2010-12-17 - The Question and Answer for Our Times
Part 2 ~ Originally Preached 2004-07-14
Again my mind thinks of the terrorists and the war in Iraq. The Muslims tracing their ancestry back to Abraham and to Ishmael have been around as long as the Jews going back to Isaac. In fact, Ishmael was born first though he was not the child of Sarah.
OK, really listen. Hear this. Too often we read the Bible and its some old familiar book and we don't really hear it. We don't really listen. God knows that so he says here. "Hey you. Yes, you!!! I'm talking to you! Listen up!"
We don't care about the past. Who cares anymore what the early church taught we just have to know what we are taught now. It doesn't matter what the early church fathers said and taught unless it happens to agree with what our pastors are teaching now. Who cares why we believe this and that? Our motto is, "The preacher said it, I believe it, and that settles it?" Where are the Bereans among us today who will search out the past to verify what is said from the pulpits each week? But no one seems to care about the Jewish customs and traditions of Jesus day? We want God's word to be relevant to us but instead we should seek to be relevant to it. And we don't care about the future either.
If I were to ask who's ready for the Lord to come back I'm sure we'd almost all raise our hands. Fact is though I'm not ready - I know there's some lost people still out there - some that I'm possibly personally responsible for. That scares me. That challenges me. It should motivate me. I don't want their blood on my hands. 2 Peter 3:11-12 (NLT) tells us "Since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives you should be living! You should look forward to that day and hurry it along--the day when God will set the heavens on fire and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world where everyone is right with God." Our society has adopted a "Whats in it for me" attitude. Wonder what would have happened if God were the originator of that concept. "Man sinned. Well I could save them but whats in it for me? Truly loving, truly righteous, truly right living people arent like that."
We don't get the blessings of God because we settle for our little sins. When I say blessings, I'm not talking about money or the junk it buys I'm talking about the peace, the restful solace, in his arms when we are doing what he wants us to do - when we are truly living like Jesus. When someone cuts you off tomorrow on the way in to work, forgive them. Forgive them even if you had to slam on your brakes. And pray for them. If someone needs to merge in, let them. Slow down. Be nice. You'd be amazed at how much it can help your day. Undeserved acts of kindness and forgiveness emanating from a Christ-like spirit - that's where you'll find his blessings, not in the lottery, not even in the walls of the local church but in your day to day life. That's where you live your life - that's where the abundant life comes in. Day to day. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 (KJV), "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Life right here, right now day by day.
He speaks of greedy empty people, corrupt politicians, liberal judges... need I say more?
Prophets aren't simply future tellers they're delivery people for God so here the passage is talking about people with false messages. In countless churches on countless Sunday mornings people get a watered down gospel to tickle their ears like Paul talks about over in 2 Timothy and people eat it up. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 KJV)
We will continue to explore this scripture next time. Until then ...
All verses are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified.