Summary: Jesus, the Judge.
Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church; Message on Jesus the Judge – Jesus Snapshots 05; Date: 17 January 2010
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The church is always preaching Jesus Christ. The very first sermon after Jesus returned back to heaven set the tone. Jesus was the message and for many of us this message has become familiar. I read from the Bible – Acts 2:22-36 – excerpts from the very first sermon – notice the teaching points on Jesus: “ … listen to this: [a] Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know … [b] you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. [c] But God raised him from the dead … it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him … [d] Exalted to the right hand of God [returning in power to heaven], he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear … [e] God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
This was the truth and the people – who were listening to this very first sermon – recognized that they had been wrong about Jesus. Therefore, they asked the church leaders – Acts 2:37: “ … what shall we do?” The answer was – Acts 2:38-39 – notice again the familiar teaching points: “[a] Repent and [b] be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. [c] And you will receive the Holy Spirit … ”
Many of us are familiar with the teaching points about Jesus and we know the steps of coming to Jesus in repentance. However, how familiar are we with the urgency and seriousness behind the preaching message? What do we make of what came next? I read one more verse from the same Bible account – Acts 2:40: “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ … ”
The preacher could not stop speaking. He kept warning the congregation. He kept pleading with them: “Either you accept what I am saying to you about Jesus or you are lost – for ever. Don’t make the wrong choice. Consider the facts. Have a look around. You are heading for eternal damnation. Save yourselves, please. Come to Jesus.” When we are telling others about Jesus, how much are we sharing in this kind of desperation? Do we look at our neighbours and friends with a heart breaking for those that are heading for an eternity without God – even worse: an eternity under the wrath of God. In the view of at least one pastor – according to the Bible accounts of Jesus’ own preaching – he spoke more about hell than any other subject.
For instance, he said – Matthew 13:40-42: " … so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth … ” Matthew 25:46: “Then they will go to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Luke 12:2-5: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops. I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Even before Jesus began preaching, the one who prepared the way for him framed his message in the same seriousness – Luke 3:7-8: “John said to the crowds … ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance … ” [Cf. Mark 9:42-49.]
Unless there is submission to Jesus Christ – a holy fear of God – the forgiveness of our sins in his name – a commitment to turn away from sin and do right, there is no escape from the wrath of God. Has anyone ever responded to you as a Roman governor responded to Paul (one of the church leaders). I read from the Bible – Acts 24:25: “As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now … ’” With what kind of seriousness are we preaching the message of Jesus Christ? There is a judgement to come – for everyone – and the basis for judgement is what you do in this life – whether you seek God, righteousness and self-control or not.