When evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.” – Matthew 26:20-21
The mere thought or reading of this verse is devastating to me. I can barely take in the magnitude of what was happening at this moment in time. The closeness of the relationships that had been formed for three years between Jesus and the twelve is probably hard for us to grasp at this point in history. We have very little to compare that level of relationship, these men traveled and ministered together, and were with each other for nearly every moment.
Judas was a good liar, and he was adept at concealment. He knew how to blend into each and every situation. He might have started out with wonderful expectations of the Messiah. Perhaps, he thought the Messiah would deliver them from the hands of Rome…finally, and then he would achieve the goals he had, the fulfillment he desired, or whatever it was that he really thought he wanted. He clearly, in his inner most being, had no desire for Christ for spiritual reasons.
But don’t we all have those tendencies and desires sometimes?
When I put the work into examining my motives for what I do, and why I do them, I really must stop sometimes and say, “What are you doing?” “Why did you do that?” “Was that for God’s glory or for your own pleasure, your own personal fulfillment?”
Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” – Matthew 26:25
Did he know?
Isn’t this a profound question, something for us to really think about?
Did Judas realize what he was doing, or did his sin blind him so much that he didn’t think that far down the road. In fact the Lord said, “It would have been good for that man, if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24) Can you imagine that it would have been better for Judas to have never been born, to never have walked the earth, to never have breathed a breath, or have his heart beat, to never have seen the sun, taste good food, or to have walked with God Himself on this earth?
He spent time with his Creator, he knew Him on a very intimate level, but yet he really never knew Him at all. Just think, Judas associated with Christ, but he never “knew” Christ, there are many people out there just like Judas. Many of them have a deep intellectual understanding of Christ, yet they don’t know Him.
They are holding onto something… To truly know Christ, means denying yourself, it means that you will abandon everything you have ever, or will ever place your trust in, outside of Him. Charles Spurgeon once said that “If you really long to save men’s souls, you must tell them a great deal of disagreeable truth.” Those that evangelize to the dead, or preach the gospel of peace, know this reality. You know people don’t like what you are telling them. They don’t want to face their sin. It means they have to let go of something. It means they have to admit “it would have been better that they never had been born”, and this is so very true isn’t it? Because what’s the alternative? The alternative is a short life, here on earth, grasping for 30 pieces of silver. When we get that silver, we realize it never held any real satisfaction…a temporary fix at best. Its blood money, but most don’t see it that way.
This past week I had a conversation with a guy that I’ve known for a long time and as I listened to him tell me things I could see that what he thought about himself was really important. However, my heart was crying for him, because he is so lost, and he doesn’t even know it. He’s a nice guy, in some respects, but he doesn’t know the wrath of God abides upon him. He doesn’t know that it would be better that he had never been born, unless he repents and believes the gospel.
From his book “Twelve Ordinary Men” John MacArthur wrote this:
“He was a coward. He knew the popularity of Jesus. He was afraid of the crowd. Like every hypocrite, he was obsessed with concerns about what people thought of him, so he was hoping to betray Jesus as quietly as possible. He was looking for the doorway to hell that was most convenient. And when he found it, he plunged right in.” 
What happens when we fall into sin? Are we a Judas or are we Peter? Do we have sorrow that leads to death or sorrow that leads to repentance? This is the difference and if you’ve never understood that you are a Judas outside of godly sorrow leading to repentance, then you are still a Judas. Judas deceived himself, and he never knew his eternal fate had been sealed when he committed himself fully to Satan’s plan.
You will either be broken on the Rock, or smashed to pieces by it. Today is the day to get right with God. Today is the acceptable day of salvation for those that truly understand they are hanging by a thread over the eternal flames of hell. Those in eternal torment right now, with no way out, know it. Don’t find it out too late. Repent, and turn from your sin and be saved.
