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Neutrality Is Impossible

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2020 7:00 pm

Neutrality Is Impossible

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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A.B. Simpson, the great missionary statesman wrote Jesus is standing in pilots hall friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all parking.

What mean of the sudden call. What will you do with Jesus. What will you do with Jesus, neutral.

You cannot be someday your heart will be asking what will he do with me neutral you cannot be. It is impossible to main neutrality in regard to Jesus of Nazareth as we look at this portion of the trial of Jesus Christ before Pontius Pilate and John chapter 19 we are aware that John in particular. Throughout his gospel hits this theme of the impossibility of neutrality over and over again we're going to see it very prominent in this trial with pilot but it actually is one of the themes that is carried out throughout the entire book of the gospel of John. We might even say that it is one of the themes of that gospel for John by the direction of the Holy Spirit gives us a number of examples of people who try to be neutral in regard to Jesus Christ but found that to be an impossibility.

It is possible for us here in this world to be neutral about something. It may even be appropriate and wise for us to remain neutral about something particularly in this topsy-turvy world in which we live. With all of the violence and rancor in arguing that's going on around us. Perhaps at times it's best not to say anything and not to get involved in the turmoil, but when it comes to Jesus Christ, you cannot.

You must not, and you cannot remain neutral. It is ultimately an impossibility, but skin center an assortment of individuals.

First of all, the John reveals to us attempted to be neutral in regard to Jesus Christ and found that to be impossible. And then secondly will examine more carefully pilots unsuccessful attempt at neutrality thinking. First of all of Nicodemus, you know the account of Nicodemus in John chapter 3 is really one of the best known accounts in all of Scripture.

Nicodemus say Pharisee came to Jesus by night, as you know, no doubt at night because he didn't want to be seen. He was trying to remain neutral and yet God was working in his heart and he had some questions and he felt compelled to seek out Jesus something that very few of the Pharisees were willing to do very few of the Pharisees had any desire to do most of them had made up their minds they had rejected Christ.

They wanted nothing to do with him except to stop him from influencing others to remove his influence from Jewish society. But here is a man of a different sort. The man who listened to the words of Jesus and recognize that there had to be true in what he said and yet fearing his friends, fearing his companions, fearing his position a high position in Jewish society there is evidence to cause us to think that he may very well have been a member of the Sanhedrin and so at night.

Nicodemus sinks Jesus out and asked Simpson question that brings the conversation that were well familiar with were Jesus talks to him about the new birth. Nicodemus are you a teacher. Literally, the teacher and one of the leading teachers in Israel are you a teacher in Israel you don't know these things that a man must be born again. Nicodemus, unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom. God, you know the conversation. Perhaps you've never noticed. However, the John does not give us a conclusion to this interview, Jesus talks with Nicodemus Nicodemus asks questions. Nicodemus is obviously curious that at some point, of course, Nicodemus went away anyone away without stating any position one way or another in regard to Jesus Christ.

But we don't know exactly when he left. And what you said in his departure, the account just goes on. Some of those wonderful wonderful statements of Scripture, including what is probably the best known verse in all the Bible John 316 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Those words were probably spoken to Nicodemus though because John does not detail for us. The exact ending of the interview. It is also possible that Nicodemus left before those words were spoken and Jesus spoke those to his other disciples. We really don't know but the fact that we don't know helps to support what I'm trying to say at this moment.

At that time the event it's recorded in John chapter 3, Nicodemus was still trying to be neutral. He did not declare himself one way or another. He had come quietly under cover of darkness to Jesus Christ. He asked his questions. He conducted the interview. He went away puzzled because he did not understand what Christ was talking about when Jesus told him that he must be born again, he slipped away as quietly as he came to consider these things and he still was endeavoring to remain neutral. However, he found that to be difficult. There was another time when Nicodemus is mentioned three times altogether in the gospel of John first and John three, and then in John chapter 7 and John chapter 7 we have another one of these times when there's a confrontation between Jesus and the religious authorities and we read in verse 45. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, why have you not brought him they had instructed the officers to arrest Christ. The officers answered no man ever spoke like this man. Then the Pharisees answered him, are you also deceived. Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in him. But this crowd, speaking of the general multitude that does not know the law is accursed. Then we read in verse 50 Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night, being one of them said to them, does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing. They answered and said to him, are you also from Galilee search and look for no profit has arisen out of Galilee and Nicodemus is tiptoeing around the edges. This date hears Jesus being accused unjustly. He knows that he's being accused contrary to the law, for he knows the law and he knows that these other Pharisees know the law. So he raises a point of law does our law allow you allow us to accuse a man before it hears him but all Nicodemus you almost let the cat out of the bag.

