I'm going to talk to you about one of the least appreciated, least practiced, yet one of the most important Christian virtues, and it is the virtue of courage. We desperately, desperately need a courage awakening among Christians in the United States of America.
As believers, we face much opposition when we take a stand for our faith. Today on Connect with Skip Heitig, we hear from special guest Johnny Moore, who has advocated for religious freedom around the world. Today, he shares how your courage can make an eternal impact on the world. But first, did you know that Skip shares important updates and biblical encouragement on social media? Just follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the latest from him and this ministry.
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800-922-1888. Thank you. Now, we're in Psalm 31 as we dive into today's teaching with special guest Johnny Moore. You know, there are some virtues of the Christian life that are more common than others. We all know about the faith of Abraham to go where the Lord was sending him, even though he didn't really know where he was going.
We know about Noah's closeness to God, so much so that as he was building that ark, having never even seen rain before, he pressed on despite all of the mockery that he received. We know about the perseverance of the Apostle Paul, the compassion of Jesus. In Christian history, we read about the virtues of peacemaking and of charity and of temperance and justice, of prudence. All of those things, they're in the Bible.
It all comes from the Bible, all these things. We learn about the fruit of the Spirit, love and joy and peace and patience, the hard one, kindness and goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. We talk about grace. We talk about truth.
We've sung about both of them already this evening. We learn about faith, hope and love. Some of these virtues we learn, and some of these virtues we catch just by being around Christians, by attending church, by sometimes, if you're fortunate, to grow up in a Christian family. Admittedly, though, for some of us, it takes a little bit more time. For my four-year-old, it's taking him a little bit more time. You know, not long ago, he borrowed some socks from my drawer, and they were like colorful socks.
I have no idea, actually, where they came from. And he walks up to my wife, and he says, you know, to Andrea, he says, these socks, they're like Joseph socks. And Andrea looks at him, and she says, well, Alexander, can you tell me Joseph's story? And Alexander said, like, totally confident. Yes, Mom, I can. And without missing a beat, he said, yes, Joseph had lots of colorful socks like these.
And then his brothers threw him in jail, but he broke out of the jail, and then he defeated Goliath before they threw him in the lion's den. Like, he had the whole Bible in those socks. You know, we have these moments with our children. I remember not long ago, Andrea and I were like standing in the kitchen, and the kids were sitting at the table.
We have three kids, eight, seven, and four. A little boy, a little girl, a little boy. And our son, you know, our oldest, our first, who's eight, he looks over at our daughter, who's seven, and says, Catherine, if anybody could come to our door right now, alive or dead, in all of history, who would you like to knock on the door? And Andrea and I, we like look at each other, that's quite a question.
We must be doing pretty good here. And our daughter says, Martin Luther King Jr. We're good parents. No, no, no, no.
Rosa Parks. Okay. Well, this was interesting. And the next day, I had my whole staff together on a Zoom call.
It was in the middle of COVID. And I'm bragging about this story to my entire staff. Like, I mean, you know, you weren't going to believe what my kids were saying, like all these things that they're learning. My son asked this great question. And just about then, Alexander comes in the room, crawls under my desk.
My whole staff, everyone that works for me on a Zoom call, and Alexander hits me and says, Hi, Dummy Daddy. You know, our kids, they sort these things out. And as adults, we sort these things out, too. But I want to talk to you about a virtue that I'm not sure we have sorted out. I'm going to talk to you about one of the least appreciated, least practiced, yet one of the most important Christian virtues. And it is the virtue of courage. We desperately, desperately need a courage awakening among Christians in the United States of America. Now, I don't have to describe courage to you. We know courage when we see it, right?
I think if someone like Chayune Sugihara, maybe you've heard of him, maybe you haven't. In World War II, he was this diplomat, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania. With only the help of his wife, he secretly issued visas for thousands of Jews to flee the Nazis, risking his whole life. That's courage, right? You hear a story like that. That's a courageous story. I think of this World War II veteran.
