Friday, 2 December 2016

Acts 2:42 - An analysis of the word 'Devoted'.

Acts 2:42-47 is an awesome picture of the early church. It is telling of the dynamic nature, enthusiasm, energy and zeal of the first disciples of the church.

Key to this picture is verse 42. Verse 42 is the engine behind verses 43-47. It can be argued that the word ‘devotion’ is the key dynamic that produces the engines power.

So, what does the word ‘devoted’ literally mean? The answer is really quite simple, it simply means ‘devoted’.  It is a word loaded with passion, enthusiasm, energy, loyalty, priority, affection.

The Greek word behind the word ‘Devotion’ in Acts 2:42 is Proskarterio

Th word Proskarterio is translated in various ways in the New Testament. By looking at the different ways it is translated in different contexts we get a sense of the flavour of what is being described.

Below are all the instances where the word Proskarterio
 is used n the Greek. Wherever you see the pink text, behind that word or combination of words is the word Proskarterio. There are nine instances in all.



42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


Romans 12
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 13
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
ESV: attend to this very thing
NASB: Devoting themselves to this very thing

Mark 3
Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him.


Acts 1
14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Acts 6
Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

NASB / ESV: We will Devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word


Acts 8
13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
NASB:  he continued on with Philip
ESV:  he continued with Philip

Acts 10
When the angel who spoke to him had gone, Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier who was one of his attendants.

Colossians 4

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Kite, by John Newton

The Kite, by John Newton

Once upon a time a paper kite 
mounted to a wondrous height,

Where, giddy with its elevation, 
it thus expressed self admiration:

“See how yon crowds of gazing people 
admire my flight above the steeple;

How they would wonder if they knew 
all that a kite like me could do!

Were I but free, I’d take a flight 
and pierce the clouds beyond their sight;

But, ah, like a poor prisoner bound,
 my string confines me to the ground.

I’d brave the eagle’s towering wing 
might I but fly without a string.”

It tugged and pulled, while thus it spoke, 
to snap the string.

At last it broke.

Deprived at once of all its stay, 
in vain it tried to soar away.

Unable its own weight to bear, 
it fluttered downward through the air.

Unable its own course to guide, 
the winds soon plunged it in the tide.

Ah, foolish kite, thou hadst no wing, 
how couldst thou fly without a string?


Oh, Lord, I see
 how much this kite resembles me!

Forgetful that by Thee I stand, 
impatient of Thy ruling hand;

How oft I’ve wished to break the lines 
Thy wisdom for my lot assigns.

How oft indulged a vain desire
 for something more, or something higher.

But for Thy grace and love divine ,
a fall thus dreadful had been mine!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Become Strong in Faith

"Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power!" So says the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10. Very well - but how? Can you decide to just 'be strong'? Can you go to the gymn - see a body builder lifting huge weights and say, "Hmmm, I think I will be strong like him" and then go fourth and lift those weights? The answer is 'no'. At least physically you cannot just be strong. Why? The answer is obvious - if you don't have it, you don't have it!

But is that true spiritually?
Well there are parallels but they don't go very far. So being strong spiritually is similar to being strong physically in that the result is, you are not easily defeated. The strong in competition are not easily beaten. They can stand and prevail where the weak cave in. But that is as far as the paralells go.

Those who are strong in the Lord cannot be easily shaken - or they may be shaken - but not moved. They have the power and strength to overcome and prevail whatever comes against them. They are overcomers, victors!

Paul tells us to be strong. Strong in the Lord so that we can "take our stand" against the devil and His schemes" (Ephesians 6:11). Christian, every day you can be strong, you will have your designated stand that you must take.

Paul goes on in Ephesians 6 to depict a valiant soldier in battle. Think Shammah ...

"But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Phillistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory."
2 Samuel 23:12

Or Eleazer who, in the same chapter stood and fought like Shammah so that "His hand froze to his sword!" (Verse 9).

So Paul tells little, humble, insignificant you and me that we must be like Shammah and Eleazer. God wants you and me to be heroes of faith. He wants you and me to be valiant, mighty warriors.

But how can we? "Who am I?" we may well ask.

