Christ Divides

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1 Corinthians 15:3–4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

In the name of tolerance

We live in a world which claims “tolerance for all” unless you preach the Gospel, how that Christ died for the ungodly; how the Lord Jesus loved us so much He sacrificed Himself on the cross so we can have eternal life when we place our trust in Him. The Gospel is confrontational against sin but it’s a message of love.

How can a loving message such as that cause others to say Christians are preaching “hate”? Because we love you and want to warn you to flee from the wrath to come, is that hate? Are you being “tolerant” towards Christians when we speak God’s word or “intolerant”? There seems to be a double standard unless we agree with sin, homosexuality, fornication, lying, stealing etc. Then you won’t “tolerate” us.

As Christians we’re not “tolerant” when it comes to sin, we never said we were. We love all people but just because we love you doesn’t mean we agree to your sin. On the other hand secularist claim “tolerance” but they won’t tolerate the Gospel.

In the name of tolerance

Things are not so much different from 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ stood before the people of Jerusalem. As the Lord Jesus preached and taught in the temple He was approached by the religious Pharisees and Sadducees who wanted to maintain control over the people and therefore sought a reason to have Him killed. These two parties collectively made up the Sanhedrin and they were a ruling body of seventy-one members with the High Priest as the chief officer.

Then we have the Herodians who wanted to restore someone from the family of Herod to the throne in Judea as well as other areas ruled by Herod the Great. The Herodians were the political leaders of those days.

And we also had those who were devoted to studying the scriptures called scribes, the scribes were the ones who drew up legal documents. They also copied the Old Testament Scripture and determined how they would apply to every day living.

The Lord Jesus dealt with each one of these groups as they opposed Him as He preached to the people in the Synagogue or towns. As they would look to entrap Him in anything concerning the scriptures. The religious parties were those who were self-righteous they considered themselves to be “good persons”. Jesus Christ was telling them they’re not good because they have all sinned and are trying to keep others from receiving forgiveness for their sins from God.

There was a division among the people because of him

In the Gospel of John, there are 3 different times in which the word “division” was used in reference to their reaction to Christ. The religious authorities felt threatened, but not only them the people (Jews) also were at odds with Jesus Christ and among themselves.

John 7:43 So there was a division among the people because of him.

John 9:16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

John 10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

There’s another account in the Gospel of Matthew when the Pharisees had sent people to falsely testify again Jesus always looking to entrap Him. The Lord Jesus was either hated or loved, there weren’t any individuals who were indifferent towards Him. You will always find two types of people believers or unbelievers. The following scripture from chapter 27 in Matthew shows the hatred towards the Son of God. But not only that it also shows someone who was trying to “ride the fence” sort of speak.

Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea from A.D. 26 to A.D. 36. Although Pilate’s residence was in Caesarea he was in Jerusalem for the time of the Passover. Pilate was a man under the rule of Augustus Caesar. The Jews being under Roman rule were afraid of losing their way of life to the Romans and feared that they would be destroyed. They brought Jesus to Pilate with the accusation of causing an uproar among the people and against Caesar.

When Pontius Pilate asked “Shall I crucify your King?” in reference to Jesus Christ, the Jews answered, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). Reading the following text we see the entire scene played out as Pontius Pilate tries to release Jesus and excuse himself from taking part in delivering up the Son of God to be crucified.

Matthew 27:1–24 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value; And gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me. And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

All of the attempts of Pilate didn’t work. Jesus made no defence before Pilate Pilate marvelled that Jesus did not attempt to defend Himself. Pilate admitted Jesus was innocent and told the crowd that Jesus was innocent. Pilate attempted to release Jesus. Pilate denied responsibility in the Lord Jesus’s death and tried to put the responsibility on the Jews. Pilate tried to wash his hands of the matter and delivered Him up to be crucified. Pilate had the chance to set Him free but he was afraid of Caesar and wanted to please the people.

Is the world any different today?

Today’s Christians face the same challenges just with different names attached. Instead of the self-righteous religous Pharisees and Sadducees, we now have world religions like Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and cults (Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons).

Instead of the political Herodians, we have politicians who create ungodly rules such as “free speech zones”, “noise level laws” and other mandates which tries to prevent the Gospel from going forth. Instead of the scribes, we have citizens who try to prevent the good news from being preached as they bring their secular views or mock and scoff. Nothing really has changed, either you’re for Christ or against Him. Either your for God or an enemy of God.

As an encouragement continue to preach the word no matter what opposition you come up against. God is worth it all! I’ll end this with 2 appropriate scriptures from Moses and Joshua.

Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Christ divides, which side are you on?

A clear beautiful day…

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Bluest blue

It’s a sunny peaceful Tuesday morning a day like all the rest. The sky was clear and blue, so clear as if the sky were like the crystal clear waters of the Arctic. At this time people were getting out of their warm beds, taking their morning showers and getting ready for the day. The East Coast was ready for just another day or was it?

The bench

A man was eating a bagel with cream cheese by the east river on Wall Street while enjoying the river view, and a lady sat by him reading her morning paper. Two New Yorkers gearing up for another day of work as the hustle and bustle of the city grew. A strange thing occurred at that moment as confetti fell from the sky. The two individuals looked at one another perplexed; was a parade going on no one knew about?

