From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 3/9/18
Be Not Ashamed
Jesus said, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own kingdom, clothed in the glory of his father, with the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).
Those who have an unshakable testimony of Jesus will never be ashamed of him and his word. Immature Christians are often hesitant to be identified as a follower of Jesus; this is especially true when Christians are being ostracized or persecuted for their belief in Jesus.
During the early morning hours of the day of the Lord’s crucifixion, Peter refused three times to acknowledge that he was a disciple of Jesus. His faith was being tested. At this point in his life, Peter’s faith and testimony of Jesus was not sufficient to help him overcome fear of being condemned to die with his Lord. Later, after his faith was strengthened, he was crucified upside-down for his testimony of Jesus. By this demonstration of his loyalty to the Lord and his words, Peter proved that he was no longer ashamed to be known as one of his disciples.
The followers of Jesus in America today are not physically threatened or persecuted for their faith, but they are occasionally shunned by their more worldly peers. Young people are often tempted to abandon their faith because of classmates, or peers, who do not fully accept their faith and testimony. Young people need to be fortified by good teaching before they reach this critical time of their lives. We need to pray for them as Jesus prayed for Peter: “Satan hath desired you, that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith fail not . . .” (Luke 22:31-32).
The prophet, Lehi, had a dream which addresses this problem of believers becoming ashamed. Nephi, a son of Lehi, described his father’s dream, in which he saw “numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led to the tree [of life] by which I stood. And it came to pass that they did go forth and commence in the path which led to the tree. And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even a great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced on the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron [the word of God; the Scriptures], and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.
“And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld on the other side of the river of water [filled with filthiness] a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth; And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; And their manner of dress was exceeding fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at, and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed because of those who were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost . . . And after they did . . . point the finger of scorn at me, and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not . . . for as many as heeded them had fallen away” (1 Nephi 2:65-84).
This account of Lehi’s dream, written more than twenty-five centuries ago, has never been more appropriate for people to consider than it is for us! Those who are followers of Christ today must become completely impervious to the influence of persons and things which would cause us to be ashamed of Jesus and his work.