“So expert was he in his hypocrisy that he fooled everyone but Jesus, right up to the very end.” – John MacArthur 
 John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men (Thomas Nelson, 2002) 193
 Ibid – 192
…I don’t know anybody that does know Stuart Scott, and so I can’t say anything about him with absolute certainty. I do know that he was well liked and loved by many. By all accounts I’d be pretty certain we could have hung out and become friends. I’m confident we’d engage in good conversation and enjoy a cup of coffee together. He seemed likeable. He seemed decent. He obviously had a tremendous amount of love for his family.
I’m not a huge sports fan, but the times that I saw Stuart Scott on ESPN I thought he was incredibly talented and was on some very funny commercials. So for the most part I’d say I really liked him. Today I’m still 49 years old and on Sunday Stuart Scott’s life ended at 49 years of age. I’m not sure why his life ended and mine continues, but that’s just the way it is. God is in control, and it is His decision who lives and who dies. He’s sovereign over all of it.
This article is not about Stuart Scott. It’s about you. It’s also about me. And most importantly it’s about the God that gives us life, and takes away life. If you or I don’t recognize that truth…that reality, then this article really needs to be considered long and hard. It takes hard work to really think about things like this, because…well honestly, because it’s just plain hard. I hate thinking about death. I hate watching shows where people die, especially the young or especially those that seem “good”.
I really wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. It is because man wanted to have his own way. Ultimately a man, Adam, chose his own way. Not God’s way. So we are left with that life taking cancer, if you will. It has us all infected, infected to the point of death. There was a warning that came along with the command. Don’t eat from this one tree, and if you do, you WILL die. And now we see that clearly in the death of what seemed like a really nice man.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. – Hebrews 9:27
Every one of us will die once. That speaks of our life here on earth. Our physical bodies… they will die. There is no doubt. And we see the reality of what happens next. The judgment. This means we will face judgment after our death. It’s easy to understand isn’t it?
But do you, or do I, really understand that? Please allow that sink in for just a moment. We will stand before the Creator and be judged. He knows every thought we’ve ever had. He knows every deed we’ve ever done. He sees it all. Nothing is hidden from His sight.
That time when you were so angry with, you fill in the blank, that you just wanted to smack them… did you know that is the same as murder? Every time you looked upon another human with sexual desire, other than your spouse that is the same as adultery? Every lie you ever told has been recorded in the book and every disobedient act against your parents.
Did you know that you’ve committed treason against the One that made you? Treason is a crime punishable by death. It really sounds grim. It sounds hopeless.
Did you know there is a way out of the bottomless pit you are now in? His name is Jesus. He died on a cross nearly 2000 years ago, and if you turn to Him, cast off your sins and repent of them, then place all your hope and trust in Him, you will be saved. You will be saved from God’s wrath and indignation toward those that are at enmity with Him.
There is still hope for you, if you are reading this. There is still hope for me as I write. I can’t save myself anymore than Stuart Scott could heal himself of cancer. That’s why we need Jesus. He came to this earth and healed to prove His divinity. He lived, He suffered, He died, and He rose again to conquer death. That is the good news. That is the best news I’ve ever heard. Will you reject His sacrifice today, or will you submit to His Lordship. You will give account.
He said these words that we could understand His grace and His mercy. He will give you rest, if you are tired of fighting against the deaths of this world. He gives life, and He gives it richly to those that place their hope in Him.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30
I hope Stuart Scott knew this.
Most of us believe that whatever we are doing is important. I know when I wake up in the morning it’s really easy to begin focusing on the tasks at hand and all the things I’d like to accomplish in the upcoming day. Each day we have a brand new opportunity to be productive. Most of us will go to our jobs and provide for our families. This is a good thing. This is biblical and it’s God honoring. Isn’t it?
Well I guess it depends on your perspective.
Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved
sleep. – Psalm 127:1-2
There is something very interesting about the Word of God. It’s mostly, easy to understand. There is nothing difficult about what this says. We don’t need an in depth study of each word to understand the message. There are two groups of people that will read this and take away very different understandings.
