“9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” – Isa 30:9-11
It’s amazing how we’ll look at Israel and wonder why they did the things they did when the reality is that we’re repeating the exact same things!
I was talking to a few people this year about approaching a non-Believer. I noticed I got a whole lot of “amens” and support when I mentioned telling someone about all the things I liked about that person, how much I cared, and how wonderful that person is. No one had any objections or reservations about encouraging me to say something burdened in my heart to say from God. When I mentioned that same burden to approach a non-Believer and warning someone about the wrath to come if repentance is not made, I got a lot of hesitation, questions of judgment, and raised eyebrows.
I also noticed that people have no problem with strangers, old friends, distant relatives, or anyone coming up to them and telling them that God is going to heal them, increase their wealth, save a loved one, or promote them. Everyone is willing to “receive that prophecy.” However, if those same people are approached and told they need to set their house in order because they will not recover from a sickness, a secret sin has been revealed to them, they are idolatrous, or that they need to repent quickly because God will not continue to be mocked, they are “rebuked,” told they don’t know what they’re talking about, or labeled crazy. The odd thing is that urgency for repentance and holy living used to be the norm preached. Now, it’s about how God can benefit the sinner.
Between today’s Christianity message and those given from the Bible, which one is likely to convict a person and move a person to listen to the Holy Ghost to be converted?
|AMERICAN CHRISTIAN MESSAGES||GOD’S MESSAGES FROM THE BIBLE
|Try Jesus!||Repent and be converted!|
|God loves you just the way you are.||You must be born again.|
|Jesus wants you to be rich.||Lay up your treasures in Heaven.|
|God knows you sin. We’re not perfect.||God hates sin. Be ye perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect.|
|We’re all God’s children.||Ye are of your father the devil.|
|You’re a good person.||There is none good. No not one.|
|Being a Christian is easy.||You will have trials, tribulations, & persecutions.|
|Most people are Christians.||Few will find the narrow path.|
|We need to be tolerant to reach the lost.||Friendship with the world is enmity with God.|
|God doesn’t mind if you still do what you did before.||Come out and be separate.|
|Don’t let anyone make you question if you’re saved after you repeat this prayer.||Examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith.|
|God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!||Unless you believe Jesus is Who He says and the Gospel, you will die in your sins and suffer in hell for all eternity.|
We get to hear these messages of love all day every day on television, and we have the benefit of reading the recorded sermons of those that delivered God’s Words throughout the Scriptures. Let’s peek in on some.
The only message we hear Stephen deliver:
“51 Ye STIFFNECKED and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
[This actually begins back in chapter 6 where Stephen was full of the Holy Ghost and disputed with the people in the synagogue. They had no reasoned responses nor justifiable answers to what he said, so they did what all tolerant people do when people give them the Word of God – they became hateful, started name-calling and lying on him, and stirred others to begin hating Stephen, too. What does Stephen do? He did the opposite of our televangelists that have attended expensive leadership/pasturing conferences. He gave them a run-down of God’s promise and covenant going back to Abraham and tells them exactly how God sees them – rebellious and hard-hearted.]
54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” – Acts 7:51-60
– When God’s Word, a two-edged sword, is sent out, hearers do one of two things – they are convicted and repentant, or the people reject God’s Word and display an intense, volatile hatred to God and the messenger.
Let’s look at a snippet of Peter’s first message:
“22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” – Acts 2:22-24
“36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” – Acts 2:36-41
– Peter did not hesitate to let them know the personal offense they did to God by contributing to the death of Jesus Christ. By making is personal, they immediately recognized their sin and need for salvation from God’s wrath.
What loving message did John the Baptist give?
“7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
[Wwwooooowww, John the Baptist starts off with an “insult.” Is it an insult as much as it is the truth? He said their lineage was not going to save them from hell.]
10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? 11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. 12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? 13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. 14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
[When a message is given honestly, then people can ask the right questions to find out how to get in line with God.]
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. 18 And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people. 19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.” – Luke 3:7-20
– This is hell fire and brimstone preaching. No “wonderful plan.” Just that we’d better straighten up.
What about “dear, sweet, baby Jesus”?
The Sermon on the Mount was not a love chapter or a teaching with some “good ideas.” Did people applaud wildly afterward? No. Jesus had just finished describing judgment and the eternal consequences of those who do not do the will of the Father.
“28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” – Matt 7:28-29
– Thud. Silence. “Shock…&…Awe.”
The truth is the Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel. The Gospel is offensive, but it’s the power unto salvation. If we love people the way we say we do, then we will make deliberate efforts not to downplay the reality of hell, not to sugarcoat God’s wrath, and not to bury or make excuses for God’s punishment for disobedience. We are to fear God – not man – because God is the One that has the power to kill both body and soul in hell. We are responsible for confronting sin and stopping sinners to get their attention to let them know what lies ahead if they continue on their path. It IS a life or death matter!!
“8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. 10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. 11 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.” – Eze 3:8-11
Hell’s Best Kept Secret & True and False Conversions
(Disclaimer: at the end of “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”, he mentions turning “once & for all” as a first step in salvation. We don’t have to ability within ourselves to stop ourselves from sinning before coming to God. Even as saved Believers, we will sin. The idea is to put faith in Christ that He will keep us and give us the mind and desire to not sin because we love Him and do not want to offend & hurt the One we love by sinning against Him.)