Summary: Are you paying attention to the spiritual climate? If you aren’t right with God, don’t wait. God’s storm warning has been issued and you’d better prepare and get right with God.
Tuning in to the Spiritual Weather Channel
by David O. Dykes
I don’t watch much television as a rule–I read. I might catch an episode of “Star Trek: the Next Generation”, or watch Fox News. However, I do tune in the Weather Channel quite often. I’ve always been interested in weather, and since I’m a pilot, I had to learn a great deal about weather to pass the written exams for my private pilot license and instrument rating. I know enough about meteorology to know that forecasting the weather is sometimes mostly a guess. The television weathermen sound pretty sure about their forecasts.
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it: why? Because we don’t make the weather–God does. If you don’t like the weather, don’t call the Weather Channel and complain! In our passage of scripture today, Jesus talks about forecasting the weather. He comments that the Jews were pretty accurate in forecasting weather, but they weren’t as good at observing the current spiritual conditions and interpreting the spiritual climate. We have the same problem today. Jesus is going to share three very important spiritual truths in this passage, which we’ll call weather warnings. When you learn of a severe storm warning, or a tornado warning, you’d better pay attention. I suggest we all pay careful attention to these three spiritual storm warnings Jesus gives. In Luke 12:51-53 He says, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Here’s the first weather warning:
I. DEVOTION TO JESUS MAY ALIENATE YOU FROM OTHERS!
Jesus is the Prince of Peace and when the angels announced His birth they said, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.” So, you may be surprised by these words of Jesus. In Matthew’s account, Jesus says, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) He wasn’t speaking of a literal sword and literal bloodshed, because He told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane to put away his sword. Jesus was simply stating the truth that He calls people to live a life of such radical commitment that His followers will be rejected and ostracized from others. If you choose to live the Christian life in this world, people are going to “cut you off” from their circle of friendship, because you live by a different set of rules than they do. This division can occur on a couple of levels:
1. The truth about Jesus divides humanity
We divide people into many groups, but Jesus divides them into only two. When He spoke of a family of five being divided, they weren’t divided into three groups, or four groups, or as five separate individuals, but into two groups. Jesus said it would be, “two against three, or three against two” or He could have said “four against one.” The point is that Jesus divides the entire world’s population into two groups. Jesus is not intentionally dividing them, but people choose themselves which of the two groups they will join. In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”
Some people have the idea that Jesus is the great Uniter of the world’s people, and that Christianity is a wonderful ethical system that will produce one world family where everyone lives in peace and harmony with each other. Actually, the words of Jesus are so radical they divide people into two groups. He said there are only two eternal destinies: Heaven and Hell. There is a popular teaching today called Universalism. Other groups like Ba’hai and the Unity School of Christianity share its basic premise. This philosophy basically says there are many legitimate ways to God. You can go through Jesus, or you can go through Buddha, or Mohammed, or you can just formulate your own do-it-yourself spirituality, but we will all end up happy and accepted by God, whoever God is to you. That’s not what Jesus taught. He said there is only one way to heaven–and it was through Him. He said, “I am the way, the truth, the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6). In Matthew 25, Jesus said at the Judgement, people would be divided into two groups: sheep and goats. The Father would welcome His Sheep into heaven, and the goats would be sent to the hell. He didn’t say there would be sheep and goats and squirrels and cows, only two groups.