I have been extremely thrilled with the way various congregations have taken the Internet by storm. There are weeknight Bible studies going on. And on Sunday my Facebook feed is literally filled with dozens, if not hundreds, of men preaching God’s Word. It does the heart good to see such a strong presence on social media.
A quick survey of the sermon titles reveals many congregations are discussing things like:
- God being our anchor in times of a storm
- Not drifting during uncertain times
- Strong faith in the face of a storm
- Being strong in the Lord
- How to deal with calamity in your life
- Keeping your head and surviving the virus
- How to be happy in unhappy times
- Draw closer to God during these times
- Take one day at a time
- Lessons from storms
I am thankful to the men who studied God’s Word and preached lessons like these. This is a good time to comfort and assure Christians who find themselves anxious. But I want to strongly encourage those who are preaching to preach the whole counsel of God. Do not let this unique time in history slip away without touching on the lesson Jesus would deliver.
Jesus was approached about a horrible practice that was going on—something much more vile than a virus. Take your Bible and look at Luke 13:1-5:
There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
Think about that for a moment—there were Galileans in Jerusalem that were observing religious laws. But instead of allowing them to celebrate and worship in peace, Pilate (and his soldiers) came upon them so quickly that when they were killed their blood was mingled with their own sacrifices.
Notice Jesus did not then teach a lesson on courage during calamity. He did not tell them about how to survive during the storms of life. And He certainly did not tell them how to be happy. The message Jesus brought was two-fold: (1) This didn’t happen to them because they were worse sinners [because of their behavior—BH]; and (2) unless you repent you will likewise perish!
Jesus then mentioned another horrible tragedy—one so familiar to the people that all He had to do was reference the Tower of Siloam. It killed 18 people. He again teaches the exact same lesson: (1) This didn’t happen to them because they were worse sinners than other men who lived in Jerusalem; and (2) unless you repent you will likewise perish.
Jesus first pointed out their deaths were not a result of “extra” sin, and then He got to the point and told everyone living they had better get their life right with God and repent! Because we are not promised tomorrow we need to repent—turn our lives back in accordance with God’s will!
Over the next few weeks I pray that preachers will consider all the individuals who are out there contemplating their own existence. Contemplating the meaning of life. Considering their own standing in the eyes of God. And I pray you will have the boldness to preach a strong message of repentance—and in doing so save their souls!
“but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”