, in their foolish pride, what they fail to recognize and understand, is that by so doing, they are in fact sealing their own fate. As I explain in such series as "Hell, the Lake of Fire and Universalism", unless such people repent of their wickedness and unbelief, someday to their own shock and horror, they will discover that they in fact have an appointment to keep with the Lake of Fire. I seriously doubt that they will be laughing then. Consider the following verses and take heed:
". . . The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn . . . He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Matthew 13:24b-30, 37b-43, KJV
"It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . . For our God is a consuming fire."
Hebrews 10:31, 12:29, KJV
"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Revelation 20:15, KJV
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Revelation 21:8, KJV
Stand Fast and Contend for the Faith
While I have urged caution and using Wisdom and Spiritual Discernment when dealing with the unreceptive children of the world -- that is, the children of disobedience -- such as perturbed shopkeepers, civil authorities such as police officers and security guards who are required to do their job, as well as the goats, dogs and "yabbuts" that the old serpent will no doubt send our way, please understand that I am by no means advocating any degree of compromise in the message that we preach. As some of my longtime readers and online friends will already realize, the word "compromise" and I are not the best of friends. Furthermore, as I said earlier in this series, during the years that I was a very active street preacher and door-to-door witness, I endured my share of persecution in one form or another. If anything, it toughens you up and makes you thick-skinned.
In short, while we are engaging in our witnessing activities, we should not compromise the Truth of the Gospel message for the sake of trying to save our own necks, or our reputations. Neither should we soften the message so as not to offend the people who we are ministering to. We must not preach a weak, watered-down, non-offensive, socially-acceptable Gospel that has no "umph" or "spiritual teeth" to it. Let us never forget that the heart of the Gospel message is repentance and belief in the Son of God as the solution to our dilemma of sin. If we are so afraid to tell people that their hearts are wicked, and that they are sinners who rebel against the Lord, then we really have no business being in the profession of preaching the Gospel to begin with. However, as we have already seen, we must also be careful that we are motivated by love, and not by our own pride or self-righteousness, as if we are any better than everyone else.
As the following Scriptures clearly reveal, the Lord expects us to stand fast in the faith, to endure hardness as soldiers of Jesus Christ, to contend for the faith, and to be focused on pleasing our Heavenly Father, instead of being menpleasers. We must not bow to political correctness as so many churches and Christians have already done. As we saw earlier, we must boldly preach the Gospel of Salvation and not be ashamed of our faith. Finally, we must resist the Devil, and any of his human emissaries which he may send along to taunt us:
"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
Acts 5:29, KJV
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2, KJV
"Neither give place to the devil."
Ephesians 4:27, KJV
"Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;"
Ephesians 6:6, KJV
"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
1 Corinthians 16:13, KJV
"Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;"
Philippians 1:27, KJV
"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved."
Philippians 4:1, KJV
"For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord."
1 Thessalonians 3:8, KJV
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
2 Thessalonians 2:15, KJV
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7, KJV
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
1 Peter 3:15, KJV
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
Jude 1:3, KJV
Find a Proper Balance
The truth of the matter is that as faithful messengers and witnesses of the Gospel message, we really walk a delicate tightrope. On one hand we must endeavor to be as courteous as possible, and try to obey and respect man's laws as much as we can, in accordance with the Scriptures. On the other hand, we face the dilemma of trying to know what action to take when the laws of man clearly conflict with God's laws. When some irate store owner says "Hey! This is my property! I don't want you passing out your Gospel tracts here! Move along!", what are you supposed to do? Should you react like Peter and the Apostles and say "We ought to obey God rather than men!" -- and quickly find yourself being brusquely led from the property by the police, and possibly face some jail time -- or should you do as the owner demands, swallow your pride, and quickly leave the premises?
While I have offered my counsel in this series, obviously, I cannot make the decision for you. You must learn to operate according to your own faith. It is for this reason that it is imperative that you are in tune to God's Spirit while you are out on the witnessing field. Sometimes you have to make split-second decisions. In examining the Epistles of Paul, we discover that he offered a variety of comments which seem to cover both ends of the spectrum. As we saw in part five, Paul says that we should "be subject unto the higher powers". The Apostle Peter offers the very same advice in his Epistle, as we also read in part five.
In the verses below, Paul also says that we should be willing to become all things to all men so that we can reach as many lost people as possible with the Gospel of Salvation. Paul's general rule seems to be that whatever glorifies God the most is what is best, and is the proper course of action to take:
"For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you."
1 Corinthians 9:19-23, KJV
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."
1 Corinthians 10:31-33, KJV
Yet at the same time, Paul also indicates in this Epistle that despite trying to conform to the laws of man whenever it is humanly possible, nevertheless, he and his traveling companions are still despised, buffeted, reviled, persecuted and treated as if they are the filth and offscouring of the Earth. Consider the following verses:
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:"
1 Corinthians 1:27-28, KJV
"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day."
1 Corinthians 4:10-13, KJV
Children by Adoption / Strangers and Pilgrims
It becomes evident then, that no matter what we do to try to fit in, insofar as man's laws are concerned, nevertheless, as long as we remain faithful witnesses of the Gospel of Christ, the children of this present world are simply never going to fully accept us. We will always be outsiders to them, because we are in fact outsiders. As I point out in such articles as "One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews", we are no more of this world than Jesus is of this world, or the Apostles, or any of the other heroes of faith who are mentioned in the Scriptures. Even though we offer our lives daily in sacrificial service to the Lord, in the hope of bringing some of the children of the world to the point of Salvation, ultimately, unless they likewise come to Jesus Christ, they will continue to look down upon us, despise us and reject us. That is a fact of life; so get used to it.
Lest you acquire a cocky attitude, let me point out to you that before acknowledging Christ in our lives, we too were children of disobedience and strangers to God. We likewise followed the voice of strangers. However, as the following verses reveal, through our acceptance of Christ, we were in fact adopted into God's wonderful spiritual family, and have thus become "fellowcitizens with the saints", and members "of the household of God". As a result, we too look for a Heavenly City -- that is, New Jerusalem -- "whose builder and maker is God":
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 1:12, KJV
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
Romans 8:15-17, KJV
"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:26, KJV
"Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,"
Ephesians 1:5, KJV
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world . . . Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Ephesians 2:12, 19, KJV
"And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers."
John 10:5, KJV
"By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God . . . These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."
Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16, KJV
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;"
1 Peter 2:11, KJV
Please go to part seven for the conclusion of this series.
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