Standing Alone For What Is Right

by Reagan McClenny


Scripture: Jn 7:31-52 Sep 17, 2023

Christians, especially young people, often face pressure from others to conform to the world's standards rather than obey God, but we must have the courage to stand alone for what is right, knowing for certain whom we believe, what we believe, and why we believe it, remembering that though few travel the narrow path, we are never totally alone because God stands with us.


A couple of weeks ago, I ran across this picture on social media. And if you can't see that, there's a big crowd and this guy right here says, Yes, you all are wrong. What do you think about that? I think originally this was drawn for for us to see in a visual sort of way, the foolishness of thinking that we're always right.

And everybody else is always wrong. And there is some truth to that when you look at it from that perspective, right? Am I so arrogant? Am I so foolish to think that I can't be wrong? And am I so foolish as when everybody else, or the consensus, the majority, has a belief about something, to think to myself, there's no way they could be right, I'm always right, they're always wrong.

And so it has some legitimacy from that sort of standpoint. But I want to put another picture up on the board for you to consider for just a second. And this picture was taken in 1936 in Nazi Germany. at the launching of a vessel of the German Navy. And I want you to look at this picture. I actually went through this picture earlier this week.

Every single hand is raised in salute in this picture except for one guy who is circled right here. Is it foolish, then, is it foolish to be the only one against the rest of the consensus always, all the time? Well, sometimes it is foolish, no doubt. But it is not always. And what I want to think about for just a few moments this morning is this idea of standing alone.

And standing alone for what's true and right and how that is what is sometimes required of us as Christians. And that's exactly what Nicodemus tries to do in John chapter 7. So if you have your Bible with you, would you open it up please and turn to John chapter 7. John chapter 7, and we'll read beginning in verse 31.

And we'll look specifically at verses 40 through 52. John chapter 7, beginning in verse 31. And as you're turning there, let me join with those who have already welcomed you. We're grateful for your presence. And I'm hopeful that the things we discuss this morning will be helpful to all of us as we strive to be more what God has called us to be.

So John chapter 7, let's look beginning in verse 31 together. John chapter 7 and verse 31. And many of the people believed in him. And said, when the Christ comes, will he do more signs than these which this man has done? And in verse 32, The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.

Maybe your translation says officers to arrest him. That's what they're trying to do. To take him away so that he would appear before them. So that he might be arrested and that they might try him. And beginning in verse 33, we're not going to read all of these verses, but beginning in verse 33 down through verse 39, Jesus says some difficult but amazing things in public.

And in verse 40, Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, Truly this is the prophet. Others, this is the Christ, or the Messiah. But some said, Well, the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the scripture said that the Christ has come from the seat of David, and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

So the misperception was that Jesus was just some guy from Galilee, and that he had no real connection to Bethlehem, or Judea, or the house of David. We all know better than that, don't we? Verse 43, So there was a division among the people because of him. Now, some of them wanted to take him, but no one laid hands on him.

Verse 45, Then the officers came to the chief priests and the Pharisees. So they're sent there in verse 32. All of these things happen with what Jesus says and what the crowds say. But the Pharisees and chief priests say to these officers, Why have you not brought him? We sent you to arrest him. That's your job.

Why have you come back empty handed? And the officers answered, No man ever spoke like this man. Then the Pharisees answered them, Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is a curse. Now Nicodemus, he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them, now this is about two and a half years or so after the events of chapter 3 where Nicodemus comes at night, Nicodemus says to them, Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?

It's a very reasonable question, isn't it? But in verse 52, this is the response. They answered and said to him, Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet is to rise. Out of Galilee. Look in the Bible. Look in the Old Testament, the law, they say. Look and see. There is no prophecy anywhere that says somebody is supposed to arise out of Galilee.

Whether the prophet or the Christ. Have you ever felt like, no doubt, Nicodemus felt in this passage? Your group, the group you hang out with, or maybe are forced to be with, in this case it says that Nicodemus was one of them. And the group that you're with is doing, or saying, or believing, or going along with something that you, as somebody who loves God, know you shouldn't go along with.

And when you try to say something, when you try to speak up and stand up, their animosity is turned away from whatever this thing is that we're supposed, not supposed to be doing, and that is all turned toward you. Have you ever been there? Have you ever been in a situation like that? And in those moments, it seems like it would be better to say nothing at all.