His name was Robert Whiting. And he believed in America with all of his heart. He was one of our best soldiers.
And at 18 years old, he was best soldiers. And at 83 years old, he decided to travel back to France to see where the most consequential moment of his life had occurred. And he arrived. And as he got to the immigration counter, he was struggling to find his passport. And this impatient immigration officer, a French person, looks at him and says, have you been to France before, sir? And Robert says, yes, sir, I've been here before. And the immigration officer looks back at him and barks at him. Well, then you should know to have your passport ready when you come to this desk. And Robert replied, well, the last time I was here, sir, I didn't have to show my passport. Impossible, the French officer said. Americans always have to show their passport when they arrived in France.
And this 83 year old man, he straightened up his back and he steeled his gaze. And he looked in the eyes of that young French officer and he said, well, sir, when I came here in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchman to show my passport to. Every American that stormed those beaches personified courage.
We all know that. We know that's what courage is. Some of you had family members that did that. And courage isn't just an American trait, but there is something about American courage, about our greatest generation, a generation ago. There was a time when courage was demanded for those who wanted to live in a free world.
People knew what they had because they believed that they could lose it because they almost did. But what many people don't realize, even in the church of Jesus Christ these days, is that the courage of those Americans was largely anchored in the predominance of the Judeo-Christian ideas at the foundation of our country. We're a country where our founders and its framers, they traversed great expanses of land in turbulent oceans. They fought vicious wars just to be free. A country founded by those not only yearning to be free, but with a particular type of freedom. Sometimes they called it the first freedom. It was the freedom to worship God.
Did you know that in every early American house there were two books? The Bible and Fox's Book of Martyrs. Courage was at the heart of the United States, at the foundation of our Judeo-Christian idea, but it seems to be lost in the church. And I came here on my next stop on a personal mission all across the United States of America to call American Christians to be courageous again because the Bible demands it, our culture desperately needs it, and we have absolutely nothing to lose from it.
I mean you know the Bible, right? This is the last sermon in a series of courageous, courageous stories. You've heard many of them of David and of Esther. I mentioned Abraham earlier.
Abraham was the patriarch of faith. Esther was the matriarch of courage. I mean her story was amazing.
You've already heard it once. I won't tell it to you again, but it was a complex story too as courage is also sometimes complex. Esther, she could have chosen not to act, but she did. Esther's courage required a certain moral calculus.
It wasn't straightforward. She had to deploy the world's power, collaborating with a corrupt king for a higher moral cause in order to save her own people. And yet no one remembers what Esther had to sacrifice. We only remember that a holocaust didn't happen because she said, as the book in her name says, when the is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.
And it wasn't just Esther. It's all through the Bible. It's in the book of Psalms, verse 24 and chapter 31, where David writes, be strong and be courageous, all of you who hope in the Lord. Those Psalms were written by a king who began his career fighting lions off of his sheep before he fought a Goliath off of his people. Many years later, after decades and decades of experiences, with all of its ups and downs, including David's own failures, and he had some catastrophic failures, of all of the words of advice he could have given his son Solomon, myriad words of advice. What did he tell his son in 1 Chronicles 28, verse 20? He said, be strong and courageous and do the work.
The work starts in the series next week. That's because David not only believed that God could be trusted, he had experienced God's help again and again and again and again and again as he ran into the battles that others wanted to flee, as he spoke up when others were afraid to speak, when he acted when others were paralyzed by fear, as he didn't let danger keep him from doing what was necessary when others cowered in the corner, as he stood strong when everyone else stood down. And did he regret it? At the end of his life, some of the most powerful words in Scripture, and there's some older people here tonight that I think can testify to the same thing. Psalm 37, verse 25, David wrote, I was young and now I'm old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken. And it wasn't just David and Esther, Abraham, who were courageous, it's all through the Bible.
