Question for you. If you were on trial for being a christian, would there be any evidence to convict you?
That is, could your life withstand the scrutiny of every person that sees you daily, in the market, in the field, but most importantly, could your thoughts and intents of your heart be called upon to defend you?
Your defense attorney says yes, there is evidence, but ah, we must hear from the prosecution as well. Yes, your own mouth is stopped, for it is better to allow another man to sing your praises.
The lawyer tries to defend you as he speaks to the jury: ‘my client reads the bible, he is a good person, good employee, he just sent a check to his favorite ministry, he mows his neighbors lawn, he gave a few dollars to the homeless, he hates evil and people who do evil, my client loves his family, and he surely loves God with all his strength.’
With supreme smugness and an air of pride he turns to the judge and says, ‘my client is obviously a christian, the defense rests.’ The jury looks at one another, and several are convinced. What a fine example of christianity the accused must be! Surely he is to be cleared of all charges, some thought.
Now the prosecuting attorney steps forward, and slowly begins to speak: ‘Your honour, members of the jury, I find myself in a strange position, for to prove this man is a fraud, I can, no I must, call upon the only witness: the word of God. My opinion would have no merit, and my words no strength, unless my appeal was to the highest court of all.
I must not only prove this man is an imposter, and I will do that, for the same standard that I apply to him, I would apply, and I have applied to myself, and I would do likewise to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the bailiff, the stenographer, the audience, and to the judge himself.
You have heard the wonderful attempt by the defense to paint his client as a marvelous lawkeeper, an industrious worker, and a good neighbor. If we only had to rely on his testimony, we must allow this man to walk free.
But heaven sees what you cannot, heaven reveals what the defense hides, and while man looks on the outward appearance, God looketh upon the heart.
Yes, members of the jury, you heard an opinion of this man with your ears, and if this was the only basis on whether or not this man is a christian, we would probably say he was. But, the word of God points us to where the reality and truth of God is to be found. God wants to know what is in the heart.
And so I report, that this man, while yes, he gave a meal to the hungry, he also thanked God he was not like him. Yes, this man prayed, but he also prayed that God would curse his enemies. Yes, this man reads his bible, but he reads it with blinders on his heart; he reads the word of God while he hates the Jews, yes he donates to his favorite ministry, but he does this to barter with God, and yes, he claims forgiveness, while he himself holds stones to put other sinners to death……
I could go on ladies and gentlemen, but you will understand, I cannot condemn him, for he is already condemned…. ‘
He then paused for a minute, but it seemed like an hour, quiet as a pin drop, and at this point in the proceedings, the jury looked shocked, as they never heard such words of grace, truth, and power, even the judge was moved to complete silence, and the man on trial was found on his face, pounding his fists on the floor of the courtroom. He rose to his feet while all eyes were on him………. he spoke……..
‘I am an embarrassment to this courtroom, I am a hypocrite, a fraud of the highest kind, for I have committed treason against the true God of heaven. I admit, I have no good deeds, I was blinded to the truth, I have believed another gospel, and I now see the reality that ALL have gone astray. I see now that ALL my righteousnesses are as filthy rags. I see now that which I have denied for years, that Jew or Greek there is no difference. I beg God for his mercy, and throw my pride at the feet of the Lord Jesus. Surely I am not worthy to be called a son, but the words of the prosecuting attorney are from heaven, and my sin found me out. May God alone be glorified….’
The attorney steps forward, searches the room with his eyes, and quietly speaks to all, ‘please read 1 Cor. 14.25, and your honour, I rest my case.’