Who doesn’t want to be liked? It’s uncomfortable to stand all alone at a gathering while others are talking and laughing with one another. It hurts terribly to have others whispering about you behind your back. We envy popular classmates or coworkers whom others want to be around. Friends really are a blessing, and the Lord wants us to always be ready to offer our friendship to others by our words and actions.
But He also warns of a dangerous downside in pursuing popularity. He told the disciples: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). What would you do to be popular? How far would you go? Would you take the Lord’s name in vain to fit in with others who speak that way? Would you close your eyes to dishonest practices at work, go along with others in a drinking binge or some other activity God says is sinful? Would you keep your faith in Jesus as Savior from sin a secret?
The truth is, to be a friend of Jesus means that you will never be popular with everyone. Taking a stand on the Word is going to cause those who do not believe in the Lord to push back. They may call you names, accuse you of being narrow minded, and want nothing to do with you. Think of Joseph. When he refused the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife and said, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” she retaliated by accusing Joseph of molesting her, and Joseph wound up in prison. James writes: “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” (James 4:4).
It’s nice to be liked. We want to cherish our friends and foster new friendships by being kind, helpful, and loving. At the same time, may we take the Lord’s warning to heart and never compromise our faith and deny Jesus to be popular. It’s not worth the cost!
In tomorrow’s sermon text, Luke 12:49-53, Jesus speaks of how His Word will create a firestorm of opposition and will bring about divisions, sometimes even within families. He doesn’t say this to discourage believers, but rather to prepare them, so that standing firm to the end, they will be saved and enjoy eternal life.
All former students of Messiah School are asked to meet with Mr. Quade after second service.
Yours in Christ,