We read about Moses sticking his staff in a red sea with Pharaoh's armies in pursuit behind him, the most powerful military in the world at the time. We read about Daniel holding to his Hebrew values at the risk of being thrown into a fiery furnace. We read about Joshua and Caleb standing up to the crowd of their peers because they were the only two who believed God's promise. Gideon's meager army standing there surrounded by this fierce fighting force that were soon totally destroyed because he had faith to trust God. It's all through the Old Testament.
It's also all through the New Testament. We find Jesus courageous from the first second of his ministry. He was running against the tide of his time. He was challenging the prevailing opinions of the culture. He was leading this like hodgepodge group of rabble-rousers that none of you would have hired ever, with flaws like the rest of us, to a faith that was so strong that those flawed 12, every one but one, died a martyr one by one because they just finally realized that this faith was worth life and death. The Apostle Paul, when everything was against him, when he was tired and beaten down and mocked and cursed and made fun of with a flaw that we don't know what his flaw was but it's explicit in Scripture that it was a constant problem to him. Yet he writes in 2 Corinthians 6 that he continued on in great endurance, in troubles and hardships and in pain and pain and pain and pain and pain and distress and beatings and imprisonments and in riots in hard work.
It sounds like, you know, Washington D.C. In hard work and sleepless nights and hunger and purity and understanding and patience and kindness and the Holy Spirit and sincere love and truthful speech and the power of God, weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left, through glory and dishonor, being falsely accused. By the way, I see false accusations against Christians every single day of my life and you see them too. You have to be discerning to not believe everything that you read even from other Christians. Compliments, genuine, yet I was regarded as an imposter.
Imagine the pain of that. You come to save people and they just don't believe you. They treat you like an imposter. He says, I was known yet regarded as unknown. I was dying and yet we live on. I was beaten and yet not killed. I was sorrowful and yet always rejoicing. I was poor yet making many rich.
I had nothing and yet I possessed everything. But what's amazing is before he wrote those words in 2 Corinthians, let me read you what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 16, 13. Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.
Be strong. The Bible demands that we, the Christians, are courageous people and our culture needs it. You know, Jesus said in his most famous sermon in Matthew, chapter 5, that we are the salt of the earth and we're the light of the world.
Peter wrote, as he traveled through the earth, Peter wrote, as he traveled around the world ministering to various churches, he said in one of his letters in chapter 2, verse 12, he said, live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day that he visits us. One of our responsibilities as Christians in the world is to model all these biblical virtues to our culture and one of these virtues is the virtue of courage. And it also means that we're to have the courage to influence our culture for good even when it's difficult and controversial and even when it costs us something.
Why should we expect that our lives as followers of Jesus Christ should be easier than the lives of all of those people you read about in the New Testament? We have always been against the tide. We have always been accused falsely of things. We have always been mocked for our beliefs. We are the lucky ones that were not imprisoned for it or killed for it. But the truth is, I don't actually think we're paying very close attention to our culture.
I think we're paying very close attention to ourselves. I mean, how many of us are actually like the sons of Issachar? You remember the sons of Issachar? First Chronicles 12 32, this obscure half a sentence filled with profound meaning. It says, the sons of Issachar understood the times and they had the knowledge needed to show Israel what they should do. Now, there's some people that don't think that this is the responsibility of the church.
The church's job is to preach the word and stay out of all the messes. But I came here to tell you, it is our job. We are the salt of the earth.
We are the light of the world. And how dare we concede our responsibility to any other institution, to any other group in the United States of America or around the world. God did not call Hollywood or the politicians in Washington, D.C. to be the salt of the earth and the salt of the world.
He called us to do that. And going all the way back to the Old Testament, Jeremiah 29 verse 7, another famous verse, it says that we are to seek the welfare of the city within which we are exiled. You know, the New Testament says that we're strangers on the earth, pilgrims wandering through this earth. We're not supposed to be that comfortable here.
We're supposed to be different in this world, but not of this world. I'm just remembering a story I heard not long ago. It was Palm Sunday and a terrorist walked inside a church and 50 people died.
