Archive for August, 2011
Often times when I am gone from the house Kay will call and say emphatically, “Where are you?” By this question she is showing her concern for why I am later getting home than maybe I should. The same question was asked by God in Genesis 3:9 shortly after Adam and Eve had disobeyed the command of God. One of our greatest needs is to realize where we are. Looking into the Bible will tell us where we have been, where we are and where we are headed. By looking at the states in which other have lived, it will help us determine where we are and what we need to do if we are heading in the wrong direction.
Adam was in hiding at the time God asked the question. He was hiding due to the fact that he was aware of his guilt. Notice the answer Adam gave to God’s question from Genesis 3:10, “I heard your voice in the garden and was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself”. We must remember that we can never hide from God. Proverbs 15:3 say the eyes of the Lord are in everyplace. Psalm 139:12 says that the light and the darkness are both alike to God.
Jonah was fleeing from God when the question was asked. God had instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach that the city would be destroyed if they did not repent. Instead of going and following God’s instructions Jonah chose to run the other direction. Jonah learned a valuable lesson about God in the following days, God also goes to sea. We learn no matter what direction we run in, God runs right behind us. When Jonah was converted he then went to Nineveh and converted the residents. The message of Jonah was singled out by Christ as some of the most powerful preaching on record.
The rich young ruler was walking away in disobedience when he was asked the question. We know that he asked a very important question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered the question for him, but it was not the answer he had hoped for. True obedience brings forth joy and contentment. Many today want to know the answer to the same question, but the really only want to know if the Lord agrees with them. Matthew 7:21 states that not everyone who says, Lord, Lord shall enter in, but those who do the will of the father.
The church at Laodicea were asked the question as the were serving the Lord half heartedly. John says they were walking around in lukewarmness. Simply stated they were religious, a little for the Lord and a little for the devil. Lukewarm Christians possibly are the majority of those in the church. Many want to walk in the way of the world most days and be religious on Sunday. The words of Jesus ought to be a sufficient warning against lukewarmness, If you are neither cold or hot, you will be spewed from His mouth.
Simon the sorcerer was walking in delinquency when he was asked the question. Here was a man who had obeyed the Gospel, yet had chosen to go back to the way of the world. Acts 8:13-24 relates his fate to us. He was instructed to repent of the wicked desire and to pray to God. He understood where he was and listened to the words of Peter and repented and asked them to pray for him.
Paul answered the question as he was magnifying Christ in his body. Paul throughout his life after becoming a Christian was faced with many trials. We know of his thorn in the flesh. Yet Paul counted all things for loss in order that he might obtain the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:21-24 reveals Paul philosophy for life. To die is gain, to live is needful for those he loved on earth. The gain is life eternal with God and need to live is so that we can use our bodies in service to God by spreading the message of the Gospel.
The bottom line for us is where we are now will determine our eternal destiny. This point is well illustrated in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. While on earth the rich man had more blessing than he could use. The role was reversed in judgment when Lazarus was blessed beyond measure. We are all in one of four states in life this very moment. We are innocent or unaccountable. We could be an alien sinner, one who has reached the state where we will be accountable for our actions and are walking the course of the world. We could be like Paul, a faithful Christian, walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Sadly there are many who have become a faithful Christian, yet they have chosen to backslide back into the ways of the world.
If Jesus were to return today and ask you the question, “Where are You?”, How would you respond?
So blessed yesterday to have an opportunity to hear Doug Crouse speak at South Jackson. The men here give other men in the congregation opportunity to speak in months which have a fifth Sunday. We are blessed to have 5 or 6 men who capably fill the pulpit on these occasions.
As I sat and listened to Doug’s sermon last night about Troublemakers in the Church I realized what he was saying is actually true. As he defined the needed troublemaker, one who is like Paul and his traveling companions, I realized he was describing what a personal worker should be today.
Doug had 3 ingredients to being a troublemaker. These 3 things seem to be missing in so many cases today.
First, one must be a person of integrity. I see that as a person who not only speaks the truth, but the truth spoken is exemplified in the manner of that individual’s life. Many times we have people say, “Do as I say, not as I do”. Many today do not live the life that shows and exemplifies they belong to Christ.
Secondly, one must be a person of intensity. I see that person as a person who stays true to the truth no matter how hot the heat gets. They are a person who has a deep rooted faith in the mission that is at hand. This is a person who is not willing to compromise his belief. God’s plan for salvation is not open to intepretation, it never changes. Many today say God’s plan changes as often as the seasons.
Thirdly, one must be a person of involvement. I see this person as a person who is willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty following the instuctions given. This person is one who not only offers a plan of action, but is willing to help fulil the plan set forth. in the church today there are many who have all the answers, but are never willing to help solve the problems.
We, as God’s children need to be as Jesus was, one who changes the course of the world. If there are enough of us willing to be a troublemaker, then we can be successful in ensuring the borders of the Church are spread.
Just my thoughts on a Monday afternoon.