Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Religious Leadership Better Speak Up!

Romans 1:32 "They not only do these things, but approve of those who practice them"
Hundreds of thousands of people had their eyes and their minds glued to the Pope last week. There is something about a powerful religious figure that really attracts the attention of humanity.

Is this attraction the hope of being blessed? The hope of somehow obtaining through osmosis some divine favor or fortune? "O, if only my child can touch his hand" or "if only he would look at me."
This is evidence that in the heart of man there is a strong desire for God's favor, and thus the religious leader, especially this religious leader, is understood by them to be a representation of God. Weak humanity is surely seeking some assurance of God's acceptance and assurance.

Yet the Bible tells us that we can have no such favor, blessing, or kindness from God, no approval from God whatsoever while we are still in wilful disobedience to Him.

We are told by the Bible(unfortunately not by the religious leaders) that God is reaching out with the exact opposite response of what man is looking for. "For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men, who suppress the truth by their wickedness...".
The evidence speaks for itself
War, crime, rampant adultery, internet pornography, sexual immorality, homosexuality and it's approval, abortion, hatred toward our neighbors, white collar corruption, all speak of God leaving us to our own sin, and we are destroying ourselves. Earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, all sorts of natural disasters, and what is the world singing to herself? "Don't worry. Be happy."

Do we hear the the most popular religious leaders in the world warning humanity of her coming judgement? Or do we hear them proclaiming that all is well? "Your best life now" one tells us.
"Unconditional love" says another. Yet this was not the message of God when his prophet Jeremiah warned against such leaders and rebuked them.

Jeremiah 8:11,12
"They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious..."
"Peace, peace," they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No. They have no shame at all..."

God is not pleased at all with sinful humanity. But we continue to fool ourselves and imagine God as a harmless and friendly Judge that doesn't judge, a harmless and friendly God that doesn't rule, a harmless and friendly Great Power that doesn't act.

Jeremiah speaks of his broken hearted concern for his people, as a speaker of God to His people
"O my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me."

As speakers of God we must tell the truth! Yes, the world is in a serious condition, a terminal state. We are to be sirens for the people!

What should our message be? "Repent, everyone of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." One writer puts God's message of hope so clearly "Hear ye, hear ye" the king has declared amnesty for all who will look to his Son for forgiveness and salvation."

In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent, for He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man whom He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:30,31)

Now, before you respond, let me tell you what the response was when Saint Peter preached this message to the people. Acts 17:32 "When they heard...some of them sneered, while others said "we want to hear you again on this subject."
Which is your response? Curiosity, contempt, or conversion? Repentance, Rejection, or perhaps a revisitation concerning the subject?

Which do you prefer? The wrath of God's judgement? The everlasting joy of God's blessing freely offered in His Son Jesus Christ?

May the God of all grace offer to you today eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that will embrace the King's Son, that you may have peace and be saved. God bless you.

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