This lesson aired on KIUN 1400 AM in Pecos, TX on June 24, 2013.
In 1951, George Pal directed a low-budget science-fiction film entitled, “When Worlds Collide.” This film was an adaptation of a 1933 novel that told the story of the earth being destroyed in a collision with a rogue planet that entered our solar system. The bulk of the story revolves around a group of scientists who discover the impending collision and then undertake an ambitious plan to build rocket ships to take some of earth’s population to an earth-like planet that entered our solar system at the same time. The film contains a number of scenes that draw analogies to the account of Noah’s ark and which express the hope for God’s blessings on their endeavor to save a remnant of mankind. The biblical theme of the destruction of all life and the preservation of a few to begin again is openly stated.
From time to time scientists still warn of the possibility of a doomsday collision of our earth with some celestial body, but generally without much reaction from the public. We simply do not seem to be too concerned with such a possibility, and rightfully so. God’s word is very clear that the destruction of the world will take place only at His command (2 Pet. 3:7, 10). Until that time, a time that no one knows except God the Father (Mt. 24:36), we may live in the certainty that no global doomsday event will occur by the actions of mankind or by some chance occurrence of nature.
The collision of worlds, while not likely in the physical realm, has, however, been an ongoing reality in the spiritual realm. The word, “world,” may refer to the physical planet on which we live, but it also refers to differing ways of life. In this sense, two worlds have collided since the Garden of Eden. These worlds are the world of darkness, over which Satan reigns, and the world of light, whose king is our Lord Jesus Christ.
These worlds collide every day as the unrighteous of our age aggressively promote their ungodly lifestyle and dare Christians to stand up against it. These worlds collide when institutions, elected leaders, the media and the entertainment world mock and attack godly ideals and those who uphold them. These worlds collide when so-called voices of tolerance call on Christians to “live and let live.” These worlds collide virtually every time a Christian turns on a television, logs onto a computer, goes to a movie, or any number of other mundane things that occupy our lives.
These worlds collide because they essentially have nothing in common. This is the message of Paul in 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1, where he told Christians to not be unequally bound with unbelievers. In 1 Jn. 2:15 John warned Christians, saying, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world.” He went on to point out that the things of the world are not from God and they are going to pass away (vs. 16, 17). James also wrote very strongly on this point in Jas. 4:4. He said, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Our choice as Christians is clear. When spiritual worlds collide, as they always will, we must choose to walk in the light, rather than in the darkness. In 1 Jn. 1:7 John said, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” Those who obey God’s word walk in the light. Only these are in the ark of safety, which is His church. Only these will enter the new heavens and new earth. Only these will live in eternity with God the Father, when worlds collide.
At one time a series of television commercials appeared for an ice cream novelty called a Klondike Bar. In the commercials a person was offered a Klondike Bar if he or she would do something outrageous in front of the camera. At the end of each ad the question was asked, “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?” The impression, of course, was that a Klondike Bar was so delicious that people would do anything to have one.
This kind of question gets asked in a variety of contexts in our lives, so we’re accustomed to hearing it and responding to it. A young man asks himself what he is willing to do in order to win the heart of some sweet young lady. An athlete asks himself what he is willing to do in order to make the varsity team or to make it to the professional level in his sport. An employee asks himself what he is willing to give to his job in order to receive a raise or a promotion from his employer and a young man asks himself what he is willing to give in order to serve his country in its armed forces. We may not even think about it in such direct terms, but we all answer this kind of question at many times in our lives.
What one is willing to give in order to reach some goal is an important spiritual question also. The Lord Himself asked it, albeit in somewhat different terms, in Mt. 16:26. He was talking about the cost of discipleship, and He said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” When the Lord spoke these words, He was emphasizing two important truths. The first is that it costs something to be His disciple. In vs. 24 & 25 He spoke of self-denial, cross bearing, and losing one’s life in order to save it. Those who would become His disciples would have to pay something in their physical lives in order to do so.
The second truth that the Lord emphasized here is that everyone will exchange his or her soul for something. There is no middle ground on this subject. Two great forces are at war for the souls of mankind. The Lord is the good side and Satan is the evil side. All of us will give in to one side or the other as we make our life decisions, and the Lord wanted us to understand that it matters what choice we make.
The manner in which the Lord spoke in v. 26 reveals His view on the subject. The first question clearly suggests that there is no profit for a man to exchange his soul for even all the world’s wealth. This is the point the Lord wanted His audience to understand. The second question brings the point even closer to home. What will a man give in exchange for his soul? This question is the crux of the matter. Does one value his soul enough to give up rebellion against God’s will and to humbly walk in obedience to Him? Or does he put so little value on his soul that he is willing to give it to Satan in order to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin? The scriptures teach us that Moses chose to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, rather than to indulge himself in the sins of Egyptian life (Heb. 11:25). This should tell us something about the value of our souls.
God thought our souls so valuable that He sent His only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. He gave up the best He had in order to win our souls. Nothing we may sacrifice in life in order to be a disciple can compare to what He gave for us. With that truth in mind, we need to seriously ask ourselves what we will give in order to be saved. Jesus told the people to seek the food that endures to eternal life (Jn. 6:26, 27). It costs something to do so, but what will you give in exchange for your soul?
