Wednesday, November 13, 2019

No One Talks About it Series: Week 5 - Shadows on the Wall


One of the hardest crimes to investigate in this world is when you hear a thump in the other room, and two kids start crying. I’ve heard the thump and walked in with two of my kids crying and both of them swearing up and down it was the other one who caused the problem. I’ve tried to look around for clues, asked probing questions of each of them, but for someone reason children have an innate ability to dream up an alibi that is plausible. That is, until I realized early on in my parenting career, that their all lying and everyone is at fault. Now when this happens, everyone gets in trouble and it doesn’t matter who started it, or caused the most harm.
Truth for us can be one of those ideas that seems to hard to grasp; it’s not like a rock that is physically there. Sure there we can have things that point to the truth, the victim was bludgeoned to death, and look there’s a bat on the ground. But then the case goes to court, and what seems like a simple case of murder, we find out that the perpetrator was actually being attacked by the deceased, and the truth turns out that in fact the victim was defending themselves.
What can seem like undeniable truth, can get clouded, because we do not know all the facts, and when presented with more facts, what we believed was the truth begins to erode. Then we’re left with a sense of being lost, with doubts plaguing our mind.

This idea of trying to know truth is what brings us to our fifth week in our “No One Talks About It Series.” For the last four weeks we have been looking at an ex-worship leader and writer for the church Hillsong, named Marty Sampson, and his instagram post revealing that he is walking away from his Christian faith.

In the first week we addressed Sampson’s topic how no one talks about preachers who fall. We showed this to be untrue, and instead talked about how we need to not only being praying for preachers, but also for each other. Because none of us is immune to temptation, and it is a responsibility of the Church to be in prayer for each other. And when we’re cognizant of temptation, we can be better on guard in our own lives, so that we might not fall as well.
Then in the second week we talked about the idea that not many miracles occur today. And we saw how, though Sampson acknowledged that there were some miracles, the amount wasn’t enough for him. This led us into taking a look at two instances where Jesus was approached with people who wanted more signs and miracles from him. To these people he revealed that no amount of miracles would be enough for someone who simply desired them. So we talked about how, we need to make sure that we are seeking God for who he is, and not for the miracles that he can produce for us. Because if we seek God just for miracles, then he will never satisfy us, but if we seek him for who he is, we will be satisfied with whatever he gives us.
Our third week brought us to the common objection that the Bible is full of contradictions. We then took a website called atheist.org, where fifteen contradictions are given. Then we took time and answered three of those contradictions, showing that every contradiction was due, not to the Scriptures being contradictory towards itself, but rather because we look through a twenty-first century lens at the Bible; not allowing it to be read as it was intended. Then, in a packet of paper, we answered the other twelve supposed contradictions. Showing the Bible is in harmony and is not contradictory.
Finally, last week, we talked about the question, “How can a loving God send people to hell?” In that question we talked about the love of God, and how, on his side of the relationship, his love is boundless and unending, even when we are in rebellion against him. But there is a condition on experiencing his love, and that condition is that we must accept it. And after we understood God’s love and what it meant to accept and reject that love, we talked about hell being the last loving gift of God to a person who has no desire to experience his love. How that when we come to a place of total rejection of God and his love, then we choose for ourselves a place where we do not have to experience God. This means that God sends no one to hell, but rather hell is a free choice given to those who do not desire God.

All this brings us to the fifth reason Sampson gives for why he is walking away from the Christian faith. He says, “I am not in any more. I want genuine truth. Not the ‘I just believe it’ kind of truth.”

There’s two parts to this statement, so this will be a two part response. We’ll tackle the first sentence today and the second next week.
Sampson brings up one of the most ancient desires of man. Biblically speaking, the discovery of and understanding the truth is as old as the first humans. If you have your Bibles, open with me to Genesis chapter 3, where we’ll begin in verse one. It is here that we are given a situation where Eve and Adam are within the garden God created for them. Eve is then approached by a serpent and a conversation ensues. Let’s read through this conversation.

