Lessons Of A Lifetime

CHOOSING ONE’S COMPANY WELL
OR
SECRETLY AT A DISTANCE
SUNDAY FEB. 14, 2021

Scripture To Consider:
“But when Jesus’ brothers had come up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews [Jewish religious leaders] sought Him at the feast, and said, ‘Where is He?’

“And there was much complaining among the people concerning Jesus. Some said, ‘He is good’; others said, ‘No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.’ However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews [Jewish religious leaders].” John 7.10-13

Something To Consider:
Up to this point in the life of Jesus there were many different reactions to Him among the people. And since then, there have also been many various opinions as to who He was. As mentioned earlier there were those like Herod, who thought Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Others thought Him to be Elijah or one of the other prophets.

Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, thought Him to be a teacher come from God. But at the end of the day, when the lights are turned off and a person lies quietly alone, there is only one opinion that matters. For at that moment, every individual must decide for themselves who Jesus Christ of Nazareth truly is or is not to them. That decision cannot be delegated to any other human being but oneself.

That decision can be temporarily postponed, but it can never be completely avoided. That single most important decision must be made in this life. Have we made our decision? Have we made the right decision? For that single decision will make all the difference in all of eternity for each of us! Let us wisely and rightfully decide to allow Jesus to be both our Lord and our Savior in this life while we can.

Therefore, if we have decided to follow Jesus, are we shamefully following Him at a distance? Or are we boldly willing to speak up for Christ and the things of God at a moment’s notice? Jesus declared in Luke 9.26; “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him [or her] the Son of Man [Jesus] will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

Something Else To Consider:
In our text today we are also instructed that it is important for each of us to choose our company wisely. The brothers of Jesus attempted to convince Jesus to go with them to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Jesus chose to go in the company of His disciples rather than His own brothers.

Many times as professing followers of Christ, we must make decisions that those closest to us may not understand, or may not agree with. On this occasion Jesus made one of those decisions. Although Jesus left shortly after His brothers, He did so in the company of His own choosing, and as if in secret.

For all practical purposes, Jesus was a wanted man by the so-called religious leaders in Jerusalem. At another time on another day, He would yield to their murderous schemes, but this was not that day. There was still much work to be done and leaders to be trained. On this occasion, Jesus’ following at a distance was a good thing!

Have we been guilty of not choosing our own company well and wisely? Proverbs 22.24 proclaims; “Make no fellowship with an angry man [woman or young person], and with a furious man [woman or young person] do not go [or do not keep company with].”

Now why would someone warn us to not choose the company of an angry man, woman, or young person? Solomon revealed the reason later in Proverbs 29.22. “An angry man [woman or young person] stirs up strife, and a furious man [woman or young person] abounds in transgressions [abounds in sins and iniquity].” Therefore, choosing one’s company well and wisely is most important.

Something More To Consider:
And so, Jesus with His disciples struck out for Jerusalem secretly at a distance. Meanwhile, at the feast there was much debate and complaining among the people in Jerusalem concerning Jesus. Though no one spoke openly for fear of the Jewish religious leadership. And yet, some did speak on His behalf claiming Jesus to be good. Others reported that He deceived the people.

In time others would be given the opportunity to decide for themselves and to voice their own opinions. And since then, literally billions have made that same decision either verbally or simply by their actions and or lifestyles. And thereby with their decision they have chosen their very own eternal company.

The Lord commanded Moses in Deuteronomy 30.19 to speak on His behalf to the people of Israel. The Lord declared; “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God.”

And if the people of God choose wisely one’s company, and also choose to love the Lord their God, and choose life over death, God promises to provide His presence in the affairs of men, women, and young people. But, for the most part, humankind has chosen foolishly to forget God, to neglect God, and to reject God! And for that decision, judgment is approaching!

A Few Final Words:
Joshua declared to the fickle would-be followers of God in his day in Joshua 24.15; “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” And God admonished us all in Isaiah 7.15, by instructing; “Refuse the evil, and choose the good.” And a wise man, woman, and young person would do well to do so while there is still time!

Jesus affirmed in John 15.16; “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain. Therefore, leaders in training must choose wisely the company they keep, for it is no great secret that we become like those closest to us.

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, bless us with spiritual wisdom and to wisely choose our earthly and eternal company this Valentine’s Day of 2021 and every day of the rest of our earthly lives. In Him Always, Amen!

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