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)                                                                                                                                                                                           

WORSHIPPING UNDER PATRIARCHAL by Earl Sutton

 

In Acts 10, the doors of the kingdom were opened to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. God used Peter to make this breakthrough. The Patriarchal Dispensation lasted for approximately 2,500 years, beginning with Adam and ending with the giving of the Mosaic Law on Mt. Sinai. During this period, there was no church, no temple, and no written system of laws. God spoke directly to the head of the family in visions and dreams and through angels.

          In the early history of the Bible, we find the patriarchal form of government, the founder of the tribe possessing authority over his children and his children’s children so long as he lived. When the father died, the power descended to his eldest son. He was honored as the central point of connection and as the representative of the whole kindred. The patriarchs were the head of the religious faith, as well as the leader in civil affairs and represented God.

          Under what law was Cornelius worshipping before Peter’s visit to him? It was not Christianity, because he had not been offered the gospel plan of salvation.. It was not Judaism, because he was not a Jew nor a proselyte to the Jewish religion. There was only one other law under which God accepted worship, and that was the patriarchal arrangement.

          It was God’s divine purpose to make Jews and Gentiles as “one new man” (Eph. 2:14-18). But the attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles had delayed that plan until the events of Acts 10. Here began a series of events that resulted in the union of all people submitting themselves to the will of God in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:79).

          God ended the Mosaic Dispensation, a period that lasted for approximately 1,500 years, beginning with Moses and ending when Christ died on the cross and the church began. God also ended the patriarchal system of worship which would have terminated at the cross but was EXTENDED to the house of Cornelius because of shortsightedness and prejudice of the Jews toward the Gentiles concerning the inclusion of the Gentiles into Christ’s redemptive plan. Though the Law had been nailed to the cross, the gospel had not yet gone to the Gentiles. In this transition period, those under patriarchal would be judged by the existing law until they had the opportunity to hear and to obey the gospel.

          No one today lives in that category. How was God going to overcome and break down the walls and barriers of prejudice that had been built up through the centuries between Jews and Gentiles? How was He going to get His church, His people to break away from their Jewish roots and reach out to the whole world? That is the bottom line in Acts 10.

          God’s salvation was about to be swung open to the people of the world. Every person would soon have the wonderful privilege of hearing the marvelous message proclaimed: God is love and has sent His dear son into the world that the world might be saved and not perish. God had to break through the prejudicial customs of His servant Peter and led him to swing open the door to a Gentile soldier who was desperately crying out to God. There was salvation for the countless multitudes of people who lived and died under the patriarchal system.

          Cornelius was worshipping under this system, but when he heard and obeyed the gospel, he became accountable to God under the Christian dispensation. It began with Christ’s death and the beginning of the church in Acts 2. It will continue in effect until Christ returns to announce the end of time and the judgment.