Dear saints, I hope that the Lord has been blessing all of you abundantly. It’s good to be back with all of you. A saint has to be hardened to (no by) the world. The world is obstinate, stubborn and inflexible. It despises God Almighty and everything about the Lord (John 15:18). The world will not accept the Lord and His message (John 1:11). However, the Lord still intends to deploy us His children as witnesses unto Him and against the world (Acts 1:8). How can a saint take on a world that’s hardened by sin?
Please turn with me to Ezekiel 3:7-9. This narrative describes the encounter that the Prophet Ezekiel had with the Lord. Israel had backslidden and had become hardened by sin and rebellion against the Lord (Ezekiel 2:3, 4). So what was God’s remedy to confront Israel? He hardened His prophet to be just as obstinate, stubborn and unyielding as the Israelites. There was, of course, an eternal difference. Ezekiel was hardened, unyielding and uncompromising about upholding God’s word and holiness, while backslidden Israel was literally hell-bent on disobeying God’s word and call. The prophet had to be just as obstinate and remorseless while preaching the word of God and testifying about the Lord. The more shameful that Israel’s behaviour was (Ezekiel 7, 8) the stronger and more resolute the man of God had become (Ezekiel 3:9). This is quite relevant to us in this day and age, saints. The more this world tries to shut the Lord out, the more resolute God Almighty will make us, His children.
Now, I’d like to draw a parallel with the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Himself. In Luke 9:51 and Mark 10:32 we see the Lord Jesus walking purposefully and powerfully ahead of His disciples who were astonished and some were frightened. Some translation say in Luke 9:51 that “knowing that His time was near, Jesus set His face as flint”. This is an aspect of the Lord’s ministry and personality that most people don’t seem to comprehend. The Lord was just as resolute to uphold God’s holiness and save mankind as Satan was to destroy it (John 10:10), even if it meant death on a cross. The more belligerent the Pharisees became the more He asserted His Power and Authority (Mark 12:38-40, John 8:58, John 2:19). The Lord met the devil’s brute strength with raw and overwhelming Power. These are times when the saint is empowered and emboldened in ways that they couldn’t imagine (Acts 4:13) was possible to take on the devil and his world.
I’d like to end with life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. Here was a man who was ship-wrecked, beaten, starved, imprisoned and suffered unimaginable pain and yet endured (2 Corinthians 11:25). I pray that none of us will ever have to go through what he had. This is a testament not only to the Power of Holy Spirit within him, but also how he had been hardened and made combat ready. The training and physical conditioning that God Almighty put Paul through made his body so hard and tough that even when people left him for dead after he was stoned, Paul simply got up and walked away (Acts 14:19-20)! It was as if his bones were unbreakable and made off carbon fiber!
The world is hard, obstinate and wants to destroy God. However, God wants to make us tougher, harder and more durable and take His love to it. Will you let Him train, harden, toughen and then deploy you saints? I hope that you will. Amen.
Dear friends, I’m quite certain that all of you are sanctified, Holy Ghost baptized saints. Should there be any among you that don’t know the Lord yet, I pray that the Lord of the Universe will set you free from sin and disobedience into His glorious light and freedom. Amen.