Several years ago, with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, stories of Martin Luther really surfaced. My favorite story includes his response to the demand to recant his writings and his stance to which he is said to reply, “here I stand and can do no other.” Where did Martin Luther get such courage? The same place others in the reformation and all who have ever taken such a stand – the word of God!
Jesus made it known to His disciples that they would be facing fierce persecution, but He promised the help of the Holy Spirit, the Helper. And what would He do? He would bring to mind those things that Jesus taught and the word of God.
John 15:26–27 (ESV) — 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
John 16:13–15 (ESV) — 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
If ever there was a time to call Christians to take a stand it’s today. We live in an age of being politically correct. It seems that Christians, in an effort to not make waves, try to be as benign as possible. What has happened is a living out of the old adage; “When you fail to stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
Look at Paul’s admonition to young Timothy:
1 Timothy 1:3–7 (ESV) — 3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
1 Timothy 1:18–20 (ESV) — 18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
When you fail to take a stand, you’ll find yourself drifting from the truth.
The reformers held to the “Sola Scriptura” or the Scriptures alone. In other words, they were being energized, directed, and given strength and courage from God’s word and nothing but God’s word.
John 8:31–32 (ESV) — 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV) — 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 4:1–4 (ESV) — 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
How are you doing at taking a stand? It’s not time to be obnoxious, you don’t have to be. Jesus said the world will hate you because it hates Him.
John 15:18–21 (ESV) — 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
If you are letting your light shine as Martin Luther did, you will be attacked. You don’t have to look for a fight or try to appear to be a martyr, just live the Christian life to the glory of God. When it comes via insult, shunning, or injury remind yourself that it’s NOT time to compromise but to go back to the word of God and do like Martin Luther, “here I stand, and I can do no other.” Because if you fail to take a stand, you are not only denying the Lord Jesus Christ, you are subjecting yourself to fall for anything that comes along. (It would be a great encouragement to read or re-read Luther’s story.)