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Let’s stop right there, where did Eve get this understanding that they were not to eat of the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden? We can say from God, but there is no explicit communication between God and Eve on this subject. On the other hand, we do get an explicit conversation between God and Adam in chapter 2 verse 16. In that verse it reads, “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’”

The command to not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was given by God to Adam, and in the very next verse, we’re told that God then moves forward in making a companion for Adam. So Eve was not involved in the giving of the command, yet she knew it. Now there’s two possibilities on how Eve knew the command: first, God said it again to both of them, or, Adam told Eve. 
I believe it’s the second option, because when Eve retells the command to the serpent, she doesn’t give the tree a name, it’s simply called the tree in the middle of the garden. And then she gives an additional perimeter to not only not eating the fruit, but not even touching the tree. This stipulation to not touch the tree was not in the original command from God to Adam, and sounds more like what an older child would tell their younger sibling to not even go near it, just in case you can get in trouble that way too.

So with this understanding that Even more than likely was given this command through Adam, let’s continue the conversation she has with the serpent.

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Right here, is the moment that truth is challenged. Up to this point Adam and Even simply believed God, no question, no hesitation. God’s command was truth and that was it. But now the truth of God is questioned.
To which we get Eve’s response in verse 6. 

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

In this moment, Eve succumbs to the challenge of God’s truth, and eats the fruit. Now, Adam isn’t off the hook, because he’s right there too, not saying one word. But it’s within this conversation, that we see truth being questioned for the first time in the Bible. Eve states God’s truth to not eat fruit form a certain tree, the serpent questions that truth, and from then on, truth has become something that seems elusive to humanity to this day.

Fast forwarding to about the fourth to fifth century BC, the Greek philosopher Plato began to think deep thoughts about the world. In one of his analogies on truth, he came up with something I’ve shared with you before, called the Cave. 
Within this analogy Plato calls us to our struggle with truth. Within the deep dark cave, sits you and I, chained from foot to head with our bodies contorted to only look at the wall. On the wall, we see black shapes revealing the things of nature to us. We hear the sound of wind, crashing rocks, and other noises that seem to be coming from the shapes on the wall. These, are our truths. From brith to death, all we see are the black shapes on the cave wall. But we don’t know the real truth. The real truth is that the shapes are shadows that dance on the wall, because behind us there is a fire roaring and a puppeteer conducting a show for us. The puppeteer makes the shadows and the sounds we believe are truth, but are really only poor recreations of real nature. 
Plato tells us that we are chained to experience what we believe is truth, but in fact is not. And at the end, Plato tells us that we need someone from outside the cave to come in, break the chains that hold us there, and bring us out into the real world, the real truth.

Four to five centuries later, two men stand speaking to each other, with one of their lives being decided. One is a governor, one is a carpenter.

The governor speaks, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
The carpenter replies, “Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?”
 “Am I a Jew?” The governor replies, “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
The carpenter said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said the governor.
The carpenter answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted the governor, and he left the room.

This is the interaction between the carpenter Jesus and the governor Pilate as John records it in the Gospel of John chapter 18, verses 33-38. Pilate, a learned man, sought after truth almost two thousand years ago, just as Marty Sampson, and many others are seeking after truth today. Pilate must have understood Plato’s analogy of the cave, and how we are only seeing shadows of the truth, and when Jesus says that he born to testify to truth, Pilate scoffs, because he believes that truth is elusive to humanity.
But before Pilate scoffs, Jesus had already addressed Plato’s acknowledgement that we need someone from the outside of the cave to release us from our shadowy truth. Jesus tells Pilate, that he came into this world, into this cave to testify to truth, but Pilate is so enamored with his false truth, that he can’t see his Savior, the one who has come to break his chains, standing right in front of him. The one that could provide truth to Pilate goes unseen, by someone who thinks they are looking for truth, but in reality their more interested in shadows.

Just ten chapters before this carpenter and governor meet, Jesus says this about truth, in chapter 8 verses 31 and 32 of John’s Gospel, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jesus sends us back to Genesis 2:16, when God commanded Adam to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of God and evil. Jesus sends us back to following and obeying the Word of God when it is spoken. Because only in the Word of God, is truth revealed. 
Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and we celebrate those who answer the call to stand between us and the forces of this world that would want to destroy our nation. In the founding of our nation, when the delegates met for the constitutional convention the whole thing was falling apart. Benjamin Franklin, who today is believed to be a deist that bordered on an atheist, at 81 years old stood up and addressed George Washington and the other delegates. 

Listen to what he said, “In this situation of this Assembly groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. 
“Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance. I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men. 
“And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that ‘except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.
“I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service. (http://www.theconstitutionalistsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Benjamin-Franklin-Constitutional-Convention-Address-on-Prayer.pdf)”

This is just one instances where the founders of our nation realized that only in God is truth found, and we must seek him if we desire truth. And there is no other way to know truth, if we don’t first study the commands of God.

In our society right now, children are being aborted, yet the Scriptures say do not murder (Exodus 20:13).  In our society, love is being used as a justification for sex with anything, same-sex, trans sex, animals, even children, yet Scripture says that sex is for one man and one woman in the bond of marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). In our society, our justice system seems to be corrupted in that sentences are lenient for those who have money, and strict for those who don’t, yet the Scriptures call us to justice that is impartial to a particular party based on wealth or social status (Deuteronomy 16:18-19).

This world can’t find truth because we’re bond in chains looking at shadows of it. But Jesus enters into the cave to release us from our bonds, and tells us that truth is found in his Word. Marty Sampson is seeking genuine truth, but has missed that truth, for shadows on a wall.
We can so easily get into the idea that we, on our own, can discern truth from lies, but the reality is, without God’s Word as our foundation, any shadow of truth can lead us into a realm where truth can’t be discerned. And God’s prescription is simple, we need to know his Word to know truth, and it’s there that we will be set free from shadows, and brought into the light.

My challenge for you this week is to ask yourself, “Am I believing the Word of God as truth, or am I trying to discern truth on my own?” This week, I want to challenge you to read through Jesus’ words in John chapter 8 and 18, asking God to give you a desire for his word, so that you may know the truth.

Let us be people who seek real truth which is found in God’s Word, and not the shadows on the wall. Amen.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

No One Talks About it Series: Week 4 - Hell Is Just Right


This past week, I had the opportunity to be a part of a jury. On Tuesday we spent the whole day selecting the jury, and once we were selected, we were told that the case was scheduled to run until Friday. The next day, I saw why it might take so long when we got started a half hour behind schedule. The rest of the morning was spent listening to the prosecution and defense question two witnesses. Then, after a two hour lunch break, we went into deliberation. From the moment we entered the jury room, everyone was in agreement that neither side did a very good job, but in the end the evidence itself pointed to a guilty charge and that’s where we had to go.
One of the things that I noticed about the whole process, was the excruciating amount of time that was spent in making sure we the jury understood our role in the process. The judge on several occasions re-emphasized the fact that we were to make our decision on the evidence alone, holding no testimony higher than another. It hit home on the painstaking procedures that went into making sure that the defendant was treated with every ounce of innocents that could be afforded. And when the jury met, not one person seemed to want to give the guilty ruling based on their desire to inflict pain, but rather solely based on the evidence. One man spoke up and said, we cannot have an emotional desire to keep this defendant from the guilty verdict, instead, this might be a pathway for them to get the treatment they need. 
Leaving the courtroom after the verdict was announced, there was no doubt in my mind that the jury performed their duty correctly, and with as much compassion as possible, even in giving a guilty judgment.