But I think we can learn something from how Nicodemus is treated here. Because it is the same kind of treatment that seeks to silence our voices when we try to stand up for what is right. Especially, especially. Among our young people. Now, young people, I, I wanna begin by an apology to you. I preached a back to school lesson here a few weeks ago, and for whatever reason, over the course of the development of that lesson, that really became more a lesson for teachers and administrators and adults, seems a little unfair since you are primarily the ones who are going back to school.

And so, while this isn't a back to school lesson, this is a lesson that is primarily for you. That has secondary application to all of us. What I'd like to do this morning is, first of all, notice the carnal tactics. Notice what these people do to try and silence Nicodemus as he is seeking to stand up for what's right.

Look at that first. And then in the second half of our lesson, I just want to talk about some ways that we as Christians might overcome a situation like this. Where we're having to stand alone for what is right and there are so many who are standing against us. Notice the carnal tactics of these leaders and what they tried to do.

Beginning first with their reaction to the officers, beginning there in verse 47. They were, first of all, Intimidating. And they were intimidating not just these officers, but also Nicodemus by what I'll call their snobbery. Read verses 47 and 48 with me. And the Pharisees answered and said to them, Are you also deceived?

Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in him, they ask? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed. You know what this is? This is what we might call elitism. It is cliquishness. It is the idea that we know better, not because of what we know, but because of who we are. We're better than you.

So it doesn't matter what you say. As Harry Wormwood famously said in Roald Dahl's Matilda, I'm smart and you're dumb. I'm big and you're little. I'm right and you're wrong. And there's nothing you can do about it. And there are some people, some crowds of people, who take that exact mentality. To you young people, that can come from all sorts of places.

It can come from the so called popular crowd. It can come from older kids. It can come from teachers or coaches. It can even come from your own friend group, the people that you are supposed to be with. But that didn't make it true with Harry, and it doesn't make it true with those who treat you this way either.

Just because they claim to be superior doesn't mean that they are. There is no reasonable or rational discussion that is allowed here with this kind of mentality. They are shouting others down and condemning others. of the very thing that they are guilty of. They say, this crowd does not know the law of Moses, and therefore they are accursed.

And what was the issue with the scribes and leaders? They did not know the law of Moses in regard to the Christ, and because of that, they were going to be accursed. And so often, that's exactly what happens, where the crowd accuses us of the very thing that they are guilty of. This is an accusation without evidence.

There is cursing and looking down on others. It didn't matter what the common people said, these elite people knew better than any of them. In this kind of situation, it isn't always us who are, who are the object of people's scorn. Have you noticed that? But when the group... Has this kind of scorn toward somebody else who doesn't agree with the group?

In doing that, they send a clear message to us as well. You better toe the line. This response to the officials was a message to Nicodemus and anybody else in the group. If you do this, if you follow him, if you believe this, you will be out of this group and insulted just like these other people. So they're intimidating Nicodemus by their snobbery.

And sometimes groups wear in. They act exactly the same way. But secondly, in their reaction to the officers, they were also isolating Nicodemus and what he truly believed in his heart by their so called consensus. Their argument was formed by consensus. And consensus is just the idea that everybody believes this.

And sometimes consensus isn't necessarily a bad thing. You know, among the scientific community, there is a general consensus that the Earth is round. Well, that doesn't mean that that's a bad thing and that I should just take the opposite opinion and say no, no, it's flat. But there are times when the argument is just from consensus, with no basis in reality or fact.

When it's just dealing with popular opinion, maybe from so called experts, that's when there is really an issue. And this too was elitism, but of a different kind. And don't we see that sometimes happening in the world today, maybe even the academic world today? We sit in a class, and the experts or the scholars know this to be true.

So how can you, you ignorant little person, know better than me? And a lot of times it's in the way that it's presented, in the way that it's framed. What do they say here? Have any of the rulers or Pharisees believed in him? Go and look at everybody who really knows, and there is a clear wisdom and foolishness on this particular issue.

Remember when I was in grad school and the issue of evolution came up, and I was in, in a, an educational program, my, my graduate degree is in educational leadership, and this particular professor had a background in, in the sciences. And so he showed two videos, and his purpose was to say, Hey, we don't need to be dabbling in any of this other, you know, intelligent design stuff.

