Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whatever Happened to Eternal Life?

In hope of eternal life, which God, That cannot lie, promised before the world began;   Titus 1:2

   When was the last time anyone spoke to you of eternal life?
   At one time it was the main focus of the Church and the heart of the Gospel. But now the Church has a new message, that, hey,  let's make life comfortable in the here & now. So now it's prosperity seminars, marriage conferences, Men's movements, and youth camps. Others seek to unlock prophecy and explain how today's headlines fulfill Scripture. Some focus only on this evil world system, and exposing all their evil deeds.
   Now I'm not saying these things aren't good or necessary (and of course each servant of Christ must minister the things God has called him to!), but why aren't we telling the world "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" ?
   We are told in the Gospel of Matthew that a fellow came to Jesus and asked, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"  It seems at one time the guy on the street was interested in obtaining eternal life; why not now? In our culture, there are several schools of thought on post-mortem existence. 
   Some believe there is no life past death, but once your brain shuts down for good, you're mind shuts down as well: there is only oblivion. Others hold to the notion that your soul or spirit dwells here on earth among your loved ones. Many believe in reincarnation, endless cycles of life and death. Finally there are those who suppose that all mankind, good or evil, ascend to heaven and are welcomed into the presence of God equally.
   But God, Who cannot lie, promised eternal life to those who believe in the foolishness of preaching; the preaching that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures. If there is no life beyond the grave, then God lied. Or if everybody gets eternal life, then why did He promise it? Why promise me what's mine already?
   But the Bible makes it clear, that there is not only eternal life for some, but eternal death for many others, saying in Daniel, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."  Now I've heard it said by many that "a loving God would never send anyone to Hell".  Well, neither would He force those who hate Him to hang around with Him forever.  And He certainly wouldn't force those who were all their lifetimes abused, exploited, oppressed, and tormented by the ungodly to spend the rest of eternity among them!
   It may not be fashionable these days to talk about Hell as a real place, but the spirits of those who lived wickedly will be condemned and punished. The prevailing theory or feeling in our culture now is that there are many paths to God.  Well, whatever path we take, we are all going to stand before His throne to be judged of Him. If ya wanna go there.
   But who thinks they're good enough? Do you??? I sure ain't! And no matter which path you trod, your feet are still too dirty to enter His presence.
   Hello! God, Who cannot lie, promised eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die."  (John 11:25-26)
   Remember the dude with the rainbow wig at the football games holding up a sign about JOHN 3:16? He made a fool of himself to get out this message of eternal life, that  God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
That's God's promise, and it's open to anybody and everybody, but not everyone will accept it. Will you?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Pick a Side??

   Pick a side! We are constantly encouraged by the media,the establishment, the press, and social media to align ourselves with one side or the other! Left Twix or right Twix? (like there's a difference.) Batman or Superman? NFC or AFC? Iron Man  or Captain America? Pick a side! Bernie or Hillary? OOOPS! Trump or Hillary? Black or white? Gay or straight? Cops or protestors? Werewolves or vampires? Cats or dogs? Gun control or gun rights? Oh, you've got to pick a side! There's no room for neutrality these days.
   So why must we divide over such things? Who benefits? Whether Batman wins, or Superman wins, DC wins. And whether Cap wins or Iron Man wins, Marvel wins. Whether AFC or NFC, the NFL wins. And whether the Yankees or Red Sox win, MLB wins. So, the red pill or the blue one? Like Twix, is it really a choice at all?  Seems like whoever sets up the rivalries is the real winner, doesn't it?
   Now I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't have favorites; that's just human nature. But more and more, we're being urged to draw a line in the sand and choose one side or the other. They all talk about unity, but sell polarization.
   Well, throughout the ages, God also demands man to pick a side. Moses challenged his people, "I call Heaven and earth to record  this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."  Deuteronomy 30:19. Also before his death, Joshua enjoined the Israelites, "...choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers servedt hat were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15.
   Jump ahead to the days of the divided kingdom, as Elijah confronts the false prophets of Jezebel, he reminds the people it's time to pick a side: "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him." 1 Kings 18:21.
Christ Himself insisted there is no middle ground between the love of money and the love of God, saying, "No man can have two masters; for either he will hate the one,and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24
   The Apostle Paul put it in black & white when he wrote to the Church at Corinth, "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God; and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?Are we stronger than he?"  1 Corinthians 10:20-22
   Bob Dylan echoed, " you're gonna have to serve someone. It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you're gonna hafta serve someone." Why must we choose? Because by not choosing, you've already chosen. There is a default. If you don't deliberately choose God, you implicitly choose the devil. We're already on the Highway to Hell, and that's where we'll stay unless we choose to take the next exit!
   I mean, do you have to teach a child to lie, or to tell the truth? He'll lie all on his own! Do you have to teach him to bite other kids and pull their hair, or must you teach him not to? He can do bad all by himself! Need you teach him to hoard his toys or to share them?  Must you teach him to steal, or to respect others' property? Sin is in our DNA!
   Some will say, "I don't want God or the Devil". Nice try.  But Christ declared, "He that is not  with Me is against Me."  Those are your choices. Concerning Jesus Christ, the Gospel of John says, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him,  to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
   There is the kingdom of darkness, and the kingdom of light. Pick a side.