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Posts Tagged ‘judgement’

Recognition and Destination

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

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Knock Knock Who’s there ! Banana ! Banana who ? Banana split so ice creamed !

Why are bananas never lonely? Because they hang around in bunches.

What’s yellow and always points to the north? A magnetic banana.

What would you call two bananas? A pair of slippers

Why did the banana go to the doctor?  Because it wasn’t peeling well.

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Ok, those jokes were kinda fruity, but this week’s focus is not fruity at all.  Jesus takes his hearers on the mountain side through a simple illustration ending with eternal consequences.  He is coming upon the close of the Sermon on the Mount, as we read in Matthew, and is going to pull some strings together for the ending.  He has just talked about a number of Christ-like behaviors and attitudes.  He has given us a picture of His Father in Heaven and shown us why we can rely on Him…no worries.  Last week we looked at the verse that talked about the narrow and wide gates (Matthew 7:13-14).  Many will go through the wide, few will even find the narrow.  He is slowly explaining that this simple message is not easy to accept and enemies are around intending to keep many from following and obeying.  Some of those enemies are standing in the crowd described in this passage.

First, Jesus explains that there are people lying about who they really are.  Wolves dressed as sheep.  Christ has just given us a picture of His Father and how His children should behave through the past 96 verses.  He now tells us that these wolves will be known by their fruit.  We know of course that apples don’t come from banana trees.  Pears don’t grow on grape vines.  Neither will these wolves look like God.  They are not connected to God.  They are not following God.  They are enemies of God.  Their tree is bad (Matthew 7:18).  Their tree will not produce good fruit that God is looking for, therefore, their tree will be cut down and burned.  Imagine being there and looking in the direction of one of the Pharisees or Sadducees who might have been there gathering “intelligence” about this Jesus guy.  Many of them are the wolves being talked about.

Jesus then widens the discussion to not just wolves, but everyone.  I’m sure at this point that the crowd is fairly quiet minus the children playing in the background.  Christ lays out the following statement, “Not all who calls ‘Lord, Lord’ will get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  The next words of Jesus in Matthew 7:13 say this, “Only those who do the will of my Father will enter.”  Did you catch that first word.  “Only.”  Jesus is drawing the line in the sand and explains that He is going to have to judge people.  He is going to be discriminatory.  He is the definition of Love, however, He is also a perfect judge and all will be judged concerning their eternity with Him.  By their fruit they will be known and judged.

Fruit is all about what it is attached to.  Many are going to claim Christ in the end, but Christ will know that they are not connected to Him.  Their fruit will not match up with His likeness.  I think this is a reality check for all standing or sitting there hearing Him speak.  There will be an end to this life.  There will be a judgment.  They will be judged.  There is an eternity waiting…and they, through their fruit (by deciding who they are connected to) will choose their eternity.  Christ’s judgment will only verify and confirm who they chose to follow in their life.

Carry that forward about 2000 years.  The same truth is right there before us.  There will be an end to our physical lives here on this planet.  There will be a judgment.  We will be judged by Jesus.  There is an eternity waiting for us.  And by our fruit we will be judged.  Our fruit will verify and confirm who we are connected to.  Who are you connected to?

I know, this is not an easy lesson to think about.  The message is simple, but the ramifications are hard to swallow.  The consequences of being connected to the wrong tree are eternal.  I’ll ask again, who are you connected to?  Here are some questions to help you evaluate…we’re just going to scan the past 96 verses.  Please take the time to look up the verses as you ask the questions.

  • Do you resemble those mentioned in the beatitudes? (5:3-12)
  • Are you salty? (5:13)
  • Can people see your light…God’s light… through your actions , words, decisions? (5:14-16)
  • Do you keep Christ’s commands AND teach them to others? (5:19)
  • Do you have hate in your heart? (5:22)
  • Adultery?  Lust? (5:27-30)
  • Unrepentant divorce? (5:31-32)
  • Is your word really and truthfully your ‘word’? (5:37)
  • Do you act out in revenge? (5:39)
  • Do you love your neighbor as God loves them? (5:48)
  • Do you give, pray and fast to show people you’re religious, or out of love for God and for others?  (6:1-18)
  • Are you focused on and study to know Heavenly ideals, principles and values? (6:19-21)
  • Do you see this world and people around you as God does and watch for where He is working and leading? (6:22)
  • Does your focus on this world and your own strengths/weaknesses cause you to worry? (6:25-34)
  • Do you judge others before loving and caring for them? (7:1-6)
  • Do you really approach God with full trust as a perfect parent? (7:7-11)
  • Golden Rule rule your life? (7:12)
  • Are you always looking and seeking the narrow gate? (7:13-14)

I truly believe that how we ‘look’ as we go about life proves what tree we’re connected to.  How we look, our fruit, comes from our behaviors.  Our behaviors come from our thoughts and intentions.  Our thoughts and intentions come from our values and moral code.  Our values and moral code come from one of two places…Heaven or Hell.  Are we connected to the tree of the Creator?  Our fruit will show in the end.

