In John 16:12 Jesus says, “I have many things to say to you but you cannot bear them.” The word bear here means to carry. It does not mean tolerate, although there are many people who cannot tolerate the Bible under any circumstances. But I am not writing to them.
He said this the day before he died, during his last meal where presumably he had important things to say. He did not say, “Are you ready” although that is implied. He used the verb “to bear.” Or to carry. To carry means that there is a responsibility for the new information, either for yourself or for others. God put us Christians here to benefit both ourselves and others with His truth.
There is a burden involved in revelation whether it is the new Christian who suddenly finds himself avoided by all his old friends, or someone who is old in the Lord speaking something others do not want to hear.
Just 3 weeks ago my boss who is a left-wing Democrat and a supporter of abortion told me with a straight face that it was not a “baby” until the day it was born – just tissue. I said, sarcastically, “Oh, so it is only tissue you see sucking its thumb in the womb?” She just laughed.
Of course she would! To take another position would forever alter her world. She was named Democrat of the year and holds an office as party attorney. If she changed her position she would lose all that – not to mention her husband’s views which match hers – and gain the contempt and isolation of these same people that created her identity for her. Revelation and the support of truth cost something. Even if she believed this she would pay a price for revealing it! One’s identity should not be created by others= but by God.
The Bible says, “There is no defense against the Truth.” But at the same time, there is a price to pay for advancing it. I’ve been fired for it! But that is a price I am prepared to pay because Jesus said,
If you deny me before men, I will deny you before the father. So instead of changing my revelation, I changed churches. Matt 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
But before we start counting the cost of new revelation from God, let us count the cost of not knowing the truth, a much higher price. In an extreme form, there is Islam. Muslims who convert to Christianity are routinely murdered, and not just in the last 10 years. This has been common all over Asia.
Luke 14:28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—
“My people perish for lack of knowledge” is a literal truth. Beethoven wrote some of the finest Christian music in the western world. He agonized over why he was losing his hearing and hoped that after his death people would learn the truth. Some of his hair had been saved by admirers – saving hair was common in previous centuries – and it was tested a few years back. He died of lead poisoning cause by his favorite pewter utensils.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Now we have to ask this, as a believer did the Holy Spirit ever speak to him and say, “Trash the pewter dishes?” We don’t know, but the ignorance did kill. We do not need to wait for secular man to learn the truth; lead poisoning was a modern discovery, but that does not hamper the Lord. We have access to all truth! But can we bear it?
The reverse side of this coin is that God uses ignorance to keep people in line until they can bear something new. As mothers we tossed the young’uns in a play pen to keep them safe, and not let them get under foot as we worked. Ignorance is God’s box for human kind.
They spin their wheels on 2nd rate issues and because they are busy with small things they fail to mess up Kingdom business. A California seminary years back evaluated various mission programs as devised and executed by a group of denominations. Their conclusion? Not one of these programs succeeded. How about asking God what He wants to do? And then doing that. Every religious man can come up with a good idea. But good ideas do not necessarily further God’s will; only God’s will does.
Millions waste their money on gambling, or sports or mindless TV – all boxes of ignorance that while doing them no favors, at least keeps them out of the Master’s way. And God also used ignorance to further His own purposes. Years ago Billy Graham’s high school girl friend was told by her mother that Billy “wouldn’t amount to anything” so what people have to say means nothing in the end. It is only God’s word and God’s call.
23 years ago the Lord spoke to me directly and told me I was not to explain myself. Practically everywhere I went people pressed me for information but I kept quiet.
I thought – oh well – that won’t last for ever. But I was wrong. I am still not permitted to do so, except with a very small number who have shown me that if I do speak, they will actually listen. It has been, for someone who loves words, the toughest assignment of my life. And I am still learning.
Today many churches do not even get milk – they are dying on diet coke and Twinkies. Most other churches are on junior foods. Can you bear something new?