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)                                                                                                                                                                                           

WHOSE PRAYER DOES GOD HEAR? by Earl Sutton

 

God hears every prayer of every person, just as He hears every curse word, every lie and every bit of gossip. The real question is, “Does God hear and answer every person’s prayer?” The Bible answers that question in John 9:31, “We know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and do His will, him He heareth.” We notice here that God promises to hear those who worship Him and do His will, but no promise is made for those who refuse to obey Him!

            The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Why? Because God hears and answers their prayers. When one is unrighteous and refuses to do the will of God, he/she is separated from God, and He will not hear and answer their prayers. “Then will they call upon me, but I will not answer: They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me” (Prov. 1:28).

            Also in Isaiah 59:2, “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, andyour sins have hid His face from you, so that He will not hear.” This statement, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners,” was not made with regard to citizens or alien sinners. The blind man, in this context, was speaking of Christ, who was a citizen of the kingdom of Israel, thus a part of God’s people. The blind man was stating a truth that is found in other places in the scriptures--  Isaiah 59:1-2; Proverb 1:24-28. The point in these passages is that God will not hear the prayer of anyone who rebels against His will.

            We know that God heard the prayers of Cornelius and Saul before they became Christians, so under what conditions does God hear one who is not a Christian?  We don’t know exactly what Cornelius prayer, but it is clear that God acted as a direct result of his prayer. If that isn’t answering prayer, what is? (Acts 10:30-32) The angel definitely told him, “Thy prayer is heard, therefore send for Peter.” His prayer did not save him, for Cornelius was still a sinner in Acts 11:14, but his prayer was heard, and God answered it. Why? Cornelius was seeking the Lord’s will and when he learned it, he immediately obeyed it (Acts 10:48).

            In the case of Saul of Tarsus, he met the Lord on the road to Damascus, and spent the next three days and nights praying. He was heard (Acts 9:6,11), because he was anxious to do the Lord’s bidding, which he did as soon as he was told it (Acts 22:16).

            The Bible tells us about acceptable prayer in I John 3:22, “Whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” In other words, when we seek God’s will and determine to mold our lives according to it, God willhear and answer our prayers!

            Let me emphasize that prayer is no substitute for obedience, but is instead dependent upon it. Remember that Saul prayed for three days and nights, but his sins were not washed away until he was baptized (Acts 22:16).

            The bottom line is that God will hear anyone who obeys, or in the cases of Cornelius and Saul, those who were determined to obey Him. When one is intent on doing God’s will, his prayer will be heard. But God refuses to hear and answer the prayers of one who is in rebellion to Him and His word.