We just need to be teaching evolution. And so he showed two videos. One video was of a professor in clearly a college class with a very detailed PowerPoint. And he was going through all of these different things that showed, you know, evolution must be true. And he said, OK, that's one side of the argument.

Let me show you the other side of the argument. The other side of the argument is intelligent design. And he shows another video. And it's of a guy on a stage with a guitar with a bunch of kids in the audience singing a creation song. And he said, now which of those two do you think is really true?

And, one of the moments that I have stood for what is right in my life, I raised my hand and I said, that is just not a fair representation.

You're trying to silence, and I had a really good relationship with this professor, I got an A in this course, which is, looking back, kind of incredible. I said, you're trying to just silence any dissenting voice. You're trying to make us feel as though nobody who is reasonable could possibly believe that.

But let me tell you, if you gave me three days and a PowerPoint, I could give just as good a presentation as what that first video you showed, and I don't even have that background. Can't you just give a fair representation of what the choices are? But so often, that's not what the crowd does. There is this so called consensus that isolates you to say, you're the only fool who believes.

And whether that's about things pertaining to Christianity specifically, or whether it's about any other number of issues of morality, we cannot allow others to silence us in this way. The message was loud and clear to Nicodemus, and anyone else who privately held the position that Jesus, Jesus may be who he claimed to be, you're all alone.

No one else who matters believes what you believe. This is what everyone, at least everyone who is important, everyone who is popular, everyone who is smart, or stylish, or rich, or beautiful, or successful believes. And if you don't believe it, well, you might not really be a part of our group much longer.

Now despite this, despite the intimidation and isolation, Nicodemus, he does stand up and say something, doesn't he? Keep reading there in verse 50. Nicodemus... who came to Jesus by night, being one of them. He's a part of this group and had been for a long time. He's a ruler among the Jews. He is likely a member of the Sanhedrin court, which is perhaps what is gathered on this occasion.

He is one of them, and he just asked the question, verse 51, does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing? Now the first thing I want you to see is, that is super reasonable. Nicodemus doesn't fly off the handle and just say, Oh, y'all are wrong, you don't know what you're talking about.

He just asked a reasonable question that they should have all agreed with. But they ignored what he had to say, and they ignored him in two very specific ways. So their reactions in, in their reaction to Nicodemus, they tried first of all to ignoring Nicodemus by, by mocking him, ignoring what he had to say by mocking it.

And if you keep reading, what do they say? Verse 52, They answered and said to him, Are you also from Galilee? That was intended to be an insult. You think of your rival school, maybe, and say, Are you from whatever that place might be? For me, growing up, it would be like somebody saying, Are you from Spur?

I mean, what's wrong with you, right? They couldn't attack the message. It was a reasonable question. So they attacked the messenger. Just as an aside, if your friends treat you like this, with friends like this, who needs enemies, right? If they won't even give you a fair hearing, maybe there's an issue with the friends you've chosen.

But I guarantee that there are some sitting here. Who know exactly what this feels like. Do you? Do you know what this feels like to bring up a reasonable question in the group to shout you down? To suggest that something shouldn't be done. Or isn't right. Or I'm not gonna go along with it. Or even just to choose personally not to do it.

And be ridiculed for it. By so called friends. I know what that feels like. I remember what that feels like. And it hurts. And often... It's by mocking something that, that isn't even that bad, right? So what if he was from Galilee? What's wrong with that? If he was from Galilee, that's not something that he could help.

That's just the way it was. And yet, so often, that's the kind of an attack that is made. Something that isn't really that bad. Something, perhaps, that isn't bad at all. And yet, it is made out to be the worst thing in the world. Don't allow people to make you feel ashamed of something you shouldn't be ashamed of.

Because there are some who will try to do just that. They will try to do that and ignore the light that you are shining in their life, lest their deeds be exposed. Now, why do they do that? Why do they mock us for things that aren't bad, maybe even things that are good? I struggled with that. I struggled with that a lot when I was in junior high and high school, especially.

I remember being a freshman and freshmen are teased, that's that sort of thing, in the locker room and so forth. And I remember thinking to myself, why are they doing this? I'm a, I'm a friendly person. I'm a good person. Like, I'm a little bit of a nerd. I don't know if I would have admitted that to myself at the time, but I'm a little bit of a nerd.

