It is commonly said in this world that we shouldn’t care about what others think or say about us. Though I understand what they are getting at with that teaching, I believe it is an incomplete thought. Should we, as Christians, care about the slanderous words which others use against us and the faith we hold? No, not at all. At the same time, we need to be open to correction as being unmoved by the simple rebukes of the Bible is a sin and the Lord speaks quite a bit about it.
Proverbs 29:1 “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”
Isaiah 48:4 “Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass;”
2 Chronicles 36:13 “And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the LORD God of Israel.”
Jeremiah 17:23 “But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.”
This “stiff necked” attitude is unbecoming of God’s Children. Think about the stiff-necked nature of those who do not highly esteem the Bible. Primarily, this attitude is cultivated in the Catholic church. Having previously been part of that church for 27 years, I know very well how the Bible is disregarded except in the cases of attempting (and failing) to justify Catholic dogma.
And speaking of reputation, just think about how the mentality of Satan has permeated through the Roman Catholic Vatican. Everything from homosexuality, pedophilia, and idol worship to humanism, relativism, and self-righteousness have been well documented in this church. But praise the Lord, these prophesied characteristics of Satan are well known throughout the world and there is nary a soul on earth that fails to see these corrupt thoughts and actions in the church today. Of all churches, the RCC has the worst of them all. And rightly so as only the RCC has fulfilled every last prophecy that exposes the home of the AntiChrist.
And then we have the Protestant churches. Prophecy already declared that they would fall back into the lap of Mother Rome, and they have. Just look the doctrines of all the Protestant churches. Every single one of them, to one degree or another, abides by Roman teachings, not Biblical. Everything from Sunday worship to idol worship can be found in the Protestant world. Just look at some of these quotes from the early leaders of some denominations …
American Congregationalists: No authority in the New Testament for substitution of the first day for the seventh
“The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament.” Dr. Lyman Abbott, in the Christian Union, June 26, 1890
Anglican: Nowhere commanded to keep the first day
“And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day. The reason why we keep the first of the week holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things, – not because the Bible, but because the church, has enjoined [commanded] it.” Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, Vol. 1, pp 334, 336.
Anglican/Episcopal: The Catholics changed it
“We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church of Christ.” Episcopalian Bishop Symour, Why we keep Sunday.
Baptist: Sunday Sabbath not in the scriptures
“There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not on Sunday. It will be said, however, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the Seventh to the First day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament – absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the Seventh to the First day of the week …
“I wish to say that this Sabbath question, in this aspect of it, is the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions which at present claims attention from Christian people; and the only reason that it is not a more disturbing element in Christian thought and in religious discussion is because the Christian world has settled down content on the conviction that somehow a transference has taken place at the beginning of Christian history.
“To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ discussion with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false glosses [of Jewish traditions], never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did the inspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding churches, counseling and instruction those founded, discuss or approach the subject.
“Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of a sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!” Dr. Edward Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual. From a photostatic copy of a notarized statement by Dr. Hiscox.
“There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh day Sabbath to the Christian first day observance” William Owen Carver, The Lord’s Day in One Day p.49
Church of England: No warrant from scripture for the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday
“Neither did he (Jesus), or his disciples, ordain another Sabbath in the place of this, as if they had intended only to shift the day; and to transfer this honor to some other time. Their doctrine and their practice are directly contrary, to so new a fancy. It is true, that in some tract of time, the Church in honor of his resurrection, did set apart that day on the which he rose, to holy exercises: but this upon their own authority, and without warrant from above, that we can hear of; more than the general warrant which God gave his Church, that all things in it be done decently, and in comely order.” Dr. Peter Heylyn of the Church of England, quoted in History of the Sabbath, Pt 2, Ch.2, p7
These are just some of the quotes. If you would like to see all of them, please visit this page when you have time. So, when the leaders of the denominations of Christianity could agree that Sunday worship is a Catholic invention that has no foundation in the infallible Word of God, then why do all of them attempt to keep Sunday holy instead of the Lord’s Sabbath? Again, prophecy said they would fall into whoredom with the first beast of Revelation, the Roman Catholic Church. The Lord said that all the world would “wonder” after this beast.
Revelation 13:3 “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
Certainly, this prophecy is fulfilled before the eyes of the entire world. The pope is uplifted as a moral and religious authority when his doctrines run in complete opposition to the Bible.
The Protestants have stopped protesting, and that reputation will follow them until the Lord’s return when they will, if they do not repent and turn away from Rome, hear these dreaded words …
Matthew 7:23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
So, what does our Lord say about reputation? What sort of reputation did He have?
Philippians 2:7-8 “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Also, remember this:
Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
The unrivaled humility of Jesus is beyond comprehension. This is the Creator God, perfect in every way, who came in the form of a servant to suffer and die to save the unworthy.
John 12:49-50 “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”
John 14:31 “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.”
John 15:10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
It takes a humble heart to obey. The humility of Jesus Christ is such that He never failed to obey His Father. What the Father said, Jesus did. In this regard, we ought to emulate the obedience of Jesus toward the Father. Did Jesus ever talk back to His Father? No. Did Jesus ever refuse to obey His Father? No. Did Jesus ever second-guess, contradict, argue with, or get a foul attitude toward His Father? No. So, why is it that we can think that we are in a position to dishonor and disrespect our parents, especially our fathers? It is written in Commandment #5 …
Exodus 20:12 “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
Jesus was sinless, which means He never broke any of the Commandments.
