Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No... not me

We live in a world of talk. Talk, talk, talk. Speak, speak, speak. Ours is the age of talk radio (news talk, sports talk, money talk, self-help talk, car talk, I-just-want-to-talk talk), podcasts and cell phones. Everyone, it seems, wants to be heard.

We have become a culture full of talking heads regardless of where we find ourselves. And the chatter is deafening.

Into this noise come the words of James: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak. This exhortation is almost unintelligible to a culture intent on talking. We have it backwards: we are quick to speak, slow to hear.

But God would be the primary voice heard in the universe. He is the One who has much to say. He speaks, in the Bible, of the riches of His mercy in Christ. He broadcasts His forgiveness and love. He heralds the wonder of redemption. He calls us to repent and beckons us to draw near.

We need friends and supporters. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two because He knew how important it was to have someone to share with and to support. Standing alone, we feel like our strength is limited, but the someone else by our side, new reserves of strength surface. Psychologically, we need confirmation that what we believe in is true. Just one other person can give us all the confirmation we need.

It is good to remember that our Lord strives along beside us, never leaving us, pleading our cause at every step. He understands us, loves us, and never turns away from us. Because of the mighty love of God, we can be assured that we are never alone. 

If there’s one thing that the past few days’ focus on Christ’s cross did, it’s remind most of us how unfocused we’ve been on the death and resurrection of Christ. We look back with grief over the way we yet again allowed the blood of Christ to slip to the periphery of our lives and let many other lesser things in to replace it. Why did we let it happen again?

Mordecai Ham would write that there are three reasons men run from Christ: love of gain, love of sins that make them shun the light, and fear of what others will say. "The best way on earth to study human nature is to hold up Christ to your crowd and note how He affects them. Each man or woman can be judged by his or her attitude toward Christ. If their deeds are evil, they will shun His light."

The most important element: uncovered sins

God’s Law shows us that the One we must face on Judgment Day is morally perfect, and that He considers lust to be adultery (see Matthew 5:27-28) and hatred to be murder (see 1 John 3:15).  It is because of this perfect righteousness that He abhors evil and warns that a day of ultimate and perfect justice is coming.  Any human judge who is good must see that justice is done, and God’s goodness will see to it that ultimate justice will be satisfied. Murderers, rapists, thieves, liars, fornicators, adulterers, etc., will get what is due to them.

As Ray Comfort pointed out that one reason preachers avoid speaking of Hell isn’t because they don’t believe in it. It’s because they misunderstand the purpose of the moral Law (the Ten Commandments). When preachers don’t use the Law to show God’s absolute righteousness, and instead talk of His love and kindness, adding “But He will send you to Hell if you don’t trust in Jesus” makes no sense.  It paints God as a vengeful tyrant. So any such talk is avoided.

However, when Paul reasoned with Felix, we are told that he spoke of sin (which is transgression of the Law—1 John 3:4), righteousness (which is of the Law) and temperance, and Felix “trembled.”  In the light of his own exceeding sinfulness and the perfect righteousness of God, the self-indulgent governor understood that he was in big trouble. He trembled because Hell suddenly made sense.  The Law makes Hell reasonable.

Before seeing his sin, he was proud and self-righteous (thinking he was morally good), but now he’s humble of heart. That means he is able to be reasoned with, without being defensive.  So I tell him that to be saved from Hell he must repent of all sin and trust alone in Jesus. I then show him what “sin” is, by referring him to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”  I then lovingly tell him that if he has a problem with the list, he should take it up with God, because it’s His list, not mine.

 John Piper summed up our problem well with his statement, 'The weakness of our hunger for God is not because He is unsavory, but because we "keep ourselves stuffed with other things"'

Isn't that true?

We all tend to get caught up in the busyness of this world. As if we're going to live on this earth forever.

And do you know what's scary about it?

We're too busy that we don't even realize it. Until something painful happens that wakes us up from our spiritual slumber.

My brethren, there's nothing wrong in desiring a better life for yourself and your family.

Just don't let your job, family, or even your ministry to hinder the growth of your faith in God.

 The Bottom line is.....

Eighty-four percent of Americans believe in some kind of afterlife, and eighty-two percent believe in heaven. Seventy percent believe in hell. Whether or not you believe in it, it is still there.

The Bible is very clear in pointing out there is a point when life on earth will end. The Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes, "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, And a time to die" (3:1, 2).

In Hebrews 9:27 we read, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."

That time to die may come much later than you expected. On the other hand, it may occur much sooner. Statisticians tell us that three people die every second. One hundred eighty people die every minute. Eleven thousand people die every hour. That is why the psalms remind us to number our days and recognize how few they are (see Psalm 90:12, 144:4).

We must never sit back and think we are secure. New threats to our spiritual life constantly arise, and it is important that we seek to know God’s will. That will is first of all revealed in Scripture, but the advice of people who love the Lord and love us is also valuable.

In much the same way, men and women of God today see themselves as impervious to some sins. “I’d never cheat on my spouse,” they say. Or, “There’s no way I could ever…” fill in the blank. Yet these same people get caught up in those very sins because they leave them unguarded.

Don’t leave your strengths unguarded.  Keep watch at all times as temptation comes you way. Guard the castle of your heart and you’ll be equipped to fight off every sin.


Raj Kosaraju

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