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Jesus is Here!

6th Sunday of Easter

Jesus is Here!

1. With his rebuke
2. With his riches
3. With his reward

Text: Revelation 3:14-22

Intro

I always know when trouble is happening.  All parents know when something is going down in the house.  What’s the telltale sign?  It’s quiet.  Too quiet.  Normally the kids are loud or rowdy or pretending they are Batman or Dora.  But suddenly you realize it is abnormally quiet.  Too quiet.

“Gwendolyn, what are you doing?”  “Nuffin’.”  “Gwendolyn, what are you doing in there?”  “Nuffin.’”  “Gwendolyn, tell me what’s going on!”  “Don’t worry about it!”  (That is an actual conversation that has taken place far too many times lately.)  Those are the times that the parent walks into a room and sees every drawer pulled out of every dresser and every piece of clothing piled up in a fort, or all of mommy’s makeup on the child’s face and on the floor.

The same things happen in schools.  The teacher turns the back for one second and things start flying through the air.  A teacher steps out for one second to discipline a studen and all the others think it’s party time.  The teacher is correcting papers at the desk and the students think there is no way they will be caught passing a note, or these days, sneaking off a couple text messages.  Then the teacher turns to look and suddenly everyone sits up straight and holds up a book—as if that isn’t completely obvious!

It’s amazing what kids think they can get away with.  It’s as if they think they are above the law or immune to punishment.  It’s as if they think they are untouchable.  It’s as if they think they will never get caught and no one will ever know.  But we parents, we teachers, have eyes in the back of our heads.  We see everything.  We know everything.  We will always find out the truth.  We will always catch them.  They will never get away with anything! Read the rest of this entry

Yes It is My “Business”

The doorbell rang. Of course! Right when I’m in the middle of something!

I went to the door, looked through the stained glass, and knew immediately who it was. I could tell by the mid-length floral dresses. It was the Jehovah’s Witnesses–again.

I opened the door and they began their regular and rehearsed routine. But I cut right to the chase. “Thank you very much, but I don’t need information from anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is truly God.” They had the look in their eyes like they knew they were in for an up-hill battle.

The two ladies at the door couldn’t answer many of my points from Scripture about Jesus being true God and our true Savior who gives eternal life in heaven to all who believe (not just 144,000). They needed to bring in the cavalry for reinforcements.

I shared more truths from Scripture, but they simply wouldn’t listen. Finally, I made one last-ditch effort to wake them from spiritual slumber. They needed a huge wakeup call from the full force of God’s Law.

I smiled and calmly stated, “My name is Phil. I want you to remember that. I want you to remember so that on the Last Day when Jesus comes and you find out you were wrong, you will know that at least one person tried to tell you and warn you.”

Recently I have been writing about a particular topic–homosexuality. In a broader spectrum I have actually been writing about unrepentant sin of every kind–sinning against God without care, sorrow, or regret. The last two days these posts have been a hotbed of discussion and opinions. One of the more common things I have heard from people is this:

“It’s none of your business.”

“It’s none of your business what other people do. It’s none of your business what people do in the privacy of their own homes. It’s none of your business because it doesn’t affect you.”

But don’t get me wrong, I haven’t only heard this from people living the homosexual lifestyle or in favor of homosexuality. I hear this from the church prospect whose living situation isn’t pleasing to the Lord. I hear this from prescription pill addict who won’t admit he has a problem and is in danger of going to prison. I hear this all the time from many, many people. They all say the same thing:

“It’s none of your business.”

But listen to what the Lord said to the prophet Ezekiel 33:7-11:

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of  them. How then can we live?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

It was Ezekiel’s job, his commission, his mission, and his ministry to be a watchman for the people of Israel. Just as a city watchman would stand on the city walls and warn of impending danger, so Ezekiel’s job was to warn the people of Israel about the danger of their sins.

Amazingly, the Lord even told Ezekiel that if Israel did not repent of their sins and Ezekiel had not warned them, then he would share in the guilt and responsibility of their sins!

Ezekiel was to be a mouthpiece for the Lord. Why? Because the Lord does not desire that people go to hell. The Lord wants people to turn from their sin and evil ways, to repent, to be forgiven, and to be in heaven. That’s what the Lord wants, and that’s what the Lord wants us to tell others.

Imagine you are at the Grand Canyon. What a beautiful sight! But suddenly, to your horror, you see a blind person walking around the rim of the canyon. The person is using a cane, so he has some awareness of the danger. But he chooses to walk in danger anyways.

It gets worse! Terribly worse!

You see that blind person walking toward the edge. Slowly but surely he nears that edge. Then, sadly, he even walks off and falls to his peril.

You stood by and watched the whole thing take place. But you didn’t say anything. Why? Because it was “none of your business.”

Was it really loving of you to “mind your own business”? Would you not say that though that blind person brought on his own death, you also shared in culpability because you said nothing?

That’s exactly what God told Ezekiel, and that’s exactly what God tells his people today. We are his watchmen. It is absolutely, completely, definitely our business what other people do because it our  job, our commission, our mission, and our ministry to speak the Word of God to others.

No, we are not to stand in judgment of others. That’s for God to do. No, we are not to look down our noses at others as if we have never sinned and we are so much better. That’s neither realistic nor loving.

But rather we are supposed to be God’s watchmen carefully, clearly, and lovingly proclaiming the truth. Listen to the apostle Peter:

15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

God wants us to be prepared to speak his truth, to be his mouthpiece, to be his watchmen. Yet–so importantly–he tells us to do so with gentleness and respect. It is in love for the eternal salvation of those living in sin that we proclaim God’s message: “Turn! Turn from your evil ways!” (After we preach the message to ourselves first!)

Many have told me before, “It’s none of your business.” Well actually, yes it is. God has charged me as both Christian and  pastor to be a watchman and to proclaim his truth with gentleness, respect, and love.

And besides, I care! I do not want to see people walk off the edge of the cliff!

So, fellow Christians, stand your watch. Care. Love. Proclaim God’s truth.

It is your business.

Speaking the Truth in Love to Homosexuals, Muslims, Mormons, and More

About two weeks ago I reacted in a blog post to some recent comments by Kirk Cameron about homosexuality and gay marriage. I also took the opportunity to share a biblical perspective and my own beliefs about the same topics.

In that post there were two main points that I made:

  1. The Bible reveals that all homosexuality is a sin in God’s sight.
  2. Christians who believe such are entitled to that free opinion just as much as those who are pro-homosexuality or gay themselves.

I anticipated that post getting a few extra views than our normal web traffic would bring. I didn’t quite anticipate that it would be the busiest day in the history of our church’s blog. Nor did I fully anticipate all the reactions and replies it would bring. Read the rest of this entry

About Kirk Cameron, Homosexuality, and Gay Marriage

Now the newest celebrity in the media crosshairs is Kirk Cameron. The former teen star of the hit sitcom Growing Pains, star of the popular Left Behind movies, and current Christian activist made waves last week while on Piers Morgan Tonight. (You can watch the video here)

Piers Morgan cornered Cameron with some difficult questions about social issues:  “What is your view of gay marriage?” “Would you tell [your children] that gay marriage is a sin?” Of course, asking anyone for answers to those questions is bound to divide thousands. Those who are pro-homosexuality and gay marriage will find opposition from many people, and those who believe those things are wrong or sinful will find strong opposition as well. This has been a “hot topic” in America for a while now, but with an election around the corner, things are only heating up. Read the rest of this entry