We have all experienced tragedy in this life, if you haven’t yet, give it time, you will. I do want to share one point that is off subject to give you a little perspective of your combat veterans. What you have experienced, the emotions that stem from people you know, murdered or wounded by the hand of another, is a powerful emotion. In times like these, some of you are lucky enough to have a family to hug or a significant other to talk to. Soldiers do not. In fact, they disconnect the phones when someone is killed until the family has been properly notified. Soldiers are not in comfortable beds in a safe home; they are in a foreign land, with little to no contact with anyone. The fact is the combat soldier lives in that movie theatre. He goes back there every.single.day. He sees the blood stains, bullet holes, and blast craters every day. The bomb that exploded on that road that killed some guys he knew is the road he will take today and tomorrow and the next day. The soldier adapts to this game so well that when it is quiet and calm is when he feels most vulnerable. Like a game of hot potato, he gets the sense of when the music should stop and every second that passes by, he becomes more and more anxious in the anticipation of the music stopping again. I love our veterans, they are truly extraordinary people. God knows we need these men who have seen and experienced what a country of godless people looks like, to warn and remind the people here to repent and turn to God because Sadr City, Iraq is your future without Him. It can happen here. It is happening here. I can’t really tell the difference between the suicide bombings in Iraqi markets from the suicide mass shootings of America. I would suggest that at least the bombings have a motivation of control and power behind them. The mass shootings of America is out of a love and desire to kill people. Nothing can satisfy that desire other than actually killing. That is why gun control will not work. This is yet another billboard sign that God is withdrawing Himself from this country. Putting the 10 commandments back in the courts wont help. People are always thinking they can get God to do what they want. If we just do this, God does this. That’s what they think. But the fact is, the reason the 10 commandments were pulled, the horrific fluffiness of the pulpit, the mass shootings, the mental health crisis of depression, legalization of gay marriage, the nudity and sexuality of the television/magazines, the capitulation to liberal theology and politics, the abortion and sale of murdered babies, celebration of self-expression are all billboard size signs showing that God is leaving man to man. This is what you get when God gives men over to their own lust. You can say all you want that “this has always happened”. “Every generation believes they are the last generation”. Yes, granted this is not the worst time in history. Look at us, God has blessed us scientific advances and technology what have we done with it?! Sure we have done a lot of good curing illnesses, feeding the poor etc…. But we also get puffed up, and say there is no place for God is in the revolutionary time of technology. We never look back and view this technology as a gift, no, we spend trillions of dollars on armaments because we have to protect ourselves from everyone else who still wants to kill us. Instead of protecting ourselves from swordsmen, we have to protect ourselves from nuclear bombs, hackers, chemical weapons etc… Man has not gotten better despite all the advances in science and technology. Mankind is the same evil as before, he just has new gadgets and toys of destruction to play with.
So after a rather long introduction, I want to present to you what you will not hear Sunday morning as the masses go to church during this time of healing. (In memory of the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones) The words to which I would like to draw your attention to are to be found in Luke’s gospel, chapter thirteen verses one through nine:
Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ “And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.‘” (Luke 13:1-9)
“Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate?”– The question Christ is asking is, do you think God was punishing them this way because they were the greater sinners than all the other Galileans? The question is obviously a rhetorical question, and the reason He asked that question is because that was exactly what those people were thinking. He then answers His own question saying: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”- So Christ says no, God did not put them to death this way because they were the worst sinners in Galilee. Christ then addresses the real issue, He says “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish”. What do you think Christ meant by “you will all likewise perish“? Do you believe that all repentant christian people cannot die like those Galileans? Allow me to ask you a question, did Christ die a pleasant death? No, it was horrible physical suffering. So when Christ speaks of “you will all likewise perish” He is not talking about the physical death, but the spiritual death. It is as if Christ is saying, “you people are concerned about God’s wrath inflicting physical pain and death when it is the spiritual death you should be concerned about.” He says “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish“. So what is this word “likewise” referring to then? What is it about these Galilean’s physical death that is comparable to the spiritual death? Well I suggest that just as Pilate made his judgement to put them to physical death, God will put those who are unrepentant to spiritual death. Christ brings up another story He says: “Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem?”- Again it’s the same question, does God cause tragedies like this happen to those who are really bad sinners who have made God especially angry? Again He answers: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”- Again we should recognize that Christ is making the point that what happened to these people and the death they experienced in the physical form is a picture of what will happen spiritually to those who are unrepentant.
