Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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The Problem of False Warnings!

Meditation for the week of November 25, 2012

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. (Ezekiel 33:6)

This last week was Thanksgiving in the United States.  You might ask, just what was I thankful for on Thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving always reminds me that the Lord graciously enlightened me as to the truth of his promise that “whosoever believes in Him (the Lord Jesus) should not perish (John 3:16).”  This happened just before Thanksgiving in 1963.  President Kennedy had been assassinated and I was concerned about my future.  I knew I was not ready to die in a civil uprising which I thought was a possibility because of the assassination.  I was concerned about “perishing” so  I earnestly sought to get right with God that weekend.  I found out  that God had provided for my salvation nearly 2000 years ago when Christ died at the cross.  I rested on that truth and realized that no matter what the result of the Kennedy assassination was, I would be alright.  Christ had promised me that He had died in my place.   My sins were forgiven and my place in heaven was secure.  What a relief!  Yes that is something for which to be thankful.

We who preach are much like the watchman that Ezekiel writes about.  We are required to be faithful about the warnings of Scripture.   Much of our Gospel preaching is associated with the truth that we either turn to the Lord for eternal life or we will perish eternally.  Perishing is more than just dying.   It is being separated from God in a place of eternal torment for eternity.  This is not popular preaching today but it is still the truth of the Bible.  Everyone who hears this message has to decide for themselves whether the warnings of the Bible are true.  The problem is that the Bible is misused and misinterpreted by some preachers, and their warnings are simply not true. As a result many people think that perishing for eternity is just something that will never happen to anyone. 

I am thankful that not all warnings that we get in this life are true.  I have a car that is very dependable.  But it has a warning light that comes on sometimes.  It says in bright yellow, TPMS.  I think that means that the tire pressure measuring system may not be working so if a tire is low, it will not alert me to that.  I usually stop at some point (not usually right away) and check my tire pressure and kick the tires.  You know the routine.  Sometimes the light goes out and sometimes it doesn’t.  But in any case, I have gotten so I ignore it. Unfortunately the same thing has happened with the warnings associated with the Gospel.  There are three things that we usually warn people about.  One is that death could occur at any time.  Even though the Bible is clear that the young are more likely to believe God than the the old, when we are young it is easy to believe that death is not imminent.  We tend to believe that death happens to others but not to us at that age, and we tend to ignore the warning that we need to be saved now because death strikes all ages.

We also try to warn people that the Lord is coming for His own after which there will be a period of seven years when God will pour out His wrath on an unbelieving world.  The tribulations of that period will be so severe that a person would not want anyone to go through it.  However, because some discount the warning by making these judgments allegorical rather than literal, many think the warnings are not to be taken seriously.  Others have set dates for the beginnings of these judgments which are not Biblically  based.  Since the dates have come and gone without the Lord returning, many assume that His promise will never be fulfilled.  The Lord tells us that He will come when we least expect it.  Assuming that the warning is false is not wise because the Lord does keep His promises. 

We also warn people that there is an opportune time to be saved.  No one is saved apart from the Holy Spirit drawing them to the Savior.  Some preachers would say that some people have so rejected the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that they are beyond hope.  I, however, believe that anyone who is alive, still has the ability to respond to the clear teaching of Scripture that Christ died for their sins.  Until a person dies, I assume that they can still be saved.  But the opportune time to be saved is now.

Just because there are times when I would like to put a piece of tape over the warning light in my car so that it no longer bothers me, I hope that people do not do that with the warnings of Scripture.  Even though it has been a long time since the warnings were given, and even though some have gone beyond what the Scriptures teach with the regard to the warnings, that does not mean that the warnings can be ignored.  My car gives false alarms and for that I am thankful when I am driving down the road and do not want to get stopped.  But the Lord does not give false alarms.   Death is coming. The Lord is coming.  We need to be prepared.

Bruce Collins

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