By John Larkins
“O, who will dare to throw out the lifeline, his peril to share?”
This past week, a television news item included an interview with a nurse attending a young man in the hospital. Just before he died of the coronavirus, he said, “Maybe I should have taken this more seriously.”
It would be difficult to contradict the young man. Do you believe in eternal life after death? Suppose you are wrong about believing there is such a life. Perhaps when you fall asleep, all is silent. You will only exist in the memories of those who knew you. On the other hand, suppose you regain consciousness to be aware that Jesus Christ is there to judge your life. Can you imagine the chain of events following your death if you ignored the Bible and all the teachers who prepared you to convince your Creator that you love Him and that you followed, as best you could, the teachings of a Church that He died to create? Perhaps those thoughts were what the authors of the old song envisioned when they wrote it.
An old country church has an outdoor sign that reads, “Dusty bibles make for dirty worshipers.” At one time I had an elevated idea of the people in this region. Not so much now. You may pretend, and Jesus may not punish today. For He said that today is the time for merciful teaching and saving, but when He comes again, it will be the time of judgement.
It is true that false teachers are rampant. They tell you whatever you want to hear. But you trust them with your eternal salvation! Why? The Pharisees in the Temple competed with Jesus, and many refused to convert to His Church. The Pharisees had a really good deal going with lifetime monetary support and honors and all the things that rich and powerful people love. But their religion was now being updated! The temple had never been a source of salvation. The sacrifices and temple celebrations could not lead to heaven, because the gates of heaven were closed and had been since Adam and Eve offended God.
Earlier in this teaching on The Way, we learned that the Mosaic religion was a 2000-year introduction to “How to Worship God and Behave as a Church.” It took 1,000 years to grow and locate “The Church Learners,” who were Israelites multiplied in Egypt, trained by Moses and nurtured by David and others, who had 1,000 years to mature these people and prepare the Mideast for the Savior. Jesus arrived just as the prophets foretold. Human nature, being what it is, resented the Savior. The existing civil power structure most assuredly did not want to be replaced by The King of the Jews. The temple power structure fought just as hard to prevent the bishops from being trained by Jesus (“Come, I will make you fishers of men”) as from replacing all their jobs teaching the “New and Ever Lasting Covenant.”
Look at the resentment today in preaching the conversion to Jesus Christ’s one and only universal Church. It is true that Jesus had to die in order to amass sufficient grace to provide a stock of grace for His Church to dispense until the end of this world. This is why He taught in parables, so the Pharisees and the the Romans could not indict Him with claiming to be God. He told the Apostles, who were His bishops, that they would be the ones explaining what the parables meant so He did not die earlier than getting His mission accomplished. Read the Acts of the Apostles to see how it all worked out!
John Larkins was born in Oklahoma to an U.S. Army family. His education was in the Catholic Church and teaching in the United Methodist Church for 10 years. After 50 years of various positions in federal service at home and in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, John and his wife Carol live in Gadsden. His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals, and church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.