50 people died. The next day on national television in this entirely Islamic country, one of the most famous Muslim commentators in the whole country interviewed the widow, the young mother of one of the Christians who died. And on that interview in Arabic, in this entirely Muslim country, she says, I have chosen to forgive the person who killed my husband because Jesus says that we're to forgive our enemies and I will pray for him. And this Muslim commentator became visibly emotional in the interview. And here's what he said in Arabic. He said, these Christians are made of steel.
He said, they live here, but it's like they're not from this world. No one taught him that. Her testimony taught him that.
Our testimonies ought to show the world who we are. You know, the apostle Paul was the greatest evangelist of all time. I mean, the apostle Paul would probably be the one person that you could appeal to and say, like, if anybody wanted to say to focus only on evangelism, but ignore everything else, it would be the apostle Paul, because that was his life. He planted more churches in his lifetime per capita than probably anybody in history.
From the time he started his ministry to the time he ended it, the world was a totally different place. But Paul was as effective as he was, not only because he preached the good news, but because he understood his time. I mean, you know who Paul was because you attend Calvary Albuquerque with one of the greatest Bible teachers in history. And one of the things you know about Paul is that he was born in Tarsus. You know that he was educated in Jerusalem. You know that he was a Roman citizen. But if you've thought about why that's significant, why that's in the Bible, let me tell you why it's in the Bible. Because Tarsus at the time of the apostle Paul was the center of Greek culture in the entire world.
Greek culture had moved from Athens to Tarsus. When Paul studied in Jerusalem, he studied under someone whose name was Gamaliel. He was the number one religious scholar of the time. When Paul became a Roman citizen, and we don't know how he was a Roman citizen, you know the theories because he was a tent maker, which is probably a trade that was passed down in his family. And so some scholars think that maybe his family made tents for the Roman garrison or something.
So they granted them citizen. We had no idea how Paul got Roman citizenship. But we know what the result of it was, that eventually it saved his life on one occasion in the book of Acts. And on another occasion, it afforded him the power to be a citizen. And on another occasion, it afforded him the opportunity to do what every Roman citizen could do if they got in trouble. They could appeal to Caesar himself.
And Paul thought, what a great way to preach the gospel to Caesar himself. That special guest, Johnny Moore, with a message from the series Hunting Giants. Now, we want to share about a resource that encourages fathers across the nation to step up and fulfill their God-given calling.
Your gift to this teaching program has helped us grow and we want to do more in 2023. This month with your gift of $50 or more, you'll receive a download or DVD of a new critical issues video hosted by Skip, Where's Dad? The problems are clear. Teen crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, abortion, and a host of others. The question is, where's dad? Where's the man of the household when their boys are making life decisions about their treatment of women, their worldview, and their morals?
Why are legions of energetic teens channeling their time towards self-destructive and socially destructive behavior? And where's dad to guide them, to correct them, to be in relationship with them? We realize that single parent families are not exclusively a male issue. Fathers who do not take responsibility for their children are the critical problem. Where's Dad?
looks at the problem of missing fathers in the home, tells stories of people who have been impacted by this plague, and looks at the possibilities of reconciliation at any age or stage of life. Get your DVD or download of the full-length video, Where's Dad? hosted by Skip Heitzig and featuring Josh McDowell. Receive your copy of Where's Dad? when you help us expand Skip's teaching with your donation of $50 or more.
Call 1-800-922-1888 or go to connectwithskip.com to get your copy of Where's Dad? Tune in tomorrow for Connect with Skip Heitzig. A special guest, Johnny Moore, shares how your courage can influence the people around you to live for Jesus. You will be hard pressed to find a hospital or an educational institution that doesn't have the finger mark of a Christian who decided to go to a faraway land and to serve people with their entire entire life.
We have nothing to be ashamed of, not only that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God into salvation, we have nothing to be ashamed of because we are in the heritage of 2,000 years of people who've been pretty good at changing the world for good because of Jesus Christ. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and 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.
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