Hard truth doesn’t sound very fun, does it? But just like straight talk from the dentist who wants you to keep your teeth, hard truth from your God comes from a loving heart that wants to save souls. Yet we tend to think of God as… nice.
What is it that makes you and me squirm a little when we heard Jesus say, 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. Why can’t we reconcile the in your face Jesus who with fire in his eyes overturned money changing tables and our gentle baby in a lowly manger? Maybe it’s a side of Jesus that we slide over or flip that page on the Bible. Maybe we think he just had a bad day or he didn’t really mean it. Or maybe it’s because we’re uncomfortable with the fire that comes with our Christianity.
As if expecting people to say Jesus what do you mean division – he spells it out. Father against son, mother against daughter, and so on. You could lose a friend because you are a Christian or you could gain him for heaven.
In Africa there are great divisions when one person in the family refuses to join in an annual celebration of drunkenness because he knows that’s not what God wants. He’s accused of showing dishonor to his father, his elders, ancestors and even his clan. Polygamy isn’t uncommon in Africa. What happens when people find out that’s not what God intended a Christian marriage to look like. Which wife do you send away? What happens to children? There are many who see Christianity as a fire that destroys families, but they can’t see the peace in the soul when sins are forgiven.
In Japan the pressure can be even more intense. There the worship life is ancestor worship. To believe in Jesus is seen as spitting on grandma’s grave. You know, Grandma, who has watched over you since you were a little baby. This of course of false idolatry, but what if you could never speak to your mom again? Could you stand the heat of knowing that Jesus has a room in heaven with your name on it, but your family hates you?
In America our culture is almost a complete flip of life in Africa and Japan. Here anything goes. In fact the reason you may feel the fire is because you don’t think anything goes. Other Christians may be the ones who give you the most heat for being a close-minded legalist. This flame may not sound very hot, but it’s a blow torch that has destroyed many souls. If you accept every religion and faith as true and valid, you have just rejected Jesus. Jesus brings fire and we rekindle that fire every time we say there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Want to hear more? Watch this week’s message taken from Luke 12.
Series: Hard Truth
Speaker(s): Fred Guldberg