Our Confessions, Documents & Articles


The doctrinal emphasis to change minds from seasoned and qualified writers who are faithful to God's Word.
View RSS Feed


  • Jan16Tue

    Holding Nothing Back

    January 16, 2024 Dr. Brad Bailey (Ph. D.) is a husband
    Filed Under:

    “When Christianity costs something, we are closer than we ever were to fellowship of Jesus Christ; and if we know the fellowship of His sufferings, we shall also know the power of His resurrection.” – William Barclay

    Jesus was a master at teaching lessons by repetition and in many ways with different formats.  This allowed Him to repeat the core teachings of His ministry in a way that would be effective and easy to remember.  One of those core truths was the need for devout discipleship.  He excluded half-hearted people who wanted the benefits of the Kingdom, but not its commitments.

                   Florence Nightingale wrote in her diary, “I am 30 years of age, the age at which Christ began His mission.  Now, no more childish things, no more vain things.”  Years later, near the end of her heroic life of service, she was asked what the secret to her faithfulness was, she replied, “I can give only one explanation, and that is this: I have kept nothing back from God.”

                   When the famous surgeon, Howard A. Kelly graduated from medical school, he wrote in his diary, “Today I dedicate myself, my time, my capabilities, my ambition, everything to Him.  Blessed Lord, sanctify me to thy uses; give me no worldly success which may not lead me nearer to my Savior.”  He was traveling in the Midwest and through some circumstances needed a drink of water and stopped at a house.  He knocked at the door and asked if they could provide him a drink and a young girl was happy to give him water.  He remembered the name of the young girl who had given him the drink, though she didn’t know who he was.  Years later that same young girl grew up and was stricken with a very serious disease and had to come to Johns Hopkins for a series of surgeries.  As it turned out, Doctor Kelly was her surgeon.  After all the care that had to be given to her, the bill was in excess of $50,000.  There was no insurance to cover it.  She was fearful until she received a bill that said, “Paid in full buy a glass of water.”  She had given all she had to someone who was later willing to give all he had to her.

                   Soon after graduating from college, Jim Elliott wrote in his diary, “God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life that I may burn for Thee.  consume my life, my God, for it is Thine.  I seek not a long life, but a full one like You, Lord Jesus.”  God answered that prayer and in the flower of young manhood, Jim Elliot was killed by the spear of the Auca Indians as he and several other young men sought to take the Gospel deep into the jungles of Ecuador.

                   What Jim Elliot, and other faithful martyrs knew was that to resemble Christ in the most ultimate way, we must be willing to lay down our lives for Him.  In Matthew ten, the dialogue between Jesus and His disciples continues and develops into a discussion about the cost of true discipleship:

    The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

    Irrefutable Laws (Matt. 10:24-25)

                   The Lord Jesus was a master of persuasive argument.  He proposes three irrefutable illustrations that give clear instruction to the disciples in reference to what they could expect in ministry in Matthew 10:24-25.  He begins by discussing the disciple and his master.  Then he refers to the servant and his lord.  Then he refers to the master of the house and his household.  In each of these illustrations it is clear that what Jesus is saying is that if their superior was treated poorly, it could reasonably be expected that they may also expect to be harassed and/or victimized.

                   Jesus is saying that the more like Him we are, the more the world will treat us like they treated Jesus.  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master (10:25a).  This simply means that the disciple is only content when he is like his lord.  When that goal is reached we will experience contentment – we find it is enough.  The Apostle Paul would later speak in similar terms: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Phil. 3:10).

    Impassioned Lessons (Matt. 10:26-27)

                   Note that the Lord urges the disciples to move forward fearlessly.  The fear of persecution includes being the victim of falsehood.  In almost every case, those who wanted to dispose of a message, or a messenger lied to make that happen.  This includes our Lord’s case itself.  This explains why Jesus buttresses the disciples by telling them that there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known (Matt. 10:26b).  The twisted and contrived statements of those who bear false witness against the persecuted will one day be corrected.  We may not live to see this accomplished on earth, but we will all be vindicated in Heaven.

                   In Matthew 10:27, Jesus continues, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.”  What we are told in darkness is proof that God speaks intimately to His children and especially His preachers.  The doctor of the law who explained the law in Hebrew had an interpreter always by him, in whose ears he softly whispered what he said; this interpreter spoke aloud what had been thus whispered to him.

    The house top, the flat roof, was a public and a conspicuous place.  “On the occurrence of a death in the dwelling, mourners, especially priests, are stationed upon the housetops, and attract public attention by their lamentations. And a proclamation is often made, as well as an address to the people, from the flat roof of a government-house which looks down upon the median, or public square. Even the call to prayer is proclaimed from the housetop, where there is no minaret or church-bell.”[2]

                   This also emphasizes the fact that what has been revealed to us that may place our lives at risk cannot and should not be hidden while we judge its expedience or seemliness.  God gave it to us for declaration.  Though we are to be wise as serpents, there comes a time when we can no longer hold our tongues and remain silent.  “. . . ministers must not shrink from the arduous duties of declaring the whole counsel of God.”[3]

    Incalculable Loss (Matt. 10:28)

                   The penalty for timidity, ambivalence or cowardice is severe indeed.  Those who can kill the body are of infinitely less consequence than He who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  The body may be slain and the soul escape unharmed.

                   There is a strange blindness that is overtaking our present generation.  They seem to fear the state more than they fear God.  They have even permitted illnesses to halt the assembly of the believers and put their trust in things that cannot protect them in eternity.  The cost for this is high indeed.  In recent state-imposed restrictions on gathering for church, most believers and congregations have acquiesced to the states demands.  This has proven to have a profound effect on the souls of those who have traded church for safety.  This trade is the essence of what persecutors have expected for millennia.  Their message has always been the same: if you choose to remain faithful you are jeopardizing your health and/or freedom.  With no malice to anyone who behaved otherwise, our church decided early in 2020 that we would rather maintain the needs of our eternal souls.  We used sensible precautions but closing our church and offering a streaming digital alternative were completely out of the question.  It came down to Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  That which can kill the body is far less important than abandoning the church, which can kill the soul.

    Immeasurable Love (Matt. 10:29-31)

                   Two attributes of God are brought to our attention for the purpose of comfort in days when the fires of persecution burn.  Notice that Jesus first discusses the omnipresence of God.  In verse 29, Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.”  Sparrows have been plentiful in every country I have visited.  They are chosen to illustrate this dynamic truth – God is with every sparrow.  Not one falls without God’s knowledge and permission.

                   In days of persecution, it is needful to remember secondly that God is omniscient.  Matthew 10:30 says, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”  Observe that he did not say that God knows how many hairs you have.    The hairs of our head have been numbered since the very day we had them.  Potentially billions of hairs grow and fall from the follicles of our scalp in a lifetime.  Each one has been numbered by God.  He is omniscient.

                   The foundation has now been laid for us to understand the point that is being illustrated by these two attributes.  Sparrows are the smallest and least consequential of birds.  They are numerous and cheap – two for a farthing.  The hairs of your head are also inconsequential.  They appear and often disappear without us even noticing.  God, however, cares about them all.  If He cares about such minor accessories, how much does He care about the faithful persecuted believer?

    Dr. Brad Bailey (Ph. D.) is a husband, father, grandfather, pastor, professor and author.

    Leave a Comment