Friday, April 23, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
And here's the reward, the prize: that when God judges the world, you will not be judged. That's part of why God is going to rapture the church, because he's going to judge people who are not Christians for their sin. Their sin hasn't been forgiven by Christ because they rejected him. I want you to know this: If you are truly a Christian, God has not appointed you to wrath. Look what Paul says at the end of this Day of the Lord section of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 . Let's start at verse nine and go to the end. He says that the reason why it's all good is "For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you in fact are doing."
What's he saying? When God brings judgment in the world, why would God judge a Christian? We're not appointed to wrath, his anger. Somebody asked me after Easter, a little child said, "What does wrath mean?" I said, "Wrath means anger." God is angry at our sin. If we don't turn to Him, there comes a point when God says that enough is enough, and he brings his wrath and judgment. God has not set up an appointment for us. If you're a Christian, you're appointed to salvation. Why would God judge a Christian when Jesus took our judgement of the cross? We put our faith in him and he accomplished that. He has not appointed us unto wrath. And that's the great promise, that you will not go through the tribulation, the seven-year hell on earth. People ask, "Will people become Christians during it?" They absolutely will. Some will die for their faith, some will live and be the citizens of that 1000-year-kingdom of God, but at the end of the day, who wants to go through it? And if you're a Christian now, you're safe. Then he goes on, saying that we're appointed to salvation. Paul says, "He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." Whether you are awake or asleep? Now here's an interesting question: Does he mean that physically or spiritually? Certainly, physically it's true. You could be asleep when he comes. But is he saying a backslidden Christian is still going to be raptured? Well, they will be as long as they truly are Christian. Maybe that's in mind, but I don't know.
But then he says this, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you in fact are doing." In other words, use these words to encourage each other. Hey, life is hard. You're not appointed to God's wrath. You're appointed to salvation, as long as you're a Christian. It's a great feeling. You say, "But Vince, all these people are going to be judged." God is just, and God can only take so much of sin. History has shown us that when God reaches a threshold and says enough is enough, he brings judgment. But the judgment in the end will be unlike any other judgment. Make sure you're ready. I'm not trying to scare you, but I'm trying to tell you the truth. God will come back, and if you're a Christian he hasn't pointed you to wrath. If you're not, all bets are off. Be ready.
Monday, March 29, 2021
It just seems so true that we are unwilling to forgive. The reason why we're so unwilling to forgive is because we're quick to judge.
Monday, March 29, 2021
It's all because of this: We have forgotten how to forgive. We have forgotten how to forgive because we're so quick to judge. The Bible says so much about judging and the dangers of judging. I do not mean judging in terms of rendering a verdict. If I see somebody call an African American or an Asian American a derogatory name, and if I say that's wrong, that's not judging. That's just the truth. In the Bible, to judge is to assign motive and to say something about someone's character that isn't necessarily true. For example, judging would be if you say, "You said that because you're a racist," or, "You did that because you're a bad person," or, "What you said when you were 17, that carries over, and you can't change that. So you're done." The Bible says that judging is basically assigning somebody's motives to something that's not true, or that you couldn't even possibly know. And it's got a negative view.
Friday, March 26, 2021
It's okay to play favorites when it comes to sports and things like that, but when it comes to life, we shouldn't play favorites.
Friday, March 26, 2021
James 2:1-4, 8
James confronted the problem of favoritism in the church in James 2:1-4, 8. He says, 'Now my brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated amongst yourselves and become judges with evil intent?... If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbors yourself," you are doing right.'
James started with the principle in verse one, and then he unpacked it. The principle is don't show favoritism. What did he call favoritism in this text? He called favoritism showing special favor, discrimination, judges, evil thinking, and special attention. Those are all forms of favoritism. Favoritism should not be part of our lives because it is ultimately judging someone on the outside, whereas God says we judge people on the inside. Again, how we judge people is not by judging their motives, but judging their character. I believe one of the greatest statements Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, which I love, is that he longs for a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. And that's important, the content of our character. What James is saying is, don't let the externals lead you to favoritism and discrimination.
Now here's the thing. We live by a model in America and in the world which says, "I scratch your back, you scratch mine. You help me, I help you." So, sometimes that's a good thing, but sometimes it can lead to favoritism. We have to be really, really careful. But all I want to say is that there are times in your life where you probably are playing favorites in a way that you shouldn't be. You're judging based on appearance, assuming some person is poor and is probably on welfare. You don't know that. Or you say, "That person has that skin color, so they always ... fill in the blank." First of all, there's no "always" with any particular skin color or ethnicity. And I like to tease about Italian people, so I suppose you can pick on your own, but I say it teasingly. But you have to be careful about playing favorites in your life. The great thing about Christianity is we welcome all people. We welcome the down and outers, the up and outers, the inside outers, or whatever way you are. The cross is available to everybody. We say that because of verse eight, where James says, "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbors yourself," you're doing right." Hey, we have a common humanity. We all came from Adam and Eve. We are all made in the image of God. We're not all Christians, true, but let's love people in the family of God. Let's stop playing favorites. Do you play favorites based on skin color, appearance, clothing, money, or how nice people treat you? Start seeing people the way God does, and stop playing favorites.