By John Larkins
My brother recently showed me a song entitled “Everybody Talks to God” by Aaron Lewis. The title sounds noncommittal and low key until you hear the interchange between a nonbeliever and a “man who prays.” The nonbeliever offers his evaluation of praying to God, “a ghost that don’t exist.” In response, the other man allowed that, “You may not talk to God right now, but there’s going to come a day.”
And so, how was the nonbeliever to know he would have “that conversation two red lights down the road?” Jesus frequently presents just this caution in His teachings. At the moment of the conversation with God, our fate is sealed. An ancient poem contains a line that says, “The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on. Nor all your tears and supplications can erase a single line.”
We must remember that the story in the Bible and all associated teachings have a single purpose – to demonstrate to Jesus Christ that we are holy enough to be saved. We do not deserve to be saved, but at that time He will decide if we are close enough. The false teachers, especially the ones operating in religious situations not constituted by Jesus, make every effort to convince us that God’s Son did not come to judge us but to save us. That was true when Jesus was on earth, developing His plan by training and inspiring the men who were His Church’s foundation. He went back to His Father’s home, His mission complete. Jesus now waits to perform our judgement when we die and again finally, when every person is judged in public at the end of days. At that time, we will all know that God is “just,” by His dispositions.
Jesus is a cause of division. In Luke 12: 49-53, He explains, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather, division. From now on, a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, and a mother-in law against her daughter-in- law, and a daughter- in- law against her mother-in-law.” Jesus emphasizes the hard truth that we are saved individually, and while we love and respect our families, we cannot save them ourselves, nor can they save us by themselves. The Kingdom of God, His one holy Church, is the only Way to salvation.
Jesus was a Jew and so were all His disciples. It saddened Him to know that His coming to earth was in vain for many Jews did not convert (and have not yet). Coming to Jerusalem for His final days on earth, He said in Luke 20: 41-44, “As He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If this day you only knew what makes for peace, but now is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in from all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.’” Thirty-seven years later the Romans attacked and killed 200,000 Jews.
Jesus’s mission is to convert ALL people, whether pagan or some other religion, to His Church. He gave this mission to His apostles in Mark 16: 14-16: “But later, as the eleven were at table, He appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had been raised. He said to them, ‘Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
The Son of Man had been tortured to death on the cross and was serious. The Son of God awaits us.
For the past 19 years, John Larkins has evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.