There is a warning contained in this passage for the unbelieving. This warning is clear. Outside of faith in Jesus Christ everything in your life is vanity. The word vanity in short means “useless”. Your existence is useless. It means that it is literally and figuratively ruined (morally). The unbeliever has a morally bankrupt life, and yet they have no concept of this. They believe their existence matters.
If I was to interview Oprah Winfrey, she would believe that her work is really making a difference. She would believe that her building of schools, her building of wells to provide water and educating young girls, is having a positive effect on the world around her. She believes, without a doubt, that she is building a city and it has meaning. I can feel the pushback already, because when I hear her words, and I know what she believes, then I lay her words on top of God’s Word, these two don’t go together.
Her building is vanity. It’s useless, because it is not built on Christ. It is not built by the LORD. It is vain for her to rise early and to stay up late. When we really get past the emotion of this, we can see that all of this is vanity.
Then we have a call to the Christian. For the Christian these things do matter. This is not permission to be lazy in our efforts. Christian’s should be the best workers they can be, and should always give full effort to what they do, in no way is this a call not to be diligent in our work. However, we should not call upon our own desires and our own wisdom in taking on these endeavors. All good things come from God, but we must act. There will be effort on our part, and that effort will be toil and difficult. God Himself has said that would be His curse upon the sons of Adam.
What are we to do with all of this, because it’s really difficult for most of us to think about how much vanity is all around us? I know that I’m challenged in my life when I think about it. I must really consider how many people I pass in a day that their lives are ultimately useless. I say that not to be hard but to awaken my conscience to their dire condition. I must preach to them because it’s their only hope.
If you are a believer, consider those around you and the message we must give that will be unpopular. As I said at the beginning, most of us believe we matter. Every person on this earth is created in the image of God and are therefore valuable and we have no idea how God will use them. We know that many will perish in their sin, but as far as we are concerned we have a job to do. We must tell them that God is holy, and there is coming a day of judgment. Will you build your house in vain, or will you build your house for the glory of God?
It has become abundantly clear to me that God hates all sin with such a passion that even the smallest, seemingly most insignificant, sins are an abomination to Him. His holiness is so intense and shines so brightly that even the slightest glimpse of His face would drop us dead on the spot. Does that seem a little extreme? I have no doubts Scripture teaches us this over and over again, yet we are mostly unwilling to hear it.
Sin is deceitful and it always coddles and subdues the vileness that it is to God. He is the standard of truth, the only true due north, that one can find their way. If we don’t believe everything He says and does is the standard of truth, then we are serving another god.
If sin is hated by God, shouldn’t it be hated by us?
We suffer from a low view of sin, because we have a low view of God. To fully understand God’s view of sin, we must gain a more accurate view of God Himself. This is not easy. Our flesh fights against knowing God. The carnal mind is at enmity with God, and there is only one way to kill the carnal mind and that is to have it renewed through the Scriptures. We must be conformed to His will and not our own.
And he (speaking of Azariah) did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done, except that the high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. Then the LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper until the day of his death; so he dwelt in an isolated house. – 2 Kings 15:3-5
God had clearly defined ways in which He is to be worshiped, but in his pride and arrogance Azariah usurped God’s authority. He decided it was okay to perform the priestly duties. Does this really seem like it’s a capital offense? Azariah’s leprosy eventually killed him, in effect; God killed him through the disease that He gave him. God was offended and the punishment was death.
We see this cycle repeated over and over again in the life of the King’s of Israel, but to bring it closer to home, do we see this repeated in our lives? Do we see that our disobedience brings God displeasure and chastening?
How do we apply this seemingly, insignificant lesson to our lives, because talking about something that happened 2800 years ago doesn’t always seem relevant.
Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” – Hebrews 4:6-7
Sin is hardening to our hearts, and a constant reminder of our need to depend on Jesus for His mercy and grace as the needed medicine for a diseased heart. He is the only hope we have, He is the great Physician.