You almost indicated that you are sympathetic to Jesus and maybe even have become a secret follower of Jesus, but his Pharisee friends swatting down and he stays down for the time being he still trying to be neutral neutral. You cannot be become to the death of Jesus Christ. Toward the end of John chapter 19 when we find Nicodemus appearing for the third time in this gospel we read in verse 38 after this, Joseph of Arimathea being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus and Nicodemus first came to Jesus by night also came, bringing a mixture of murder and aloe about 100 pound then they Joseph and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and bounded in strips of linen with the spices is the custom of the Jews is to bury and took him and very detailed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea finally finally Nicodemus steps out of the shadows and takes a balding public stand for Jesus Christ. He was now putting his reputation on the line. What he did. Now was observed. It was known it was public. He is aiding in the burial of Jesus and therefore is identifying himself as a disciple of Jesus.

No longer is he neutral he tried to be but neutral. You cannot be art. We thankful that he aligned himself openly with Jesus Christ. In the end.

Of course I read about Joseph of Arimathea and he's another one. The Bible tells us that he was a disciple, but what does it say secretly for fear of the Jews, secretly he tried he tried to be neutral, at least as far as other people were concerned. He tried to keep his faith in Christ, unseen and unnoticed so that it wouldn't cost him anything. For he to was a man of influence in Jewish society, he tried to remain neutral in the face of Jesus Christ would neutral you cannot be and when it came down to a Joseph boldly took his stand with Christ and for Christ and he buried Christ in his own tomb, thereby receiving no doubt the scorn the hatred the opposition that true followers of Jesus Christ will always receive Joseph of Arimathea found out that neutral.

You cannot be what about Judas Judas is another one disciple of Christ, who openly identified himself with Christ. But in his heart was no believer in Christ. This is a different situation, but he attempted we might say, attempted neutrality with an unbelieving heart. Actually, he feigned identification with Christ, but had an unbelieving heart, but eventually his hypocrisy and unbelief revealed his true condition and he was exposed he was dismissed from the group of the apostles.

We sought this morning in John chapter 13, he went out into the darkness of the night and eventually went out to betray Jesus and to then go to his own death by suicide neutral. You cannot be. And if you will not truly believe in Jesus Christ. Eventually the truth will come out though you make pretend to be a Christian you may be a church member, you may want others to think that you are Christian. If you are not a true follower of Jesus Christ. The truth will be known. Eventually, often in this life and sometimes not until the life to come neutral. You cannot be when people attempt to take a Christian identity, it's usually because they live in a culture where that's approved the trying to get the benefits of being a Christian without being a Christian. They want to get the the applause of man for being a follower of Christ, but in their hearts they don't want to be a follower of Christ and eventually the truth comes out there trying to be neutral. The trying to be a follower of Christ without sticking out in the crowd without a church.

They are Christian at work.

Not so much. You know the kind when there with the Christians they want to be thought a Christian when there with the non-Christians to be thought to be one of them and they go to great extremes on both ends to to make people think that they are what these people will want them to be so with Christians. They go to great lengths to try to demonstrate that there are Christian when they are away from Christians that often go to great lengths to demonstrate that there one of the crowd. They tell the dirty jokes to they join right in with the stories they live like an unbeliever, and there trying this balance. This to get as it were the best of both worlds to be a Christian as it were, without suffering any of the reproach that comes with the true Christian of true follower of Christ, but neutral. You cannot be in the truth will come out in time will consider one further example, what about Peter another apostle of Jesus Christ. He attempted neutrality with unbelieving heart. Judas attempted neutrality with an unbelieving heart. Peter attempted neutrality with a believing heart as you know, when Jesus was taken into the court of Caiaphas is taken into the palace of Caiaphas in order to endure that part of his trial.

