Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Two Kinds of Calamity

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word Of Grace church, Pune on the 29th of Jan2012.  This is a summary of the message. If you would like to lsiten to the AUDIO version please click here.
Last week we read in the newspaper of how a State Transport driver went rouge and drove his bus into people killing 8, injuring 20 and damaging 40 vehicles.

People were going about their normal routine of going to work, dropping their kids off to school etc. They were not expecting to be rammed down by this run away bus. It was such a tragedy, such a calamity. Our hearts go out to these people. May the God of all comfort,  comfort them in their time of loss. Let’s take a moment to pray for them right now. If it is possible try and visit some of them who are in the hospital- express the love of Jesus by offering to pray for them.

Many questions come to our mind when these things happen – it’s a senseless tragedy. And many of us ask the question “why”? Some say maybe it’s their sin, their karma- they are paying for their sins. Is this true? Let’s go to the final supreme authority – The Bible and see what it has to say about calamities like this. What did Jesus say? What should our response be? Let’s turn to our text for today.

TEXT Luke 13:1-5 1 Now,  there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Jesus is addressing large crowds here – He is teaching and preaching to them calling them to repent; and he spoke about Judgement. In Luke 12,  they asked Jesus about some Galileans who died in a calamity. They had come to the temple to pray. They may have done some thing against the Romans and Pilate ordered that they be slaughtered in the temple. Maybe they thought that they would be saved hiding in the temple. But Pilate orders that they be killed there itself.  Not only that, their blood was mixed with the temple sacrifices. Can you imagine the horror of it? Imagine – we have the communion table here and someone comes in here, kills someone and then mixes their blood with the Communion juice. Horrific!!!. The temple was very, very holy for the Jews and this happens there. It must have hit their headlines.

Why do bad things happen?
The Jews believed that they were the blessed people and that they would be kept from calamity. So when such a thing happened, they concluded it must have been because of sin.
John 9:1-3As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

People were of the opinion that the child was blind because of somebody’s sin. But Jesus corrects them and says “neither” .The questions they asked is why did the  Galileans die? Jesus asked them “do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners?” Jesus answers in the negative and warns people to repent or they would perish. Jesus talks about another calamity in Jerusalem – the tower of Siloam falling and killing people. We hear of tragedies like this everyday – it’s just that one is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Did they die because of sin? Jesus said “No”.

What can we learn from this? It’s not that those people were worse sinners. We need to understand something. That we are alive is the grace of God. It’s because of His mercy we can enjoy life. People say “Where is God?” “This is not fair”. Let us see what is fair.

Illustration: A Professor has asked his students to hand in all assignments on the 1st of every month. Some do it and some don’t. The ones who are late pleading for more time get it. The next month it’s the same people who are late again and the professor gives them an extension. The third month these people are late again! Now the Professor decided to give them a zero for that months assignments, at which the students protest saying “It’s not fair!”. The Professor responds saying “You want me to be fair? Okay. According to what I said earlier you should be getting a zero for all the late submissions, so you will be getting a zero for the last two months assignments as well. That’s fair!” Get the point? The professor extended grace and mercy in the first two months – not giving them what they deserve and giving them what they don’t deserve.

We are like that. We deserve death but we have received grace and mercy. We should be thankful for our lives being spared.

Jesus says this in verse 3and 5:Unless you repent.. The real calamity is not this physical calamity. Its lack of repentance .What is he talking about? Is he talking about death? No. He is talking about Eternal Judgement. Just because you are alive today does not meant you have escaped judgement – true calamity is that you will die and experience the judgement of God.

What is “perish” ?– it is to be destroyed after facing the judgement of God. These people did not expect to die. In the same way you may not be expecting judgement but it is going to happen. What’s the solution?  It’s repentance. God wants each one to repent. We need to open our eyes.
I’m speaking to those who have never repented. These are Jesus’ words, not mine. Repentance is falling on our knees asking for forgiveness through Jesus. It’s saying Jesus please forgive me my sins, you  are my Saviour, you died for me.

Jesus speaks of repentance several times. Luke 10:13-1513 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

So to those who have never put their faith in Jesus – repent. I urge you not to walk out of this room without turning to Jesus.

What about the rest of us who have put our faith in Jesus and know we are going to heaven? What should our response be? Two things:

1. Repentance is not a onetime thing. ( not referring to Repentance that is done at the time of receiving salvation)It’s lifelong. What do you need to repent of this morning? Is the Holy Spirit convicting you so something? What does God want you to do that you are not doing and what does God want you to stop doing that you are doing now? 

Some Christians like to walk on the edge of the kingdom flirting with darkness. “How much can I get way with?” “What is the least I need to do to go to heaven?” “How far can I go and get away with it?” We want to live dangerously. What is the minimum I need to serve, give to get by? The Lord would say “Repent”. If you are not seeing your sin everyday it is a problem. God is light – as we spend time with him he will show you your sin. Let his light shine on your darkness. Let’s grow in repentance.

2. We are all in touch with people in the world who do not know Jesus. They will perish if they do not repent. Our responsibility is to share the gospel with them. They may not welcome your message but our responsibility is to share. It’s not your responsibility to make them believe. You are like the Courier boy – you only delver the bills, it’s the recipients responsibility to pay up. In the same way, you deliver the message. Responding to it is their responsibility. But we are also ambassadors representing the Kings authority.  When they respond we need to tell them more.It’s like speaking to the P.A of the Prime Minister. If he tells you something, it’s as good as the Prime Minister telling you. It carries the same authority.
The same way God’s authority is upon you when you proclaim the gospel. My prayer is that each one of us will proclaim the gospel.
If you have not received the Lord Jesus as your saviour I plead with you come and see me. If you don’t the warning is clear – you will die in your sin if you reject this message. If you respond, you will die to your sin.

If you know Jesus, let’s live for Him- don’t live on the edge, jump right into the kingdom of God.
Last week we spoke about your purpose, serving etc – that is secondary to this. This is primary – to take the gospel to you family, neighbours, friends. You have been placed there and seek God how you can share because they will perish if you don’t.
I would like to pray for those of who want boldness to share the gospel. Amen!

Colin D Cruz 
Jan 2012

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