Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 29, 1971
NUMBER 12, PAGE 5a-6

Removing Difficulties

Irvin Himmel

Moses was in the backside of the desert tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro. At the mountain of Horeb he saw an unusual sight. A bush was on fire but was not being consumed by the fire. Moses drew near for a closer look. The Lord called to him out of the midst of the bush, announcing that the time had come to deliver the people of Israel out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them into the promised land. Moses was God's choice for a leader.

It appears from Acts 7:25 that Moses had attempted forty years earlier to deliver his Hebrew brethren out of Egypt, but that move was premature and by now he may have given up the idea entirely. At any rate, he was awed by the assignment given him, and certain difficulties began to loom before his mind.

"Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh?" he asked. (Ex. 3:11.) God assured his servant, "I will be with thee," and promised this token: "When thou halt brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain." But Moses wondered what he would say when his own brethren questioned him about the Lord's appearance to him. He was told to say, "I AM hath sent me unto you." Quickly the mind of Moses moved to another obstacle — his brethren might not believe his words.God took care of that problem by giving certain miraculous powers to Moses. (Ex. 4:1-9.) Then he thought of another problem. "I am not eloquent ... but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." The Lord informed his servant that he would be with him and teach him what to say. Moses again protested, and by now the anger of the Lord was kindled against him. It is one thing to envision realistic problems; it is quite a different matter to imagine difficulties to be insurmountable. God told Moses that his brother, Aaron, a gifted speaker, could serve as his spokesman. That fixed things so that Moses was without excuse! With the solution to all his difficulties set before him, Moses was ready to accept the divine assignment.

Today, some hesitate to become children of God because they see obstacles in the way. Here are a few of the common difficulties that people envision.

"I must become better before I become a Christian." Some have the idea that they must learn to live like God's people before they obey Christ. While the Bible makes it imperative that we repent (turn away from our sins) as a prerequisite to our being baptized into Christ, it is rather ridiculous to suppose that one could live like a mature child of God before ever being born into the family of God!

Jesus is the Great Physician who can cure all our spiritual ills. The sicker in sin we are, the more desperately we need him. Imagine a man who is physically sick and who is urged to see a doctor saying, "I am too sick to be examined by a doctor; I must get better before a doctor can do me any good." He needs to see a doctor so he can get better! The sin-sick soul needs the Great Physician so that he can rise to a higher plain of living.

The prodical son who found himself among the swine and who longed to be back in his father's house did not say, "I cannot go home like this; I must get out of this hog pen, clean myself up, and be in better condition before I return home." He felt helpless. He could not lift himself out of his predicament without help. All he could do was repent and go home like he was — smelly clothes, hungry stomach, disgraced life, shame and humiliation — and cast himself on his father's mercy, saying, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." (Lk. 15:18,19.)

"I cannot be a Christian in my business." This statement may or may not be true. In many lines of endeavor one can live right despite his surroundings if he has the courage. Some use this as an excuse. On the other hand, one may be involved in some sort of business connection that he cannot continue and be a Christian. If the business is being conducted in a dishonest way, of if one's work is contributing to an immoral practice, or if the job places one in a situation of being identified with iniquity, the choice is to give up that business or lose the soul.

There are enough honorable types of work in the world that one is not compelled to make a living in a dishonorable occupation. It may be difficult to break loose from a long-standing business association which is known to be wrong and start anew, but how much more difficult it will be to remain when one knows he is depriving himself of eternal life. Jesus said, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26.)

"Some Christians are so inconsistent." It is freely acknowledged that many who profess discipleship are hypocritical. This has always been the case. Our Lord was betrayed by an apostle. Ananias and Sapphira were smitten dead for lying about their giving. (Acts 5.) Some in the church at Corinth were highly inconsistent in their actions. Hymenaeus and Alexander made shipwreck of their faith. (1 Tim. 1:19, 20.) Demas forsook Paul, having loved this present world. (2 Tim. 4:10.) Diotrephes was a church member who loved preeminence. (3 John 9.) Many modern Christians bear much resemblance to these characters in their behavior.

But remember this: You will not give an account for the life of some inconsistent Christian. You will be accountable for your own life. "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Rom. 14:12.) We do not justify ourselves by condemning others, no matter how wrong they may be. The real difficulty here is not that others are inconsistent; it is that we seek to hide behind their failures.

"It is too late." A friend of mine once related a conversation with an elderly gentleman about his obeying the gospel. He listened patiently to what was said, then remarked that he could never be saved. He thought that he was too old and too far gone to ever change his life. How tragic! The Bible says, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Pet. 3:9.) It is never too late until death overtakes us. God is gracious to forgive, no matter how warped our lives, how wretched our iniquities, how wasted our many past years, or how numerous our transgressions. If we are willing to genuinely repent of our sins and are willing to show faith in Christ by confessing him and being baptized, God has promised to cleanse us.

"There are so many churches." This presents a real problem to the person who looks at his religious surroundings and does not study the Bible for himself. He wonders why there are so many conflicting groups, all claiming to be governed by the Scriptures, but wearing different names, upholding different creeds, teaching separate doctrines, and engaging in varying practices. Which church is the right one?

The people at Athens in Paul's time could have envisioned a similar difficulty. They worshiped many gods, but Paul came preaching that there is one God. (Acts 17.) How were they to know which is the right God?

Christ built one church. (Matt. 16:18.) To it people are added as they are saved. (Acts 2:47.) He bought it with his blood. (Acts 20:28.) It is the body over which Christ is head. (Eph. 1:22,23.) One does not need to familiarize himself with every church in existence to know which is right. Let him acquaint himself with the Bible and he will become a member of the church that Christ established, and that ought to solve the problem.

Do not let difficulties keep you out of the family of God. Every problem has a solution. The obstacles to one's admission into the kingdom of heaven are not insurmountable.

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