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Tag Archives: Luke 21

Are the Promises of Safety in the Bible True?

I have long wondered what we are to do with verses like this…

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty… A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place– the Most High, who is my refuge– no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. Psalm 91:1, 7-10 (ESV)

Psalm 91, quoted above, is also the passage that Satan quotes to Jesus, urging Him to throw Himself off the temple because…

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12 (ESV)

This question is on my heart because I just preached Psalm 121 this weekend, which among other things, promises us…

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. Psalm 121:7 (ESV)

All evil? Really? On the face of it, the promise just doesn’t make sense, for we all know (or know of) believers who have lost their lives for their faith, or have had untold evil done to them and have therefore suffered in many ways. Certainly we all know believers who have, at least according to human accounting, died before their time.

Prosperity Gospel Fuel?

Verses like these not only seem to give fuel to the false gospel of health and wealth, but the real danger here is that a Christian might read these portions of God’s word and begin to feel that…he is not truly saved; or to express a slightly different concern, that he doesn’t measure up in some way to deserve God’s loving-kindness and hand of protection.

“If I were really godly,” he or she thinks, “then the cancer wouldn’t have come to me. Perhaps I should have prayed harder or worked harder for God’s Kingdom. Maybe He really just doesn’t love me.”

But a little while ago, I was reading Luke 21, and I came across this wonderful insight…

“You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish.” Luke 21:16-18 (ESV)

The context? Jesus is speaking of the destruction of the Temple which would happen in 70 A.D., but He’s really using that forthcoming event to speak of the end times just before His return. But here’s the helpful thing: in one breath, the Lord says, “some of you they will put to death,” and in the next breath, He says, “Not a hair of your head will perish.”

Do you see? The Lord is saying that for the believer, it’s possible to be put to death by enemies, or by cancer (the effects of The Fall) or disease or violent crime, etc., and yet, to still be able to say that not a hair of your head has perished. How so? Well, Jesus is referring to the glorious doctrine of the resurrection, a truth that we must interpret all these other passages in light of.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (ESV)

 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Sin You Thought Wasn’t a Problem…is a Problem

FearWhen we think about godly living, most of us think of some sins as obvious. Drunkenness, for instance, is something we want to avoid. Scripture makes that pretty clear:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

Among believers, at least in North America, there is a healthy stigma with being drunk, and so most of us are careful to avoid consuming too much alcohol. But there are other significant sins that do not have such stigma, and it probably wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they did.

Consider Jesus’ words of warning about being ready for the last days:

“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” Luke 21:34 (ESV)

When it comes to what Jesus is warning us against, it almost looks like one of these things doesn’t belong. According to a Greek dictionary, the word translated dissipation refers to “unbridled indulgence in a drinking party”, so it’s very similar to drunkenness. And then we have this phrase, “cares of this life.” We might perhaps better translate this, “the cares of daily life.”

The Cares of Daily Life

Come on, is it really that bad to be weighed down with the cares of daily life? Apparently, yes, for Jesus is saying that our hearts can be weighed down with worries about car repairs, clothing, and the health of our pets as much as they can be weighed down with alcohol. How does this work? Well, alcohol puts a person out of commission to serve God, and…so do the cares of this life. Our little fears throughout the day distract us, keeping us from focusing on Christ and His Kingdom. And the effect is that we are not prepared for His return.

So it’s funny that we Christians can talk about our worrying like it’s nothing: “I’m such a worrier,” we say. “Oh, yeah, me too,” our friend replies. (I know wherein I speak – I’ve said this sort of thing way too many times.) But how many people do you know who come to church laughing and yucking it up about their “big ol’ hangover” from Saturday night? Not too many I would guess.

So what to do with our worries?

1. Stop…and realize that it’s a sin to worry. Then begin to take it as seriously as you would a developing habit of bar-hopping on the weekends. By the way, I’m not advocating putting yourself on a guilt trip – that definitely won’t help – but I am saying that sometimes we have sins in our life that we don’t think of as sinful. The first step toward eating less, in other words, is to call yourself a glutton. And as long as we keep laughing about our “cares of daily life” habit, we will never take worry seriously enough to defeat it.

2. The second step is equally important: Prayer. Devote yourself to prayer over the items on your worry list, then wait for the peace of God to come and guard your heart. (See Philippians 4:6, 7) Much has been written about this, so enough said.

3. Finally, keep the cross always in front of you. It’s Calvary that tells us that, yes, our sin is bad, but it’s also forgiven by the God who loves us so much that He died for us. If He cared so much for us to walk in the way of the cross, will He not care enough for us to handle everything else. Romans 8:32 comes to mind…

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 (ESV)

Or, as Tim Keller wrote in The Reason for God:

“The fact that Jesus had to die for me humbled me out of my pride. The fact that Jesus was glad to die for me assured me out of my fear.”

For tomorrow, Thursday, July 30th: Luke 22

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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