Monday, September 12, 2011

September 13, 2011

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”  Luke 13:1-5

The story is told of a shoplifter who writes to a department store and says, "I’ve just become a Christian, and I can’t sleep at night because I feel guilty. So here’s $100 that I owe you."Jesus was the finest teacher who ever lived. In the passage that we read this morning, He seems to clip two tragic stories from the local Jerusalem newspaper to drive home an important truth that we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

"Then he signs his name, and in a little postscript at the bottom he adds, "If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send you the rest."
Obviously, this fellow did not understand about repentance. Unfortunately there is much ignorance about what repenance means and how important it is. That is why I will be spending several days emphasizing this vital spiritual concept.

Now no other historian but Luke records the two events Jesus alluded to. Josephus the great Jewish historian does not mention them.

Let us begin with the temple calamity. This would have been headlines in the Jerusalem Gazette. It is very likely that this event took place during the Passover, and these Galilean Jews had come down to offer their sacrifices. Apparently Pilate sends his soldiers to find some Galileans and slaughters them while they are offering sacrifices. We don’t know any of the details. But there they were, offering their sacrifices. Pilate comes, not personally, but his soldiers and finds them there and slices them up so that in a very gruesome way, a gory way, it describes their blood as being mingled with the blood of the sacrifices.

This raises the question about this calamity. These people aren’t pagan; they’re worshiping, they’re doing what the Old Testament says. They’re worshiping God, they’re confessing their sins, they’re bringing their offering. How can such a bad thing happen to good people?

And so in verse 2 Jesus responds to the intention of their bringing this incidnet up. “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things?” Jesus calls their conventional theology into question. Now do you think that the reason this happened to them was because they are the greatest sinners in Galilee? Is that what you think? Do you suppose that?

Jesus said in response, “Nay.” The Galileans who were slaughtered by Pilate were not greater sinners than others.

Let’s go to the second issue before we come back to the second half of verse 3. The first was the temple calamity. The

second is the tower calamity.

Jesus brings up another issue from the front page. “Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?” Jesus again says “Nay.”

Now let’s come to the third point, the temple calamity, the tower calamity, the true calamity. The true calamity, go back to verse 3, “Except ye repent , ye shall all likewise perish.” Verse 5, “Except ye repent , ye shall all likewise perish.” That’s the true calamity.

The real calamity is not that you were killed in the temple or that the tower fell on you or that you died by any other means. The real calamity is that if you don’t repent, when death comes you will perish.

True calamity is that you die and experience the judgment of God because you have not repented.

The issue is not how people die or when they die or by what cause they die. The issue is that they die without repenting.

Jesus is saying, “Look, don’t assume anything. You’re going to likewise perish except you repent.”

"Man is born with his back toward God. When he truly repents, he turns right around and faces God. Repentance is a change of mind."


Have you turned from your sins and turned to God? That's repentance!

September 12, 2011

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!"  Philippians 1:20-22

One final thought on the 9-11 commemoration that is worth noting and has challenged me.

It doesn't take a lot of people to change the world but it does take committed people.

There were just 19 young men who were so committed to their beliefs that they were willing to die for them who brought down those towers and changed life in American for generations. Were they misguided? Certainly. Did they do evil? Absolutely!

One reason Islam is spreading and Christianity is losing influence is tragically illustrated by these terrorist. While many Christians won't get out of bed to show up for church or are afraid to risk ridicule for taking a stand on their prinicples, these guys gave up their lives. They were dead wrong but they loved their faith more than their lives.

If you have one faith that is more committed than another which do you think will win? Which one will gain more influence?

The Apostle Paul here states that he is willing to die for his faith. In fact, as he penned these words, dying looked as good as continuing to live under the constant persecution he faced. But, whether he lived or whether he died he was absolutely committed to live what he believed. He understood that anything not worth dying for is not worth living for. Christ is!

On young man Who died 2,000 years ago changed the world eternally. He believed you were worth dying for. All of the apostles died for their faith and knew it was worth it!

It won't take a lot of people to turn our world back to Christ, but it will take completely committed people!  The 9-11 commemoration was a reminded that evil is dead serious about ruling the world. Christians cannot be causal and win the day.

Are you willing to die for Christ? Then demonstrate it by living for Him today.