Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why Are We Here?

Every once in a while, it's a good thing to stop and reflect on what the "Main Thing" is. And I think that, at least for me, this is a good time to do just that.

Our world is winding down. Jesus foretold it and we can see the evidences around us, not in any one thing but in all the pieces. The buzzards are gathering. Natural disasters are increasing in number and severity. Wars are ever increasing. The price of food is increasing, even as there is talk of gasoline going up to at least $12 per gallon (which of course will push food prices sky high). There is a great apostasy going on across entire denominations through Emergent, Purpose Driven and New Age, with the ground work being laid for the coming Antichrist . . . and, incidentally, ironically enough, there is talk of Presidential candidate Barak Obama as some kind of "Messiah" (whether or not the world proclaims him as such). You say you can't see it? I'd ask "are you sure you are a Christian or could you simply be self-deceived"?

Do these things bother me? Well, I can only say that you'd have to be numb for things like this to not have some effect on you. In our flesh, we want things to go on pretty much as they have. We want security! Our fallen humanity wants to "play it safe" and be kept "safe and warm"! I'd like nothing more than a nice quiet life where I can work on music projects and do some recording and no doubt, should God allow, I will do some.

But God didn't promise us what we think of as "security". Not at all. He promised us trials and tribulations and, yes, persecution when we are faithful to His Name.

We aren't here for our comfort. We are here to spread the gospel. To proclaim it. We aren't here to debate heretics or atheists. In my years as a believer, I've found that to be perfectly fruitless. And, after a while, you begin to hear the same trash over and over again, just in slightly different terms. All any of it amounts to is rabbit trails and rabbit chases. All it does is serve to get your eyes of the real job at hand and that is to proclaim the gospel and let God draw His own to Himself. Period.

But the Gospel is always relevant. It was relevant in the Garden of Eden when God gave the first hint of the redemption to come and it is relevant now.

So we are to preach the Gospel. We are to announce it to everyone and leave the results to God. We are to present God's law so that the lost can see that they fall short of God's standard. And once they understand themselves to be sinful before a Holy God, then the "cure" (Jesus' death, burial and resurrection) makes sense.

This life is nothing more than a place to make a decision. Just as Adam and Eve had to make a choice, so must we all. Each and every one of us. Will we live by faith? God's word says in Hebrews 11 that "those who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Why? The same verse says that "...without faith it is impossible to please God"! You say you want to please God? Where is your faith? And by faith, I don't mean the "Faith" of so many huckster preachers and evangelists on T.V. such as Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn and others.

"Faith", biblically defined is described as obedience. Choosing to trust God, take Him at His Word and do what He says. Don't believe me? Try reading Hebrews 11. There you will find a whole list of those who believed God and obeyed him. Yes, they were justified by faith alone. But saving faith will manifest itself in obedience!

Did they struggle? No doubt. I'm sure that they all did in one way or another. But in the end, they obeyed God, trusting in His character in the face of what seemed, in human reckoning, to be folly.

What was their Earthly reward? Well, read on in Hebrews 11:

"32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah; also David, and Samuel and the prophets,
33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the strangers.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings; yes, more, of bonds and imprisonments.
37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.
38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains and dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, did not receive the promise,
40 for God had provided some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us."

So, let's reconcile ourselves to two things; First, to obey God's Word. Second, to obey God's Word regardless of personal cost. God never promised us an Earthly reward. He only promised to meet our needs, to sustain us. And in that, we are to be content.

So, for each and every individual on this planet, it is a re-enactment of the Garden of Eden. Each person is told that they can "Eat of the tree of Life" if they will. Most don't. Jesus said that "The gate is narrow and few will find it". Most will, as did Adam and Eve, choose to partake of the forbidden tree, which the devil promises will "make them like God".

And therein lies our mission. To bring the Good News of the Gospel to those who stumble toward death in their ignorance. To help them understand that they can partake of Christ, Who died to pay for their sin so that they may live.

Will we face ridicule? Increasingly. Persecution? God says to bet on it. But while Jesus said "In this world you will have tribulation..." He also said "...but take courage for I have overcome the World". And he also overcame death through his own death and resurrection, didn't he?

So, who are you gonna trust? The world? or Christ? The world is passing away, the Bible says. All the fancy, glitzy things that catch our eyes will one day be blown away as God destroys the current heavens and Earth for the new heavens and Earth which will be forever unstained by the ravages of sin.

So let us count as dung the very things that the world holds dear and cling to Christ in obedience. Do what you can, when you can, to spread the Gospel while there is still time.

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