If you read my short recap post of my time at Camp Regen, hosted by Dr. John MacArthur and Grace Community Church, you would know that I am in a short blog post series diving into my notes from my top-take-away sermons! (Through writing these posts, I have edited them and added onto them for the sake of it being in “post form”.)
At the end, comment something you learned from my notes- I’d simply love to know!
Posing question for today’s notes: Is death a warning from God?
Tonight, we look not at our own deaths, but the deaths of others. When we see a tragic accident where fatalities are involved, how should we feel about them? Is it a “sign”, coincidence, or karma perhaps?
Let’s look at Luke 13:1-9.
Luke 13:1-5 CSB “At that time, some people came and reported to him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And he responded to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all the other Galileans because they suffered these things? Or those eighteen that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed — do you think they were more sinful than all the other people who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well.”
Let’s go again with the four points we can make here!
1: Death is impartial. Tragedy shows no favoritism. We hear often that “bad things happen to bad people” or “you get what you deserve”. But the Bible makes it clear that karma isn’t real (Christians should not believe in karma because the sum of people’s works does not decide whether they are saved or not. Only faith in Jesus Christ saves people from condemnation. Through God’s grace, Christians are gifted a relationship with Jesus instead of the death they deserve, unless of course you believe and follow God as Vishnu. #OhHeckToTheNo) And anyway, death has two categories: 1: Works of evil people 2: Tragic accident. And both have the workings of God’s hands intertwined for a greater good.
2: Sin is horrific. Looking back at the beginning of Luke 13, we see that in Siloam, a tower fell on eighteen Galileans and killed them all. And the people who reported the Galileans’ disgrace (of mixing blood during a sacrifice) believed that the Galileans suffered that tragedy because of their their sin. But Jesus straightens this misconception out immediately in vv. 4-5 “Or those eighteen that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed — do you think they were more sinful than all the other people who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well.” Jesus is talking to this large crowd of people who think that because they are good people, they will be saved, and He tells them point, blank, period that you do not suffer tragic accidents based on the severity of your sins, and that you will surly perish if you don’t repent. Good deeds don’t gain you access to heaven.
We are all sinners, we all sin. (Romans 3:10-13) Whether you admit it to yourself or not, we’ve all personally rejected God at some point in our lives. Take a look at Genesis 3:13-19 Adam and Eve personally rejected God in their sin by deliberately disobeying him with the promise by satan of being equal with God through this disobedience! All sin is equal: all sin is horrific. And we think we are so sneaky too! We all try to minimize our sins, cover them up, and/or make excuses for them but all that does is cover the reality of our own sin. (example: “It wasn’t a lie, I just didn’t tell you.” or “It was just a little fib, it’s totally fine!”)
Do we feel deeply the reality of our own sins compared to those we feel deeply for in tragic accidents we see on the news? We should feel as much remorse and more of the reality of our own sins, yes even more than those in such circumstances. Do not let denial or pride get in the way of you being humbled to your knees before the Lord.
These events should make you think, they should give you conviction in your heart on some level… and sometimes it takes having someone close to us die, or a tragic accident such as the condo collapsing in Miami in 2021 for us to wake up and realize our own faults or how uncertain we truly are of our eternities. Example: “That could’ve been me. I could die at any moment, am I ready? Will I actually go to heaven?”, or “Life is precious… I’m not living the way I know I should according to the Bible, I need to change that.” and here is why:
3: Judgement is real. Repentance is a calling from God to recognize your sin and turn away from it. Friend, I am telling you right now that you can go to your pastor literally in tears over your sin and feel remorse, but not turn away from it- Not put in effort to stop. If you do not repent from your sin, God’s judgement is sure to be upon you- Luke 13:5. God is not one of those Karen helicopter parents that will do anything to make sure you don’t get bullied or hurt, if you do not repent and turn away from your sin, God’s wrath will be upon you on the day of Judgment and you will spend eternity in hell where there is endless darkness, fire, weeping, bashing of teeth, deep-remorseful sorrow, a place where you cannot leave or be saved from; a place where Jesus is not available to you. This damning wrath is coming to that friend, to that false/lukewarm “Christian” in your phonebook contacts… plant seeds my peeps! The time is now! The lesson of death is that judgment is real and it is coming for un-repenting believers!
4: God is gracious. God is gracious because he is patient. Having Bibles, listening to sermons or even playing Christian music but bearing no fruit is a real-life representation of Jesus’s parable in Luke 13:6-8.
Luke 13:6-8 CSB “And he told the parable: “A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. He told the vineyard worker, ‘Listen, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it even waste the soil?’ But he replied to him, ‘Sir, leave it this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. Perhaps it will produce fruit next year, but if not, you can cut it down.’“
(Jesus is the vineyard worker, we are the fig tree.) What a beautiful picture of God’s patience and grace towards us!
But that patience has an expiration date- vv. 9
God is constantly calling us to stop ‘playing Christian’ and follow him which means to leave behind your worldly life/habits/pleasures in exchange for eternity with him and devotion to him. If you do not repent, you WILL perish, and the reason true followers won’t face God’s wrath is because Jesus faced it for us, and there my friends, is where sanctification is found and fulfilled; the cross is always the answer.
Wrapping up: Yes, death is absolutely a warning from God, and a call to repentance. There is no better time than right now to repent of your wrong-doings against the Lord, turn away from them, and learn what it means to walk in holiness in light of life and death; to number your days. And it is my daily prayer that you do so!