Someone may ask where forgiveness is in all of this.  Our fruit doesn’t cause us to be good enough to enter Heaven.  We can’t earn a ticket there.  Jesus’ death took the wrath of God away from those who accept Him as their savior.  His resurrection from the dead beat death.  Yes our bodies will die, but we will…like Him…be raised to an eternal life.  Our fruit simply shows if we’ve truly made that decision in our life to be connected to the tree of forgiveness.  If we have been truly connected to Christ, then our thoughts and behaviors and words should, as a tree grows and bears fruit, look more and more like Jesus.  Sanctification.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

Ed

PS – For more evaluation see the Fruit of the Spirit list – Galatians 5:22-23

The Perfect Storm

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

A couple had two little boys ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. They were always getting into trouble and their parents knew that if any mischief occurred in their town, their sons would get the blame.

The boys’ mother heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children, so she asked if he would speak with her boys. The clergyman agreed, and asked to see them individually. So, the mother sent her 8-year-old first, in the morning, with the older boy to see the clergyman in the afternoon.

The clergyman, a huge man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, “Where is God?”

They boy’s mouth dropped open, but he made no response, sitting there with his mouth hanging open. The clergyman repeated the question. “Where is God?” Again, the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice some more and shook his finger in the boy’s face and bellowed, “Where is God!?”

The boy screamed and bolted from the room. He ran directly home and dove into his closet, slamming the door behind him. When his older brother found him in the closet, he asked, “What happened?”

When we hear the word ‘discipline’ we probably thing of one of two things. First, there’s the thought of a child getting into trouble or being disciplined. The second might be discipline in life…as in an athlete being disciplined in training or a Christian being disciplined in daily prayer. This week’s sermon uses a similar word, with a completely different meaning. Judgment. Judgment is often thought of as a courtroom term…and correctly so. It is the final statement. It is the final decision.

In the Scripture that Steve has chosen to use for this week’s sermon, we SEE judgment. God had told Noah his plans for the flood. God also told Noah the reasons for these plans. There was not only sin on the earth, there was the result of sin…Violence. There was a complete and utter discard for the beauty of human life. The Bible reads a few times in our previous chapter that the earth was “full of violence.” It wasn’t just that kids were lying to their parents. It wasn’t just that there were greedy businessmen. It wasn’t just that there were people who were thieves or drunkards. There was violence. Add that to 100 years of building the ark. I’m just guessing here, but I’ll be Noah had to deal with more than just teasing.

God’s judgment for this lack of obedience and this disregard for human life was to start over. Many might say, “See God failed.” Nope, God didn’t fail, man failed God and His plans and His love. Noah undoubtedly told family and friends the plans of God and the reasons for those plans…he had 100 years to persuade, preach, teach and live out his devotion to God. I’m sure his family saw that devotion too. The Bible doesn’t say if they were or weren’t devoted friends of God, as it did with Noah. But let’s take a peek inside the ark and use our imagination for just a bit.

For 100 years, Noah’s family watched, helped, and stood alongside Noah as he built a structure capable of withstanding a worldwide flood…a worldwide judgment. The news was out that rains were coming…and I’m sure that the countryside had heard of this news. Then the first rain drops fell.

Have you ever seen a kid’s eyes when his parents, maybe you, drop judgment? My three kids respond completely different. First there are the warnings. We do three. On the third is a grounding from something…maybe TV or computer. It always amazed me that nothing happens when I say “one.” When the word “two” comes out of my mouth I begin to get responses. Hannah talks back, Micah gets quiet, and Naarah ignores. But when I get to “three, your grounded,” judgment becomes reality. Reality hits hard. Hannah then screams. Micah usually whimpers and tears up. Naarah continues to do the wrong thing…she’s still learning. J

Can you picture the faces of the people who began to feel the rain fall from the sky? Can you see them begin to look at the clouds just a bit differently. Life instantly changed…dramatically. Judgment was at hand, and they knew it.

Think about it from Noah’s side. He and his family had…as the Bible states…150 days to float on the water and ponder judgment. That’s a lot of time to think. No radio. No TV. Lots of animals to feed, but feeding the animals gave lots of time to think…about a flood, being the only people on earth, and God.

God has said that there is another “end” coming. The world as we know it is going to stop at some point. We don’t know that day or time, but we’ve been told about it in the Bible. How we respond to that information is up to us. We can believe it all we want…but how we give God evidence that we believe it and are shaping our lives accordingly is our responsibility. Change of the heart is evidenced by change in behavior. We want our behavior to be in obedience with God’s will.

We do not want to feel that first rain drop and realize that we’ve done nothing to move towards God.

So how do we teach and lead this concept? We need to, again, help our NICC family realize that judgment will happen because Jesus said it will. And Jesus is not a liar because there’s no body in the tomb. Given that there will be a judgment, we have the choice to move towards making God smile, or move away from Him and his life plan for us. The simple point is, when narrowed down, is this; if you’ve accepted Jesus as your personal savior, cool. If not, you’re on the bad side of judgment.

Now, many people in today’s world look at God as a loving God, incapable of looking down on any behaviors (judgment) and one who will be taking everyone to Heaven. Actually, a perfect love is just, and perfect justice holds perfect love. You can’t have one without the other. I love my kids, therefore, I’m going to teach them things that keep them safe, polite, God fearing, healthy, loving…and to form those characteristics (character) in my kids, I have to use discipline and judgment. God is no different. However, there is an end to His judgment. The final judgment will be just that…final.

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