There is a difference between reading about something and actually doing it. For example, I can read about building a house but until I actually BUILT one I really had never actually done it.
Do you remember Drives Ed? Maybe it's not called that anymore, I don't know. It was a class I had in high school where we learned how to drive a car.
First, we had to read "the rule book." It was fill with laws of the road, what it means to "yield the right of way" and "coming to a complete stop."
Do you come to a complete stop at a stop sign? Truth be told, I tend to slow WAY down to the point where I am ALMOST stopped . . . but not quite. Perhaps it's the rebel in me, law-breaker that I am. Or perhaps I just want to get to where I am going and coming to a complete stop would be contrary to my goal.
Actually, I think the only time I come to a complete stop is when I am at an intersection and want to turn but there's traffic coming that doesn't allow me to. Or when there is a cop car behind me and I want to make sure I come to a complete stop because I don't want to get a ticket.
During the winter months, when there is a major snow storm going on, I don't even stop at traffic lights. I kind of look around to see if anyone's coming and kind of "roll" through. I figure it's better doing that than coming to a COMPLETE stop, not being able to get going again, and becoming an obstacle to others.
I actually got pulled over once for rolling through a stop sign. I told the officer that I DID stop (sort of) and was kind of rolling and looking because my vision was blocked by some trees (which was true). He let me go because he never say whether I stopped or not. The trees were in HIS way too. Yet the fact remained, although I slowed down, I never ACTUALLY stopped. So I guess you could say I lied to the cops!
When you get right down to it though, I am just as much a law breaker as some of the people I've seen driving on our nations freeways.
Have you ever driven around Chicago on US-294? That whole city is filled with law breakers! The posted speed limit on the freeway is 55 miles per hour. Yet, if I actually drove 55 I am sure I would get run over. When I drive around Chicago "with the traffic" and look down to check my speed I find I am often going 75 or even 80 miles an hour! Yet "everyone" is doing it. But does that make it right?
I tried using the "everybody's doing it" excuse before. It doesn't work. When I tried using it with my mom as I was growing up she would say something like, "If EVERYBODY was jumping off the Mackinac Bridge, would you do it?" Rats!
For the past few years I have been trying to drive the speed limit. You know, be obedient to the law. People go FLYING past me on my way to and from work. The speed limit is 65 on our local stretch of freeway. Yet people regularly pass me doing 70, 75, even 80. They must be from Illinois! But I look down and my speedometer and feel good about myself when it reads 67.
However, if we commuters are to be judged by the radar gun, we are ALL speeding. We are all breaking the law. It doesn't really matter how fast we are going over the speed limit, we're all guilty of speeding. We're all guilty of breaking the law.
This past week I saw someone next to me at a stop light actually take off and go through the half dozen glowing, glaring red lights telling us to stop and speed off on their way. I shook my head in disbelief. Yet, just a few months earlier, I had been basically done the same thing during a snow storm.
The point of all this traffic talk is to remind us that we are ALL guilty of breaking the law. Whether the laws are big or small, we have broken the law. So, how do you think we are going to do when we stand before a holy and just God on judgement day after breaking HIS laws? How will we fare when we stand in God's courtroom, trying to explain why we had lusted after that man or woman in our hearts (adultery), why we had run those copies off at work (stealing), or why we had gotten angry at a friend or co-worker (murder). Guilty! Guilty!! GUILTY!!!
When it comes time to pay our fine in heaven, whether it's for stealing millions of dollars or a single paper clip, and we are standing in line awaiting our punishment - eternity in hell - how would you feel if you saw someone come into your holding cell and begin pulling people out to be set free. We'd want to go too, right?
"Take me with you!! Please!!!"
"I'm sorry, do you know Jesus? Our records indicate that you don't. You'll have to stay and receive your sentence with the rest. The God I serve is extremely strict and He doesn't let just anybody off without punishment. That is, unless, you are a follower of Jesus."
One day it will be too late to become a believer. That day will most likely be when you die. Can you tell me when that will be? No, you can't. Few people actually KNOW that. We must prepare our hearts BEFORE we die. So, if none of us knows when that will be . . if none of us knows the day of our death . . . wouldn't we want to prepared today for what could possibly even happen tomorrow?
Before it is too late, consider your sin, as I consider mine. Look to the future and consider going before that judge without a saving faith in Jesus. It's kind of scary, knowing that we are all guilty. We think that maybe, if we can convince the judge . . . you know, talk our way out of it, that we can escape the punishment that awaits us all. No. Jesus IS the judge.
If we admit our sin BEFORE we die, if we turn from our life of sin and "Go, and sin no more," and place our faith and hope in Jesus, we will be saved. Our deserved punishment was to be nailed to that cross. Jesus took our place. Our punishment was to go to hell, the destination of ALL sinners. Jesus went their in our place . . and conquered it. Our only hope is to know the judge and to . . . to STOP at the intersection, if you will. To STOP our sin and begin living a life of obedience. Seek Him. He has told us that if we seek, truly seek Him, we WILL find Him. Please, seek Him today.
"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." - Romans 1:1-14
Here's a song that you've heard before. I encourage you to listen to it as if it were sung by God to His people. Thank you.
Stop, In The Name of Love - The Supremes