Sunday, November 23, 2014

Divine Warning: You Will Be Hated!

   Warning! Objects in mirror are closer than they appear! Warning: the Surgeon General has determined cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health! Warning! Warning! Danger! Danger! Everyone, it seems, is warning us about something. I have a smoke detector that goes off any time I make toast! I just get annoyed with it and turn it off. It's practically human nature to ignore warnings; in fact that's how Adam & Eve screwed things up in the first place.
   Well, Jesus gave His followers some warnings, too, and we would do well to listen to what He's said, and not shut Him off like some noisy smoke detector. "And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake..." Jesus told us in Matthew 10:22. Why? Because we tell them their gods AIN'T God, their ethics AIN'T righteous, their way AIN'T the way, and, BTW, they're going to Hell when they die. Pretty sure it's that last part that bugs them the most.
   Now, these people: your family, friends, classmates, co-workers; they're gonna play a little game, and say, like the Doobie Brothers, "Jesus is all right with me." See, you da problem; you're the jerk, the hypocrite, the legalist, the narrow-minded bigot, the homophobic self-righteous, pontificating, judgemental hater.  It isn't Jesus they have a problem with, it's you.
   But Christ said, "If the world hate you,  you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:18-19) Like everything else the Bible says, they're going to turn this upside down and say it's not Jesus they hate, just you. After all, they'll say, Jesus never called their habit a sin, nor said their sin of choice was evil, nor called their deeds wicked. (as if they know what He said from reading the Bible perfunctorily once or twice.)
   The Apostle Peter wrote, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when Hs glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye..." 1 Peter 4:12-14
    If I may so say, we've had things relatively easy in this country up 'til now; we haven't seen hatred like we're going to see! As the darkness spreads and deepens more and more, their hatred for us will grow even as their love for Lucifer grows. The Duck Dynasty brothers, for example,  took flack for statements they made against homosexuality; we should expect more of the same if we want to live for Christ.
"For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Hebrews 12: 3-4 "Not yet"? Means one day it will cost us some blood! Be prepared.
   Brothers and sisters, let us take seriously the warnings of Jesus. He's not a bubble-headed booby.

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