Monday, August 22, 2011

A Warning of the Ultimate Tragedy to Come

A couple of weeks ago a young woman was tragically killed when she stepped over the railings overlooking Niagara Falls, lost her footing, and fell into the raging river and down the falls.  Some have commented that her life may have been saved if there were more warning signs.  The problem is that any bit of common sense would tell you that it would be rather dangerous to do what she did.  Any amount of signs will not stop someone from doing something reckless.  That is why teens load their cars up with friends and become distracted amateur drivers trying to show off and many times this too ends in tragedy.  I am sure that even people like Natalie Holloway who go off with some stranger after underage drinking and end up raped, robbed, or worse knew perfectly well that what she was doing was wrong and reckless, yet she chose to do it anyway.  This is a construct of a fallen nature.  We want what we want and we think consequences are for other people.  Many people go through life with this attitude, but even worse many go into the afterlife with this very same attitude.  This all reminds me a parable shared by Jesus.  You see, as tragic as any of these things are that take human life, this is not the greatest tragedy.  The greatest tragedy is dying without Jesus. 
There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'  But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.' Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' Abraham said to him, 'They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' "And he said, 'No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' But he said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'  Luke 16:19-31 NKJV
We have hear a tale of two men.  One was poor and saved and the other was rich and unsaved.  The poor man died and was taken to Abraham's bosom (paradise) and the other was taken to Hades (the prelude to the Lake of Fire).  The rich man was in utter torment and upon learning there was no hope for him where he was, he asked that Lazarus be sent to warn his brothers about this place so that they may too repent.  Abraham says that if they do not hear the Word they will not be persuaded by Lazarus.  In other words, they have all the warning they need and any more would be pointless. 

So many say they will believe in Jesus if they see Him or if some kind of miracle is performed for them.  They all want grand signs in the sky and a personal meeting with God and say that if that should happen then they may believe.  They say if only I see some proof then I will believe.  I say, like Abraham, that they have all the proof that they need.  What they lack is not proof, but faith.  You see they have proof but constantly explain it away or find some other reason for something other than God.  They do not want proof because if they did they would not spend so much time trying to tear down the proof that they have.  They quite honestly want nothing to do with Jesus and all those demands for proof are nothing more than excuses for them not to submit themselves to Jesus Christ. 

I can say that because I do not have to wonder what would happen if God Himself came into this world.  God became flesh and dwelt among us.  He performed many miracles at a time where they could not even postulate as to how He did what He did let alone try and disprove it.  His performed unquestionable miracle after unquestionable miracle. He was hailed as Messiah when He made his triumphal entry.  Did the whole world turn to Jesus?  We know the rest of the story.  Those same people who worshiped Him ended up crying out to crucify Him.  Of His twelve apostles, one denied Him (through later repented) and one betrayed Him (and ended up taking his own life).   Jesus was the sign and the world by and large rejected that sign.  If Jesus were to come back today to live among us all over again, the results would be no different.  The world would reject Him now just as they did then.  In fact, when the end times come and things play out exactly as Revelation says it will, people will still not believe. 

The warning is stark and simple.  Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and spend eternity in Hell existing with the consequences of that decision.  Hell is not a place to go party with your friends, but a place of eternal torment.  It is utter darkness and unbearable pain and a place where neither you nor the pain will ever die.  There is no term sentence where you have the hope to look forward to of when your time in Hell is up.  You just exist, forever, in pain beyond description.  That is the warning and you have all the information you need to make the right decision. 

I also need to emphasize that the time to make that decision is now.  Tragedy happens all around us all the time.  Just this past weekend, four young men were killed in a senseless accident.  I am not going to try to explain why tragedy happens.  Quite honestly, it usually happens because of poor decisions on our part.  The fact is that with one bad decision we can end our own lives and the lives of other in an instant.  Only God knows if we will live to a ripe old age and have the chance to settle down one day and take God seriously or if something sudden and tragic will happen along the way and never give us that chance.  Delaying that decision for Jesus can have tragic eternal consequences.  If you have not accepted Jesus, you must do so today.  Only God knows if this is your final warning.  If you are in Christ, then what are you doing to let others know about Jesus?  Do you know the end of your days for you to have that someday to witness to them in word and deed? Do you know the end of their days to know that they will have that someday?  Every day you fail to witness Jesus to them is day less on the countdown to when there will be no more chances.  We do not know what number that countdown is on.  It may be on 1000.  It may also be on 1.  Are you willing to take that chance with the eternal soul of someone you love and care about?  If you are worth anything as a person you will not take that chance.  Share the love of Jesus while you still can and they are still hear to accept it.
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward [is] with Me, to give to every one according to his work.  Revelation 22:12 NKJV

No comments:

Post a Comment