Peter along with other disciples was there that Peter was invited inside by John who had connections there inside the courtyard with the soldiers and with others. Peter was warming himself by the fire until a little maidservants said you sound like one of them. Your speech sounds like you're from Galilee. Are you a disciple of Jesus. And what did Peter say oh no, I'm not one of those and he did that once and he did that again. In fact, three times and then the cop crowed. He suddenly was smitten with sorrow and conviction because he remembered the Jesus had said Peter before the cop grows three times will deny me.

That's what Peter did. Peter went out and wept bitterly. He was sorrowful and was graciously restored. But you see Peter you had to learn the lesson to neutral.

You cannot be you must take your stand. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ. You must take a public stand.

If you want to be a follower of Jesus Christ. You have to be a follower of Jesus Christ when you're with Christ and with Christian people. And when you are with those who are enemies of Christ, neutral. You cannot be, well, that's a variety of people in John's Gospel to demonstrate the point that I made the John makes this a major theme in his gospel and when we come to the trial of Jesus Christ before Pilate, we see how he brings that out so very very clearly. Pilate also attempted neutrality in the face of Jesus Christ. And we see that he tried this repeatedly, but he failed every time. Let's look at it attempt number one we find that in John chapter 18 and we read in verse 28 then elite led Jesus from Caiaphas first trial before the high priest, the one where Peter denied Jesus. They led Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorian and it was early morning, but they themselves did not go into the Tory unless they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover because of course choose being in close contact with Gentiles would in their minds to file them in and make them unqualified to participate in the Passover observance and so because of that verse 29 pilot went out to them and said what accusation do you bring against this man.

They answered and said to him, if he were not an evil doer. We would not have delivered him up to you. Then Pilate said to them you take him and judge him according to your law.

What's he doing is trying to get rid of the responsibility. I don't want anything to do with it and I don't want to have to make a judgment. I don't want to put it on the line again judge him according to your law. Therefore, the Jews said to him, it is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.

Autopilot is now beginning to realize how serious this is. They intend to see this man executed and Pilate has no reason to execute him. Pilate has no reason to think that he's done anything wrong. Pilate has no reason to think that is broken Roman law and of course he had not Pilate would like to remain neutral in regard to Jesus, but he's going to find that to be exceedingly difficult. That was his first attempt. Notice the second one beginning in verse 33 then Pilate entered the praetorian again and called Jesus and said to him, are you the king of the Jews, Jesus answered him, are you speaking for yourself about this sort did others tell you this concerning me. Pilate answered am I a Jew your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me what have you done Jesus answered my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jew now my kingdom is not from here. Pilate therefore said to him, are you a king them.

Jesus answered you say rightly that I am a king.

For this cause I was born and for this cause I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. Pilate said to him what is truth and what it said this, he went out again to the Jews. The second time went out again to the Jews and said to them, I find no fault in him that all is trying to rid himself of the responsibility but verse 39 you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover.

Do you therefore want me to release to you the king of the Jews. He thought they would say yes.

He was hoping they'd say yes, that would get them off the horns of the dilemma, but they all cried again same. Not this man, but Barabbas. Barabbas was a robber fact, he was an insurrectionist he was a robber and a murderer. He was a violent man and he deserved to be executed, not Pilate's on the horns of a dilemma. It's the custom to deliver a prisoner at Passover time. He wants to release Jesus who's done nothing wrong and he knows that full well. I find no fault in him, but the Jews are pressuring him and he's a politician and he response to pressure that he's trying to remain neutral and not get in trouble. Either way he goes about Pilate neutral you cannot be when it comes to Jesus of Nazareth's third attempt is found in the opening verses that I read to you earlier in chapter 19 so then Pilate to Jesus and scourged him. The soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on his head and they put on him. The purple robe and they cried, hail, King of the Jews and they struck him with their hands. Pilate then went out again is trying to pacify them. He went on again and said to them, behold, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that what I find no fault in him second time that he says that second declaration that this is an innocent man. I am a seasoned judge of Roman law, I find not one law, not the smallest, slightest law of Rome that this man has violated that I can justly bring him into condemnation.

I find no fault in him. Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe and Pilate said to them, behold, the man, what is he doing he was attempting by scourging him unjustly. He didn't deserve scourging by mocking him by putting the mock crown upon his head a crown of thorns by bringing him out in this condition where he'd obviously been scourged and and brutalized that that would be enough to satisfy them, they would see that he had done something to inflict punishment about upon him, even though Pilate knew full.

He didn't even deserve that.

