Friday, July 24, 2020

The difference you can make

He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save 
a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

James 5:20

One of the Christian's greatest deterrents from sin is the life of another Christian. Some Christians maintain that it is none of their business if another chooses to sin. They are convinced that they are being judgmental if they respond to someone in sin. The world persuades them not to get involved, but this inaction prevents them from being an effective intercessor.

As Christians we are aware that sin brings death (Rom. 6:23). Sin kills relationships, dismantles marriages, stifles joy, and destroys peace. When we see someone wander from the truth into error, how should we respond? When Jesus saw sin, it broke His heart. He wept over entire cities as He saw them rejecting the truth (Matt. 23:37–39). He prayed fervently for His disciples to be strong when they were tempted (John 17). He warned those who were heading toward spiritual failure (Matt. 26:20–25, 34). Jesus was even willing to die to save people from their sins because He knew the devastation that sin causes. Jesus never stood idle as those around Him were led astray by their sin. He always took an active role in turning them back to God.
“Minding your own business” will save you some discomfort, but it will not help a brother or sister who needs to return to the Lord. If you are truly aware of the grave consequences for those who continue in sin, you will be moved to weep even as Jesus wept. Pray fervently for your friend. That will safeguard your motives and prepare you to minister to him. Be alert, in the event that God asks you to confront your friend. If you do so, be loving and gentle lest you, too, be tempted (Gal. 6:1).
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

My friend, my dear reader, the very nature of relationships is one life affecting another.  Some, it's a blessing and for others, not so much. 

When you come to Christ, relationships take on new meaning. In Christ not only are you growing in respect to Salvation, the others whom you know who are believers are as well.  

If that wasn't powerful enough, your relationship with Jesus is observed by others. Both within the fellowship of believers, but the world at large. 

If that wasn't's observed by angels and demons.  

It's interesting to me to look back on my life at some of what I will call my more 'controversial' relationships.  The ones that I wondered how I ever got involved with such people let alone the turmoil that surrounded those relationships.  What was interesting that God brought this devotional today plus where I was reading in my Bible together.   Psalms 35. Read it all, but I will tell you that time and again I have lived verses 1 through 8.  

What prevents the Rapture is as much the decision of the Father to its timing as it is the ongoing relationship building of His people.  The timing will be right when the last person to be saved is saved.  Through someone being obedient to sharing the Gospel.  It will not happen before that last person's name takes that last line in the book of Life reserved for those before the Tribulation. 

Maybe it's my outlook on life or it's the way it's supposed to be. Regardless of the offense, if a person is breathing, Salvation is possible.  They probably won't escape the consequences of their actions, but they could possibly still enter the courts of Heaven as a believer in Jesus Christ.  Many argue against such things, but remember who the first believer was. A man condemned to death on a cross.  He had no way to escape the consequences of his crimes, but that day he stood with Jesus in paradise.  We don't know what our relationship impact is in this world with others is.

Life as a loner is terrible.  You can have riches beyond imagination, be lonely and lose it all.  Look at Howard Hughes.  

Riches for a believer are stored in Heaven...what?  Yes. In Heaven.  What could that be?  What can we have now that's stored in Heaven?  People. 

The most important to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, is people. 

He didn't die for your car, your truck, your home, or your hobby.  Jesus died for you.  
He didn't die for your rights, your privileges, your status in society. Jesus died for you. 
He didn't die for the things you thought or things you didn't think. The things you did or didn't do. Jesus died for you. 

His love is what kept Him in the path of the wrath of God the Father on its way to that cross.  He wouldn't move out of the way because He loves you.  You the person, not anything you did or didn't do. You were born in sin.  

Consider that.  Really look at it.  He loves human beings, created in His image, regardless of race, color or anything else, enough to die for.  We are the ones who try to judge others as worthy or unworthy of Salvation.  If Jesus died for a thief He died for you. 

The sad part is the other man on the other cross.  When next he opened his eyes, he looked across that chasm into paradise and saw Jesus with the man He said would be with Him that day. He too could have been there had he believed.  That last opportunity slipped away because he blew his chance at Salvation in Christ Jesus. 

Much is always preached on concerning the thief that was with Jesus in paradise.  Much more should be preached about the one who wasn't. 

Jesus has repeatedly preached about those who would be weeping and gnashing their teeth.  Those who missed out. Who remained standing in their rebellion to a Holy God.  If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that God had had me write this fact:  there are no unbelievers in Hell.  Every single person who had rejected Christ KNOWS the truth, but it's too late for them.  Some writhing in anguish because they knew but refused, others writhing in anguish, still yet angry at God. But all in torment in Hell.  All knowing that yes, God is real. Hell is real. That they really do not want anyone joining them there. 

Look at your relationship with Jesus. If you want any relationship with others to work out right, THEN that is where you MUST begin. 

Superficial relationships might get you through life, but without a real relationship with Jesus, you too will be on the outside of paradise looking in. You will be either one of those weeping or one of those gnashing their teeth at God, refusing to take responsibility for your sin.

Make sure your relationship with Jesus is real and growing. Make sure you are talking with Jesus every day. Make sure you are reading His love letter to you, the Bible. Seek out relationships with other true believers. Run from the false ones. Let your light shine in such a way that you might show people Jesus. 

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