by John Edmiston
Walking In the Spirit – Series
(A Ministry of Eternity Christian Fellowship)
Luke 13:1-5 MKJV And some were present at the same time reporting to Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. (2) And answering, Jesus said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? (3) I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (4) Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were sinners above all men who lived in Jerusalem? (5) I tell you, No. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Ecclesiastes 9:12 MKJV For man also does not know his time; as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.
Sudden disaster can come upon anyone at any time, just as it came upon the Galileans who were killed by Pilate as they were sacrificing in the Temple and upon the eighteen upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell. These were not especially wicked people. They were average, normal people suffering the common fate of mankind.
The Fall means, among other things, that we cannot control our lives. Life is slippery and uncertain, and all the power or riches in the world cannot make your life predictable. Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon, the richest and most powerful person in the ancient world. But Daniel 4 tells of the day it all left him, the day Nebuchadnezzar came to sudden ruin, and how a severe and terrible judgment came upon him because of his pride:
Daniel 4:29-37 ESV At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, (30) and the king answered and said, "Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" (31) While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, (32) and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will."
This mighty king was driven from his palace and lived in the field like a wild animal for seven years until he acknowledged God and his mind returned to him.
Nebuchadnezzar thought he had everything under control – then it was all gone! We are not God, nor do we have things under control. We exist by grace alone. If God removes his hand we are soon overtaken by evil and disaster. Our natural unsaved spiritual state is one of decay. The Bible calls it perishing:
John 3:16 ESV "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 ESV (15) For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, (16) to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ESV (3) And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. (4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Jesus told his audience: But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Life 'as usual' will not do. It will end in sudden disaster sooner or later. Death will come and with it the challenge of giving an account to a holy God. If we are not ready, we will perish as surely as those who Pilate murdered.
You cannot just cruise through life hoping to make it to Heaven. You are on the Hell-Bound Train and you have to get off! You are going in the wrong direction, you are headed off the cliff and into the Lake of Fire. You must repent and you must repent now!
The cure for spiritual disaster is Christ. It is as we embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that we will find eternal life. It is those who believe in the Son that God sent into the world that receive everlasting life!
The Christian life is difficult, sometimes exceedingly so. We may have to lose everything in this world in order to follow Jesus - but we will have eternal life in the age to come and great glory with it. But without Christ, all the possessions of this world are like a sinking life-raft which we cling to desperately, but in vain:
Mark 8:34-37 ESV And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (35) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. (36) For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (37) For what can a man give in return for his soul?
Jesus said: Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it. Your life is not yours to save. You simply cannot save it, its impossible. It will slip away from you. It will vanish like smoke. You are not in control. Though you hoard and save and insure and take every precaution under the sun, there will come a day when your life will be taken from you.
Jesus also said: But whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. You have to toss this life away for God. Forget about your agenda and your own will and ambitions. Ask God what His agenda is for you and what His will and ambitions are for your life. Your plan must go out the window. Lose it now.
Don't grasp at this life, don't cling to it or fight for it. It’s not about you, it’s about God. It’s not about you getting money, possessions and power but about God getting all the glory. And as you give God the glory, he will glorify you in return - not with a temporary earthly glory but with a true and eternal glory:
Romans 8:16-17 ESV The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (17) and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:28-30 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
There is no sudden disaster that can completely overtake us and ruin us if we are in Christ:
Romans 8:35-39 ESV Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (36) As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." (37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In Christ we are safe, He is the only true shelter from the storm, the only one who can say “Peace, be still”; the only one who can stop us from perishing along with this world. Tomorrow is not certain for any of us (at least in terms of this earthly life) and we can easily be overtaken by evil times. But no evil can penetrate to the core of those who dwell in Christ and who have Christ dwelling in them:
1 John 5:18-20 ESV We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. (19) We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (20) And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
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