I find no fault in him with that third attempt.

Neutrality did not get him off book. There is actually 1/4 attempt which John doesn't record but Luke does and that tells us at this point, Pilate said something to come up in the conversation that caused him to realize that Jesus was from Nazareth and he knew that Nazareth was under a different jurisdiction, namely that of Herod, not under his jurisdiction in Judea. He who was Pilate. And so he said that's my opportunity. Herod's in town. I'll send them over to Herod and let him have the responsibility any setting over there hoping once again to wash himself of the responsibility and to remain neutral not to get caught between these two forces on the one hand, his own sense of propriety, injustice and ongoing that if he committed injustice. It could get him into trouble with higher Roman authorities who really were very careful about justice and the law.

But on the other hand, he didn't yield to the pressure of the crowds that could get him into trouble because if they rioted that riot was on his hands and his responsibility. The Roman authorities would also be very upset. He's really caught his knee between a rock and a hard place. So he attempts to solve the problem by sending Jesus to Herod. Herod's glad to see him. He's wanted to see him in interviewing for a long time. He question Sam has his sport with him. But then, what's he do, he sends them back to Pilate and attempt didn't Pilate when it comes to Jesus Christ neutral you cannot be there is another attempt. Verse six of chapter 19. Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, crucify him, crucifying Pilate said to them, take him to fight him for what for. I find no fault in him. The third time Pilate said I find no fault in him judicially. Jesus is an innocent man, legally he's an innocent man. He's been tried before the Roman authority and has been declared three-time an innocent man and yet Pilate pressured by the Jews is willing to turn Jesus over to the U crucify him. Which of course would be contrary to Roman law and nobody could crucify, except the Romans themselves. The Jews were not given that opportunity that privilege.

In fact they were not given the opportunity of any capital punishment while Roland was in charge the pilots a desperate man she's he's trying he's trying these trying neutral. He's trying to obey, but his attempts are not succeeding are the this. Finally, one more attempt to continue reading verse seven the Jews answered him, we have a law that according to our law he ought to die because he made himself the son of God. Therefore when Pilate heard that saying he was the more afraid that means he had been afraid all along were right. He's afraid he's afraid of the Jewish crowd.

He's afraid of the Roman overlords. He's afraid of committing injustice, violating Roman law in regard to Jesus but is afraid not to give in to the Jewish mob.

He's trying to be neutral but neutral. You cannot be. Then we read you want to get into the Pretoria him and said to Jesus, where are you from, Jesus gave him no answer and Pilate said to him, are you not speaking to me. Do you not know that I have power to crucify you in power to release you.

Jesus answered, you could have no power against me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered me to you as the greater sin. From then on what we read in verse 12. From then on Pilate sought to release him.

He's trying one final time, but the Jewish cried out, saying, if you let this man go. You are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. Pilate is really getting scared. He has some inkling that this man Jesus is more than a man.

They have accused him of claiming to be the son of God. Pilate thinks that might be a valid claim yes and found Jesus to have spoken any untrue word. He hasn't found him to a broken any law he sees no reason to think this man is a criminal or a liar defines every reason to believe that is entirely credible and now he finds out that he's made the claim that he is the son of God and he is right, you know. Remember that at some point.

His wife said don't have anything to do with this man.

I've had a bad dream about him tonight. Pilate tried to wash his hands of the whole affair.

Pilate neutral you cannot be the pilot tried again and again and again to remain neutral to absolve himself of the responsibility of standing up like a man and saying I will not cave in to your pressure. I will not commit injustice.

I will not violate Roman law, I will not do the wrong thing though all the world is against me. That's what he needed to do to take your stand with Jesus, knowing what he had come to know about him, but pilots not willing to do neutral. You cannot be, if you will not take your stand with Jesus. Eventually you're going to stake your stand against Jesus and that's what Pilate learned the Jews were determined not to let Pilate remain neutral.

They had made their groundless and evil insinuations they had stated their evil intentions that he must be not only killed the crucified and of course all of this under the sovereign plan of God. He must be crucified.

He not only must die, but he must be crucified. Nobody but wrong can carry out crucifixion. But the Jews were pressuring the Jews were trying to bring public embarrassment to bear against Pilate and to manipulate him and the Jews were distorting Scripture. Scripture said that if someone blasphemed God. That's what they were punishing. They were they were charging Jesus with that of someone blasphemed God then there were to be the witnesses to come and to present their evidence of the blasphemy and then the witnesses were to be the first one to lead the others in stoning them to death.