1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
If we are to walk even as He walked, then honoring our parents will be of utmost importance to us. Because, in the end, if we are willing to dishonor our parents, we are willing to dishonor God Himself. Proof of that fact is in the disobedience toward Commandment #5 since disobedience most certainly does not show love toward God.
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
Upon close self-examination, we can see how much pride is in our hearts just by seeing if we are obeying God or not.
God loves the humble heart and hates the proud heart because He loves Jesus who embodied humility.
James 4:6 “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
The Word of God goes on to say the following …
1 John 2:6 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
2 Corinthians 5:20 “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 3:3 “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”
Have you ever heard the saying that we are walking, talking Bibles? How about the one which says that we are the only Bibles some people will ever read? John the Baptist, through inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said the following …
John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
As Christians, as ambassadors for Christ, we must take it well within our hearts that the reputation we develop in the world is a direct reflection of Jesus Christ. How we behave in the world is extremely important to our Lord. Look at the following verses about behavior. Notice, first, what God says about how true love behaves.
1 Corinthians 13:5 “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;”
Now, see the next few verses about our behavior.
1 Thessalonians 2:10 “Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:”
2 Thessalonians 3:7 “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;”
1 Timothy 3:15 “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
Pastors and other ordained men must behave themselves in accordance with the character of Christ.
1 Timothy 3:2 “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;”
The older men and women are commanded to behave themselves in Godly ways.
Titus 2:2-3 “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”
I believe you understand the point. All too often we can become overly concerned with our personal reputations without taking into consideration how people perceive the faith we hold due to our behaviors. Sadly, the image of Christ is typically little more than an afterthought for the for overwhelming majority of Christians. The focus on self has tainted the image of our dear Saviour.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
A study on this one verse could occupy days, weeks, or months of time. Little effort is placed into understanding what constitutes an appearance of evil. Here is an example …
The xmas tree is an accepted as symbol of Christ’s birth and is even uplifted as a holy thing by some. However, with the advent of the internet the Lord has blessed countless souls to understand the true meaning of xmas. He has blessed so many to understand how this “holiday” has nothing to do with Jesus and is, in fact, something He hates.
With so many people understanding the simple fact that xmas, with all its manmade traditions and symbols of paganism, has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, then what reputation do Christians who celebrate this “holiday” have in the world? When the truth of xmas is so easily researched, Christians have the reputation as religious people who are too lazy to spend the necessary time to see if what they are doing is in line with the God they claim to love and obey.
Or take dress reform for another example. The humble and modest dress of the obedient Christian is a reflection of the humble and modest character of Christ. So, what reputation do Christians who dress as the world dresses have? What reputation do Christian women have when they use makeup and dress in the clothing of men? What reputation do Christian men have when they take off their shirt at the beach or wear the clothing of women? What reputation does a Christian have when they enter the house of someone of the opposite sex unchaperoned? Are any of these actions in keeping with the life and teaching of Jesus Christ?
Remember, God’s children are IN the world … not OF the world. If we resemble the world, then we are not living in accordance with Scripture. Jesus taught us that His people would be “peculiar” in this world.
Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
We are peculiar (strange) because we do not think, speak, or act as the world does. We do not celebrate manmade traditions like xmas or Easter, we do not use mind altering substances, we dress ways which do not emphasize or draw attention to our bodies, we dedicate ourselves to study of God’s Word, we are nonviolent, we are strict in diet, we keep the Lord’s seventh day Sabbath rather than the Sunday worship of Rome, we abstain from the things which worldly people consider “fun” because all our joy comes from the Lord, we speak in ways which guide people to Christ rather than self, etc.
And as far as the humility in dress is concerned, look at this prophecy of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 53:2 “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
When our Lord Jesus Christ visited us for the first time 2000 years ago, He came as an average looking man. He could have given Himself a musclebound body and a gorgeous face, but He desired that men would be attracted to the truth He spoke rather than the beauty of His face.
In that regard, is it appropriate for women to wear makeup? Since their Creator God emphasized His Word over and above His own looks, then the Godly thing would be for women to deemphasize their own looks. God made all you women beautiful. When He speaks of beauty in His perfect Word, you see that He looks at the heart, not the face or the body. You have no need of makeup to try and appear more beautiful because there is no improvement that can be made to His Creation. Find your beauty in Him, not the mirror.
To summarize, we as Christians must develop good reputations in this world. Not for the sake of self, but for the sake of Jesus Christ. We will be the only Bibles some people ever read and the love of Christ within us will cultivate a desire to think, speak, and act in ways which draw people to Him, not to ourselves. Our love for Him is of utmost importance to us. To that end, we want nothing more than for His name to be glorified. To accomplish this, our heartfelt desire is to develop good and holy reputations so that people may learn of Him, repent for their sins, and spend the rest of eternity in the arm of their Father in Heaven. We have a true craving to have more brothers and sisters in Heaven and we will do those things which work toward that end.
May our Father bless you all abundantly.