Summary: REAL survivors face REAL dangers, like the ones prophesied by Jesus concerning the Tribulation.
ARE YOU A SURVIVOR?
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Jesus Himself tells us in John 8:31-32:
31 "... If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;
32 and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " NAS
In John 15:7, He also tells us:
7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. NAS
Let’s take a moment to quietly confess our sins to God, so that we are in fellowship with Him and led by the Holy Spirit when we study God’s word. 1 John 1:9 promises us, that if we name our known sins to God, He always forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness, even from the unknown sins we forgot or didn’t even realize we committed. Let’s pray.
Thank you, Father, for always restoring your children when we admit our sins to you. May your Holy Spirit teach us your word as we study it now. We ask these things in Jesus Name. Amen
A popular television show that debuted in the Fall of 2000, and has run every year since then, is called "Survivor". Referred to as "reality television", it stars sixteen "ordinary" people who are "stranded" in some exotic location. They are then divided into two teams and pitted against one another in various challenges. Each week, the participants vote someone off the show. The last person to "survive" wins a million dollars. Personally, I don’t want to watch any of the episodes. The very premise of the show is ridiculous and offensive. But due to circumstances, I’ve seen a little bit of a couple of shows, and one of the season finales as well.
Now this might anger some of the show’s most ardent fans, but I think this is one of the phoniest and nastiest shows I’ve ever seen, and is a real lowpoint in TV history. It shows people at their worst---maligning one another, conspiring with selected people to vote others off (they call such a group
an "alliance"), eating rats, and one guy who chose to walk around naked. The two "teams" take the names of tribes, and sometimes dance around a bonfire with spears.
It reminds me of scenes from "Lord Of The Flies" (the translation of "Beelzebub" by the way), without the violence, of course, because the television network oversees and controls much of what does and doesn’t happen. That’s exactly why I call the show phony! These people are NOT really "survivors". They are NOT really "stranded" ayywhere. They know it is a show, and the possibility of NOT SURVIVING is never present.
Real "survivors" have to face the possibility of serious illness, injury, and even death. The participants on this show know that the network isn’t going to let such things happen to them. There are hundreds of film crew there, and a network presence that orchestrates lots of what does or doesn’t occur. In real life, this bunch of greedy attention-seekers couldn’t survive losing their bottles of Zima or their designer headbands.
There are lots of examples of despicable behavior that remind us as Christians that people are basically evil, born spiritually dead with a sin nature. I’ll just mention one of the worse. On the last show of Season One, a woman named Sue who had just been voted off the island, showed what a rotten loser she was. Sue told the remaining woman who had voted against her, that if she saw her laying somewhere dying of thirst, she wouldn’t give her a drink of water, and would let the vultures eat her. A real class act! Now I’m naive enough to think that acting like that on network television might hurt you, but did it hurt Sue? You tell me, if you happen to see one of her many current TV appearances on shows like Hollywood Squares.
That same television network, in its arrogance and lust for even more ratings, has given us many seasons of "Survivor." Each new season, viewers get a chance to watch sixteen new people who AREN’T REALLY in any danger. They merely have to "survive" some challenging outdoor exercise, not being able to go to the spa for several weeks, and being on TV.
Today, I’d like to talk about REAL survivors, who will face and escape REAL dangers. In response to the apostles’ asking Jesus about the end times, He makes a number of disturbing prophecies. One of these is found in Matt. 24:21-22:
21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again.
22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. NIV