But like, I'm nice to people. Like, I'm good to people. I help people out. Why? Why would they treat me like this? Have you ever asked that question? Have you ever been there? Know this. It says much more about them than it does about you. And there might be all sort of psychological, environmental reasons that we could go into about their home life and the way they've been treated and all these sorts of things, but especially once you get a little older in junior high and high school, you know the reason why they mock?

They mock who you are sometimes as a Christian. And the stands you take for what is right is because you are doing exactly what Jesus has instructed you to do. And being a light to the world and what we're what? What do we know from John chapter three about the light that shines into the world? There are some people who hate the light because it exposes their deeds, because you are a constant reminder to them of what they're not doing in their life, of what they should be doing in their life, but they've chosen to do something else and they don't want to be reminded of that anymore.

You're doing what God has called you to do by not allowing them to just overlook that and forget the things that God has planned for them, the things that God expects of them, the way you're really supposed to live.

And they can't justify their lifestyle when you stand as this constant reminder of what their life should be. And so they mock or ignore. Or, the second thing in their reaction, they ignored Nicodemus by gaslighting him. Now the blunt way to say that is that they lied. What did they say? Search and look for no prophet is to rise out of Galilee.

But they did it in such a way that it made it seem like Nicodemus was the crazy one for even bringing this up, right? That's called gaslighting in today's world and the etymology of that term It originates from a British play called Gaslight that was later made into a film starring Ingrid Bergman from Casablanca, if you remember her.

And the plot of this play in the movie is that there is a man who marries a rich widow and he wants to make her think that she's crazy so that he can get all of her money. And among other things, what he does is he turns down the, the glass, the gas lights in the house, just a little bit. And then when she comments on it being a little bit darker, he says, what, what are you talking about?

And then he turns them down a little bit more later on, it's even darker, and she brings it up and he says, it's not darker, it's the same way it's always been. So what he's trying to do is lie in such a way that it makes her think that she's crazy. It's manipulation through lying. And there are some who will try and ignore your righteousness by seeking to make it seem like you're the crazy one.

You're the crazy one for obeying your parents. I mean, who does that? You're the crazy one for dressing modestly. I mean, why would you do that? Show it while you got it. You're the crazy one for saving yourself in the sexual relationship for marriage. Do you know what you're missing out on? You're the crazy one for being respectful to your teachers.

You're the crazy one for telling the truth, avoiding drama, going to church, truly believing in Jesus, or any number of other things that are true and right and godly and for your good. As 1 Peter chapter 4 and verse 4 says, They think it strange that you do not run to the same flood of dissipation speaking evil.

But if God says you're in the right, you're in the right, and you're not crazy. So what do we do in these situations? What do we do when, by snobbish elitism, supposed consensus, childish mocking, and manipulative gaslighting, People seek to intimidate, isolate, and ignore us. What do we do? And again, this is a lesson for all ages.

Don't think that all this sort of behavior is going to dry up when you become an adult. But, I think it's especially difficult for young people because in some ways this is the first time that you're experiencing these things. And I think I've told you before, I remember it really started again my freshman year when these kids that I had been friends with All my life.

I, I started in a school in first grade and I graduated from that same school district. So some of these kids I had known since I started school. And I remember, I remember the first time I, I lost a friend because I want to do what's right and he didn't want to do what's right. And how painful that was.

I know what it feels like. And the thing is, these other people in this room know what it feels like too. So what do we do? Well, we need to know some things with certainty, and have confidence in these things, and turn to them as the anchor in the storm. We need to know with certainty, first of all, whom you believe, What you believe, and why you believe it.

It's interesting if we look there in John chapter 7, to each of their questions or statements, every single one of them, the actual truth was just the opposite of what they said. Have you also been deceived, they ask? No, we've been enlightened by the words of Jesus. Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in Him?

Yes, and one of those is about to speak up with Nicodemus. This crowd is accursed, they say. No, they're not. You're accursed for not believing. Are you from Galilee too? No, but it wouldn't matter if Nicodemus was. No prophet arises from Galilee, they say. But the reality is, yes, the Scripture says that there is one that would.

