Sunday, November 16, 2014

Divine Warning, part 1

   We live in an age of alarm. Global warming, Y2K, 2012, the Right Wing Conservatives are taking over, the Left Wing Liberals are taking over, this causes cancer, that causes cancer, Ebola, H1N1, ISIS, on and on and on.Every day Dr. Oz says something else is bad for you. We hear so many warnings we stop listening after a while.
   Well Jesus gave some warnings, too. The time is come to pay attention and give heed to the warnings the Son of God gave us. As one playwright put it, "A lion may speak if many asses do."  The warnings of Jesus are of three kinds:

  • Precautions to would-be converts that there is a price to pay for following the Lord, and He requires nothing less than 100% commitment;
  • Assurance to His followers that when we stray, He will send chastisement to correct our course;
  • Solemn warnings to those who turn back from Him of severe consequences in this life and in that to come!
    Jesus told His audience to count the cost of discipleship before joining up! He told us, " the world you shall have tribulation" and that if they hated Him, they'll hate you also. On the one hand, if we obey Christ and walk close to Him, the world will hate us and try to make our lives miserable (because we make them look bad). On the other hand, when we disobey, the Lord Himself will punish us because He loves us.
   "Great!", you say, "either way we suffer, so what's the difference?" The apostle Peter says it's better to suffer for well-doing (like the 90-year old pastor feeding the homeless) than for evil-doing. There are rewards for obedience! In fact, Christ assures us that whatever we lose on His account, He will give us back a hundred times over. (Matthew 19:29 & Mark 10:29-30) Don't worry, I'm not getting all Prosperity Gospel on you, for the things Jesus speaks of here are not of financial value, but of sentimental value: your family, friends, homeland, loved ones: stuff you can't put a price tag on! Oh, and btw, something comes with that hundredfold return: persecutions.
   I tell you emphatically that Jesus says what He means and means what He says. And He has this annoying habit of being right all the time. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:" 2 Peter 1:19
   We will look more closely at the warnings Christ gives His church. That's not just jib-jab, fear-mongering, nor sensationalism. It's words to live by. Peace. FTGF!

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