by Frederick Hoehn, copyright 2013. |
There is a wide range of problems that people have. Financial problems, marital problems, health problems, emotional problems, employment problems.
One of the largest industries today is the health care industry, and while some people seem to get better, there seems to always be an increasing number of health problems.
A man who lived in the same building as I did in Los Angeles was a fellow chess player. But he took his chess way too seriously. I had to stop playing him. After another chess player won a game against this man, the loser assaulted the winner.
Afterward, we were sitting in the lobby of the building, and this man said something about maybe he should take some anger management classes. I told him it wouldn't help, and that the problem was that he had demons in him, and such classes wouldn't get the demons out.
He said, "That's probably right." It was right, but the man showed no interest in turning to God for the solution to the problem.
But of these problems I've mentioned, none of these is the main problem that people have.
The number one problem that people have is lack of fear of God.
"The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." (Psa 111:10)
A good, healthy fear of God will put you on the road to finding solutions to the other problems. But those who don't fear God are standing in quicksand, and at any moment, the bottom could drop out.
Or, they might remain for a few years, and then the bottom drops out. It was on the news lately that a very large sink hole opened up in Kansas. It is not known why that happened.
In another place, recently, a sink hole opened, and a man in his bed went down into it. They could hear his shouts for help, but weren't able to save him.
If you fear God, you'll make an effort to stay out of hell. And Jesus said most people go to hell. In Matthew chapt 7, verses 13 "Enter in at the restricted gate, because wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many that go in there, 14 Because the gate is restricted, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."
Jesus is saying there that most people go to hell, and few go to heaven.
Jesus said you must be born again (John chapter 3, Romans 10:9,10).
There are many people who don't take Jesus seriously. That's a big mistake.
People who don't take Jesus seriously are people who don't know who Jesus is. He is the greatest man who ever walked the face of the earth.
Adam and Eve lived in a very nice place called the Garden of Eden. Until they got kicked out. And why did they get kicked out? Because they sinned. They ate the fruit God said don't eat.
Even before God created Adam, he had a plan for the world and for mankind.
God had a sort-of co-creator, and that was Jesus. I say sort-of because Jesus himself said, "My Father is greater than I am." (John 14:28)
When God the Father and Jesus created Adam, it was already known that man would sin. That's why Jesus is "The Lamb killed from the foundation of the earth." (Rev 13:8)
Under the laws of Moses, they killed lambs for the sins of the people. But that was just a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, once and for all, for the sins of the world.
After perhaps four thousand years of mankind on earth, God sent his only Son Jesus down to earth to live in a man's body. Jesus taught the people, healed the people, cast out demons, raised the dead, and then died on the cross for our sins.
But 2 Cor 5:21 tells us Jesus himself never sinned.
On the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead. He was seen by more than five hundred Christians. Jesus went back to heaven where he had come from, and now sits at the right hand of God.
So then, beside the fact that Jesus was a co-creator, and our sacrificial lamb, another reason to respect Jesus is that on Judgment Day, Jesus will be the Judge. (John 5:22)
Even criminals who don't have much respect for the law are usually reluctant to say bad things about judges, because the judge can give them a harsh sentence or a lenient sentence.
Many people go through their lives mostly without a thought about God. And yet, Judgment Day is coming.
There are even people who call themselves Atheists. My Dad was one of them, and chose to believe that there is no God. But God has something to say about Atheists.
God says, "The fool has said in his heart there is no God." (Psa 14:1) On the math-science part of his I.Q. test, my Dad scored in the 150's. But in the sight of God, he's a fool.
And then, Dad died and went to hell. What a pity, but I had made efforts to get him saved.
If you know anything about computers, you know that they come from the factory with default settings. After you get your new computer home, you can begin to change default settings to your preferences.
Going to hell is the default setting for people. (But I believe little babies that die go to heaven.) But adults must make other arrangements to avoid going to hell.
They must get born-again, according to John chapter 3 and Romans 10:9,10.
