Mark 6:14-19 – The Cost of Pursuing Holiness

We see how boldly a faithful minister of God ought to rebuke sin. John the Baptist spoke plainly to Herod about the wickedness of his life. He did not excuse himself under the plea that it was imprudent, or impolitic, or untimely, or useless to speak out. He did not say smooth things, and palliate the king’s ungodliness by using soft words to describe his offence. He told his royal hearer the plain truth, regardless of all consequences.

Here is a pattern that all ministers ought to follow. Publicly and privately, from the pulpit and in private visits, they ought to rebuke all open sin, and deliver a faithful warning to all who are living in it. It may give offence. It may entail immense unpopularity. With all this they have nothing to do. Duties are theirs. Results are God’s.

Then we see how bitterly people hate a reprover, when they are determined to keep their sins. Herodias, the king’s unhappy partner in iniquity, seems to have sunk even deeper in sin than Herod. Hardened and seared in conscience by her wickedness, she hated John the Baptist for his faithful testimony, and never rested until she had procured his death.

We need not wonder at this. When men and women have chosen their line, and resolved to have their own wicked way, they dislike any one who tries to turn them. They want to be let alone. They are irritated by opposition. They are angry when they are told the truth. The prophet Elijah was called a “man that troubled Israel.” The prophet Micaiah was hated by Ahab, “because he never prophesied good of him, but evil.” The prophets and faithful preachers of every age have been treated in like manner. They have been hated by some, as well as not believed.

Let it never surprise us when we hear of faithful ministers of the Gospel being spoken against, hated, and reviled. Let us rather remember that they are ordained to bear witness against sin, the world, and the devil, and that if they are faithful, they cannot help giving offence. It is no disgrace to a minister’s character to be disliked by the wicked and ungodly. It is no real honor to a minister to be thought well of by everybody. Those words of our Lord are not enough considered — “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you.”

J.C. Ryle

Read Mark 6:14-29. Are you seeking that men would speak well of you and always act kindly towards you? Jesus says this won’t be the case for those who follow him, but the reward will far surpass the cost. Are you longing for the greater reward of those who suffer with Christ?

His Mercy Is More by Matt Papa and Matt Boswell

Posted on: February 22, 2018 - 10:00PM

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