“Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God’s fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God’s wonder and grace didn’t seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased.
The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—“First the people partied, then they threw a dance.” We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them.
These are all warning markers— DANGER!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 MSG
WARNING! We may be living in the age of grace, but we’re not exempt from God’s wrath for sin. None of us is immune to sin and it’s luring, we’ve heard it said that what you don’t know you’ll repeat. Well, God made sure to record the sins of our ancestors and the consequences- imploring us not to do what they did. We may criticize the Jews and their failures, but Paul warns us that we are capable of the same acts or worse if we become self righteous. The people told Moses that whatever God wanted them to do they could do it. The words didn’t leave their mouths long enough to get cold, before they broke their promise. Exodus 19:8
Aren’t we guilty of the same sins today in the age of grace? Willful disobedience is an affront to God who has sacrificed the precious life of His Son to free us from the entanglement of sin. We literally crucify the Lord Jesus Christ afresh each time we do what we know is wrong. Why would we return to a life of sin after we’ve been delivered? Hebrews 10:26. We flaunt our disobedience like a dare. God is not mocked, and we will suffer the consequences for our actions, just as they did before us. The way you overcome the flesh is through submission to the Holy Spirit and a good understanding of God’s Word. Knowledge of the Word serves as a warning and template for us. The psalmist wrote these words in Psalm 119
“How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, GOD; train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.”Psalm 119:9-16 MSG
We have something they didn’t have, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, if we are indeed saved by grace through Christ Jesus. They were trying to keep God’s laws independent of God. That’s still our problem, even while we’ve been given a Helper. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees that the axe was at the root ready to cut down every tree (life) that remained barren through willful disobedience. They assumed that their positions and water baptism was enough. My old pastor used to say “ if you go into the water without changing your life, you go down a dry sinner and come up a wet sinner.” John was warning about the same thing. Let’s read it in the message translation and I’ll highlight verse nine in a couple of others for emphasis.
“When crowds of people came out for baptism because it was the popular thing to do, John exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God’s judgment? It’s your life that must change, not your skin. And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as ‘father.’ Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there—children of Abraham are a dime a dozen. God can make children from stones if he wants. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.” Luke 3:7-9 MSG
“The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”Luke 3:9 NIV
“Even now the axe [of God’s judgment] is swinging toward the root of the trees; so every tree that does not produce good fruit is being cut down and thrown into the fire.”Luke 3:9 AMP
In Deuteronomy 28 we read about all the promises of blessings that God said would be given to the Jews and us if we obeyed His Word -and all the curses if we didn’t. That was under the law. We understand that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. Galatians 3:13. It doesn’t say Christ has redeemed us from the consequences of sin. Willful sin has consequences. We open ourselves up to satanic attacks whenever we choose to have it our way. Under the old covenant God poured out His vengeance on those who disobeyed His commands. Under grace, we may not be cursed, or experience His judgment right away, but we will feel the effects of it in a Myriad of ways- The worst of which is losing our fellowship with Him. The pain of that is worse than anything I could describe. To me, it’s mental anguish akin to what Saul went through. Tormenting of soul and body. The double life is no joke. I don’t understand how people can serve two masters. God has no use for willful barrenness. Sin makes us barren. David penned these words that should serve as a warning to us, when we try to hide our sin under grace:
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand [of displeasure] was heavy upon me; My energy (vitality, strength) was drained away as with the burning heat of summer. Selah.”Psalms 32:3-4 AMP
If you have grown comfortable living a contrary life, feeling no remorse. I’m here to issue a warning. The axe is at the root. Satan has you right where he wants you. Letting you believe like Eve you won’t surely die when you’re already dead. The wages of sin is death. God’s gift is eternal life. Pastors shy away from teaching these truths for fear of losing their congregants, but the Bible teaches that when you know the truth you will be set free. Paul is sounding the alarm. DON’T REPEAT IT! The cost is too great. Heed the warnings. They have been written for our examples.
“For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth,”Romans 1:18
“So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts],” Colossians 3:5-6 AMP
These are not Old Testament scriptures I’m quoting folks, these verses are written in the age of grace. We cannot hide behind grace any longer. Compromising of God’s Word is dangerous! Watering down the Word to suit our lifestyle is foolish to say the least. God’s Word is God. He will not permit His Word to be ignored. I cautioned in a earlier message, that we should not misinterpret His silence for approval of our rebellion. As a co-laborer with you in Christ, my aim is to help you grow spiritually and not miss out on all God has for you. I want us to finish this race strong. Exposing the enemy’s tricks will help us be more aware and not fall prey to him. We’ll close with the following verses from the book of Hebrews.
“So then, strengthen hands that are weak and knees that tremble. Cut through and make smooth, straight paths for your feet [that are safe and go in the right direction], so that the leg which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather may be healed. Continually pursue peace with everyone, and the sanctification (holiness)without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of God’s grace; that no root of resentment springs up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; and [see to it] that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance [there was no way to repair what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], even though he sought for it with [bitter] tears.”Hebrews 12:12-17 AMP
My friends it’s better to get into heaven with a limp than a strut into hell. It’s better to be warned of the dangers ahead than be surprised by the precipice of no return. Grace is free but it isn’t weak. Remember, The God who is Himself Grace, offers U-Turns, but only to those who are willing to take it.
Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus who’s grace personified, I truly repent for taking for granted such a precious gift. You are faithful to warn me of the dangers of willfully disobeying You. Your patient love brings me to my knees. How and why You love me I’ll never know, but I’m so grateful that You do. I make a conscious decision to take the u-turn that brings me back to You. Thank you for restoring my fellowship with You. Keep me as I acknowledge that I’m incapable of keeping myself. In Jesus Name. Amen
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit