“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:43–47, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Yesterday, my Pastor preached the greatest sermon ever preached. Let me rephrase that. Yesterday, my Pastor preached on a portion of the greatest sermon ever preached. If you have not guessed yet, he is in the midst of a series on the Sermon on the Mount. So he definitely had good material, and we were blessed by his sermon.
One “soundbite” from his sermon in particular really resonated with me. “The world is not what it once was, but it’s never been what it was meant to be.” At least not this side of the “apple” tree. People of my generation (boomers) are quick to point that out. And we do not have to look too far to see many examples. But I also recall hearing my parent’s generation (the “greatest generation”) make similar complaints. And even now, my son is even saying it.
We should not be surprised. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:11–13, NIV 1984). “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:11–14, NIV 1984).
We continue to water down the truth. Going “from bad to worse.” “Deceiving and being deceived.” “Increase of wickedness.” “The love of most growing cold.” But as I’ve already pointed out, each generation seems to have the same complaint, longing for the “good old days,” with the old good actually being the bad that is becoming worse. It was the same when Jesus was on earth. In His Sermon on the Mount He repeatedly said “you have heard it said…but I tell you” the truth. What people had heard was watered down (good going bad and getting worse). Jesus came (“for this very reason“) to testify to the truth.
Which brings us back to today. Human (sin) nature has taken the truth that Jesus told us and watered it back down. In some instances throwing out the teaching completely. But the “Gospel of the kingdom [must still] be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” That’s why He commissioned us. When Jesus was here, He was the light of the world. When He left, He passed the torch to His Church. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, NIV 1984).
My Advice – If you are part of the light, “put it on its stand” and let it “shine before men.” Let it shine on the truth. Not the “truth” that men have heard, but the truth Jesus proclaimed. If you are are not in the light, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NIV 1984). Imagine never again having to walk in darkness. You don’t have to imagine it. You can walk it everyday, by accepting Him. See my “The Born Again Experience” musings to find out how. But do not delay, for we never know when “the end will come.“