Devotional - A Pausable Moment In Oklahoma

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, May 21, 2013.

  1. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.But do this in a gentle and respectful way.Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. – 1Peter 3: 15-18 (NLT)

    This world is dying. It is passing away day by day. We hear the groans of the planet but we explain them away as random. We soften the truth by blaming a fictitious “mother nature.” Even worse, the world refers to disasters such as the Oklahoma tornado as an “act of God.” Over 50 people reported as dead already with many more expected as towns start to dig out from the rubble brought on by a tornado that measured two miles wide. The calls for prayer and humanitarian aid have been made and pray and give we must as believers. But this is also a pausable moment. That is, a moment when people might pause long enough to consider their own mortality. A time when the singing and dancing as in the days of Noah momentarily ceases. A time to teach again about God and about heaven and hell. A time to teach again about sin and repentance. A time to lead people to the cross of Calvary.

    God led me to the key verses today because of the portion that tells us to be ready to explain our Christian hope. A very well known verse; I also included the surrounding context because it all applies to what God is saying to us as the church today, in light of the Oklahoma tragedy. The first message for us today is that we must worship Christ as Lord of our lives. Sounds simple enough but the reality is that a great portion of the new church does not celebrate Jesus as Lord anymore. It is not preached because it is not deemed “seeker friendly.” It is not deemed seeker friendly because who wants to hear that we have to give ourselves over to God? Who wants to hear that He is sovereign in our lives? Who wants to hear that they must become slaves?

    When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6: 20-23 (NLT)

    Of course what people do not realize is they already are a slave – a slave to sin. What they do not realize is that if they were to die in that sin that there would be serious eternal repercussions. Hell is not a fairy tale beloved. I know that it is not preached about anymore but denial will not remove the reality of hell. Whatever needs someone in the world might have they all pale in comparison and are secondary to their separation from God. Because as the tornado yesterday showed us again – this life is but a glimmer. It is a vapor that is here today and gone before we can blink. But what happens after is of eternal value. Why must we worship Christ as Lord? Because if we are not then we ourselves are not saved.

    If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10: 9 (NLT)

    New age Christians may cringe but Scripture is Scripture. It does not say that if you confess Christ as your friend you will be saved. Jesus as your buddy won’t cut it. God is not in the advisement business beloved. He is in the sovereign rule business. We cannot possibly minister correctly if we ourselves are not saved. It is the 800 pound gorilla in the church no one likes to talk about but false conversions are a reality. Leonard Ravenhill once said that the sinner’s prayer has sent more people to hell than all the bars in America. There is nothing more dangerous than a church that is not spirit led, filled with goats acting like sheep – trying to convince others to join their club and promising heaven for the price of membership. Realize, sincerity is irrelevant before God.

    “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! – Matthew 6: 22-23 (NLT)

    When we convince ourselves that our darkness is actually light – wow is that a dangerous place to be. Jesus Christ must be Lord of our lives before we can do anything else. Secondly from the key verses is the popular portion which teaches us that we must be prepared to explain our Christian hope. Note however that we are not compelled to explain our theology. We are not being asked to explain why we are right. Witnessing is not a time for scholarly exposition of Scripture. Why - because it is all still foolishness to them that are perishing:

    When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. – 1Corinthians 2: 13-15 (NLT)

    Trying to have a spiritual conversation with someone without the Spirit of God will only end in frustration. Remember, they firmly believe what they believe, even atheists. It takes much greater faith to be an atheist! To deny creation all around you? To assign it all away as a random event? How sad. So how do we engage the lost in a conversation about our hope without theology? Talk about what God has done for you! That is what people will relate to beloved. There will be plenty of time for theology later. Take them to the cross – take them to the cross.

    But do so gently and respectfully the key verses warn us. How well does God know our nature? The Bible is a two edged sword, not a blunt instrument. We are not supposed to slap someone upside the head with the Gospel. That is one sure way you can know that the Westboro Baptist crew are not operating at the direction of God. Picketing funerals of soldiers is not spreading the Gospel. There has to be love in the Christ we preach if there is Christ in us. I know well intended Christians who insist on wrapping Jesus up in barbed wire. Sure you may share Christ like that but you are going to cut to pieces the very person you are trying to lead to the cross. It doesn’t work that way. Just like you cannot sugar coat everything; you cannot dress Jesus up in military fatigues. Keep your conscience clean beloved!

    The key verses continue by revealing a key principle we often overlook and forget as Christians. Our life, if it truly belongs to Christ, is supposed to be seen for its goodness. Let me say that again – our lives are supposed to be seen as goodness because we belong to Jesus. If you put a Jesus fish on your car then you have given up your privilege to road rage. You can’t be cutting people off or be yelling at someone who cuts you off. If you are going to walk around the office with Jesus on your sleeve – He better be in everything you say and do because people will be watching. Why did Potiphar promote Joseph?

    The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. – Genesis 39: 2-4 (NLT)

    While the things of God are foolishness to those who are perishing, they still can see of someone has favor. They still can see if someone is true or a hypocrite. The number one reason why people do not go to church is that they feel everyone in church are hypocrites. I have seen some of the most reprehensible behavior from Christians towards the unsaved. You will not win hearts and minds with judgment and cruelty. So often in the church we get judgment all wrong. We see people constantly misuse Matthew 7 – “judge not lest ye be judged!” That section is actually teaching us about hypocrisy – not judgment. It didn’t say to take the plank out of your own eye and go home:

    Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. – Matthew 7: 5 (NLT)

    So what does the Bible instruct us about judgment? What Scripture reveals is that we often get it completely backwards:

    It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”– 1Corinthians 5: 12-13 (NLT)

    Instead we see the modern church berating the unsaved and placing all the woes of society upon them. Then when a popular pastor falls from grace we hear the cries of judge not! The people in the world are spiritually blind beloved. When they do things that seem against God that is because they cannot see. We hold the salve that could restore their sight and it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ but instead we can be judgmental and mean to them. We are called to suffer for doing good! Turn the other cheek! These were not suggestions but rather commands.

    The key verses conclude by reminding us what it is all about. Why we give our reasons for hope. How we can look at the horrific scenes from Oklahoma and still have faith in our God. Because we know He has already defeated death and is coming back soon for His church. There are many places in the Bible where the Gospel message is reinforced. The key verses conclude with just such a reinforcement:

    Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. – 1Peter 3: 18 (NLT)

    This is the Gospel. it is not as complicated as we make it out to be. Jesus Christ suffered once for our sins. He lived a sinless life but took on our sins to reunite us to God. He was crucified, suffering a physical death but God raised Him on the third day. I reiterate this today in light of Oklahoma. In light of what message they really need to hear. That there is a God who loves them and gave up His only Son to save them.

    This is what it is all about. As the images from Oklahoma continue to unfold and we see the expansion of the disaster, realize that this is a pausable moment for everyone in the world, not just those in Oklahoma. The drinking and dancing will stop long enough to allow us to give our reason for hope in Jesus Christ. We have seen more and more of these pausable moments recently as the birth pains Jesus warned us about are coming closer and closer together. The world will not connect those dots so easily. From an Elementary School in Connecticut to a dungeon basement in Cleveland. From an earthquake in Japan to a massive tornado in Oklahoma. Jesus is coming back soon and we need to be about His business when He comes. His business is the Gospel and we are His ambassadors. We pray for the victims. We give aid for the survivors. We preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – May 21, 2013
    Veronica W. and Rusty say Amen and like this.
  2. Yup...Lotsa meat here!

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