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. – Hebrews 4:11
Many will fall because of disobedience. The Word of God is clear on that subject. This is a horrible and fearful thought for me to consider. I must strive to enter through the narrow gate, because it’s the only place I can find rest, and I must never cease striving against sin. I will kill sin, or sin will kill me. If you don’t battle sin every day, then sin will overcome you, and take you by force.
I urge you beloved, to seek His mercy and His grace, and if you are redeemed, then you will have victory. This does not mean perfection, but if you wallow in the same sin as you’ve always wallowed, if you continue to return to your vomit, then you are probably not saved.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. – Proverbs 12:15
The life of a Christian can be marked by certain signs or fruits that give validity to their claim of Christianity. We live in a time and in a culture that many will say they are Christians. People will say things like, “I was born into a Christian family”, “I’ve always believed”, “I was baptized as a child”, etc, etc…
The Bible gives us instruction for Christian living and last week I talked about the role of Scripture in the life of a believer. If you don’t have any sort of a relationship with your Bible, no matter what you think or what you say, then Scripture says you most likely are not. Of course there are some extreme exceptions to that rule, such as the Thief on the Cross, but for most it’s not the case.
In the time since my conversion to Christianity I’ve seen and experienced a lot of people in the church world and in particular in our local gathering that bear fruits of salvation for a season. They experience life change, they come to all the meetings, they fellowship and do life together, but then something happens. It’s consistent that one thing drives them away.
My experience is that they will “hear” counsel, but they won’t “heed” counsel.
Many will hear…but the difference is do they listen?
The word (shama`) – to hear, to listen to, obey, yield to.
This is not very common in this day, because most of us think we’ve got it all figured out. We live in a world of rugged individualism, a world of autonomy, we desire our own freedoms and to be our own “man” or “woman”.
We might listen to someone and then weigh it out to see if it makes sense, but to obey is a completely different subject. Only if it makes sense for me will I do what I’m being asked to do.
In the book or Proverbs we see this message repeated over and over again, and I’m guessing this was done purposefully to get our attention.
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. – Proverbs 19:20
The word “listen” is the same word as “heed” in the previous verse; its meaning is far deeper than just hearing what someone has to say, it means that you will be convinced by the speaker with a desire to obey.
A wise man will “hear” (shama`) and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. – Proverbs 1:5
This surely begs the question who is the wise counsel?
In most cases this is where the church has failed to teach properly. I use the word “church” in a broad sense, but I’m in particular referring to a true church, a gathering of God’s people that places the authority, sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture as the rule by which we must live our lives, where the holiness of God is exalted and the sinfulness of man is exposed. A place where Jesus Christ is the focus of the only hope sinful man has for salvation and they attempt to live a life wholly pleasing to God and use Scripture as their guide. There is certainly more to a true church, but if these are not in the forefront the gospel has no teeth.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
Here we see the New Testament argument for Believers and this points us to who should be our primary line of wise counsel. This is speaking of the Elders in the church, and the word “obey” (peithō) means to be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe.
The Elders should be persuading and most importantly we should be persuaded and not only persuaded but then listen to and obey. Yield to them. “Wise” counsel should be informed and persuaded using the Word of God. This is the lynch-pin by which this must hinge.
Unless you are being asked to sin, you should be persuaded. It’s pretty simple, and if you are being asked to sin, from that you should flee. Elders have been placed over you as protection for your soul, and when you disobey, it’s unprofitable for you and it grieves them.
By today’s standards this is completely counter-cultural and hated by most professing Christians because most want to be in control which by definition is wise in our own eyes.
Many good Christians don’t have churches that practice this, nor do they even have good churches, and in that case you should seek out the godliest counsel you can obtain given your circumstance, but don’t use it as a crutch and an opportunity to sin. If you are given good counsel, listen to it, and obey it, because someone truly loves your soul and wants what is best for you.
