HAD WE BEEN THERE...!!
1. We , as proud human beings, are prone to think that things would always happen for the best if we could only be on the scene.
2. So, in looking back over some of the things that took place in New Testament times, let us consider what we, in our present frame of mind, might have done, "had we been there..."
3. If we had been there in our present frame of mind, and had been engaged in the activities of the first century, would the cause of Christianity ever have gotten off the ground?
4. What if we had been there in....:
I. JESUS' PLACE:
A. When great multitudes pressed upon Him on every side and gave Him much honor and popularity, even to the point of wanting to take Him and make Him king by force. Mk. 3:20; Jno. 6:15.
1. Would this have gone to our heads and caused us to forget the real purpose before us?
B. But, on the other hand, when His friends and His relatives considered Him to be beside Himself and sought to restrain Him. Mk. 3:21.
C. When His own brethren chided Him and mocked Him and would not believe in Him. Jno. 7:1-5.
1. Would this have caused us to become discouraged and to throw up our hands in desparation and despair?
II. JOHN THE BAPTIST'S PLACE:
A. After having started the movement toward Christianity, having made and baptized hundreds and even thousands of disciples, even baptizing a younger man named Jesus of Nazareth, Jno. 3:23-30.
1. Would we have been willing to "step down" and give over to this "Johnny-come-lately" as it were?
2. Would we have considered this as having the makings of a first-class "leadership power struggle"?
3. Just how would you or I have handled this situation had we, in our present frame of mind, been in John the Baptist's place?
III. THE DISCIPLES' PLACE:
A. Whenever they recognized the special love that Jesus, seemingly, had for John the apostle, Jno. 21:15-23, knowing that he was one of the brothers who had earlier come to Jesus to seek a favored place in the kingdom, Mt. 20:20,21?
1. Would we have been very jealous and envious over John's good fortune?
IV. THE APOSTLE JOHN'S PLACE:
A. When Peter was named to 'handle the keys", Mt. 16:13-19, and the same occasion that Peter was rebuked by the Lord for rebuking the Lord, Mt. 16:21-23, and even later on Peter must have surely disqualified himself by denying the Lord three times, not to mention the cursing and swearing he did, Mt. 26:69-75.
1. Would we have "blown our tops" if we had been in John's place on this occasion?
2. Would we, in our present frame of mind, have jumped at the chance to use these weaknesses of Peter as ammunition to get him cast out of this favored position to be replaced by us, "the favored John"?
V. THE PLACES OF PAUL AND BARNABAS:
A. When contention arose over the use of John Mark in their work, causing them to choose other co-workers and to go their separate ways, Acts 15:36-41.
1. Would we desire to keep this separation on a permanent basis keeping our grudges alive?
2. If we were Paul, would we argue that Barnabas' kinship with Mark meant more to him than stedfastness in the work of the Lord?
3. If we were Barnabas, would we say that Paul was unforgiving and would not preach unless he could have his way in everything?
4. Would we, if we were Paul and Barnabas, try to cultivate a "sphere of influence" around us that would be antagonistic to the other?
5. Would each of us try to "bend the ears of the brotherhood" as each tried to justify himself in this matter?
6. Or would we, in our present frame of mind, be able to handle the situation as did Barnabas and Paul?
a. By going our separate ways, allowing for differences in the realm of judgment?
b. Afterwards to speak of Barnabas as a fellow-laborer in the Lord, 1 Cor. 9:6, and to commend Mark to the work, Col. 4:10?
VI. PETER'S PLACE:
A. When Paul "withstood him to the face..." Gal. 2:11-21.
1. How would we, in our present frame of mind, have taken this rebuke and slam on our pride from this upstart Paul, who was the very last to become an apostle and who was actually sent to the Gentiles?
2. Would we have wanted to call for a popularity showdown to determine just who was the big apostle in this case?
3. Surely, there would be enough pull among the brethren in this case to split the church in Antioch wide open and thereby to draw away disciples after ones self.
1. When one views the vairous situations of the first century, in the light of the way "we" handle such things today, it is truly remarkabe indeed that the cause of Christ got started at all.
2. Or, is it possible that love for God and the brethren can conquer such problems today as it seemingl did back then?
3. Surely, history awaits your answer and mine.
4. So, in considering all these things in the light of our present frame of mind, what would have been the results "had we been there?"
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