An Open Letter to my Erring brothers and sisters in Christ

“I just don’t have the time.” “I will one of these days.” “I’m not quite feeling up to getting out.” “I’m always working.”

These sentiments, and others similar to them, are the responses that get expressed to me time and time again when I tell an erring brother or sister in Christ that I’ve been missing them at worship services. And while I don’t question the sincerity of the absentee’s answers, I do question the consistency, or the lack thereof, of absences from other areas of life.

For example, when I tell people that I have been missing them I’m telling them because I see them:

  • at the grocery store
  • at the bank
  • at the hospital
  • at gas stations
  • at restaurants
  • at their job
  • at the funeral home
  • at local sporting/community events

For some reason worship can’t fit into their schedule, but these can?

Now some of you may say those are necessities – a person can’t stop doing those! And to that I would say don’t confuse what’s being doing with what needs to be done.

Oh erring one, remember your father; come back to where you need to be (Luke 15:18-24). EA

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The key to…

Everybody is looking for the key to something. And there are plenty of sellers out there!

The key to happiness, to fame and fortune, to a good job, to a new house, to a new car, to marital bliss, to good health and even to the right fantasy football picks seem to be the keys that most seek to have on their key-ring, but eventually all of these keys are found to be exactly what they are – keys that open temporary doors.

Of all the doors that the world offers to open there is one door that causes them to close, and that door is death. But the good news of God proclaims to provide the very key that the world only dreams of. This key cannot be bought, nor is it being sold; but this key comes at a cost, and we must decide if we’re interested in listening to the only one who has this key on his ring (Isaiah 22:20-25, Revelation 3:17). EA

And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:17-18)

More than hands were getting nailed down

With every knock of the hammer against the nails there was a thought produced: to the murderous Jews it was the sound of victory being nailed down; to the ruling Romans it was the sound of authority being nailed down; to the disciples it was the sound of defeat being nailed down; to the ears of Jesus it was the sound of all the above, but not for the same reasons.

To Jesus, the sound of victory was not heard in his hands being nailed down – the sound of victory came from our sins being nailed to the cross:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,” (1 Peter 3:18)

To Jesus, the sound of authority was not heard in his hands being nailed down – the sound of authority came from him choosing to lay down his own life:

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)

To Jesus, the sound of defeat was not heard in his hands being nailed down – the sound of defeat was heard in the devil losing his strength:

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” (Hebrews 2:14)

What do you hear in the sound of the hammer and the nails? EA

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

What will we do in exchange?

For us, God, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth:

What will we do in exchange for him? EA

This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:11-13)

Related Article:

Don’t confuse God’s love with God’s salvation

God’s wants no one to be lost – fact!

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

Jesus Christ died for the sins of the entire world – fact!

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2

God’s motivating factor behind the death of Jesus was salvation through love – fact!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

Every sinner will go to Heaven after the judgment because of God’s love – false!

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

There are many people in the world who confuse the love of God with the salvation of God. They fail to understand that even God’s love cannot ignore God’s justice, but His love can answer it in a way that we cannot. Nevertheless, God’s love toward us must be accompanied by our love of God’s truth, God’s people, God’s way and God’s Son (2 Thessalonians 2:10; John 8:32; 1 Peter 2:17; John 15:14; 1 Corinthians 16:22).

The benefit of God’s love is salvation, but the benefit of salvation is only found in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). EA

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

If you’re looking for a reason…

If you’re looking for a reason to disbelieve in Jesus, any reason will do.

If you’re looking for a reason to leave the church, any reason will do.

If you’re looking for a reason to talk bad about your brother or sister in Christ, any reason will do.

If you’re looking for a reason to not do what’s right, any reason will do.

But if you’re looking for a reason to keep the faith, to serve the church, to overlook shortcomings and to follow after the righteousness of God – only one reason will do (John 14:15). EA

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)

 

Simply Taking Jesus At His Word

Sometimes Jesus’ commands may make no sense.

Sometimes we may feel like we know more about the subject.

Sometimes we think we know what’s going to happen before it ever gets done.

Sometimes…well, most of the time…um, okay let’s face it – experience shows that we’re wrong every time we fail to take Jesus at his word!

Jesus isn’t looking for scholars, life-experts, financial gurus, or backseat drivers – Jesus is looking for people who will simply take him at his word.

And when we learn to do this we will receive blessings that we would have never gotten if we had listened to ourself. EA

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.” (Luke 5:4-6)