Oh, how I love Your law!
It is my meditation all the day. – Psalm 119:97
This is a verse that really smacks me upside the head. I just don’t know how to say that with much more impact or clarity. It really is a dividing line between those that say they love Jesus and those that really do love Jesus. Our relationship to the Bible is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts.
How can we really love God without knowing God and how do we know God without reading His Word? The Bible says of itself that it is sufficient for all things pertaining to godliness, righteous living, correction and instruction and then it summarizes that statement by saying “so that the man of God can be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
So it really seems to make the most sense that if you say you are a man of God you would be quite infatuated with the Word of God doesn’t it?
But what about “The Law”, that seems so harsh and unloving…it seems so legalistic to many modern day evangelicals.
The law or the Torah is simply a precept or a statute, and it primarily refers to the Decalogue (Ten Commandments) or the Pentateuch (Books of Moses). The law is a reflection of the heart of God. God is all these things and to have a proper understanding of God we must understand and love the things that He loves.
Why is this important?
Loving the law of God gives us wisdom and understanding. It is the most important thing we can gain, in fact it is said to be more valuable than gold or fine silver.
I have more understanding than all my teachers… – Psalm 119:99
I understand more than the ancients. – Psalm 119:100
God’s Word restrains us from evil and is a light unto our path. In other words it keeps us on the straight and narrow. It causes us to hate evil, to despise false ways, and bad thinking. How can one gain knowledge and wisdom without knowing God’s precepts and commands?
I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. – Psalm 119:101
Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. – Psalm 119:104
The professing church today is full of those that really don’t care for the Word of God, much less the Law of God. They don’t read the Bible, they don’t know the Bible, and what they do know of the Bible is generally misquoted or taken out of context. The Bible should be the lifeblood of a Christian. It is like a gold mine that can never be fully harvested. It should be something we can never get enough of as we desire to grow in godliness. Jesus said if you’ve truly been born from above you will hunger and thirst for it. (Matthew 5:6)
The Law is the heart and etiquette of God and those that pick and choose, or those that dislike or even despise the law are at enmity with God no matter what their mouth might say. This is a real gut check. It’s a great way to examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith. What is your relationship to your Bible?
Teach me, O LORD, the way of
And I shall keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, and I
Shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my
Make me walk in the path of
For I delight in it.
Incline my heart to Your
And not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes from looking
At worthless things,
And revive me in Your way. – Psalm 119:33-37
If you find a professing Christian indifferent to his Bible, you may be sure that the very dust upon its cover will rise up in judgment against him. — C.H. Spurgeon
Antinomianism is alive and well in the professing church today. It won’t take you long, or many Facebook conversations, to find out the reality of this statement. Many people desire to “be blessed”, many people desire a savior, and I’ve not met that many people that say they are unconcerned about an eternity in hell. But…they don’t mind going out and living like the devil.
So what is this word “Antinomianism”? And why is it such a big deal.
“Antinomianism teaches that “the believer was completely free from all obligation to the Law and any concession to legal duty was an infringement of free grace.” Roman Catholicism attacked Protestantism for allegedly granting a license to sin through its doctrine of justification by faith alone. The council of Trent, in its decree on justification (1547) implicitly accused the Reformers of abolishing the law for the Christian.
In their view of the law, the Reformers spoke of three distinct “uses” or applications of the law.
- Civil – guide the civil magistrate in rewarding good and punishing evil (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Tim 2:1-2) Luther wrote – “The first understanding of the use of the Law is to restrain the wicked…This civic restraint is extremely necessary and was instituted by God, both for the sake of public peace and for the sake of preserving everything, but especially to prevent the course of the Gospel from being hindered by tumults and seditions of wild men.”
