Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Sin Loses its Sting

Besides the rise of crime and the apathy and downright hatred toward Christianity each day, how can we measure how sin has lost its sting? According to some statistics, 340,500 people are born each day and only 3-4 % of those (10,000) become Christian.** It does not take a rocket scientist to see that according to those stats 1 in 36 becomes Christian each day. Why? One big factor, people no longer fear God. They mock Christians and deride their faith, so much so, that even the true believers are often hindered from sharing their faith because of fear. This is a form of persecution and it often drives believers to gather together and separate themselves from the unbelieving. I find myself rejoicing and free in mind and spirit when I meet with a brother or sister in Christ who shares the same hope in Christ as I. But alas, the moral down slide continues. This also was the state of the early churches as they were driven into seclusion to worship, many in caves and through cryptic scribbles they spoke to one another still.

 Early Church Ichthus, meaning Jesus, Christ, God, Son, Savior, the Greek word for fish.

No one would disagree that there was a time in the history of the church that Christians feared God and revered His Holy Word, the Agia Graphas! Where has the fear of God gone? Why do so many take liberty with God's Word? Why the moral down slide? Can someone truly answer the question? The reasons are endless. Even self-proclaimed Christians pray for God's direction but we do not believe His Word! Can you say oxymoron? How can this be? A building will never stand if the foundation is not strong and you cannot build a strong moral society without law and sensitivity to right and wrong. Even then, without help from the Lord and strength by His indwelling Spirit we can really do little good on our own.

To make matters worse, if you are someone who abuses grace or simply twists the Scripture for personal gain or notoriety, you are part of the problem. The false teachings that stray are just as bad as the omissions that prey ...that is, prey on our lives. And those who lead others astray will be accountable for it. Truly, truly, in today's church, sin has lost its sting. 

"O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 1 Corinthians 15:55 (NKJV) 

If the sting of death is sin, then the sting of sin is death, as well. 

But death is no longer feared by the unbelieving. It is one of those things that is put out of sight, like a barrage of bad news stories. The majority of Americans do not think about it anymore. America has become truly desensitized to the teachings of Jesus and His church concerning sin and death. Never-mind that the Scripture teaches the wages of sin is death..., Rom. 3:23. Never-mind that we will all die and one day face the judgment of God. Life is what we do now; it is what we live for in the present. 

I was just talking to a friend of mine last night about my unsaved friends. I have so many that I would like to spend eternity with because, if the truth be told, they are very likable people. But even so, they do not feel they need to believe in the Lord Jesus other than an occasional nod that He may exist. 

How will God gain the attention of the world? Natural disasters definitely turn some heads but are mocked as explainable by much higher percentages of the population. Even if an onslaught of disaster occurs, still, those who refuse to believe, in most cases, continue in that state. Jesus told the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus to illustrate just this point.
"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,
desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'
But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'
Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house,
for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.'
Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'
And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'
But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.' "
 Luke 16:19-31 (NKJV)

The point is, we have God’s Word and it still contains Moses and the prophets, as well as the New Testament teachings of Jesus and the apostles. It is that Word which will deliver the hungry soul. But mockery and defiance toward God will get the world nothing in the end but the torment of the flame.

I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He came into this world to identify with humanity. He came down to our level that we may believe upon Him and one day arise to heaven through faith in His substitutionary death upon the cross. He sealed that expectation by rising from the dead. He alone defeated death and its sting. He alone holds the key to life eternal in heavenly splendor. 

Joshua once said:

"Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!
And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14-15 (NKJV)

My question to you is, “Who will you serve?” 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, Rom. 2:23

God Bless

Bro. Mike
**Stats gathered from:  http://www.chacha.com/question/how-many-people-become-christians-each-year 10,000 per day
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_births_per_day_globally 340,500