The Name Forbidden
First and foremost, before reading my blog please take a moment to say a prayer for those affected by the Virginia Tech shootings.
Erin, my wife, once dog sat for a week. It was while we were engaged, and I thought that I would be a good fiancé and help her out one afternoon while she was caring for these animals. So I took a pizza and a movie over to the house since we couldn’t go on a date that night.
“Need any help, Honey?”
“Yes, could you give the dogs a treat while I’m cleaning up after them in here. The instructions are on the refrigerator.”
Instructions? Who needs instructions to feed three dogs?
I began to feed the dogs a few treats from the doggie jar on the counter. They seemed to like me.
“You did give the little beagle treats out of the small jar, not the big jar, right?”
“Why? What does it matter?”
Her face told me that I had done something wrong. Bad Sam.
“The beagle is allergic to beef! Did you not follow the instructions?! You can’t give her the treats with beef in them!”
I could see the one-page instruction sheet on the fridge. But I scoffed a little, “What’s the big deal? You don’t need instructions to feed a dog. They’ll eat anything.”
I was about to say something about the ridiculousness of dogs having allergies when I noticed the little beagle happily wagging its tail at me, looking for another treat. Its head had already swollen to the size of a small melon.
One hour later, after a trip to Walgreens for two bottles of Benedryl (yes, the antidote for dog allergies is human Benedryl), the mangy mutt was sleeping soundly dreaming of milk bone heaven.
The point I am trying to make with this story is the way in which we can be lackadaisical with explicit instructions, particularly those from God. And the repercussions of not following His instructions can be damaging.
God has given us explicit instructions for life. They are contained in His Word. One of the biggest commands is the Great Commission – we must be sharing our faith with others. Yet even in my own denomination, the fruit (or lack of fruit) that we are bearing may indicate that we are not following God’s decree in the area of evangelism and discipleship. God’s decrees are wonderful, that’s why we obey them! When baptisms and the spiritual growth of our church members stagnates or declines, churches need to undergo an internal examination to see if they are still in line with the will of God.
We live in a country where the name of Christ is not forbidden. Without a doubt, many areas of society repulse at the gospel message. But faith in Christ is not outlawed. When Peter and John faced the Sanhedrin, they had no idea what would happen to them at the trial. The Sanhedrin told them that the name of Christ would become illegal. They were not to preach the gospel any more.
Their response is one of pure, bold, godly brevity: “We are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
We could all use a little of Peter and John’s boldness. We could all begin to follow God’s explicit instructions of the Great Commission a little more closely. We could all benefit from having a little less gospel apathy.
Picture this – what if God allowed everyone’s head to swell if we did not share Christ with them when He wants us to? Perhaps that might add a twinge of urgency to the situation.