Home> The Lower Lights> Oct 2003

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  Alan Jones, Editor

  (734) 942-7956

 

 

 

"Brightly beams our Father's mercy

From the lighthouse evermore;

But to us He gives the keeping

Of the light along the shore."

       Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box 86-233, Westland, MI  48186     

Volume 3                                                                         October 2003                                                                               No4 

 

TERRIFYING NEWS!!

 

Imagine for a moment that you’ve gone to see your doctor for a routine examination.  You feel fine.  But when the doctor finishes his exam, he sadly gives you the terrifying news.  You have cancer, and if this cancer is untreated you only have a few months to live.

            In the book of Acts, we find the account of a man named Felix who received some terrifying news, not concerning his physical health, but con-cerning his spiritual health.  Paul examined his heart by the preaching of the gospel.   His spiritual condition was revealed.  He trembled when he saw it!  (Acts 24:24-25)  Examine your own heart by applying the same message that he heard to your own life.  Paul discussed:

1) “Righteousness”- Paul spoke of the need to be right in God’s sight.  Man cannot live as he pleases and be right in God’s sight.  God has a fixed, objective standard of righteousness, His Word, which man must live by in order to have a relationship with Him, a Righteous God.  Felix was terrified because he realized that he, like all men, had sinned by not obeying God, and so was “unrighteous” and therefore, spiritually “dead” or separated from a Righteous God (see Rom 3:9-10,23; 6:23).  Have you sinned?  Do you under-stand what your sin has done to your relationship with God?  Can you think about this without trembling?

2) “Self-control”- Paul made a specific applica-tion from God’s standard of righteousness.  It was widely known that Felix was a  greedy  man

 

who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.  He even hired assassins to eliminate those who stood in the way of his desires.  When Paul told Felix that God expects men to live with self-control, he was terrified because he knew that he was not living this way.  A lack of self-control is seen in so many ways- when men let the emotions of hatred, ill-will, jealousy, greed, and anger rule them, filling their lives with sinful speech and actions - when men’s unbridled lust leads to sexual rela-tionships outside of marriage- and when men’s minds are controlled by substances that also de-stroy the body (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, and recrea-tional drugs).  Have you exercised self-control?  Do you understand what a lack of self-control has done to your relationship with God?  Can you think about this without trembling?

3) “The Judgment to Come”- Paul told Felix that one day he, like all men, would face God’s judg-ment for all that he had done in his life (2 Cor 5:10; Heb 9:27).  At the Judgment, He would re-ceive either the sentence of eternal life (an eternal relationship with God in His presence in heaven) or the sentence of eternal punishment (eternal separation from God in the torment of hell) (Mt 25:46, Mk 9:43-48).  Felix knew where he stood in regard to “righteousness” and “self-control”.  Therefore, he knew at the Judgment, he was hell-bound!  He was terrified!  You may ignore God’s standard of righteousness including His require-ment of self-control all you please.  Live like you want and fulfill every desire.  But, know this, God’s judgment is coming!  Are you living in sin?  Are you hell-bound?  Shouldn’t you be terrified?!!

 

WAITING FOR A CONVENIENT SEASON

Imagine for a moment that you’ve gone to see your doctor for a routine examination.  You feel fine.  But when the doctor finishes his exam, he sadly gives you the terrifying news.  You have cancer, and if this cancer is untreated you only have a few months to live.  But, there is good news!  Your cancer is treatable and curable.  The doctor urges immediate treatment.  But, you respond, “This is not a good time.  It’s fall.  We’ll be spending a lot of time up north at our cottage enjoying the beautiful leaves.  We’ll call you to arrange treatment when it is convenient.” 

We could not imagine postponing life-saving treatment for our physical health.  But, perhaps we are as foolish as Felix and let our separation from God linger, though a remedy is available.  In speaking about “faith in Christ Jesus” (Acts 24:24), Paul would have told Felix the good news of the cure for his sin. God gave Jesus to die on the cross for his sins so that he could be forgiven and reconciled to Him.  Jesus’ wounds could heal him. (2 Cor 5:20-21, 1 Pet 2:24).  If he believed in Jesus and confessed Him (Rom 10:9-10) and repented and was baptized (Acts 2:38), he would receive the cure of Jesus’ blood.

Felix was terrified that his sin separated him from God and that God would send him to hell at the Judgment.  But he said, “Go thy way for this time:  when I have a convenient season, I will  call  for  thee.”    (Acts 24:25,   KJV)     That

 

convenient season never came for Felix.  He continued to call for Paul from time to time, but only to look for a bribe so that he could set him free. (Acts 24:26-27).  His terror was short-lived.    Man is not made to live day after day in such terror.  Either he will obey Jesus to receive forgiveness and let his terror be replaced by peace or he will let his terror fade away by putting his soul’s condition on “the back-burner” until it does not trouble him any more. 

Do you realize that your soul is separated from God because of your sin and that, if the Judgment were today, you would be sent to hell?  Why not partake immediately in the cure of Christ’s blood?  If you knew you had cancer, you would seek treatment immediately if a cure was available.  You would “drop everything” and not delay until a more “convenient season”.  Why jeopardize something far greater than your physical life- your soul.  Don’t let your concern and your terror fade away.  And remember, life is short and uncertain.  Tomorrow may be too late! (Js 4:13-15)

“Today, O friend may be the last, Stop now and count the cost; You stand condemned before the throne- Your soul forever lost.

  Lost!  Lost!  O what a cry from souls along the shore;  In darkness to go, In sorrow and woe, And be lost, lost evermore!”

                                             -- Tillit S. Teddlie

 


 

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