A message for fathers on Father’s Day.
It has been said, “Any man can father a child, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” The point of this sentiment is that what a man does with his offspring is more important than the mere ability to produce them. It is a message that rings especially true in our modern world, where the problems associated with single mothers and their children severely challenge society. There are many underlying issues related to these problems, but a major factor in them is men who fail to fulfill their God-given responsibilities toward their children.
God’s word has always required fathers to care for the physical and spiritual needs of their families. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus illustrated the benefit of praying to God by speaking of the way in which fathers care for the physical needs of their children. In Mt. 7:9, 10 He said, “Or what man is there among you, who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?” The obvious answer to these rhetorical questions is, no, a father would not do such a thing, because a father wants only what is best for his children. God our Father never neglects our needs, and He is the perfect example of how earthly fathers should provide for their families.
It is a shame when a father neglects his children’s physical needs, but it is even worse when he neglects their spiritual needs. When a father fails to provide for the spiritual needs of his children, he puts their souls in jeopardy by doing so. Paul commanded fathers to bring their children up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). This requires a commitment on the part of the father that is just as demanding as going to work each day to put food on the table. A father who is dedicated to raising his children as Paul commanded must be a student of scripture himself, knowing God’s word and able to communicate its precepts to his children. He must be one who demonstrates his faith in his words and deeds, so his children may see how a godly man lives and how God’s word molds one’s life. If a man makes this commitment, he will give his children the best gift they will ever receive. He will give them the opportunity for eternal life.
If a man fails to make this commitment, or if he is inconsistent in this commitment, he sets the stage for a spiritual tragedy in his children’s lives. One of the greatest tragedies that may occur in a family is for a man to forsake Christ as an adult, after having been obedient in his youth. Such a man is, as the scriptures declare, worse off than if he had never known the truth (2 Pet. 2:20, 21). However, when he chooses to forsake his salvation, he robs his children of the opportunity to even know salvation in the first place. The same is true if one forsakes the church in order to join a denomination. He knows the truth and forsakes it, but his children will never know the truth. Fathers who take this road will bear a heavy burden in judgment.
The solution of many of society’s problems is as simple as fathers being faithful to the commands of scripture. If men were to be more godly in their conduct and more committed to knowing and obeying God’s will, there would be fewer homes without fathers to guide them. There would be fewer children who are morally adrift and spiritually bereft. There would be more complete families active in the service of the Lord, and there would be more souls on their way to heaven.
May God bless all men who faithfully fulfill their responsibilities as fathers, both physically and spiritually, and may He grant us more men who will do His will in this most sacred obligation.
This program aired on 1400 KIUN AM in Pecos, TX on June 10, 2013.
This program aired on 1400 KIUN AM in Pecos, TX on June 5, 2013.
Often, when observing or commenting upon a person who is in some dire circumstance, we may say something like, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” The intent of this statement is to give God the glory for having rescued us from such a life or situation. It is an acknowledgement that mankind, when left to its own devices, tends to wind up in the gutter. Whether we overtly think of it or not, it is a reflection of the prophet’s statement, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
Those who have experienced God’s grace are understandably joyous about it, and cannot help but give thanks for it at every opportunity. We understand from the scriptures that grace is God’s favor bestowed upon us when we did nothing to deserve it. This favor is summarized by Paul in Rom. 5:8, where he said, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This grace is also declared in Rom. 6:23, which says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Without God’s grace none of us would have the hope of salvation.
All who consider themselves to be Christians embrace grace as a fundamental concept in the Christian faith, but many, unconsciously perhaps, think of grace in a skewed manner. While it is true that grace is that which we do not deserve, it is not granted arbitrarily to one, while another is excluded. Neither is it given against one’s will. Such ideas come from the doctrines of John Calvin, whose teaching is summarized in the acronym TULIP: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. We do not catch grace like we catch the flu. It is offered freely to all, but it does nothing for us unless we respond in obedience to God’s will.
In 1 Cor. 15:9, 10 Paul said, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” Before his conversion to Christ, Paul was a persecutor of the church and vehemently opposed to Jesus Christ. By the grace of God, he says, he became an apostle of Christ. That grace was offered and responded to when the Lord appeared to him on the road to Damascus and told him to go into the city to be told what he must do (Acts 9:3-6). When Ananias came to him, he was told, “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” (Acts 22:16). Saul immediately obeyed this command, and thus, by the grace of God, became an implement in the Lord’s service instead of an enemy of Christ.
The same thing is true for each of us, beginning with our obedience to the gospel. The grace of God is given by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, which paid the price for our sins. Until we obey the gospel, that grace is useless to us and has no effect on us. When we are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins, we then receive His grace and become a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). Our response to grace is what makes the difference in our lives. We are rescued from the domain of darkness and are transferred into the kingdom of God’s dear son (Col. 1:13). As we continue to obey God’s word from that day forward, His grace abounds toward us and we can say as Paul did, “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.”