Bible Ballistics: Vol. 13 No. 19 If Not Now? When?
When I consider all that is going on in our world, in our churches and in our families, I can’t help but think of the choices that we all make, and how they affect and trickle down to those around us. Spiritual strength, character, salvation and revival comes from God! Yet God has given mankind the opportunity to choose-we can choose to have HIS true spiritual strength through the saving, transforming, new life IN Jesus. The only “life” that will grow powerful, godly character which can change our culture, and it starts with one person! “One person” at a time, who will act now; affecting “one family” at a time; reviving “one church” at a time’; spreading that revival to “one community” at a time; to effectively change a world that is lost and drowning in darkness and corruption. But we can only change the darkness by living “the light” of transformed lives as the redeemed; the redeemed living like the “redeemed”! That means we who are born again living and heeding The Word of God as The Word/Words of God! And, oh my dear friends, we must do it NOW!
If not NOW? When will we stand up for Jesus—not in mean, harsh, vindictive ways, but as our Lord Jesus did, taking the truth with us everywhere we go, among all whom we encounter! Holy living isn’t reserved for Sundays or Wednesdays (or whatever times you have church meeting/service)—we must live for Jesus every day. If not now, if not today, when? Let’s consider what God records three times in His Word!
“Wherefore the Lord said,
Forasmuch as this people
draw near me with their mouth,
and with their lips do honour me,
but have removed their heart
far from me,
and their fear toward me
is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13
God told the prophet Isaiah that His own people (those who claimed His name, for His blessings, when it was convenient, but had no regard for what His Word called them to be and do—sound familiar?) talked the ‘talk’ but they had no real ‘walk’ with Him! How about us? God identified this condition in those who had replaced the true “fear toward me” with the “precept of men”—in our vernacular, they had replaced what God said with men’s watered-down justification for sin! Jesus repeated this commentary in His own earthly ministry.
well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me
with their mouth,
and honoureth me
with their lips;
but their heart
is far from me.” Matthew 15:8
“Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him,
Why walk not thy disciples
according to the tradition of the elders,
but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them,
Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites,
as it is written,
This people honoureth me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain
do they worship me,
teaching for doctrines
the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God,
ye hold the tradition of men,
as the washing of pots and cups:
and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them,
Full well ye reject
the commandment of God,
that ye may keep
your own tradition.” Mark 7:5-9
Ouch! What would Jesus say to us? He who has called us to Himself, said that those who are truly His are to follow Him; not because ‘following’ Him saves us, but because when He saves us, we should want to follow the ONE who gave His life for ours. God knows who we really are—who I am? Who YOU are!!!
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure,
having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them
that are his.
And, Let every one that nameth the name
depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19
We aren’t saved because we depart from evil, but by the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin—by repentance and faith in HIS accomplished work at Calvary, but as HIS, we ought to avoid it! Paul said it best:
“But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love
wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together
with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places
in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come
he might shew the exceeding riches
of his grace
in his kindness
through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works,
lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus
unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk
in them.” Ephesians 2:4-10
God loves YOU and ME enough to give His own Son to pay a debt that HE didn’t owe; because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay apart from death and hell! When Jesus saves us, He saves us “unto good works”! We are God’s “workmanship” for we are “created in Christ Jesus”! So, what are your works saying about “whose” you are? If not now? When? When will you start to live for Jesus? He isn’t looking at your words, but your heart, for what is IN the heart, will come OUT!
“Do not ye yet understand,
that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth
goeth into the belly,
and is cast out into the draught?
18 But those things which proceed
out of the mouth
come forth from the heart;
and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart
proceed evil thoughts,
20 These are the things which defile a man…” Matthew 15:17-20
How about you/me? Do we “yet understand” that God has only one standard—JESUS—The Living Word, as well as the One who breathed scripture through chosen “men of God” (See 2 Peter 1:19-21)! If not now? When? WE must stop judging ourselves by the world’s standard instead of God’s. Just because we change the name of sin, it’s still sin. Oh, dear ones, we must cling to Jesus’ cross and His Word, taking up our cross NOW! Please join me in seeking HIS face continually, not just washing our physical hands, while leaving our hearts unchecked and vile? Apart from the life-changing power of His blood, we have no hope, yet in Him we can be victorious! How about you? Now?
“Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things,
and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes,
and be slain,
and be raised the third day.
23 And he said to them all,
If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily,
and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it:
but whosoever will lose his life
for my sake,
the same shall save it.
25 For what is a man advantaged,
if he gain the whole world,
and lose himself,
or be cast away?” Luke 9:22-25
What advantage? NONE! Jesus made it clear to Nicodemus!
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son
into the world
to condemn the world;
but that the world through him
might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him
is not condemned:
but he that believeth not
is condemned already,
because he hath not believed
in the name
of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness
rather than light,
because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil
hateth the light,
neither cometh to the light,
lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:14-20
I pray that you will ponder these things and ask God to show you the true condition of your heart. Please seek Jesus while He may be found! I’ve talked to so many who say “When I get this new job, then I’ll come”; “When I get past this crises, then I’ll come”; “I just can’t let go of this__________” (sin, unforgiveness, guilt, anger, selfishness, or self-reliance—it doesn’t matter what’s in your ‘blank’, if it keeps you from Jesus, it will lead you to hell—and that’s sad, for Jesus died for YOU to miss Hell!)! Whatever is standing between you and God is something that Jesus can and will overcome if you’ll but come to HIM.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice,
and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will sup with him,
and he with me…
22 He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith …” Revelation 3:20 & 22a
Don’t miss heaven for neglect! I’m praying that you will find Jesus, if you haven’t already! If you go to hell, it will be by trampling the blood of Jesus, and in spite of this servant’s prayers! I’m also praying that if you know HIM, you will take up YOUR cross and follow Him; and that cross isn’t your ‘difficulties’, it IS dying to “self” by living to, for, with and through HIM.
“I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live
in the flesh
I live by the faith
of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Amen and Amen!