- Evangelical – drives sinners away from their own righteousness to trust in Christ alone. (Galatians 3:10, 24, Gal 2:17) Calvin said the law warns, informs, convicts and lastly condemns, every man of his own righteousness…
- Directive or normative – it serves as a didactic “rule of life” to guide believers in ways that are pleasing to their God and Savior. The law drives sinners to Christ through whom they “become doers of the law”. – James 1:22”  – From A Puritan Theology by Joel Beeke & Mark Jones
2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
What is Paul referring back to when he says “therefore”? We must look back at what Paul just said. He supports his upcoming argument with his previous statement, and as is the manner of Paul he consistently uses the Word of God, just as we should when we argue for the truth.
2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the LORD.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
What we will consistently see is an argument against the Bible to support man’s sinful desires, and often we will see the twisting of the Scriptures to get them to say what we want them to say. This is most often done in church going people, or people that want to hold onto their sin. Thus Antinomianism, which means “against law”. Antinomians love to argue against the law. They want to be free from the guilt of obeying the law, but yet their conscience continues to bear witness against them and so they suppress the truth in their unrighteousness.
So what are we to understand about God’s law as New Testament believers? Are we under the obligation to keep the law? Can we keep the law?
One thing all must do, and all are responsible to do, is to understand God’s Word in full context. The best way to interpret Scripture is with Scripture. If you see something that doesn’t seem to make sense, use other Scripture to help you interpret.
Psalm 119:1-2 Blessed are the undefiled in the way. Who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!
Psalm 119:11-12 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You, Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes.
I won’t have the space to highlight all of Psalm 119 and the heart of a true believer, but it’s unmistakable, that there must be a heart transformation, and a burning desire to follow God’s law, IF, you are truly saved.
Paul knew this so well and he continued to drive home this point.
Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death…even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The whole message of Scripture is a newness of life. It’s unmistakable, and those that want to continue in their sin are deceived. This does not mean sinless perfection. It means gaining ground on sin consistently. It means we will grow in holiness, because without holiness we will not see God.
This is the life of a Christian, or you’re not a Christian. This must be stressed, because it causes self-examination. It causes lamenting and mourning when we fall back into sin. It’s a constant desire to repent and turn from our sin. The stakes could not be higher. Don’t be deceived by the deceitfulness of sin and risk that you will someday stand before the righteous Judge and hear these words.
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:23
How many times have you said this to someone? Well, as a Christian I hope you would never say this to someone, but as a Christian how many times do you say this to people in act or in deed? I’d say we all do this more times than we can imagine. I actually shudder to think how many times I do this.
Just recently a man died. His name was Jack. Jack woke up not knowing this day would be his last. I’m sure he had a lot of things on his to-do list that day and I’m certain he expected he’d accomplish all, if not most of his tasks. I didn’t know Jack; in fact, I know almost nothing about Jack except that he was in his forties. I’m sure he was a family man with a wife and kids. Maybe he was a church going man, I’m not sure. Maybe he wasn’t.
The thing is it’s possible I’ve talked to Jack at some point in my life and I wonder if in that encounter I told him about Jesus? I wonder if I told him that there is a Holy God that we will give account of our lives. I wonder if I told him that we’ve all sinned and fallen short of This God’s glory, and because of that problem justice must be served.
We are all guilty criminals; guilty of the most heinous of all crimes, against an infinitely Holy God. That God has given us life and everything good that we experience on this earth and we really have no thoughts of Him and we certainly don’t care to thank Him or honor Him. No, we just go along in our daily endeavors rarely thinking, if ever thinking, that this day might be our last, that today will be the day that we must stand in His courtroom and tell of all our deeds.
This courtroom has a much higher level of strictness and judgment than any earthly courtroom could have. In fact it is so strict that it requires perfection or we will be found guilty. In this courtroom anger is considered murder, in this courtroom looking with lust, or sexual desire is the same as adultery.
I don’t know if Jack knew that or not? I’m sure there will be a funeral where a minister will say a lot of nice things about Jack. How he was a good father, a good husband and probably a “good” man. But I wonder if that minister will remind those people that today or tomorrow could be the day they will face the judge?
