INTRO: "I just don't care what other people think," we may have said on occasion. Such an exasperated rejoinder may come out of a variety of circumstances ... usually, I would think, when we have been reminded that other people are observing us or that we may be injuring our influence by our words or behavior. The truth is that most of us probably do care what other people think about us. And conformity is the proof of this. If we did not care, we would not conform to society's norms or to fashion's dictates. There may come those times, however, when a devoted child of God behaves according to the dictates of conviction ... and people think things of him which may be biased or twisted. Our text is an illustration of "what other people think".
I. WHAT DID PEOPLE THINK ABOUT JESUS?
A. From our text...
1. "...he is beside himself..." - lit. "he is out of his wits"
2. this was apparently the assessment of friends
3. this assessment resulted from His preaching and its fruits - He was so busy and so pressed that "they could not so much as eat bread" - they thought He had lost touch with reality
B. From Mt 11:19
1. "...and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber..."
2. but they had also claimed John the Baptist "hath a devil" (v. 18)
3. enemies, the unbelieving will say whatever suits their purpose - and you really have no control over what they think or say
C. From Jno 8:48
1. "...say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?"I
2. Jesus was convicting people of their sin ... their dishonoring God
3. their response was an insult and an accusation - "He is demon possessed and is being critical of good people who serve the Lord"
D. From Jno 10:20
1. "He hath a devil, and is mad..."
2. His uncompromising message and conviction resulted in mixed opinions
3. but everyone had an opinion
E. From Jno 8:41
1. a stinging opinion ... Jesus was born of fornication, illegitimate
2. there seems to be no limit to what some might think of one who chooses a life of goodness and conviction!
3. not everyone would think this ... but some did ... and for selfish reasons
II. WE SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF US
A. Note some texts suggesting this
1. Acts 10:22 - of Cornelius (a Gentile soldier in Roman army)
2. Acts 22:12 - of Ananias (a preacher of the faith in Christ)
3. 1 Tim 3:7 - of elders (notice that this includes people out of Christ)
4. 3 Jno 1:12 - of Demetrius (of all men and the truth)
B. Obviously, "reputation" is the subject here ... and is important
1. ones reputation is most assuredly an important thing - guard it
2. give no one just cause to question your integrity, your reputation
3. recall 2 Cor 2,3 - Christians are "open letters" about Christ - we most certainly want nothing to compromise the "reading" of the letter
4. so, 1 Pet 2:11,12 - let your life be proof of your goodness, conviction!
III. BUT WE CANNOT ALWAYS CONTROL WHAT OTHERS THINK OF US
A. Jesus certainly discovered this to be true
1. day by day, Jesus demonstrated love and compassion
2. but his life was a testimony against the "religion for show" of His day
3. and his message was in contradiction to the erroneous views held by so many - His passion for God and His conviction for truth brought conflict
B. And we will doubtless discover this to be true
1. it is not something which is easy to accept - that people might think strange things about us simply because we try to live as He would have us live
2. and this may be especially difficult for our young people - "everybody else is doing it" ... but conviction based in truth keeps me from doing it
3. Jno 15:19 - here is a reality of discipleship of which Jesus warned - there will come those times when your being His disciple will not be easy!
CLOSE: Some people thought Jesus to be insane. There were those who thought the apostle Paul had lost his mind. But what they thought and what was truth were not the same thing. Live your life with devotion and conviction ... and know assuredly that living to bring God pleasure is what really matters about your life.
Cecil A. Hutson
22 October 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)