And, by God’s design, this brings us to this week in our “No One is Talking About It” series, where we are going back into addressing the topics that Marty Sampson, an ex-worship writer and leader of the Hillsong church, presents for why he is walking away from the Christian faith. The topic we’ll be looking at this week is this idea of a loving God sending people to hell. And just like I saw the painstaking work to make sure innocents was afforded in the jury trial, we’ll look at how God takes painstaking steps before someone ends up in hell.

Now in this series we have covered three topics so far. The first topic was about how no one talks about when preachers fall to temptation. We showed this to be untrue, giving several examples both nationally, and personally. And we talked how we need to be praying for pastors, preachers, and each other, because as the Scripture says, there is no temptation that is unique to anyone, but temptation is common for everyone. So, prayer and standing against temptation is what God is calling us to do.
Then in the next week, we talked about miracles. Sampson said that not many miracles are happening. In phrasing it like that, Sampson acknowledges that miracles do happen, but he then falls into a trap that Jesus talked about. When confronted with people that wanted to see a miracle from Jesus, Jesus told them that it wouldn’t be enough. Even the greatest miracle of him rising from the dead, would not be enough for someone who is seeking miracles over seeking God. And so we talked about how God desires us to seek him, rather than seeking what we can get from him.
Finally, in the last time we talked, we tackled the idea that the Bible is full of contradictions. This is a common accusation against the Bible, so we took the fifteen contradictions that are given on the website, atheist.org, and debunked three of them in our talk, and then the other twelve in a packet that was available in the foyer. Through that time, we were able to see that with a little work on our end, we can be assured that the Bible isn’t full of contradictions, but rather the problem lies with us taking verses out of context and trying to make it say things they don’t. 

With that refresher, let’s get into our fourth week answering Marty Sampson’s “No one’s talking about it,”and his reasons for why he is leaving the Christian faith. And as we’ve said before, we’re not trying to pick on, or demean Sampson, but rather, we’re using his words in the public sphere to make sure that we talking about these subjects and are able to answer these objections.

In his instagram post, Sampson’s fourth topic of why he is losing his faith says, “How can God be love yet send four billion people to a place, all ‘coz they don’t believe? No one talks about it.”

What’s the place he is talking about? It’s hell. 

About every three years or so, the youth watch a video called GOSPEL Journey Maui. In the reality show type series, there’s this girl named Racheal, who, out of the gate, tells people that she doesn’t believe in a literal hell. And in reality, there are a lot of people in this world that don’t. I’ve heard people say things like, “God is too loving, and wouldn’t send us to hell,” or “earth is more than enough of a hell for people, so there’s no other hell.”
And in fact, the idea in Sampson’s statement is a long standing theological discussion, that is phrased like this, “Why would a loving God send people to hell, simply because they do not believe in him?”

So let’s talk about these seemingly opposite ideas of God’s love and hell.

First, what is God’s love? Most of the time when we talk about the love of God, we talk about the unconditional love of God. But what if I told you, that nowhere in the Bible is the word unconictiopal mentioned? Just a simple word search of the top English translations reveals that the word unconditional does not appear anywhere in the Bible. In fact, the only time a word like it comes up, is in Genesis 2, where God tells humans they can eat unconditionally from any fruit in the Garden of Eden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (v.16). But even in that case, there is a condition. 
See we misrepresent God’s love, when we talk about it being unconditional. Now, I want to take a moment and stop, because the inevitable question arises, “But doesn’t God love us even when we sin?” And the answer is yes. Romans 5:8, “…While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” John 3:16, “For God loved the world, that he gave his only Son…” Yes, God loves us even in our sin, but if we finish John 3:16 we see that there is a condition on us receiving that love, “…that whoever believes in him shall receive eternal life.”
And the Bible is full of passages pointing to God’s love. Psalm 36:5 says that God’s love for us is vast. The whole book of Hosea and the parable of the Prodigal Son speak to God’s unfailing and steadfast love for us. Verses like 1st Timothy 2:4, and 2 Peter 3:9, tell us that God’s desire is that no one should perish, and all would come to him.
The problem with the topic of love isn’t on God’s side, but rather on our side. To anyone who would accept God’s love, it is open. His love is freely offered by him to everyone. Jesus’ words in Revelation 3:20, “I stand at the door and knock,” reveals how close God’s love is to each of us, with God on the outside of our door and all we have to do simply open it.
But there inlays the condition, the door has to be opened, God’s love has to be accepted. 

