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INTRODUCTION AND SYNOPSIS OF THIS ARTICLE

This article looks at the third and fourth steps to prepare to boldly speak out in the face of the cancel culture.  

The third step to prepare for battle is to spend the time to better know God’s Word, and especially the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  In speaking out on biblical issues in the face of the cancel culture, confidence and courage are inherent results of gaining a better knowledge and comprehension of God’s Word.

The fourth step is to strengthen your resolve to obey God and not mankind.  A look at God’s command to Joshua (Joshua 1:6-9) gives pertinent guidance to a 21st Century believer.  The Acts 5:29 narrative demonstrates a situation in which believers had the resolve to obey God and not mankind.

SPEND THE TIME TO BETTER KNOW GOD’S WORD

The third step to prepare for battle is to spend the time to better know God’s Word, and especially the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  In speaking out on biblical issues in the face of the cancel culture, confidence and courage are inherent results of gaining a better knowledge and comprehension of God’s Word.  Common sense teaches that for one to better know God’s Word, one must engage the Bible which can take on many different forms (e.g., hearing, reading, studying, meditating, etc.). 

Jesus made it clear that a believer ought to learn and obey God’s Word by his response recorded in verse 28 of Luke 11:27–28 (NASB95):

27 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

In the context of the above passage, one commentator[i] points out Jesus’ emphasis on what is really important, “True happiness comes from hearing and obeying God’s Word (v. 28).”

The Bible teaches that hearing, reading, studying, and meditating are important way to engage the Bible.  Paul instructed Timothy to carry out public reading of Scripture according to 1 Timothy 4:13 (ESV), which reads, “13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”   Hearing Scripture is within the ambit of the public reading of Scripture. 

Probably, the most common ways to engage the Bible is through reading and studying.  Paul encouraged Timothy to read and study when he wrote 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NET), which reads:

16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.

The desire to study God’s Word is an important attribute for a believer as shown by Ezra 7:10 (ESV):10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.”  The Apostle Peter stressed the importance of longing after Bible engagement when he wrote 1 Peter 2:2 (NASB95), which reads, “2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,” The Bereans were praised for their studious behavior as reported in Acts 17:11 (ESV):

11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Another way to engage the Bible is through memorizing God’s Word.  The Psalmist made that clear when he wrote Psalm 119:11 (ESV), which reads, “11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

The Psalmist recommended meditation in Psalm 119:98–99 (ESV):

98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.

There are many ways to engage God’s Word and gain a better understanding and knowledge of what God has chosen to say to a 21st Century believer.  It is God’s Word that will help a believer speak out in the face of the cancel culture.  The Psalmist made that fact clear when he wrote Psalm 119:25, 29 (NASB95):

25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word. … 28 My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word.

STRENGTHEN YOUR RESOLVE TO OBEY GOD AND NOT MANKIND

The fourth step is to strengthen your resolve to obey God and not mankind.  God gave Joshua valuable advice in Joshua 1:6–9 (NASB95):

6 “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. 9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

In light of what God said to Joshua, a 21st Century believer can strengthen his or her resolve to obey God by the following takeaways:

(1) God gave Joshua a specific task which is like the assignment to boldly speak the saving gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of the cancel culture.

(2) God told Joshua to be strong and very courageous.  The 21st Century believer needs to be strong and courageous if he or she is going to speak out in the face of the cancel culture.

(3) God gave Joshua the formula for success which was to obey.  More specifically, the formula in vv. 7-8 works for the 21st Century believer who boldly speaks out in the face of the cancel culture.  In this regard, God told Joshua to that he should “be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. 8 “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;”  The same advice applies to the 21st Century believer who boldly speaks out in the face of the cancel culture. 

When it comes to obeying God and not mankind, one very well-known passage is Acts 5:27–29 (NASB95), which reads:

27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

The NASB95 translates the Greek verb peitharchein as “obey” and it means to submit to authority or reason by obeying.[ii]  The NASB95 translates the Greek dei as “we must” and it means to be something which should be done as the result of compulsion, whether internal (as a matter of duty) or external (law, custom, and circumstances).[iii]  Both verbs are in the present tense which signals that the obedience is an action in process or a state of being with no assessment of the action’s completion.[iv]

When it comes to preaching the gospel, the obligation to obey God and not mankind is the same today as it was for Peter et al.  Because boldly speaking on the biblical issues normally encompasses the gospel, the obligation of Acts 5:29 applies to a believer to boldly speak out on biblical issues in the face of the cancel culture.

CONCLUSION

In reference to the third step, in speaking out on biblical issues in the face of the cancel culture, confidence and courage are inherent results of gaining a better knowledge and comprehension of God’s Word.   The advice of Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NET) bears repeating:

16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.

In reference to the fourth step, when it comes to preaching the gospel, the obligation to obey God and not mankind is the same today as it was for Peter et al.  Acts 5:29 sums it up the best:

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell.  But, your destiny can change. 

Today can be the day of your salvation.  Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).

NOTICE OF PERMISSIONS

I am mindful of and respect the rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works.  I thus try my best to not violate any copyright rights other authors and/or publishers possess in their works.  The below copyright permission statement is the result of my best efforts to understand that limited usage or “fair use” is available and/or to secure direct permission for specific works.  The quotations from commentaries are considered to be “fair use.”

Scripture quotations marked “ESV” are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version) copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Scripture marked “NASB95” are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”

Scripture marked “NCV” is taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

The Scriptures marked “NET” are quoted are from the NET Bible®  http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved”.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture marked “GW” is taken from the God’s Word Bible that is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission.


[i] Schreiner, T. R. (1995). Luke. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 822). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[ii] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 466). New York: United Bible Societies.

[iii] Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 669–670). New York: United Bible Societies.

[iv] Heiser, M. S., & Setterholm, V. M. (2013; 2013). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Lexham Press.