Saturday, 3 February 2018

What Did You Do?

Over the course of a few months I found myself working and travelling alongside some wonderful and talented people who happened to be non-believers. This meant I was given the opportunity on several occasions to share the Gospel with various different colleagues. After listening to life stories, differing issues and reasons why each individual didn't call themselves a Christian I found myself asking one particular question, "What are you going to do with Jesus?"

I went on to explain that we can have different viewpoints and opinions in life but the Person of Jesus Christ is a real, historical figure. It's a fact that this Man walked the face of the Earth over two thousand years ago, He claimed to be the Son of the living God and the only way to enter Heaven. My question to everyone was the same, “What are you going to do with this information?”

Sadly we know that every single one of us is going to die at some point, nobody gets out of here alive! No matter what we have chosen to believe in our lifetime there will come the moment when we come face to face with our Maker.

Now I adore talking about the love, grace, patience and mercy of God. It brings me so much joy to share with others how Jesus forgives everyone who comes to Him in repentance and it's His desire that none should perish. While I've found that delivering the message of grace is a relatively easy thing to do, the flip side to that however isn't quite as enjoyable. The message of death and judgement isn't a comfortable one to share but that doesn't make it any less important. I think it's imperative to give people the full picture so that they know what the options are.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:27,

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement."

This may not be as popular as hearing about the grace and love of God but if I failed to deliver the full counsel of God then I would be derelict as a messenger of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes God is a God of love but He’s also a God of justice, judgement and wrath. To preach only God's love would be to give only one side of the coin and this would be a huge disservice to both the listener and the Gospel.

The word “Gospel” literally translates as “Good News.” To receive the good news we must first understand the bad news which is that we are all sinners. As Romans 3:23 tells us,

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

The Bible also tells us that sin must be punished. We read in Romans 6:23,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If sin didn’t need to be punished then Jesus wouldn’t have had to die on the Cross to pay for our sins. God’s holy and righteous character means that He cannot have sin in His presence and so for us to dwell in Heaven with Him we must be cleansed of our sin.

Now some may argue “Well if God created us then He created the sin in us too!” This is incorrect as sin is not a created thing, sin is merely the absence of righteousness. To put it into material terms, if you were to see a hole in a wall you wouldn’t claim the hole was a created thing in and of itself. It’s not something you can pick up and take away. The hole is simply the absence of the brick that should be there. So it is with sin. Man was created to have perfect fellowship with God but when man rebelled against God then sin came into the world. Sin is the result of a lack of obedience.

We learn in Genesis 1:31,

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

For God to look at all that He had made and see that it was good means that it did not include sin or death. These negative things came in after man’s rebellion and so now we all are born with a sinful nature and live in a fallen world as a result. None of us would have behaved any differently in the Garden of Eden given the same choice as Adam and Eve. All of us have the free-will God has granted us and all of us have chosen to rebel against Him. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would claim to be perfect and to have never sinned in their life.

The Bible clearly tells us in Romans 3:10,

“There is none righteous, no, not one.”

Thankfully God’s love for us meant that He didn’t want us to remain trapped in our sin and so sent His Son Jesus to pay for our sins in our place. All of us are in need of our Saviour whether we like to admit to that or not and there is only one name given under Heaven by which we must be saved. Jesus Christ. He’s the only One who paid for the sins of the world, including my sins and yours. The only way we can enter Heaven is to put our faith in Him and accept His gift of grace. No amount of “good works” will make up for the fact that we’re sinful. Considering sin must be paid for with death, it will either be Christ’s death on the Cross that covers us or it will be the death of our own souls in eternity. This is the last thing that God wants to happen but if this is what we choose by rejecting His Son Jesus then this is what we’ll have decided for ourselves. This leads me back to the topic of judgement.

The truth is all of us will stand before God one day and we'll stand in one of two ways. We'll either stand in Christ, completely forgiven and fully cleansed from all of our sins and unrighteousness or we’ll stand on our own, hoping that we can somehow persuade a holy, righteous God that we have a good case for our unbelief and rejection of His Son Jesus.

It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God and so my desire for people to know their loving Saviour inspires me to share this reality while there is still a chance for people to question their beliefs. Through these thoughts and experiences I found myself feeling inspired to write "What Did You Do?"

The poem begins with the picture of one who has just completed their time on Earth, they’re now coming face to face with God the Father and hearing the questions their Maker may ask of them. The tone is in no way meant to be threatening but rather I've written it in the hope that the poem may act as a loving warning. My desire is that it may inspire someone to really question their rejection of Jesus Christ now while there is still time reconsider.

"What did you do with my Son called Jesus?
What did you make of His Heavenly claim?
Did you dwell on His words or dismiss Him as "fiction?"
Were your lips used to worship or slander His Name?

What did you do with the grace He provided,
His death on the Cross that paid for your sin?
Did you look on His face and stare with indifference
Or did His death cause you to turn towards Him?

How did you use the time that I gave you,
The days I appointed to you from My Throne?
Did you willingly follow the ones who detest Me,
Blindly accepting their thoughts as your own?

Or were your eyes open to see My creation?
Did your heart ever question the Source of such wealth?
Blessed with free-will and a mind that could reason,
Did you use what I gave you and think for yourself?

What did you do with the Heavenly Scriptures,
My Letter of love to all of mankind?
Did you search for the truth laid bare in the pages
Or harden your heart and close up your mind?

Did you listen to those who brought you My Gospel?
How did your spirit respond to My call?
Were you found to be proud or willing and humble?
Did you ever accept that I'm Lord over all?

How did you use the skills that I gave you?
Were Heavenly gifts ever offered as praise?
Did you open your mind to seek your Creator
And let Me be Author and Lord of your days?

What did you do with My Son called Jesus?
Speak truthfully as you begin to recount.
The life that you led has met it's conclusion;
Your time has now come to give an account."

Oh what a sobering series of questions.
Questions we're better to ask ourselves now
While given the chance to look to our Saviour,
Respond to His love and willingly bow.

Bow in sheer awe to the mercy provided,
Feeling no dread when we come face to face.
Drenched in forgiveness, in love and compassion,
Fearing no judgement and saved by His grace!

How He desires that no one should perish,
Urging each soul to let go of their sin.
The Maker of all calls out to our spirits!
Receive God today and run towards Him!

Run to His goodness! Bask in His mercy!
Taste for yourself the sweetness He brings.
Dwell in His peace, be awed by His power,
Feel your heart praise Him and hear how it sings!

Allow me this moment to plead with your spirit,
I beg you to open your heart to His voice!
Please be aware, eternity beckons;
Where you will spend it comes down to your choice.

What did you do with God's Son called Jesus?
Will you be known when you come to the Gates?
Do not forsake the grace that's before you,
Today is the day your salvation awaits!

Think on it now for how you will answer
When the eyes of the Lord are resting on you.
May you be clothed in the robes of the Saviour
When faced with the question, "What did you do?"

John 14:6
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Matthew 16:13-17
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.””

Matthew 22:41-42
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?””

John 3:36
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

1 John 5:12
“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

John 5:24
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”

Romans 8:1
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

Philippians 2:4-11
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Acts 20:27
"For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God."
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