How often does you pastor preach about the consequences of sin and the importance of obedience?
When I was growing up, our pastor used to preach long messages. At one point, my dad, who was a personal friend of his, teased him about the fact that they seemed to be getting even longer.
Our pastor replied . . . “that’s because I preach the law until I can see from people’s expressions that they have taken it personally and then I can give them the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus.” And with a smile, he added, “that seems to be taking a little longer these days.”
I don’t think any of us enjoy facing the fact that we are sinners who deserve judgment. In fact, I think it makes church leaders and pastors uncomfortable just thinking about the possibility of offending someone with the truth about sin.
But if we don’t know:
The wages of sin is deathRomans 6:23a
How can we fully appreciate the blessing of:
The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23b
In Acts 24, Paul had been sent to face his accusers before Governor Felix. The Life Application Bible Notes point out:
Felix had been governor for six years and would have known about the Christians.
And he wanted to know more…
Felix came back with his wife, Drusilla, who was Jewish. Sending for Paul, they listened as he told them about faith in Christ Jesus.Acts 24:24
Until it got too personal. Until he had to think about God’s judgment. You see, Felix had taken another man’s wife. And the idea of facing the “Day of Judgment” for his actions was way beyond his comfort level.
As he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the coming day of judgment, Felix became frightened.Acts 24:25a
The truth is the idea of God’s judgment, which every single human will face, can be a frightening prospect . . . and it’s supposed to be!
God wants us to live with self-control obedient to His commands. He also knows we have and will continue to fall short of that.
And this is what makes the truth about Jesus the BEST NEWS EVER! When we recognize our sin and the truth of God’s judgment, it’s then that we begin to realize our need for God’s grace and His Son, as our Savior.
So, when we share our faith and talk about God’s judgment and will it’s not that we’re being judgmental. We just want people to realize that if they knew . . . if they really KNEW how much Jesus loves them and the difference He wants to make in their lives they would want to know more and more and more about Him.
A Prayer to Know God’s Judgment is Covered by Jesus’ Love
Father, I know I am guilty. I know I sin. Your Word says You are a righteous judge. (2 Timothy 4:8) And I’ll admit that the idea of Your judgment makes me uncomfortable. I think that’s why I’m tempted to compare myself to others rather than comparing myself to Your perfect will.
I know I need Your forgiveness. I need Jesus.
Thank you for Your promises that tell me Your grace is greater than my sin. (Romans 5) You invite me to come to you with a heart broken by sin and shame . . . to surrender myself to You that You might forgive me and help me change.
Thank you, Jesus, for suffering my punishment. The judgment I deserve was covered by Your love. I am saved by grace alone. I don’t need to be afraid of Your judgment. . . I am covered by the blood of Christ Jesus. I love You, Lord. And I thank and praise You with all my heart for all my life. Amen.
When you and I share our faith, it’s sometimes received as judgment because, like Felix, the truth of God’s Word makes people feel guilty and uncomfortable. But if we have shared the truth of Jesus with gentleness and respect it may be that feeling of discomfort that leads someone to want the grace and mercy of God’s healing forgiveness and love.
Sharing our faith is not about our judgment of other people . . . it’s about telling them how Jesus’ love is able to cover their guilt and shame. How it frees us to LIVE forgiven and free from the fear of judgment.
On today’s note write:
I deserve God’s judgment but praise be to God, I am forgiven and free in Jesus.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.”Romans 4:7
May God bless you today as You celebrate all you have be given in and through Jesus.
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