If we take the three parables of the lost in Luke 15, we can see a pattern. The first two talk about lost objects. First a lost sheep. One sheep out of a hundred gets lost form the herd, and the shepherd goes and finds it. Then there is great rejoicing. The second parable deals with a lost coin. The woman searches for one lost coin out of ten. When she finds it, she rejoices.
Then there is the third one, the one of the lost son. A father has two sons, with the youngest wanting his inheritance early, and then leaving behind his father’s house and going to squander his new wealth. One day the son returns, and is met by a father that brings him back into his house and rejoices at his son’s return. In each of these parables, we learn about God’s love for us, but in the last one, we learn that to be brought back into the house, the son must make a conscious decision to return. And when he does, the father’s love, which has never stopped, is again experienced by the son.

And it’s here that we transition from God’s love given to us, to what happens when we reject that love. If we reject God’s love, what is God’s response?
Back in the 14th century a word came into the English language from a Latin word that meant to snatch, or take away by force (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rape; http://latindictionary.wikidot.com/verb:rapere). That word is rape. Now, rape has sense become a term we use for forcible sexual attacks, but in it’s original understanding, it simply meant to take someone or force someone to do something against their will.
Well if God forces those who reject his love to experience his love, that would mean that, in a sense, he would be raping them. And I know that sounds gross and can make us uncomfortable, which it should. 
Because when people say, how can God be loving and send people to hell, what their saying is, how come God can’t force us to experience his love? But that is the original definition of a rapist. Someone forcing another person to do something against their will. 
This is what people miss when talking about God’s love, God isn’t a cosmic rapist. Think about this: God, the only being in the universe that is uncreated. The only being that can speak things into existence. The only being that has complete autonomy. This being gives us created, finite, and flawed beings the opportunity to either reject or accept his love. 
To those who accept, he gives eternal life with him to experience that love.

But what about those who reject? Who keep that door to God’s love closed? What is God going to do with them? Because if he really is love, then he won’t force them into that love. 

Now we’re getting somewhere. But before we can talk about hell, we must talk about what a rejection of God’s love really means. Many people that I’ve encountered, think that rejecting God’s love, just means that you reject following Jesus. That’s part of it, but not the whole. The way the Bible puts forth creation, is that it is out of God’s desire that it even exists. That God calls it perfect in that it reflects his attributes. With humanity being the crown jewel of creation in that we are made in his image. This all means that everything good in this world: joy, peace, kindness, mercy, grace, patience, faithfulness, self-control, beauty, these things are the characteristics and the fingerprints of God himself. When we experience something good, we’re experiencing the goodness that is rooted in God’s love because he desired to create. 
That means the rejection of God’s love, is a rejection of all these good experiences, because you can’t have one without the other. In fact, sin is the rejection of the things of God’s character, which, when we reject God’s character all it brings is pain and destruction. So without the love of God, you don’t have joy, you have sorrow. You don’t have peace, you have strife. You don’t have kindness, you have hatred. To reject God’s love is to embrace those things that are not of God.

So now, what is God’s answer to those who reject his love? It’s one last loving act. In the end, after all his pursuit of us in love, God gives us what we have always desired when we have spurred his love, which is a place where we can experience a total rejection of him. And with that we embrace everything that isn’t of him. All the joy we’ve ever experienced, all the kindness, mercy, peace, and everything that is good, gets rejected as well, because you cannot have those things without God, so when we reject him, we end up rejecting those things as well.

Therefore hell isn’t a place that God sends people, but rather a place for those that desire to reject God. In creating a place where we can receive our desire to be without God, God shows ultimate love. He does not force himself on us, but rather allows us to go our own way into eternity.

I remember hearing a pastor one time say something along theses lines, “Everyone in heaven will want to be there, and likewise, everyone in hell will want to be where they’re at too.”

The reality is this, we can think, like Sampson does, that hell is a destination that we get sent to because we just don’t believe in God. The reality is, God gives us the opportunity to choose our eternal destination. And it all hinges on either embracing God’s love, or rejecting it. 

So what’s embracing God’s love look like? First it’s a realization that God’s right. See God says as a loving Father, that we are in rebellion. We have rejected God’s created goodness by lying, cheating, stealing, lusting, hating, murdering, gossiping, and much more. The Bible calls this sin, and us sinners. And because we have done these things that are not of God, we cannot be with God, because he is all good, and we’re not. At this point, we’ve chosen hell for ourselves, it’s our destination based on our own actions. 
But God shows his love for us when he doesn’t leave us in that rebellion and in that choice. God the Son comes to us as Jesus, lives the good perfect life that we were meant to live, but was then killed. That death was unjustified in that only those who have sinned deserve to die. So Jesus was raised back to life, conquering our sin in the process and giving his perfect life as payment for our sinful one. When we embrace this truth and accept God’s work on our behalf, we are embracing God’s love. We’re that son that makes a conscious choice to return to his father’s house. Then we begin to follow him, spending the rest of our lives allowing him, by the Holy Spirit, to cut out every sin in our lives that is holding out in rebellion against God’s love. That eternal life that we have chosen begins at that decision to accept Jesus as our Savior and when this body fails and we die, God’s eternal love awaits us. 
And what do we do to earn this great gift? Nothing, we simply accept it. No work on our part can make it happen. We can’t earn it by praying enough, doing enough good things for people, listening to enough sermons and Christian music, or even fixing all our bad habits. The only thing we can do, is embrace God’s gift through Jesus for us, and then follow him, doing what he says to do as we are led by his Holy Spirit.

If we have accepted that, then we have made our choice and our life will reflect that. If we haven’t, then there will come a day when that choice will become an eternal one, and we will get our desire to reject God, and as a last loving act, God will release us to our eternal choice. And we will embrace hell.

But what about those who never heard about Jesus? What about those who lived before Jesus? Is hell eternal? What’s it like? There’s a lot more about hell to be talked about. But to answer Marty Sampson’s question about how does a loving God send people to hell, the answer is, he doesn’t. We choose hell, and God being loving, allows us our choice. Hell then is the greatest form of love, to allow a finite being to make an eternal decision, even after being pursued by a infinite loving God.

My challenge for you today, is first, where are you in making this eternal decision? Have you accepted it, or are you rejecting it? Maybe you have more questions, I would be happy to sit with you and talk about them. In fact on Sunday nights, we are starting our sermon discussions to allow these conversations to happen. But we must understand and be honest about where we’re at in our choice to accept or reject the love of God. 
Second, if you have accepted God’s love, are you praying for those who haven’t? Are you sharing God’s love with people? Are you communicating the result of rejecting God’s love with people? I have always loved the imagery of two beggars looking for food. Their clothes are in tatters, they smell, and they look like they haven’t had a bath in weeks. The difference between them, is the Christian has found food and now is eating their fill, and while they eat, they are calling the other beggar to the meal. Christian we need to call people to the meal of the love of God, because there will be a day, when the choice will be made, and the feast will be closed to those who have rejected it.
So seek God this week to bring people into your life that need to hear the Gospel message of Jesus’ loving work to keep us from an eternal hell.

Let us be people full of the love of God, overflowing to those around us, so that they may see that God desires them to be with him in perfect peace, joy, and love for eternity. Amen.