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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Too Hard!, continued
As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." (Romans 8:36—NIV)
We mentioned before that no one says what I am preaching is not scriptural, the complaint is it's too hard.
This fact warns us right away that the individual is not following the Bible but he or she desires to have a soft gospel that is not too demanding.
So the issue is, does the Bible present an easy message or a hard message? What does God demand of people?
The Jews were given many commandments to observe. Some of the commandments were major, having to do with constructing idols or committing adultery. Others were relatively minor, being ceremonial rather than moral concerns, such as the washing of pots.
How did God view the transgressing of any of His statutes? If you broke His law ignorantly provision was made with animal sacrifice to forgive your sin. If you broke His law knowingly you were cut off from Israel.
A man was put to death for gathering wood on the Sabbath.
While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, "The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp." (Numbers 15:32-35—NIV)
Another man was killed for taking God's name in vain.
God dealt graciously with Israel when the people kept His commandments, blessing them with material wealth.
But when Israel rebelled against the Lord He was exceedingly harsh. Every kind of disaster overtook the nation until the people were led away into captivity.
"Ah, but that was the Old Testament. Now we come to the New Testament and we have good ol' Jesus. Now we have grace and mercy and God is ready to take us all up to Heaven so we cannot possibly be harmed by Antichrist or the Great Tribulation."
So we preach and so we believe. But we couldn't be further from the truth if we moved to the remotest galaxy in the starry heavens.
The Christian life has an element of hardness to it. Suffering is a major aspect of redemption.
The higher the rank in the Kingdom to which you have been elected the more intense will be the fires with which you are baptized; the bitterer will be the cup you are required to drink.
Let us think about Jesus for a moment. Was His stay on earth a pleasant one? Would you say He had led a hard life? I think you would agree the Lord Jesus Christ from the time He was in the wilderness of testing faced hard circumstances. The end was Gethsemane and the crucifixion. All very hard indeed!
"Oh yes, but that was Jesus. He suffered so we do not have to suffer."
I know this is preached today. I wonder sometimes if the preachers know Jesus at all. Have they never walked with the Lord?
To be continued.