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The Giant of Silence - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
October 17, 2022 6:00 am

The Giant of Silence - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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October 17, 2022 6:00 am

John the Baptist confronted a powerful political leader of his day, even when there were consequences. In the message "The Giant of Silence," Skip shares why Christians must enter the public square to dialogue about moral issues.

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See, if the world can't talk you out of your belief, they'll try to mock you out of your belief.

They'll just say all sorts of bad inflammatory things, or tweet nasty things, and glom on, and create a controversy, and sign petitions, and just mock you for your faith. In today's world, we get pressured into silence. But there are times when God calls us to speak up.

Today on Connect with Skip Heiting. Skip shares about the heavy cost for obediently following Jesus, and the priceless ultimate reward when you do so. But before we begin, we want to share about a resource that will nourish your soul with God's amazing truths. Our lives rotate around crucial moments and decisions where everything changes.

We call them pivot points. Here's Skip Heiting. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. Do you think Peter is actually saying that there are times when God knows you need a trial? Is that what he's saying? Uh-huh.

That's exactly what he's saying. You can prepare for inevitable upcoming pivot points in your life. Receive your copy of Skip's pivot points collection of six messages. The pivot point package speaks to marriage, death, depression, recovery, fear of the future, and moving to a new location or job.

This package includes a personal message of direction on each topic from Skip. The pivot points package is our thank you when you give $50 or more to this teaching ministry by calling 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. We hope you'll help us take our messages into the top 20 population centers in our country. That's our vision for the coming year. Will you help us make it happen?

Please call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Thank you for partnering with us. Okay, let's get into today's teaching. We're in Matthew chapter 14 as we begin our study with Skip Heiting. I just want to say, don't try to remove the offense. If you try to remove the offense of the gospel, you are doing the devil's work.

People need to know why the good news is so good and the danger therein without Christ. So I'm not saying you should try to be offensive. Don't do that. Try to be respectful. Try to be nice.

We covered that last week. But listen, just even with a smile on your face and a hug, the message of the gospel itself is offensive, right? Peter called Jesus a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. And Paul said the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. So just living in a secular culture, bringing the good news of Jesus Christ as being the only means by which a person could ever be saved, it's going to rock people's world. It's going to get people uncomfortable. They're not going to like hearing that they're bad off and need Him. But here's what I want you to see.

I want you to notice something here. John the Baptist does not confront Herod with a salvation message. He confronts him with a moral issue. Adultery. Again, verse 4, It is not lawful for you to have her.

Now just hold that thought. Why does he do this? Here he's talking to a king, a monarch, saying you shouldn't have other women. What king doesn't have other women? That's what kings did, especially in ancient times. They had a whole slew of women at their disposal. So why does John the Baptist, at the risk of his own life, confront a political authority with a moral issue about his personal life?

And that is the affair that he had, the marriage that he had, to Herodias. Now I ask the question sincerely, because, and I've said it so many times, I never expect unbelievers to live like believers. I don't. I want them to become believers, but I don't expect their moral behavior to mash that of a believer. I expect believers who say, I'm a believer, to have a biblical stance, but I don't expect unbelievers to live like believers. I don't expect sinners to act like saints. Well, here's why, I think.

I think this is why John nails him. The Herod family claimed to have an affiliation and an affinity for Judaism, in fact, to even be Jewish. His great-grandfather converted to Judaism. His father, Herod the Great, though hated by the Jewish nation largely, claimed to uphold Jewish laws. They tried to sort of walk the line of, really, man, we practice Judaism.

We love Jewish people. In fact, did you know Rome called Herod the Great the King of the Jews? That was their title for him, the King of the Jews. No wonder he was upset when one was born in Bethlehem.

Somebody was taking his title. But it's because they claimed to be believers, in a sense, claimed to be Jewish, that John the Baptist said, all right, it's not lawful according to our laws, Jewish law that you claim to live under, to do what you are doing. So he's speaking out against the man's hypocrisy. Now, I'm raising this because it takes us to the larger issue. When should we, as Christians, speak out on moral issues? When should we be silent? When should we speak? When should we think, okay, these are unbelievers. They do what they do. Or, well, this person's claiming to walk with Christ, but when do we start speaking out about these things?

Well, I want to get a little bit of help in answering that question from somebody who did just that. His name was Martin Luther King, Jr., and he believed that he should speak out about the issue of civil rights for two reasons. Number one, because what he was saying squared with the biblical mandate. And number two, because what he was saying squared with what our founding fathers believed in, that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with inalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Because those two issues squared with what he was saying, he spoke out.

In his famous letter from the Birmingham jail, he wrote this. How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. I find that very, very helpful. So John the Baptist felt that's happening, so he spoke out very courageously. Now that takes us to the last little segment I want to look at and consider with you, and that is what that will cost you. So we've looked at the guilty conscience of a politician and the gutsy courage of a prophet.

