Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY OCT. 20, 2019

Scripture To Consider:
“Then Jesus began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.’

“And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.” Matthew 11.20-24

Something To Consider:
The lack of a favorable response by the cities who had witnessed the many mighty works of Jesus finally brought about a rebuke for their refusal to repent. What is good for a city is also good for a nation as well as for an individual. These three cities that Jesus rebuked, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, had all experienced firsthand the mighty works, the gracious words, and the commanding authority of Jesus on many occasions. And yet, they deliberately chose not to repent.

These cities as well as many others chose not to rightly respond by believing Jesus’ message of repentance. Therefore, history reveals their fate clearly by the record of their ruin and remaining nothing more than a place for present and future archeological expeditions. But the message of repentance must resonate with us as individuals first, before it can begin its work behind the scenes of cities, states, and entire nations around the world.

Before Jesus appeared on the scene of humanity, John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness. His message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” All Jerusalem and Judea, and all the region around the Jordan River went out to hear John the Baptist, and many confessed their sins. The message of John and of Jesus are still crying out in the wilderness of individual hearts and are declaring in this 21st century generation, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Are we prepared for the coming of God’s kingdom?

But when John saw the established religious leaders coming, he proclaimed, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath [the judgment] to come? Therefore bear fruits [biblically revealed fruit] worthy of repentance…” In other words, do not simply go through the religious motions of going forward in a church service, or being baptized, or becoming another name on a highly regarded religious church membership list. Rather, bring forth the spiritually required biblical fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, as instructed by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5.22-23.

Something Else To Consider:
How shocking it should appear for us to read of Capernaum’s downfall. Capernaum, the village of comfort, was the chosen by Jesus get away while He ministered both in and around the region. Capernaum, the place of refuge for Jesus and His disciples, became a place of rebuke. A favored place in the heart of Jesus became a place of ruin, all because of its refusal to repent.

Repentance from sin is not a popular message in our so-called modern society. The concept of repentance has been removed from this 21st century vocabulary of so many so-called religious groups. Why is that? Jesus and John the Baptist deemed repentance a most necessary and integral part of their preaching!

On two occasions in Matthew 9.13 and Mark 2.17, Jesus declared; “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” And along with Jesus coming to call sinners to repentance it is revealed to the whole world in 2 Peter 3.9, that God is not willing that any perish in judgment, but rather, that all should come to repentance. Are we among the righteous in and through what Jesus has accomplished and because of our own repentance? Or are we still among the many sinners in need of repentance?

Also, according to 1 Peter 4.17, judgment is not a message for the world only. According to Peter writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; “For the time has come for judgment [God’s just judgment] to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us [professing Christian believers] first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” That is a most excellent question for us to consider.

Something More To Consider:
The cry and call for repentance brings with it a command of commitment to change. Entire societies have been wiped out due to the refusal to repent and turn away from practicing evil and wicked lifestyles. And yet, we must be reminded of Jesus’ words that were no doubt shared with those within the walls of each of these future fallen cities. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life [eternal life], and there are few who find it.”

Many cities, many nations, and many individuals, are at this very moment, hanging over the precipice of eternal punishment and judgment, and yet, they have been given much warning against refusing to repent. And on the day of judgment according to Psalm 1.5, “The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” God forbid we are found among them!

The writer of Psalm 1 continued and closed his lesson of a lifetime with the words, “For the LORD knows the way [or final destination] of the righteous, but the way [or final destination] of the ungodly shall perish.” As in this 21st century, the ungodly in the final judgment, will no longer be able to stand in the congregation of the righteous without being gripped by the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In the final judgment a divine and final separation is going to take place!

A Few Final Words:
And so, as it pertains to the mighty works of repentance or the coming of judgment, the mystery writer of Hebrews sums up this lesson of a lifetime today, in chapter 9 of Hebrews and in verses 27-28, by proclaiming; “And it is appointed for men [women and young people] to die once, but after this [death] the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him [Jesus] He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Are we as true end time enduring to the end saints of God eagerly awaiting the second coming of Jesus Christ, not again for sin, for when He comes that door will be closed! When He comes according to Matthew 24.31, He will direct His holy angels to gather together His elect [His enduring to the end saints] from the four corners of the earth. At that time the door to salvation through repentance will be closed as was the door to the ark before the flood of Noah.

Trust me, trust the bible, trust Jesus, the final judgment is coming! Therefore, repentance is a required personal prerequisite in order to experience salvation, and is extremely important to our becoming effective as spiritual leaders and or leaders in training. And yet, refusing the offer of salvation through our refusing to repent will bring certain eternal destruction.

“Then He [Jesus] began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent…” Why is it that millions in every generation since are content to follow in the same footsteps as these long ago warned by Christ cities? We may not have another warning!

Our Father in heaven, may those who have experienced Your mighty works, enjoy Your forgiveness and mercy found only in repentance. In Him Always, Amen!

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