Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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Ah yes, World History class. I'm sure you remember everything you heard there very vividly, right? No. If you remember anything, you probably remember that for centuries the nations of Europe were fighting it out to be number one on their block; often using their ships to build their empires. Now, if you were out on the high seas back then, sailing, let's say for England, the only way you knew if an approaching ship was friend or foe was by their colors flying from the mast. That was also how they would know whether or not to shoot at you as well. As the story goes, many captains decided to strategically lower their colors in a risky situation so folks wouldn't know what their allegiance was. But apparently there were a few bold and courageous skippers who gave a different kind of order to their crew. It went like this: "Nail the colors to the mast." "Uh, sir, that means we can't lower our colors if we need to?" "That's right, matey. Nail them to the mast!".
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Nailing Your Colors to the Mast."
In the account of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection that first Easter week, we have the story of a follower of Jesus who knew all about lowering his colors when it might cost you to fly them. His name was Joseph, known by the town he was from, Arimathea. Apparently, he saw the crucifixion of Jesus, and then something happened.
In John 19:38, it's our word for today from the Word of God, we read: "Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. You bet he feared the Jews. He was part of the ruling Council of the Jews that had engineered Jesus' execution. If they found out that he had given his heart to Jesus, he had everything to lose! So he just kept following Jesus "under cover." He never told anyone about his relationship with Him.
Joseph would, according to some modern surveys, be one of the 90% of Christians today who never tell anyone about Jesus. Think about that. I mean, how many spiritually dying people are, in essence, remaining under their spiritual death sentence because of the silence of the Christian they know? What a tragedy! And why do we stay silent about our Jesus? For the same reason Joseph did. Fear. Fear of what they'll think of me, fear of what I might lose, fear that I might damage a relationship or mess it up. Valid fears? Possibly. But the fears of what might happen if I do tell them about Jesus are nothing compared to the fears of what might happen if I don't tell them! They may die without ever knowing how they could have lived forever!
But silent believers don't have to remain with their true colors lowered out of sight. Look at Joseph. He's hope for all of us. He totally blew his cover by going to the Roman governor and saying, "I want to bury Jesus in my tomb." I mean, that will identify Joseph with Jesus for all the world to know. But he doesn't care anymore. You know why? He saw what Jesus went through on that cross for him, and he nailed his colors to the mast!
Isn't it time for you to do that? When you think about your Savior dying publicly on a cross for you, would you tell Him, "Jesus, you're not going to be a secret anymore. You're who I'm about. You are my true identity. You are what I'm about forever. I will not deny you any longer."
Too many times you've lowered your colors, but not anymore. Not after what Jesus has done for you. Not when somebody's eternity may depend on you telling what you know. For once, for all, you are nailing your Jesus-colors to the mast and they will never come down again.