If you turn in your Bible to Isaiah chapter 9, turn back to Isaiah chapter 9, We see this prophecy, Isaiah chapter 9, which is quoted in our New Testament.

Read verses 1 and 2, Isaiah chapter 9, verses 1 and 2 with me. Nevertheless, the gloom will not be upon her who is distressed, as when, at first, he lightly esteemed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward more heavily oppressed her by the way of sea beyond the Jordan in Galilee of the Gentiles.

What has happened? Verse 2. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. So actually, they could have searched the law. And found out for themselves that, yes, in fact, there is a prophet that is supposed to arise out of Galilee.

And beyond that, all of these questions about Jesus and not being of the house of David, you know, Mary was still alive at this time. With just a little bit of effort, they could have found out that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and He was from the family of David. But finding out the truth was not really their goal.

But that is exactly what should be our goal. We should know the truth and believe it, and know why we believe it. But not just what, also who. Turn to 2 Timothy chapter 1. 2 Timothy chapter 1. Notice a few verses in 2 Timothy. Now, maybe it's odd to talk to young people regarding an old man who's about to die.

But I would suggest what Paul says here shows Where we all can be if we're doing what God would, would have us to do. In 2nd Timothy chapter 1, notice in verse 12, For this reason I also suffer these things. Nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him until that day.

Hold fast, then, he says to Timothy, who is a young man, the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me. In faith...

He knows whom he has believed, and it is because he knows whom he has believed that he holds fast to what he believes. That pattern of sound words that he admonishes Timothy to hold fast to as well. The key to this whole idea am I the first picture of the guy who's standing alone, you're all wrong, I'm right, or am I the picture of that second guy who refuses to salute?

In Nazi Germany. The key to know when to stand alone against the crowd is this. Am I standing for what is objectively right in the eyes of God? If it is right or wrong in the eyes of God, I need to stand for it. And if I am, if I do, it doesn't matter how many stand against me or how alone I feel. The Apostle Paul felt very alone as he was here in Rome awaiting trial.

Notice what he says in verse 9 to Timothy of chapter 4. 2 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 9. Be diligent to come to me quickly, for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world. And has departed for Thessalonica, Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia, only Luke is with me. He felt so alone. And yet at the same time, drop down to verse 16.

At my first offense, no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But, verse 17, the Lord stood with me. and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also, I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom.

To Him be glory forever and ever. As Romans chapter 9 and verse 32 asks, If God is for us, who can be against us? What's the answer? Nobody. Nobody in this life can truly be against us if God is for us. So know with certainty. Whom you believe, what you believe, and why you believe it. But secondly, know with certainty that you are never totally alone if you're striving to do what's right.

God is with us, as we just read, but there are probably others who would be with us too. And that starts with your brethren, that starts with your parents, but even among your peers. There are probably those who are just waiting for somebody to stand up so that they can stand beside them. And the funny thing is, Nicodemus was not alone, even among the Pharisees and the rulers, he just didn't know it.

We learn in John chapter 12, verses 42 through 45, that there were many who believed on him, but they didn't confess him because they feared the rulers. Why? Because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Yes, they believed, but they thought to themselves, I'm the only one who believes this, I'm afraid to confess it.

And I want to continue to be right with these people instead of right with God. Of course, belief in what is right, like they had in their hearts, is not enough. Not for them and not for us. We have to be willing to stand up for what is right and do what is right. That's real faith. To desire the praise of God more than the praise of men.

But, you might be amazed who stands up with you if you're just willing to stand alone. People who, like you, want to do what's right, but they're afraid to step into the light. Isn't that exactly what we see after Jesus is crucified? And perhaps it seems almost too late, but in John chapter 19, what do we see?

If you turn over there to John chapter 19, after, after Jesus death, if we read there in verse 38,

After Jesus is taken down off the cross, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission, so he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.

It turns out, when they were really, truly willing to stand up, And confess that, yes, I'm a disciple of Jesus, they weren't alone all along. But along with that, we must know with certainty who your true friends really are and seek them out. They may be few, but they are important. And they, again, start with the people in this room and others who serve Jesus Christ.

I'm reminded of the reality of how few they might be in Matthew chapter 7. If you turn back over there in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew chapter 7,

what does Jesus say beginning in verse 13? Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction. And there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate, and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. The reality is, there always have been and there always will be, at least on this earth, more who are seeking to do what's wrong than those who are seeking to do what's right.

