Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wednesday, August 7th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Corinthians 8; Psalm 136; Esther 5-6
Today's scripture focus is Luke 10:12-16

Luke 10:12-16

English Standard Version (ESV)
12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Woe to Unrepentant Cities

13 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
16 “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Accompanying Mark Driscoll sermon: The Harvest is Plentiful
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: A Warning to the Indifferent
Accompanying Matt Chandler sermon: Visible Imperfections and the Glory of God 

When the gospel message is preached there are only two options - receive Jesus as Saviour, Christ, Lord; or reject Jesus as Saviour, Christ, Lord.  There is no middle ground.  Only two options.  Either receive or reject. Indifference may seem better than outright hostility - but it's really not.  Indifference is still rejection. As we saw yesterday, those who receive Jesus receive peace, while those who reject Him receive punishment.

But here we see that there are different levels of punishment.  The gospel is a message of Good News, yes!  But it is also a message of bad news, and the bad news is bad indeed.  In fact, there is no good news without the bad news.  The good news doesn't even make sense unless we realize what the bad news is.  We don't need a Saviour if we don't understand that we need saving.  God's love, grace, and mercy doesn't mean much without understand His holiness, righteousness, and wrath.

But once you've heard the gospel message, you are on dangerous ground indeed.   The more of God's truth you know, there more you have been exposed to gospel message - the more harsh will be your eternal punishment.

Hebrews 10:26-29 26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.  28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

Luke 12:47-48 47 And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

he’s saying that for some towns and people, the judgment will be harsher. For example, Capernaum, he says, “There’s no excuse for you. Peter lived there. I lived there. We started a community group in his house. You were all invited to come. I was teaching and you didn’t listen. So your judgment will be more strict and harsh than those who have had less opportunity.”

Let me ask you this: if there are really only two categories of people, those who reject Jesus as God, Savior, and Christ, and those who receive him as God, Savior, and Christ, which are you? Do you reject or receive Jesus? Do you reject or receive Jesus? And for those of you who live in this day, where you can turn on the radio, hear a sermon. You can log on to the Internet, download Bible teaching. You can get a free copy of the Bible. Pick one up on your way out. We’re glad to give you one. You could go to a church and it costs nothing. Unlike a movie theater or a concert or a sporting event, you can go to church for free. You can go to community group for free. You can get good Christian books for cheap. In a day when there are innumerable opportunities to meet Jesus and learn and grow, if you reject him, how harsh will your hell be?

MacArthur summarizes the previous passage and this one:
Now when you go out to evangelize, it's important for you to remember to be compassionate, to be prayerful, to undergird your evangelism with prayer, to have a sense of urgency, to be vigilant and to exhibit in the truth, trust in the work of God to bless that truth. It's important that you have the right message, that you talk about the Kingdom, talk about the peace that will come to those who will enter the Kingdom, the judgment that will come to those who do not. But here's something that usually gets left out of evangelism. After having the right attitude and the right message, we come to a third element in His training of the 70 and that is warning...warning.
How do you end a witnessing opportunity? When you give the gospel to somebody, you proclaim Christ to them, you try to come with a right attitude, you demonstrated compassion, you prayed and undergirded your witness, you have a sense of urgency in compelling them to come. You're expressing a certain amount of vigilance, understanding what's going on around you, being wise in the way you do what you do, trusting in God. You've done all of that. You've given the right message of the gospel and you get shut down. What do you do next? What is....usually the final parting thing is, "I will pray for you," right? I mean, certainly that's legitimate. But let me tell you what Jesus tells us to do, okay? What He tells us to do I just read you in verses 12 to 16. The parting word that Jesus wants these 70 to give is a a warning. It is not an affirmation, "I love you anyway," although you can say that. That's not the parting word. It is not an affirmation, "I'll pray for you," although certainly you should say that. The final word in evangelistic endeavor is a warning. It is a warning. The news is very bad for those who reject...very bad....
All the ungodly of all the ages will be at that tribunal for that final sentencing and they will be throne into the Lake of Fire. There they will be punished forever. But it will be in that day a lesser punishment for Sodom and Sidon and Tyre and their illustrations of those people who lived before Christ than it will be for anybody who's been exposed to Jesus Christ, whether by personal experience because they were there when He lived, or by the experience of hearing the record of Jesus Christ proclaimed through the Scripture. This is the principle of comparative judgment.
To be exposed to the gospel, to be exposed to Christ either personally, or by the record of Scripture is to raise your level of guilt, culpability and therefore punishment if you reject.

There will be comparative judgment.  Sodom, Tyre are going to get off easier than those in the NT on.  Now that's saying something.

Sodom was associated with extreme homosexuality and God destroyed the city in fire and brimstone.
Tyre is associated with the devil himself (Ezekiel 28:11-18)
Things went really bad for them.
But it's going to go even worse for those who, after being exposed to the gospel message, reject it.  You reject the message, you reject Christ.  You reject Christ, you reject God.  There is no other way to God but through Jesus.  You reject the gospel message at extreme and certain peril.

That seems like a really harsh way to end a gospel presentation - and yet, that's exactly what Jesus did.  Jesus never sugar coated the truth.  He never made it easy for people to follow Him.  He laid is all out on the line.  And truly, we do no one any favours if we don't warn them of the consequences of rejecting the gospel message.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 10:17-20
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Corinthians 9, Psalm 137, Esther 7-8

1 comment:

Miriam said...

This strikes terror into my heart, and yet I know people who just simply don't believe that God even exists, so even to say something like that to them wouldn't phase them at all. I was talking a week and a half ago with a man who was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools, etc. He has decided God doesn't exist. There isn't much I can tell him about Jesus or the Bible that he hasn't already heard, but he's decided not to believe it, so for me to say the punishment of rejection is hell means nothing to him now... he's heard that all before and as far as he's concerned, it isn't real.