Monday, March 14, 2011

Getting Serious About The Business Of Salvation

It is amazing how stubborn people can be about things they just do not want to accept as truth. If you presented them with a pink elephant, stood them right in front of it, had them touch it, they would still swear that there was no such thing as a pink elephant. Some people are pretty hard on poor Thomas who was given the incredible news that Jesus had risen from the dead but I wonder if any of us would have had a different response. All he said was that he would believe it when he sees it. Jesus accommodated him and Thomas believed. Many of us would probably dismiss it as something we ate.

Many disciples of Jesus today are looking around at the world and are seeing the signs of his return. We still have a ways to go but we are certainly seeing some of the beginning of the signs he gave us to watch for. Political events, natural events, even our spirits are sensing the season we are in. To us it looks obvious but to others it is ridiculous. We can present it to them, line up the Scriptures for them, have them look in detail for themselves and yet they continue to deny that this season even exists. We shouldn't be surprised. From the beginning the whole world has been this way with Jesus. Even his own chosen, special nation refused to "see" him:

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:3-5)

Could you imagine going home to visit family and being rejected by them; denied that you were even part of them? That's probably the closest we could come to understanding what it would have been like for the instrument of creation to be rejected by his creation. Here was life itself showing up to rescue the dying and the dying telling him that they wanted nothing to do with him. Go away, we don't know you.

If this world thought things were dark before they had better brace for a real shocker. Things are about to get very dark and we who are saved rejoice because it is getting closer to the time to go home, where we belong. Ask the Christians in Egypt if things are dark as they expect death at any moment. Ask the Christians in Lybia  how much light is in the world right now. Let's ask the people of Northern Japan if it is life as usual today. How about the people of Haiti? What about the starving people of China? What about the hungry seniors in our own communities who can no longer afford the good food? And this is only really the beginning of the "birth pains".

People would like to blame God but Jesus only foresaw what the world would be like prior to his return. These things we see happening are a result of a fallen world where man's greed and love of sin is coming to a peak. Jesus is still the hope, the light shinning in the darkness. He is still calling, reaching out to those lost in darkness, it is not too late. We need to remember what God has done for those of us who were once lost in that darkness:

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

He rescued us! But we need more than ever to remember that he rescued us with a purpose. He has called us to his work, to be ministers of reconciliation. As the days get darker and the world loses whatever joy it had, it is going to become self-delusional. It will come up with explanations for things that do not make any sense. Even as we see economies fall in ruins, disasters wiping out entire towns, famines, useless wars, political anarchy, a spreading religion of hate and violence, people will explain it all away. People will say it has always been this way, just not so intense. Yet we have just witnessed the third most powerful earthquake; the axis of the earth shifted; we have had the world's largest hurricane; we are witnessing the failing of crops world wide; we are watching our grocery prices jumping 30% to 50% over last summer. Still, business as usually as the clock of man's history winds down.

Those of us who are disciples of Jesus Christ, who have eyes to see and ears to hear, need to be fully occupied with the salvation of the lost. It is more important than ever that the world sees Jesus in us, through our joy, peace and love. We need to be prepared in and out of season to share the Good News with those who think Jesus is a silly religion. We need to make the most of every opportunity, share with every person we know, explain it to every family member without Jesus. Picture it as a large, very large tsunami that is about to flow over the earth and there is only one place of safety, and that is the Rock, Jesus Christ. Would you not warn your family and friends of the approaching disaster? Would you not help them evacuate to the place of safety? It is time my friends. Even if those in the dark prefer to remain in the dark we have to try. We need to do everything we can to work with the Father for their rescue.

Indeed, the Light is in this dark world and he shines through you and me. It doesn't matter your personality, whether you are comfortable with witnessing or even it you lack the desire. It is not about you; it is about the lost and Jesus. It is time for us to honestly lay down our lives for our neighbours and to face whatever we have to face in order to see the perishing rescued. Let's get serious.

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