6 June 2008

Do something about it!

Magazines like Heat and Hello! invite us into the colourful lives of celebrities. We discover how the rich and famous live; but they make no demands of us. We’re just idle spectators, star gazing.

However, if you discover your house is on fire, you do something about it. And what we discover about the life of Jesus in the Gospels is not like the celebrities in Heat or Hello! It’s more like discovering your house is on fire. His life demands we do something about ours. Let’s discover why.

First, we are facing destruction.

If your house is on fire, you call the fire brigade to rescue you and your property from destruction. In the Bible, God tells us that every human life is facing destruction. This is God’s judgement on us, for ignoring our Creator, and ruining his creation. God says he will "punish those who do not know God and do not pay attention to the good news about the Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out…" Shut God out of your life now, and he will shut you out of his life in the future. Doing nothing in response to the message of Jesus is doing something - it is condemning yourself to destruction.

Second, God sent Jesus to rescue us.

In the same way we can call on the fire brigade to rescue us from destruction, so God, in his mercy, sent Jesus for us to call on – to rescue us from the destruction of his judgement to come. But to be rescued, we must do something, before it is too late. We must call on him – pray to him, something like, “O Lord Jesus, please save me from the destruction of God’s judgement on my sin”.

Of course, we’re not going to call on him if we think we don’t need saving. And we won’t call on him if we think he’s not there, or if we think he’s not able to save us. And that’s the whole purpose of the Bible and the Gospels – to convince us of these things. This is such an urgent matter and such an important matter (where we end up after death) that it can’t be left on the sideboard like Heat or Hello! Too much is at stake. We need to discover for ourselves whether Jesus is real, whether he can be trusted, and whether his teaching is true. If what he says is true, we are all in immediate and terrible danger unless we call on him to rescue us. “Everyone who calls on the Lord Jesus will be saved”. Yet, “whoever rejects Jesus will not see life, for God’s destruction remains on him”.

Third, the rescue service is free of charge.

Jesus offers to rescue us free of charge. To the person who really wants to live, Jesus gives life to them “without cost”. For it is by God’s generosity we are saved, through faith – we can’t save ourselves from God’s destruction – it is the free gift of God. And the reason Jesus can offer to rescue us ‘free of charge’ is that he has paid the cost of rescuing us himself. Like the fireman who dies whilst rescuing others, at the cost of his own life, so Jesus died rescuing us. Except his death was no accident. He deliberately sacrificed himself as the necessary payment to pay for us not to be destroyed by God’s judgement.

The rescue service is free to us. But it cost him his life. The case against this being true is not strong. The evidence for this being true is very strong indeed – strong enough for anyone to believe, beyond all reasonable doubt. Please don’t put this to one side, do something about it, today.

I keep hearing about people, men in particular, who won’t go to the doctor for fear of appearing weak. They are worried what people will think of them. So their illness gets worse, and some die. Then people say, not how strong they were, but how foolish they were. I fear this is why some people, men in particular, won’t call on Christ Jesus. They are simply afraid of what others will think of them. What a foolish reason to suffer everlasting destruction, shut out from the fabulous life Jesus offers us in the future.

Do something about it, today, before it’s too late.

Simon Smallwood
Vicar of St George’s