I want to take you now to the great cost for God's people. John's honesty got him in trouble. John's outspokenness cost him a lot. First of all, he was arrested, apprehended. He was incarcerated. Verse 3 says, Herod laid hold of John, that's the apprehension, bound him and put him in prison, that's the incarceration, for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, John the Baptist was kept in prison for about a year at a place called Macarius, just east of the Jordan River and Dead Sea, in present-day Jordan, one of the palaces of Herod, and kept in a hole in the ground until he was executed. Which takes us to verse 10, the other cost. And so he sent and had John beheaded in prison. Forgive me if when I read verse 10 on this particular weekend, my heart is especially broken. When I read about John being beheaded, it's eerie to read because I know that the Taliban, to whom we have seated an entire nation, does exactly that.

They have had a history of brutality for years as Islamists and extremists. Now, if you were to follow Josephus, that Jewish historian I keep referring to, he said John the Baptist was killed by Herod because Herod feared that John had such influence over the people that he would be able to mount an insurrection or a rebellion to overthrow him. So according to Josephus, he said that the reason he killed John is to hold on to political power.

I don't doubt that. But I look a little bit more carefully at the Scripture and I realize it was also because of the provocation of his wife, Herodias, because she's part of the equation. It's not lawful for you to have her. She's the her. So she's part of it. And he was henpecked by her, pushed by her, and he caved in.

Let me read the account to you in Mark 6, just two verses. For John had said to Herod, It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife. Therefore, Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not. Again, just so you understand a little bit of the history, I don't think you could have a worse match of two people ever than Antipas and Herodias.

Antipas had his own issues, his own family background, but them together, it was like a match made in hell, because also her family history was a history of brutality. She had an ancestor by the name of Alexander Janius who crucified 800 men at a dinner party. That is, he invited guests to come and watch the entertainment of 800 men dying on crosses. And just to add to the entertainment, he brought in the families, the wives and children of those crucified men, killed them in front of their eyes so that the last memory they would have in their excruciating pain as they left this world was that of their families dying first. Welcome to dinner.

What's for dessert? So that's her background. So you get him and her together and John the Baptist calling them out, and you get an execution. Now here's what's weird. Herod Antipas liked John. He liked him.

Sort of. It's like, I like this guy. No, I hate this guy. I love this guy. No, I hate him.

Let me explain. Mark 6, verse 20, listen carefully. Herod respected John knowing that he was a good and holy man, and so he kept him under his protection. Herod was disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him. I mean, is that conflicted or what?

I hate this guy, but boy can he preach. Well, John was executed in that prison. And faithful men and faithful women throughout history, Old Testament and New Testament, those who stood up for God, who loved God singularly, who spoke out to their generation, spoke up in their culture, suffered consequences. It is the history.

It is the spiritual history of our belief system. We incur the consequences. All those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. You want a promise from the Bible? There's one.

You'll get it. Jeremiah proclaimed judgment. Zedekiah put him in a muddy pit.

Isaiah the prophet faithfully preached to the nation of Judah. King Manasseh had him sawn in two. Zechariah rebuked the people for worshiping statues, and he was stoned to death in the temple.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow, and they were thrown into a fiery furnace. Stephen in the New Testament spoke up in the synagogue. They drug him out of the synagogue and stoned him to death. Matthew, the author of the book we're reading, was killed with a sword. Peter was crucified upside down.

Thomas went to India where a lance was thrust through him, and he died. Early Christians were fed to the lions, burned at the stake, had pitch poured over them, used as living torches until their bodies incinerated to light up the gardens of Caesar Nero in Rome. That's our history. And I know some of you are thinking, uh, Skip, you're not helping our cause. If you think a message like this is going to get more recruits to Christianity, wrong message. And I would say back to you, that's okay because we'll get the right ones. We'll get the real ones. You'll always have the fake ones go. Let them go.

Shaft separated from the weak. But the real ones will come, and the real ones will stay. I'm going to read something that I found. It was given to me, actually.

This was posted by somebody a couple days ago. There will be Afghan Christians who will die this week because they have chosen faithfulness over safety. There will be American Christians who will Skip church this week because they have chosen safety over faithfulness. Now, please accept that in the spirit in which it was offered, not meant to be a guilt trip, that if you are immunocompromised or you need to be alone and say, please, do that.

But still this is true of what we consider more important. Folks, this is a time for boldness. This is not a time for timid souls. This is not a time for the faint-hearted. This is time for believers to rise up and come out of the closet. Everybody else is.

Everybody else is proud to be them. Shouldn't we? But it won't be easy. Jesus spoke about the end of days, the end times. Matthew 24 gave a list of signs of things you can expect in the last days. One of the things usually disregarded by those who love to study eschatology, and I love to study eschatology, talk all about the end days and signs.

They kind of leave this part out. Jesus said, And many will be offended because of Me. Many will be offended because of Me.

The word He uses is scandalizo. It means they will fall away from the faith. There will be fake believers who will jump off the bandwagon so quickly they'll abandon ship. They'll be offended because of Me. We used to call them Alka-Seltzer Christians.

You get the picture, right? They bubble up quickly in enthusiasm and they fizzle out just as quickly. I'm reading a book by Erwin Lutzer, my friend who has spoken here on a number of occasions, called We Will Not Be Silent.

