THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR ACTIONS! by Earl Sutton

 

In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO OUR PREACHING? by Earl Sutton

 

There has been a dramatic shift in our preaching style in the Lord’s church in the past half century. The results have been a dramatic shift in our view of God and his authority and the church’s relationship to denominationalism.  In past years, preachers delivered strong lessons about sin and had the goal of convicting members and non-members of their sins (II Titus 4:2-3). We must remember that only one sin kept Moses out of the promised land of Canaan, and only one sin can keep us out of Heaven (Deut. 3:22-28; Isa. 59:1-2).

            Many felt these sermons were too strong and during the 60s until the present time, the message changed to God loves everyone, and everyone will be saved by grace only.

            Decades of humanistic preaching has bolstered the notion that humans are smarter than God!  Now in 2015 many Christians have become apathetic toward God’s authority, and their Bible knowledge is almost zero. In American society today, it is “politically incorrect” to say that any other religion is wrong. But it is a well-known fact and obvious truth that Christ only established His church (Matt. 16:18). It is also a well-known fact and obvious that the church of which we read about in the New Testament was not a denomination, but all Christians were members of one body, and that body was the church! (Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18)

            In our society today, there are efforts to accept all religions, criticize none and literally stand for nothing. The time has now come that Christians must have the courage to be “politically incorrect.” We need to follow the admonition, “Render to no man evil for evil. Take thought for things honorable in the sight of all man” (Rom. 12:17).  We need to reject hostility in our dealings with others, but that does not mean that we can agree that everyone is right, regardless of what they believe.

            Has our preaching gotten too watered down in an effort to please the masses? Is it right for a preacher to use the pulpit to oppose corrupt political issues such as legalizing liquor, gambling, abortion, easy divorce, homosexuality, transgenderism, and other such things. My friends, these are not just political issues. They are also moral issues, and they are Bible issues. It is a shame and disgrace for any preacher to hide his head in the sand and refuse to preach on these sin issues that so adversely affect the morality of the community and nation.

            Daniel certainly lived in a political time, but he stood fast in his loyalty to God (Daniel 6). John preached against immorality, even though it cost him his head (Matt. 14). We need that same kind of conviction and preachers with the courage to preach it. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (II Tim. 4:2). Preaching alone will not solve all the problems in our society, but it is certainly the place that needs attention now!

            Our society has become anti-authoritarian and our preaching has become non-confrontational, non-offensive, that reflects the humanistic spirit of tolerance and good feelings. When preachers stand before God in the judgment and give account forhow they have handled His word, they will not be rewarded for making people feel good but rewarded for convicting sin which grew the church.

                                                                        ----  Earl Sutton