The whole purpose of Jesus dying for our sins is so that we can go to heaven and not a fiery hell.
But Jesus' payment for our sins only counts if we accept his free offer of salvation.
Virginia was a friend in grade school. She even took piano lessons from my Mother. Virginia had a very high I.Q. She started out Jewish. They believe in God, and gave us Moses and the Prophets.
I invited her and she went with me to my church. She invited me and I went with her to her synagogue.
But something bad happened to Virginia. I think she fell in with the wrong crowd. Do I mean drug users and criminals? No, not the down and outers, the up and outers.
She fell in with college professors and scientists. She became an astrophysicist, and she became an Atheist.
It reminds me of something I heard David Letterman say on TV. He said, "We were Presbyterians."
Presbyterian is not so bad. My Mother was Presbyterian before she became a Pentecostal.
But when Letterman says, "We were Presbyterians," it rather sounds like he means they were that until they got quite prosperous and decided they no longer needed God.
The bad news, David, is that if you step out into eternity without God, you go down to hell, not up to heaven, at which time you'll wish you hadn't gotten away from God.
In Mark chapter 10, verses 23 And Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the kingdom of God!" 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
But Virginia fell in with a crowd that did well financially, had honor and respect in their field, and seemed, by the standards of the world, to be quite successful.
But, you see, the bottom hasn't dropped out for them yet.
Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul." (Matt 16:26)
You lose your soul if you go to hell.
The richest man in the world couldn't ransom his own soul. He can only go to heaven like the rest of us, by following Romans 10:9,10.
In Phil 2:12 we are told "...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Virginia has no fear and trembling.
Moses said, "I very much fear and shake." (Heb 12:21)
Does Virginia have a better idea than Moses? No, Moses was on the right track, and Virginia, otherwise.
Some people look around and say to themselves, "All my friends don't worry about God, and they seem to be doing OK, so why should I concern myself with God?"
The Bible warns against comparing yourself with the wrong people. "They comparing themselves among themselves are not wise." (2 Cor 10:12)
You might be the best person on your block, but maybe the whole block is on its way to hell.
In Proverbs chapter 22, verses 24 "Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man you shall not go, 25 So you don't learn his ways and entrap your soul."
But it's not just anger that can rub off on you. If you hang out with adulterers, adultery can rub off on you.
If you hang out with blasphemers, blasphemy can rub off on you.
If you're Virginia, and hang out with those who espouse the Theory of Evolution and reject God, then you're very likely to wind up in hell with them, even though things seemed to be going rather well during your life on earth.
There was a man on TV. He was part of a show that lasted quite a few years. After the series went off the air (except for reruns), he gave concerts.
He started out an evangelical Christian, but later gave it up for the Church of Religious Science.
The problem with that is they don't have salvation through Jesus, and don't believe the Bible. But they gave him a position in the church. When he arrives in hell, he will see that the position wasn't worth going to hell for.
A man with whom I had been close, and who had started out as a Christian gave me some bad news last fall that he had stopped being a Christian. We were sitting at a table in a restaurant. He said, "...and that's why I stopped being a Christian."
I said, "You're talking like a man on his way to hell." He is quite familiar with the Bible teaching of a fiery hell, where their worms don't die, and where the fire is not quenched, where there's crying and gnashing of teeth.
In the Parable of the Planter, he is in the thorns category. (Luke 8:14) "And that which fell among thorns are those who, when they've heard, go on, and are choked by cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection."
And then, too, I believe he has been "hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb 3:13)
He failed to "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil 2:12)
I believe he has become one of those people in Hebrews chapter six that can't be renewed again to repentance. I expect he'll spend eternity in hell, even though his name was once written into the "Lamb's Book of Life" in heaven, until such time as God had to remove his name.
Scriptures quoted are from the Holy Bible, Hoehn Version and the New Testament, Hoehn Version, both are available as ebooks for the Kindle readers from Amazon.com.
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