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Moments of Truth

May 11, 2016
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There are hundreds and even thousands of decision-points in our lives where the paths that we take and the roads that we travel will have lasting spiritual and eternal significance. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines a moment of truth as “an occasion when something important happens that tests someone or something and that will have an effect on the future.” These moments of truth will lay the foundation for the type of Christian that we aspire to be and the impact that we want to have on friends, family, acquaintances, and those who may be our inner circle of confidantes. These specific moments of truth are all turning points in our lives that could potentially bring us to elevated spiritual heights or point us in a direction that will lead to destruction. If not total destruction, it will lead us to a place where we will be much less usable for the Lord our God. In other words, it will limit our leadership capabilities and influence for His optimal service in the long-run. For example, think back to that moment when we asked Christ to save our soul! What a miraculous point in time in our spiritual development and the ultimate turning point in our eternal destiny. When God called us to a saving knowledge of His Son and we accepted that free gift of salvation, our perspective on life took on a whole new meaning. We began to form habits and live our lives in ways that ran contrary to the world and its thinking. We started to read our Bibles, pray, worship, attend church, and associate with likeminded Christians in the faith. Spiritually speaking, our world was turned upside down. The way that we think, act, and relate to the world should now be tempered by the Word of God. That one point in time; that one decision; that one perfect moment of truth determined our eternal courses in both the physical and spiritual worlds. Praise the Lord! What about all of the other moments of truth that you encounter as ambassadors for Christ? How are you handling them? Are you shrouding your fundamental Christian testimonies with the cloaks of righteousness and purity? Are you leading? What specific action items will you put in place right now for the glory of God? Are you P.R.O.U.D. of what it means to be a fundamental Christian?

P – Proving what is that good and acceptable will of God

R – Ringing out the good news of the Gospel message

O – Offering your life as a sweet savor unto the Lord; without blemish

U – Unifying the brethren by the giving of your tithes, talents, and time

D – Defending the doctrines of the faith

When surveying the first four books of the New Testament, it is no surprise that we find contrasting and somewhat paradoxical descriptions of how Bible characters reacted during defining moments of truth. Yes, these Bible characters were some of the early Christian leaders (so-called) in the establishment of the church. Many were out front and leading the way, while others were standing and watching as events unfolded. Please remember that these early Christian leaders were human beings just like you and me. They had fears, worries, and inhibitions very similar to the ones we have today. These leaders were sinners saved by the grace of God. It was a point in history when Christ walked the face of this earth and declared that He was the Savior! An unpopular and revolting message for many to be sure.

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which same down from heaven.” (John 6:41)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) 

“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? (John 6:60)

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (John 6:66-67)  

“After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” (John 7:1) 

In the verses above Christ declared that He was equal with God. The Jewish ruling elite took great exception to His proclamation and wanted to silence and ultimately destroy Him. However, what is even more disturbing than the unbelievers who were trying to do Him harm, were the actions of those believing disciples who identified themselves with Christ. They were supposed to be the ones who were leading the charge and “taking the hill” for the Lord. Unfortunately, those Christian disciples had a moment of truth, and “walked no more with him.” For whatever reason, they did not have the courage, faith, or depth of character to stand tall in the face of adversity. This Bible illustration reminds me of an old saying that goes something like this, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Well, just the opposite happened in this moment of truth for these early Christian leaders. Instead of standing up and fighting for what they believed in, these disciples decided to walk away. I guess that you could say that there was too much heat in the kitchen!

However, to be fair, we must account for the actions of the twelve disciples who were the core leaders and part of the inner circle of the Christian movement at the time. In a sense, they were all brothers in Christ and it was a very close-knit family. They were the nucleus of Christ’s inner circle. They too, made decisions during some moments of truth that they wished they had the opportunity to take back (understanding of course that God is in control and that His perfect will was to be accomplished). During the arrest and betrayal of Jesus, His disciples were nowhere to be found. They took off and disassociated themselves from the Lord. An approach and tactic that many of us use in our individual moments of truth and in crisis situations if we are being totally honest. Below, we find a gut wrenching and almost agonizing verse in the book of Mark that describes a moment of truth for many of His followers.

            “And they all forsook him, and fled.” (Mark 14:50)

Just think about this! The Savior of the world was being unjustly accused and arrested and His core followers and leaders fled! They didn’t have the intestinal fortitude, temerity, or faith to stand up and make a difference. The story of Peter’s denial especially pulls at the heartstrings of Christian loyalty.

“And Peter followed him afar off even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.” (Mark 14:54)

“And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him. Before that cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.” (Mark 14:72) 

Peter’s example is such a powerful story of human weakness, lack of courage, and faithlessness. And while impetuous Peter started out like gangbusters and may have even smote and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest, his discipline, determination, and faithfulness started to wain during this particular crisis moment. Each of us should take notice that we too could be caught in moments of truth and other decision-making situations that may not honor the Lord. We need to plead and be stretched out before the Lord asking Him to direct our paths. Ask Him to enlarge our measure of faith in order for us to do the right thing and make the best decisions possible.

Fortunately, there is a much better ending for most of the core disciples (Judas being the exception) relating to their Christian faith, leadership, and impact. After a rocky start the core disciples made life-long commitments to serve the Lord with all of their hearts, minds, and souls. The Bible and history records that most were on-fire and zealous for the cause of Christ and were eventually martyred.

What is the key take-away and points of contemplation for Christians of today? When at your place of employment and a co-worker tells an off-color joke, how do you handle that moment of truth? Yes, there are even those who will knowingly discredit, ridicule, and mock the Christian faith in your very presence. They will blatantly smear and make fun of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How will you respond in that moment of truth? What about when the progressive liberal factions of our society try to limit our worship to the four walls of a church building? Will you rise to the occasion and make the right choices to defend the faith?  

In conclusion, as Christian leaders we should be on the lookout and embrace those defining moments of truth. We should handle those situations with Christ-like humility and love. They should be viewed as opportunities to bring praise and adoration to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We should not shy away or follow “afar off” when it is within our power and God-given gifts to do something. How we handle each moment of truth will define our Christian character. They are a collection of vital decision points that tell a life-long story of who we are as individuals. How will you handle your next moment of truth? What effect will you have on the future? 

 

           


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