Before we move on there is one point that needs to be acknowledged. Christ never said those events were some kind of freak accident. It was applied from both parties that these tragedies occurred in the full knowledge of God. So much so that those people who questioned Jesus believed that the Galileans must have committed some kind of grievous sins that were greater than everyone else’s because God had punished them through Pilate. Jesus never corrected them on the their assumption that God was punishing these people. He only corrected their thought that those people were greater sinners than everyone else. Oh I know your objection, you say “God had nothing to do with it!” Well by saying that, you have to admit one of two things, you are either saying God didn’t know that would happen and was therefor caught by surprise and was powerless to stop it. Or you are saying God was well aware that it would happen but decided He had better things to do that day. Both are heresy. Not even a sparrow falls apart from God, do you think entire towers killing 18 people fall apart from God? The fact is, God knew that would happen because He brought it about. You see, the wages of sin is death. Don’t get angry with God for executing justice. He told Adam from the beginning that because of his sin, he would return to the very dust he was made from. That is the physical death that came about through sin and sin came about through Adam and we came about from Adam. Moving on:
To give an insight into mysteries of God and His workings, Jesus gives a parable that explains what he means in this teachings He says:
And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. “And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ “And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'”
So you get the story, the Man who planted the fig tree in the vineyard, is a picture of God creating and placing man on the Earth. The Man(God) checked the tree every year for fruit and after 3 years of no fruit, He told the vineyard keeper to cut the tree down because it is wasting the ground it is planted in. That is referring to the fact that God created man for a purpose,but man has fallen into sin leaving him incapable of doing anything to please God, (no fruit). So the wrath of God is upon mankind, ready to destroy him. Yet the vineyard keeper says:”Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down”. The fertilizer is the word of God spoken to man also known as the scriptures. When these scriptures are read, studied and understood through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and when God’s teachers and preachers expound these scriptures, it creates an environment that is a catalyst for growth. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (God).(Rom 10:17) “Even so faith, if it has no works (fruit), is dead, being by itself”. (Jam 2:17) I hope you under stood what I have just said, faith comes through the word of God, and true faith creates fruit. Do see what Christ is teaching here? Unless you are producing fruit (like repentance), that comes about because of faith, you will be cut down and discarded as a worthless fig tree. Christ is talking about the spiritual judgement before God. These foolish people go to Christ concerned about being punished physically for sins, when Christ is saying, you fear the wrong thing! Fear God who has the power to destroy your soul and forget the physical death. The spiritual death is eternal, the physical body is simply mortal. You are not promised tomorrow. God can take you whenever He pleases. Every breath, and beat of you heart is counted as is every hair upon your head. Nobody’s heart will beat one more or less than God has chosen. Nobody will draw a single breath more or less than God has ordained. He sets the times of life and death and the manner in which they both come. You are not guaranteed anything, much less tomorrow or next week. Therefore, be concerned about your soul, repent and be reconciled to God or else you will be destroyed spiritually as if a tower fell upon it. Or, your soul will be put to death as if an emperor made his judgement to do so. Ohh how foolish we all are, repent, you must repent. How shall you live if you neglect so great a salvation?! You wont! That’s the answer, you wont! You too will likewise perish! Are you truly concerned about those poor souls who were taken by that man in the theatre? Do you know what they would say to you this very instant if they could? Whether they are speaking from the paradise of Christ or the torment of Hades, both would say this: “Unless you repent, you all will likewise perish”! That is the message of Christ, stop being so concerned about this world it is set for destruction, be concerned for you souls. What profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul?