Written Following “Hurricane Sandy” in the Fall of 2012
The Warnings Were Rejected
The United States has just experienced another horrible natural disaster. The devastation caused by the mega storm Sandy in the south eastern US had been disastrous. Lives were lost and the property damage has been many millions of dollars. On a recent news cast I saw a man standing in front of his damaged and flooded house holding his two children with his wife by his side. He described the ordeal and horrors that they had been through and then he said, “I made a terrible mistake by not heeding the warnings that were given.” It is a very sad thing that the warnings were given far in advance of the tragedy, yet the warnings were rejected by this family and by many other families. Sadly, there is something far worse than this. God’s spiritual warnings are given, yet they are rejected by the majority. “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:23-24) The rich man of Luke 16 and his five brothers rejected God’s warnings about eternity. When the rich man found himself in hell he begged, (1) For water to cool his tongue, and (2) For someone to be sent from the dead to warn his five brothers not to come to hell. He was told that they already have the warning. They must now decide whether or not the warning will be rejected. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:31) God’s warnings are designed to bring man to repentance. If we will only listen to His warnings we will forsake our sins and obey Him completely.
God warns us that the way of transgressors is hard. In Proverbs 13:15 we read, “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” Sinners have more pain and misery in getting their souls to hell than the righteous do in getting to heaven. The service of sin is slavery and the road of sin leads to hell. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) Solomon showed us that the way of the transgressor is hard by saying, (1) “The soul of the transgressors shall eat violence,” (2) “He that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction,” (3) “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing,” (4) “A wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame,” (5) “Wickedness overthroweth the sinner,” (6) “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing,” (7) “The lamp of the wicked shall be put out,” (8) “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished,” (9) “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed,” (10) “A wicked messenger falleth into mischief,” (11) “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction,” (12) “A companion of fools shall be destroyed,” (13) “Evil pursueth sinners,” and (14) “The belly of the wicked shall want.” God warns us that “the way of transgressors is hard.” What are you doing with God’s warning?
God warns us that we must repent or we will perish. In Luke 13:1-5 we read, “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Repentance is a change of heart which results in a changed life. God’s warning is simple, but very much to the point, repent or perish. Repentance is a salvation message. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) Since the day of Pentecost God has proclaimed through the Gospel that all men everywhere MUST repent. God warning us of our danger of damnation has a greater tendency to have influence upon us, because He is our Judge. God tells us, that if we go on in sin and do not repent, He will destroy us and cast us out of his sight forever. In Acts 3:19 we read, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
God warns us that “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34) Do we somehow think that God approves of the USA, a nations that tolerates all kinds of sins? America tolerates, (1) The killing of our unborn children, (2) The perversion of homosexuality, (3) Atheism and all kinds of religious cults, (4) Pornography and the exploitation of women and children, (5) The filth of godless entertainment, and (6) God’s name being blasphemed and it is called freedom of speech. America tolerates everything except God. While most Americans have become spiritually deaf and blind to the obvious signs all around them, Christians who have "eyes to see and ears to hear" recognize that a dreadful punishment is coming to the United States of America unless we repent. Will America not be held accountable for the evil and sin that we tolerate? God appeals to His people saying, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17) Blessings come as we serve God. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” (Psalms 33:12) Righteousness is demonstrated as we separate ourselves from a sinful world. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) “America is great because she is good; when America is no longer good she will no longer be great.”
J Long before we ever see hell and hear the cries of the damned let us take heed to the warnings of God and not go there. Repentance and baptism are man's response to God's offer of salvation by the blood of Christ. In Acts 2:36-38 the Bible says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Please see God's love at the cross and hear His warning! It was very sad to hear that man who almost lost his family and his own life say, “I made a terrible mistake by not heeding the warnings that were given.” It will be even sadder for those in hell to say, “I made an eternal mistake by not heeding the warnings that were given by God.” Let us do whatever we can to escape hell.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037