WOE TO THOSE WHO REJECT
REWARDS TO THOSE WHO RECEIVE
SUNDAY JUNE 27, 2021
Scripture To Consider:
“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, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.”
“And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades. He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
Something To Consider:
Jesus spoke almost the identical words in Matthew chapter 11. And here in Luke the same three cities, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, are warned of their impending punishment if they did not repent of their sin of rejecting Jesus Christ of Nazareth. How many cities in every generation and in every nation could be listed with these three cities and meet with the same fate?
And yet, that is the reason behind Jesus requesting that we pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the field of the world in every generation. Jesus has not given up on these cities. Otherwise, if He had, He would not be warning them over and over again.
With the warning of God, there is the opportunity for the forgiveness of God! And yet, with the warning of God there is the possibility of the rejection of God. And therefore, all of life is a continual decision to either reject the eternal rewards of God, or to receive the eternal rewards of God. At this point in our own lives, what has been our decision?
Something Else To Consider:
Jesus said to those cities that rejected Him, “But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.” These words of Jesus raise an interesting and possibly controversial question. Is Jesus declaring that there will be different degrees of punishment at the final judgment?
Jesus mentioned in our previous lesson text, that it would be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, referring to that great day of judgment, than for any of the cities that rejected the witness for Christ by the seventy who were sent out by Jesus. Therefore, can we assume that according to Jesus and God the Father’s sovereign will, that there will be different degrees of punishment on Judgment Day? That indeed is something else to consider!
Something More To Consider:
But one might ask, what difference does it really make concerning different degrees of punishment if a city, a nation, or an individual does not repent and receive the good news message of Jesus Christ? Is not eternal punishment still eternal punishment? And yet, the answer of course is yes, but it proves the point that God is just even in His administering punishment!
Some will, according to Jesus, deserve more severe judgment than others. Therefore, even in judgment, or especially in judgment, God is just and fair. The fact of the matter is that eternal punishment is to be avoided at all cost. And that is precisely why Jesus requests our prayers for laborers to be sent out into the harvest. Are we praying to that end?
The eternal rewards to be received are everlasting and abundant, while the punishment of judgment is also everlasting and shamefully abundant. Therefore, the heralding of woes will continue to go forth to those who are bent on rejecting Jesus rather than repenting, while God’s great rewards of grace, mercy, and forgiveness remain available while breath remains in us!
In other words, woe to those who reject the offer of forgiveness through true repentance. And blessings and honor to all who receive that same forgiveness of sins. The eternal rewards that are made available to all therefore, greatly outweigh the judgment and punishment that all who reject God’s eternal plan of salvation in and through Jesus Christ will receive!
A Few Final Words:
Elijah the prophet, in 1 Kings 18.20, asked the children of Israel gathered together at Mount Carmel; “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal [a false god of a false religion is your god] follow him. But the people answered him not a word.” And in not answering Elijah, they had in essence made their decision that day to continue their worship of their false god, and to once again reject the true and living God!
There are millions if not billions in every generation since Elijah, who when challenged with the question of whom they will serve, have also answered not a word. And in the end, not having answered the question of who they will willingly follow, means in reality they have rejected Christ and the gospel message. Choosing not to receive Jesus, is choosing to reject Him!
As true believers in Jesus Christ, we are ambassadors of Almighty God. And whether His message is received or rejected by others, it does not change our eternal relationship with Him, if we believe! For according to Jesus, “He [or she] who hears you hears Me, and he [or she] who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
Our Father in heaven, may all the earth see the mighty works of God and come to Jesus Christ by faith and be rewarded with eternal salvation and abundant life here on earth. In Him Always, Amen!