The two individuals shrugged their shoulders as they parted ways from that bench not giving it another thought. Confused the man made his way into his place of business located on the 10th floor. The morning went on as normal until 9:02 am. A frightened coworker comes bursting through the doors yelling “a plane crashed into the Twin Towers!”. She was hysterical and you can see the fear in her eyes as her coworkers helped to calm her down. The CEO made an announcement stating the TV in the board room would be on for all who are interested in knowing what’s happening.

As you can imagine all channels were reporting on an event which changed life as we knew it not only for the people of New York only but also for all people in the world. The day is called September 11, 2001.

As The World Looked On

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None could believe it how can a plane crash into such a large building it had to be a horrible accident right? At 9:03 am a second plane United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into floors 75–85 of the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building. It’s now crystal clear this is no mistake this is a horrific event taking place before our eyes. As the world watched, eyes glued to their screens, and people watching from afar it was just unimaginable.

Those people who entered into the Twin Towers on 9/11 never thought it would be their last day to live. Neither did those men, women and children as they boarded those 4 aeroplanes. It was a tragedy of enormous proportions, a day in which the world will never forget; a day which is remembered each year since those attacks and how is it that we still go about living life as if we will never die?

The remembrance of that day is seared into my mind, the smell of the smoke, the sounds of sirens, the chaos and commotion in the streets of Manhattan. Life truly is fleeting.

Psalms 103:15 “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.”

Sobering Messages

Many loved ones were lost in those tragic moments, they were their one moment hugging their loved ones and gone the next. How fragile is the life of man, the Bible says that our life appears for a moment and then vanishes away.

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

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Please consider these actual last messages from those who perished in those attacks on 9/11. Think hard on this because you don’t know when you’re last day on this earth will be. The following are messages from victims of these attacks.

Melissa C. Doi was a graduate of Northwestern University, with hopes of one day becoming a ballerina. She worked as a manager at a financial company. The terrified young woman called 911 from the 83rd floor of Tower 2.

MD: It’s very hot, I see…I don’t see, I don’t see any air anymore!

911: Okay…

MD: All I see is smoke.

911: Okay dear, I’m so sorry, hold on for a sec, stay calm with me, stay calm, listen, listen, the call is in, I’m documenting, hold on one second please…

MD: I’m going to die, aren’t I?

911: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, say your, ma’am, say your prayers.

MD: I’m going to die.

911: You gotta think positive, because you gotta help each other get off the floor.

MD: I’m going to die.

911: Now look, stay calm, stay calm, stay calm, stay calm.

MD: Please God…

Brian David Sweeney a passenger on Flight 175. He left a voicemail for his wife Julie that day. In the message, he can be heard telling his wife that he loved her and to “go have good times.”

Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know that I absolutely love you. I want you to do good, go have good times same to my parents and everybody. I just totally love you… and I’ll see you when you get there. Bye babe. I hope I call you. — Brian David Sweeney

How heart-wrenching are these messages can you imagine being in such a situation knowing that you’ll never see the faces of your loved ones again?

The Bad News

My friend life is fleeting, you hear one moment and gone the next. Will you continue to live life as if you’ll never face death? Will you continue to gambling with your soul. Do you know where you’ll spend the rest of eternity once you die? If you’re not saved the bible gives us a clear understanding of what the future holds for those who are not saved.

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Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

God tells us in His word the Bible that we all have sinned, we’ve all have lied before, or lusted after another person, been angry at someone. We’re born in sin and have committed sin. We can look at God’s law and know for certain that none of us are perfect. Let’s look at God’s law.

God’s Law (Ten Commandments)

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shalt not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

As you can see we fall short on all of these if you never loved God fully every moment of your waking day that’s a sin. If you’ve used God’s name in vain that’s a sin, if we have spoken a lie against someone that’s a sin.

You may be thinking I never killed someone?! Do you know what the Lord Jesus said concerning this He said:

Matthew 5:21, 22 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Just being angry at someone is a sin and I’m certain that if you’ll think hard you’ll remember being upset at someone before. Because we are sinners we are not capable of standing before God. We are in desperate need of a Saviour and God in His loving tenderness did just that.

The Gospel (The Good News)

God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. He was crucified on the cross and cried out “it is finished” meaning He paid the penalty for our sins taking the wrath of God upon Himself.

And physically rose from the dead three days later proving His sacrifice was acceptable to God the Father. Jesus Christ ascended up into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father triumphant over death. And anyone who places their trust in the ransom sacrifice He provided will be granted everlasting life, a home in heaven. We can be saved from death and hell once we place our faith in Christ alone.

Therefore, if you want to receive the free gift of life thereby removing the wrath of God upon you, then you must receive Him and His sacrifice by faith. If you want forgiveness for your sins against God, you must ask for forgiveness of your sins with a truly repentant heart and He will grant you everlasting life.

God’s Promise of the Free Gift of Eternal Life

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Ephesians 2:8, 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

As Christians, we pray that those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, were saved, we hope they knew the LORD GOD that they knew while they were on their way to death would pass unto life eternal, having perfect peace with God. The sobering thought is that while we pray for them if they never placed their faith in Jesus Christ then they perished and are lost forever in hell. It’s not easy to say but it’s the truth. You still have a chance to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, do it today and live!!!

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