Breaching Reality

April 13, 2012 at 8:37 am | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Biblical Violence, BiblicalSwimming, Uncategorized | 26 Comments
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You may have seen this on television. It is one of my favorite images from nature documentary footage. In the frigid waters off the coast of South Africa a great white shark (by some estimates weighing close to one and a half tons) comes bursting up through the water’s surface, breaching explosively with its torpedo-shaped body, clenching a terrified fur seal tightly in its razor-sharp serrated teeth and powerful jaws!

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The voice-over narrator goes on to explain that this “sneak-attack” method of predation is used by sharks to overcome the agility and elusiveness of the much-smaller seals. The viewer is left to ponder this question: “How in the world did the seal not see that coming?”

The answer lies in the seals’ inability to see what needed to be seen, and to hear what needed to be heard. A seal-lover, anticipating the attack, could scream at these fur seals, and even wave his arms frantically as a warning of what is coming from below, but it would do no good. Christians who share the Gospel with unbelievers can sometimes feel a little of the same frustration. Lost sinners know that they are sinning. Why can’t they grasp the danger of God’s impending judgment and wrath? Like fur seals, they are suffering from a type of sensory deprivation.

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

II Corinthians 4:4

According to Scripture, the little “g” god of this world, Satan, has blinded – not the eyes, but the minds – of unbelievers. They are swimming obliviously through a sea of worldly conformity, and no amount of screaming, gesticulating, logical reasoning, pleading, or emotional manipulation is going to convince them to swim immediately to the safe harbor of God’s love. What hope is there, then?

There is the same hope that we ourselves (born-again Christians) have experienced:

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:6

The only light bright enough to shine into the heart of a person whose mind has been blinded is the glorious light which God has placed in our own hearts, and which can shine like a spotlight on the crucified and resurrected face of Christ the Lord.

Some of us reading this were given our sight just in the nick of time to avoid – not a great white shark – but the place of the condemned before the Great White Throne of God’s judgment. Now, it’s our turn to aim the darkness-defeating, sight-giving light straight into the minds of the other seals. Their Satanic affliction is not a cause for frustration; it is an opportunity for God to get glory.

Don’t Get Caught Up the Creek Without Your Oars

September 14, 2009 at 8:22 am | Posted in Acts, Common Expressions | 19 Comments
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The first Christian church in Thessalonica was in many ways an exemplary church. The Holy Ghost, through the Apostle Paul, commended their faith and zeal for the Gospel in I Thessalonians 1:8-9: “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;”

The church members in Thessalonica had been converted by the method of preaching and teaching which had been taught to Paul by Christ Himself. It is outlined in Acts 17:1-3: “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days REASONED with them out of the scriptures, OPENING and ALLEGING, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I PREACH unto you, is Christ.”

I have capitalized four words in the above passage of Scripture, and devised an acrostic (O.A.R.S.) to help remember the Biblical means for telling people about Christ Jesus.

O.pening – The Apostle Paul opened the Word of God, and it is of great importance that all our teaching about Jesus be straight from the Bible.

A.lleging – To “allege” means to take two ideas and lay them alongside each other for comparison or contrast. Paul showed his listeners that what He was claiming about Jesus matched up to what the Bible said.

R.easoning – Reasoning, in an evangelistic setting, involves a back-and-forth dialogue. Paul encouraged questions from his listeners, and he endeavored to answer them according to the Scriptures.

S.peaking – Actually, “speaking” is probably too tame a word for the “preaching” that Paul did. I just couldn’t make “preach,” “proclaim,” or “announce” fit the acrostic. But, the fact is, the Gospel is shared by the bold verbal proclamation of the truth about Christ Jesus (“…faith cometh by hearing…” Romans 10:17).

Christians often speak of “flowing in the Spirit,” but there is a danger in floating blindly downstream. A limp body carried on the current can be washed into dangerous coves, or dashed against a protruding rock. We want to flow in the River of Life, but we must remember to use our “oars” to guide us toward those who are floundering, so that the Lord might use us to rescue them.

 


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