That's what the law required Jews are going about it. According to the law going about it according to their manipulation.

Pilate finally capitulated because neutral, you cannot be so when Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out in setting down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew God with the now was the preparation day of the Passover and about the sixth hour and he said to the Jews, behold, your King Pilate knew in his heart that this was indeed a kid I don't know that he understood everything I am not certain that he understood all about Jesus.

He's just being introduced to him for the first time, but he knows in his heart that Jesus is a an honorable man and honest man, a righteous man and he is some kind of a king, but they cried out, away with him away with him, crucify him.

Pilate said to them, shall I crucify your king the chief priests answered. We have no king but Caesar then Pilate delivered him to be crucified so they took Jesus and led him away neutral, you cannot be Pilate made the wrong decision. I'm afraid Pilate made a fatal decision as far as his own soul is concerned, pressed up against the dilemma of having to choose for Christ or against him. He capitulated to the pressure of the moment and decided against him.

Dear friends, not only is Pilate unable to remain neutral. So are you.

None of us can remain neutral when it comes to Jesus Christ neutral you cannot be. If Jesus is who he claims to be that he has a rightful claim upon your life, what are you going to do about that claim. Are you going to acknowledge and yield to it or not. If he is not who he claims to be a then it must be either a liar or a deranged madman who deserves no honor at all. But here you are trying on the one hand to give him some measure of honor and spec you don't think he's a liar you don't think he's a madman but on the other hand, you don't want to yield your life to him. You don't want to place yourself under his authority. You don't want him ruling you and therefore you won't have him saving you either neutral. You cannot be you must not be either.

He is God, or he is unworthy of any serious consideration that if he is God you must not be hostile toward him. You are hostile toward God. If he is God you must not be neutral toward him. That's being neutral toward God Almighty if he is God you must not be casual toward him, how can you be casual in the face of one who is God has rightful claims upon your life.

If he is God you cannot be partial, you cannot be halfhearted, you cannot play it both ways. One, with one. One way with one crowd another way with another crowd neutral. You cannot.

So when it comes to the people at work today, know that you are Christian to comes to your friends at school do they know that you are Christian when it comes to your family and extended family. Those who are unconverted. Do they know that you are Christian or do you try to remain neutral in those settings, but friend neutral. You cannot be you have to take your stand one way or another. Eventually you will have to one way or another.

You are now some of you trying to walk on a tight rope, but you're not going to make it to the other side urinal falloff one side or the other. Which side you going to fall off on.

I hope it will be on the side of the Lord Jesus Christ. You need to commit yourself to him gladly fully 100% openly, publicly, and live for him. Quit playing games. Quit trying to give yourself to him partially rather give yourself to him without reservation, without stipulation, it's not give Jesus a try.

It's give Jesus yourself wholly and completely take your stand for him neutral.

You cannot be. Yes, Jesus was standing in pilots all friendless for sake and betrayed by all parking.

What means the sudden call.

What will you do a Jesus. What will you do with Jesus neutral you cannot be someday your heart will be asking what will he do with me. Blessed are the sons of God. They are bought with Christ's own blood. They are ransomed from the grave life eternal. They shall have with them numbered. May we be here and in eternity. They are justified by grace.

They enjoy the Savior's peace all their sins are washed away. They shall stand in God's great day with them numbered. May we be here and in eternity. They are lights upon the earth.

Children of a heavenly birth one with God, with Jesus, one glory is in them be good with them numbered.

May we be here and in eternity.

Shall we pray heavenly father seal these words to every heart was hurt them and everyone who may hear them in the days to come. Father impress upon every heart. The folly of trying to remain neutral regarding Jesus Christ by the work of your spirit show each one of their desperate need of Christ. Their sinful condition. Apart from Christ, the impossibility of being partial and halfhearted toward Christ the Lord. Draw them to Christ fully unreservedly with a full and glad and wholehearted commitment that is glad to stand up for Jesus Christ among friends and among foes alike. Lord, because that to be the case because of the mercy and grace of Christ.

We pray now grace to you and peace from Jesus Christ, the ruler over the kings of the earth. To him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever


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