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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
John W. Reaves, Jr.
We are definitely living during an age when standing is not popular and compromise is the word of the day. We were instructed in II Thessalonians 2:15 "to stand fast." Also over in I Corinthians 15:58, it says "Be ye stedfast, unmovable." There are many other passages of scripture where we are commanded to stand and not waver. Therefore we that are blood bought, born again believers need to take note and put these verses to practice in our own lives and say "no" to compromise.
This brings to mind a young Baptist preacher who lived during the mid seventeenth century. The preacher's name was John Bunyan. He was the author of "Pilgrim's Progress" along with other great pieces of Christian literature.
Born in Elstow near Bedford in 1628 and in 1655, he received Jesus Christ as his Saviour. Shortly afterwards, he began to peach the Word. When he preached he possessed great fluency of speech and most valuable gift of all, he uttered every word he spoke with the force and weight of thorough con-viction. The people that stood around to hear him had no doubt in their minds that he spoke from his heart. Listen to an exact quote from John Bunyan which showed his zeal in preaching:
"In my preaching of the Word, I took special notice to open and allege that the curse of God by the law doth belong to and lay hold upon all men as they came into the world, because of sin. This part of my work I fulfilled with great feeling, for the terrors of the law and guilt for my transgression lay heavy on my own conscience. I preach what I smartingly did feel, even that under which my poor soul did groan and tremble to astonishment. Indeed, I have been as one sent to them from the dead; I went, myself in chains, to preach to them in chains; and carried that fire in my own conscience that I persuade them to beware."
Now the time during which he lived, was not easy for those that stood their ground, (concerning God's Word). It was a time when public worship was a crime against the laws and might subject any member to a fire and imprisonment. On a preacher weighed with 10 fold force. But did this stop the young Baptist preacher; not hardly. On Nov. 12, 1660, he was arrested at the village of Samsall where he had gone to preach.
He was taken to a prison in Bedford and there he was to remain for 12 years; and why? Because of his refusal to compromise! Before his judge he maintained a bold and deter-mined bearing. When required to plead, he frankly avowed that he had preached, exhorted, and comforted his brethren; that he had used the powers God had given him to the best of his poor ability in furtherance of the glory and the knowledge of the truth.
Also upon being told that if he persisted in this latter he would be banished from the realm, he simply replied, "If I were released to-day, I would preach, by God's help, tomorrow." It sounds to me that John Bunyan had the Apostle Paul syndrome; Amen.
All this was no doubt without great sacrifice on his part. When being placed in prison it meant leaving his wife and 4 children. In which one of his children was blind; this added to his burden. It is said of him that he cheerfully, indeed, would have laid down his life for those dear ones; but there was one thing he could not and would not sacrifice for them, and that was principle. So for this he was incarcerated in a filthy den for 12 long years.
The question we must ask ourselves is, "What can be learned from this man's life?" The answer is, that we ought to do more trusting God and less fearing of man. We need to say like David, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about." Why was David able to say that? Because he realized, "But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me." Psalm 3:3&6.
The Lord paid with his life. We ought to be willing to do the same (John 15:20) and stand against compromise. If the Lord compromised on the cross where would we be today?