It’s hard to watch the news as a Christian sometimes.
Another 10 Commandment Monument removed. Atheist victory.
Another law passed to impose the will of LGBT. Gender is what you make it. Bathrooms are multiple choice.
Another ISIS attack. Video posted on YouTube.
Another debate over abortion. And while children are slaughtered in utero, our hearts mourn a gorilla.
We live in a day of rampant immorality, and often Christians can be guilty of going into wrong mindsets:
Despair: “The world is going worse and worse. What are we going to do?! What can turn this ship around?!” Yes, the world is going to get a lot worse before it gets perfectly better – as advertised (John 16:33).
Hatred: Just as we saw (in our 6/5 message) Stephen show grace to the people who were murdering him (Acts 7:60), we, too, must ask God to fill our hearts with love, even for those who hate us. Jesus commanded this (Matthew 5:44)! Yet, too often, our response is hatred. “Can’t wait until God casts those people straight into hell.” Even God Himself doesn’t delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23) but desires all men (people) to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).
Indifference: “Well, nothing we can do about it. I’ll just mind my own business. Doesn’t really affect me.“ Yes, it does. Because you have the answer. Can you turn a blind eye? If the Gospel of Jesus Christ has changed you, why do you think it lacks the power to change them? You are an ambassador of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) – God has chosen you to share the love and Gospel of Jesus with the world. You are like a doctor walking around with the cure to an illness that afflicts everyone who has not taken that cure! Can you really keep it to yourself while people die from the illness?
Wrong solutions: “We just need to elect the right politicians. The wrong politicians in office will mean certain doom for the church.” While you should vote, and yes, let’s acknowledge that some seem more detrimental to the mission on the surface... but God is not limited by who is in office. In Acts 8:1-8, we saw God actually used persecution to advance the church! We must look to God's Word - not to Washington DC - for answers.
Jesus has a Word. Actually, it’s how the Bible ends. You would think as God completes His book that He worked on for more than 1500 years, He would speak some impactful words to close the Canon. And He does.
Revelation 22:10-13 – And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
“Let the evildoer still do evil”? What is that all about? Is Jesus telling sinners to sin?
He is. Jesus is saying, “Keep it up. Sin. Go ahead. You want to sin, then sin.”
But the warning follows. “I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me.” So go ahead and sin if that’s what you want more than Me. But know this: I am coming back to “repay each one for what he has done.” The day is coming when every hard hearted act of rebellion will be righteously and permanently judged by the Lord. So you can indulge yourself in the passing pleasures of sin now. Go for it! Live it up! Do whatever you want! But know that it is not going to pay off in the long run.
And there’s a promise in there for us, too. Let “the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” Just as sinners will persistently stay the course, so must we. We must be just as persistent in love, in grace, in evangelism, in standing on the Word, in reaching out to a lost and dying world. And the promise of “recompense according to deeds” is also, gloriously, graciously, given to us.
So choose in what you are going to persist. Because the Lord is taking note. And He is coming to settle accounts.
-for the time is near