But it does not say there's only one who finds it only you. You're the only one. Few still mean some, however few it might be. Here's the great thing about these verses for a preacher. You know, I don't have to talk about both of those ways, at least not in any detail. If you want to, if you want to take the broad way that leads to destruction, all you have to do is quit listening.

Not quit listening to me, quit listening to God. Quit, quit coming to Him. Quit coming to be among the brethren. Quit trying to do what's right. The wide gate, the broad way, is the path of least resistance. You just go along with everybody else. That's the path of do nothing. And there are lots of people who are willing to walk that path with you.

Proverbs 14 and verse 12, Proverbs 16, 25, There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of the way is death. There are plenty of people who want to go down that road. And if you decide to go down that road, it's easy. Just follow everybody else. But if we want the way that leads to life, well, that's when there's a choice that must be made.

And it mirrors the choice that God's people have always made. And those who choose that path are the ones that you should be seeking out. Those who are choosing to do what's right, despite the direction of the crowd, not just taking the path of least resistance, which is often the path of hypocrisy, those are the people that you need to say, I want to be friends with them.

Because that's the kind of person who's going to help me get to heaven. And those are the ones who have your best interests at heart, who aren't going to turn on you in a moment because you say something that doesn't conform to everybody else. Know who your true friends are. You know who they are? The ones who are friends with Jesus.

And then finally, I'd, I'd leave you with this admonition. Know with certainty that you can stand with what God has provided. I promise. I'm, I'm pretty pretty careful about making promises from the pulpit. But I promise you, it does get easier. Doesn't go away, but it does get easier. And the more you stand for what is right, the more everyone knows, including you, what your response will be.

And it doesn't mean that you won't still be tempted. It doesn't mean that they might not still ignore you, or mock you. But you get used to standing up for what is right. In my own life, I think about the difference between when I was in that freshman locker room and when I was a senior in that same locker room.

That freshman Reagan was just hanging on, trying not to stand out more than he already did. But senior Reagan? Who had stood up again and again, and yes, sometimes had failed to stand up. But had stood up enough to know, that I wasn't going to be persuaded. Whatever was offered by the world, or whatever was said.

I had stood up for what was right, even if I was alone, and it got easier and easier.

But my promises pale compared to the promises of God. Look in Ephesians chapter 6. This is our last passage. Ephesians chapter 6 beginning in verse 10. This is that whole armor of God. So God provides things to help us to stand. You know, truth and righteousness and the gospel of peace and faith. And salvation, and the Word of God, and prayer, all of these things that are described down through verse 18 or so.

But I want you to start there in verse 10 and see what the purpose of all of these things that God gives us really is. Finally, my brethren, be strong in yourself because you're awesome. No, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to, what?

Stand against the wiles of the devil. Not just the crowd, the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to...

Withstand in the evil day and having done all to what stand You know what God says to you young people, you know what he says right here in this passage You can stand not because I say you can but because God says you can and if God says I can stand I can stand and he will not tempt me beyond that which I am able to bear but with the temptation He will make a way of escape that I might be able to Stand it.

Withstand it. And having done all that He's called me to do to prepare, I can be able to stand in that evil day. Do you know these things with certainty? If you don't, get to work on them. Ask me, ask your parents, ask the elders, ask someone that you respect in Jesus Christ. Because knowing these things allows us to stand as God has equipped us.

And if you're here this morning and you're not yet a Christian, you don't have these promises from God and you don't have this direction. To know truly what you're supposed to be standing for. But, if you know enough to come to Christ in humble submission, that is the first thing that you need to do. To stand before whatever witnesses are there to make the good confession that I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

That yes, it's true. It's not some, some tepid, timid defense like with Nicodemus. Hey, you know, what about this? It is no, I know this to be true. And whatever else I don't know, I am willing to confess that, and upon that confession, you can repent of your sins, you can be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins, and you can rise to walk in newness of life in a different direction, on a different road, with a different confidence.

But if you're already a Christian this morning, and you realize you've not been living the way you ought, you are not alone. And these people in this room, We will do whatever we can to help you. You just have to let us know. And you have that opportunity now. Altogether we stand, and while we sing.