I recommend it to you. He wrote this. Boldness comes easily when you're in the presence of someone who agrees with you. It is difficult when you are standing alone in the midst of people who seek your demise. Boldness behind a pulpit is one thing. Boldness in a city council meeting is another. Boldness is seen most clearly when you have burned the bridge that would have enabled you to retreat.

It's like, you know, I'm going to say this. It might cost me a lot. It might cost me a job. It might cost me a relationship. In some cases, it might cost me my life.

You are willing to do what is right and say what is right. When you speak up, and you should speak up on certain moral issues like abortion, the blight on our nation, the millions upon millions of babies that have been slaughtered, and you just hear about it, and there's a controversy about it. You get inundated daily with it.

You're just like, yeah, okay, it happens. We should speak out against that. There are moral issues we should speak out against, sexuality issues, gender issues, pronoun issues, but be ready for arrows to come your way when you do.

Be ready for that. And be ready for the cancel culture warriors to mount up and say, you don't have a right to say that. It's funny because they have a right to say anything. It's freedom of speech for me, but not for thee.

So they'll just try to cancel you off their platforms altogether. See, if the world can't talk you out of your belief, they'll try to mock you out of your belief. They'll just say all sorts of bad, inflammatory things or tweet nasty things and glom on and create a controversy and sign petitions and just mock you for your faith. You can also expect hate speech legislation to be more rigorous than ever.

It's coming. It's going to come a day soon when it will be illegal to preach the Gospel. To go out on the street, to go in your office and say, this is how you get to heaven.

This is how you get saved. That'll be called hate speech. And they'll tell you to stop it like they did to the disciples in Jerusalem, to which they replied, we must obey God rather than men. It's already happening.

It's already happening in Canada. In Canada, Christian pastors are forbidden to speak against same-sex marriage on television. It's illegal.

Can't do it. You can't speak out against another faith in that country. One pastor, Mark Harding, was sentenced to 340 hours of sensitivity training by a Muslim imam for speaking out against Islam. Hate speech.

I want to close with a story that you should know anyway. You should know it just as a Christian, as a part of your heritage. It comes from the Great Reformation, the British Reformation. The Reformation, by the time it hit England, was well on its way to success, but it was having problems in England.

One of the great reformers was Hugh Latimer, Bishop Hugh Latimer, a fiery preacher. And he was going to give a message one Sunday at a church, but he was told that the king was going to come to that church service. Now, the king in question was King Henry VIII. If you know your history, King Henry VIII had a fondness for decapitation, much like Herod. He liked to cut people's heads off. He was notorious for that.

So, imagine being the preacher with that guy in the crowd. And you're thinking, boy, I better not say anything that will offend him. So, Hugh Latimer gets up to preach, and as he spoke, he struggled. And he said, and he said it out loud, as if talking to himself, he said, Latimer, Latimer, do you remember that you are speaking before the high and mighty King Henry VIII? Be careful what you say, for he is able to take your life.

He said that out loud. Then he paused for a moment, gathered himself again, and continued and said aloud, Latimer, Latimer, do you not remember that you are speaking before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Before him at whose throne Henry VIII will stand? And before him to whom one day you will also have to give an account of yourself? And then he finally said, Latimer, Latimer, be faithful to your master and declare all of God's word. And he did. He, in boldness, preached a clear, compelling gospel of repentance and faith in Christ. And oddly, King Henry spared him his life.

But the Queen did not. Queen Mary, also known in history as Bloody Mary, gave the orders for his execution to be burned at the stake. And on the day when Hugh Latimer was burned at the stake, and there's a marker in the street, you can see it in England where he died, he was tied up to the wood poles, put on that wooden stick pyre. They started lighting the flames.

Next to him was another clergyman also dying of the same fate. Very nervous. Scared. And to calm him down and give him assurance, Hugh Latimer said to him, Today, we will light such a candle in England that will never be put out. That's how he saw that burning at the stake. We're lighting a candle.

It'll never be put out. And that candle was lit, and the fires of Reformation started across England and made it over here. May we catch some of that flame and stay fired up, burning strong, being bold, unashamed, nicely smile, hug, love, fist bump, whatever you do, be nice to people, but don't shy away from truth. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message from the series Hunting Giants. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep this broadcast going strong, connecting you and many others to God's Word.

The world tries to silence us whenever we stand for Jesus and His truth, but that's all the more reason we should speak out and share the gospel as much as we can, and we want to encourage and equip you to do just that with Bible teachings to build up your faith and your knowledge of Scripture. And through your generosity, you can help share these messages you love with even more people around the world. Here's how you can give today. Visit connectwithskip.com slash donate to give a gift. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate, or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you for your generosity, and come back tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares why you must avoid becoming indifferent to God working in and through you. Paul said it is high time to awake out of sleep. In other words, can't you hear the alarm clock? It's time to wake up. It's time to get out of the bed of complacency. It is time to make our lives count for God. Make a connection Make a connection At the foot of the crossing Cast all burdens on His word Make a connection A connection Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-03 15:03:14 / 2022-12-03 15:12:46 / 10

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