Today I wonder if you or I, Mr. and Mrs. Christian, will tell people that today could be the day that they will face the judge. Will we tell them that He is a righteous judge, and that He is angry with the wicked every day? That if they don’t turn from their sin, and place their trust in Christ Jesus as their only hope that they will spend an eternity in a place called Hell, the place where God punishes guilty sinners just like I was, or just like you were?
Do we tell the guilty sinner that the only hope they have is in Christ? Not their own goodness?
Or do we really tell them to “Go to Hell!” I don’t want to take the time… I don’t want to risk the embarrassment… I don’t want to risk the rejection… I don’t want to risk being labeled a freak…
In other words, you just don’t care about their soul. In other words, I don’t care about their soul.
If we believe the Bible, and I expect most reading this post will say they do, did we forget the imperative command of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He said “Go” and make disciples, teaching them to obey My commands? (Matthew 28:18-20) Did we also forget He said He would be with us, as we did it?
Did we forget that He said the first and greatest command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and the second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself? Loving our neighbor certainly includes calling them to repentance doesn’t it?
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” – Ezekiel 3:17-19
My dear friends, if your evangelistic zeal is non-existent, or seriously lacking, please consider your testimony today. Do you really love people, or do you just love yourself? Do you prefer to protect yourself, or do you really desire to live for the glory of God?
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. – Luke 9:24
Let’s consider today, how many Jack’s we will pass by and tell them to “Go to Hell!”
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1
We live in a culture saturated and obsessed with sex. There is no other way to describe it. This past week I was on a flight to San Francisco and I was sitting in an aisle seat and all of the seat backs had televisions. The woman in the middle seat in front of me had the show Sex in the City playing from the time we left Chicago until we landed in San Francisco and I was at an angle where I could watch it quite easily. It was a show that my wife and I once watched before we were saved. I remembered many of the episodes that would catch my attention from time to time during the flight and I was disgusted by the ease at which men and women are portrayed slipping into and out of bed together.
I was disgusted by the man that I once was, and yet at the same time so grateful for what the Lord Jesus Christ has delivered me from. In the confines of marriage sex is a beautiful thing, but like so many other things the world has to offer, outside of proper boundaries, it’s an abomination to God. Sexual immorality is very subtle and can creep into the lives of the saints. It’s as simple as spending too much time observing what’s going on in the seat in front of you. It can start as a very small seed and blossom into full blown sin if not mortified and put to death.
God’s word is clear on the matter.
Therefore put to death your member which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. – Colossians 3:5
Put it to death…kill it, mortify it, says the Apostle Paul.
Here’s the catch, “if” you were raised with Christ. This message is for believers. If you call yourself a believer and you are living in these things, you will either, kill them, mortify the deeds of the flesh, or you are not a believer. The word if is a primary particle of conditionality, in other words it connects these two thoughts together. So if you were raised with Christ, then this is now what you will do.
This requires the act of obedience. It’s really plain and simple, because the worship of God requires obedience.
We must… because of who God is…and because of what Christ has done.
I must look away from the television screen; I must not look too long at the woman that is standing next to me, or allow my mind to dwell on her physical attributes. I must desire to kill those members that desire these things.
For men, we know this is not an easy thing to do. And it’s impossible if the Spirit of God does not live inside of us, but if the Spirit does indwell us, then we will and we must, or the Spirit does not indwell us. Does that make sense?
A couple years ago I was challenged by my Elders to decide to whom I would write this blog and it was at that time I decided I needed to minister to believers more than non-believers, but today this post needs to apply to both camps. If you are living in sexual immorality, it’s important to understand that you are not in right relationship to God, that you are an enemy of God, and the future is bleak should you continue in that pattern.
Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. – Colossians 3:6-7
There is no mistaking what this means. If you live in sexual immorality, and this means fornication which is sex outside of marriage (living together), homosexuality, adultery, pornography, or any other sort of sexual perversions the wrath of God abides upon you. The Bible makes this crystal clear. There is no way around it and in fact Jesus even raises the standard and says that if you even look with lust, you’ve already committed adultery in your heart. (Matthew 5:27)
Do not be deceived, no matter what your mouth says, no matter what you think; what matters is an obedient life. This obedience is what proves your salvation. It can’t save you, but the pattern of your life is how one knows, it’s how a person works out his salvation with fear and trembling.
Obedience is a big deal.
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:23
If you are involved in any sort of sexual immorality, I urge you to repent and turn from your sin. You must have a change of heart, leading to a change of life that brings the Lord Jesus Christ glory. I know who I was and I know who I am now and those two men are completely different men. Paul leaves us with hope when he says “In which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.” His letter is to believers, and the way we know we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior is that we “once” walked, but no longer walk in that pattern of life.
Soli Deo Gloria!
We live in a world that is all about more. It’s everywhere you look and it’s indoctrinated into this culture that the more you have, the better you are and the happier you will be. This generation like no other has incredible wealth. There are those in this country that are considerably more wealthy than others, but yet I’ve not seen anyone sitting on a street corner with bones showing because they didn’t have anything to eat and they couldn’t find food.
You’ve seen those pictures from places like Africa where people are literally starving to death, the images from the Nazi death camps, where they are walking skeletons. That’s what I’d consider poor, completely without anything. We, in the US, have a completely different concept of poverty, and although there is compassion for those that have less I also have as much compassion for those that have more, but yet are without Christ.
The riches of this world blind our eyes, and cause those to trust in those riches. I know when I have a little cash in my pocket it makes me feel good about myself. It lightens the load, so that I really don’t need to worry as much about Jesus providing my needs. I’ve got that one under control, but “Oh Lord, you are sooooo good…I’m sooooo blessed!” “Thank You Jesus!” After all, doesn’t He want that for us?
The thing about the Christian experience, that I once wrote about, is that it’s really a bizzarro world. It’s completely upside down. First is last, last is first, those that desire to save their life will lose, but if you desire to lose your life you’ll save it. It’s stuff that just doesn’t seem right to most people. It’s certainly why Jesus said, there are few that find life, and many go the way of destruction, because it just isn’t logical.
God has spoken a lot about money. Money is clearly something He cares about, and it should be something the Christian should care about, but not in the same way as the world will care.
Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far
Give me neither poverty nor
Feed me with the food allotted
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the LORD?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God. – Proverbs 30:7-9
God has given us balance. He’s shown us what we should desire in money and worldly possessions, just enough. The god of this age tells us we need more. The god of this age tells us we can be blessed by god if we only have faith, because god wants us happy healthy and wise. The charlatan preachers peddle this like crack cocaine. It’s easy to get you hooked because it sounds so good. Once you’ve had a taste it’s hard to go back. But that’s not what the Bible tells us…
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts wich drown men in destruction and perdition. – 1 Timothy 6:6-9
Desiring more is a snare. It will drown you.
Have you ever heard about how natives catch monkey’s in Africa? They take a coconut and hollow it out, just big enough for a monkey to get his hand inside and then put peanuts inside. When the monkey smells the peanuts he’ll grab hold and not let go. He’s trapped by his desire for the peanuts. All he has to do to get away is let go of the peanuts. Yet he will die rather than let go. This is exactly what Paul is telling us about money. We don’t know what’s good for us, so we’ll hold onto those peanuts until it kills us.
“Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:31-34
Here is our remedy. This is the answer to the problem that we face concerning our desire for wealth and prosperity. Seek first the kingdom of God. Let go of your peanuts, seek Christ and His righteousness and then stop worry about your money as if it’s yours anyway; if you can’t do this, then consider if you are truly saved or not. Money will not have a hold on the true believer and if it does he is not a believer.