Remember Gideon, (Judges 6) he was the least man in the least of God's clans. The equivilent is like being in the smallest and weakest of churches and being the weakest in that church! Gideon had never fought a battle in his life. In fact, he was faced by the enemy countless times, he'd had ample opportunity to take his stand but never did. For years the Mideonites (read enemy) plundered him, his family and people, and Gideon's practice, without fail, was to hide in caves, lurk behind bushes, fearfully and passively watching on while the enemy plundered him, his family and his people! That was Gideon's practise. That was Gideon's history. That was Gideons identity.

What a surprise then when God catches up with him. Of all things, God addresses him thus ...

"The LORD is with you, Mighty warrior" (Judges 6:12)

Mighty warrior! Hardly. Are you having a laugh!

I Love Gideon's immediate reply ...

"Pardon me my Lord".  (Judges 6:13)

He's like, "urmmm, are you to talking to me? Do you know anything about me? You must be confusing me with someone else". But the Lord was not mistaken.

God says to you (and me), "The Lord is with you Julian, Mighty warrior" (You put in your name!) Yes - YOU too!

This is what the Apostle Paul is saying when he says to you and me, "Be strong in the Lord, put on the full armour ... be like Shammar and Eleazer - mighty warriors - now you take your stand in your field".

But How? How can I be a mighty warrior? 


Consider this verse from Psalm 57:3b
"God sends fourth His love and faithfulness".

Just think about that for a moment. God sends fourth His love and faithfulness. Consider that in the light of Shammar above, what does it say? "And the LORD brought about a great victory". Hang on a moment! Where was the Lord when Shammar was wielding his sword and holding up his shield getting covered in blood and sweat, straining, battling for hous on end?

Where is the Lord?

That is a good question to ask. But the scripture is clear. Shammar did the work, but it was the Lord Himself that won the victory. That is what scripture says. But also - although it is clear, the Lord won the victory, it is also clear that credit goes to Shammar who exerted Himself courageously in the battle. Shammar is a mighty warrior! But the Lord sent fourth His love and faithfulness. He poured out his love on His son Shammah and was faithful to Him - faithful in battle and gave him all he needed for victory.

When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
the Father's full love's just begun,
He gives, He gives, He gives, 
limitless love, grace without measure
He gives, He gives, He gives
Abundantly.

And what does Paul say above? Not, "Be strong" but "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power"

So, we are not to be strong in our "self", but in the Lord!

So we may have no strength - but we place ourselves in His hands, trusting Him - even when it is really hard, even when we are surrounded by things that threaten us, even when fears arise. We hold our nerve - keep faith, keep trusting HIM keep exerting ourselves - He, in His love will be faithful!

Here is how it works.

1) Every day, we begin by coming to God believing we cannot stand without His mighty power. We really cannot.
2) We confess or admit our weakness to Him - perhaps we need to admit it to ourselves too. We really must come to terms with our utter weakness. Yes we can go day after day without meaningfully praying, but all the while our hearts are becoming colder.
3) We must ask Him for strength. "Lord, please help me by giving me all the strength I need, to deal with todays challenges, whatever they may be, give me resolve, give me a spirit to fight and not give in".
4) We then go fourth, bracing ourselves, ready, trusting He is faithful and will absolutely, 100% do it.
5) When the moment comes, temptation, fears etc, we give ourselves fully to the battle. We struggle and strain and resist and stand and fight. Like Eleazer with sword frozen in hand, never giving up we keep fighting. We fight in every situation to be faithful to God, to please Him with out hearts, attitudes, words, deeds, responses. When we have no strength left we keep fighting - never, ever giving up.

As we do that, we will overcome, without fail.

OBJECTION
But if I battle like that, then I did it!

ANSWER
Yes and no. Yes you did. It took all your strength. But even as you exerted yourself and battled, and somehow managed to keep on, even when you had nothing left, the Lord was your strength! When you was fighting, God Himself was at work in your members! That was God! It was His victory and yours.

OBJECTION
But I did'n't feel strong at all, I didn't feel a boost of power or strength at any time.

ANSWER
God gave you all the strength you needed - not more. But if you needed more - He would have given more. In fact, when you think you have nothing left - you could still battle on for hours, days, months, years! Like the widows oil - God will keep supplying! He won't make it easy, but He will give just enough power and strength into your weakness.

He sends fourth His love and His faithfulness.

6) When we have fought the good fight, and look back at the victory, we must give thanks. Admitting, it was because of Him we previaled.

The result is, with all life's battles, all life's knocks, disappointments, discouragements, heart-aches and sorrows, with all that would get us down and make us cynical and despondent, our heart will be at peace, it will be soft, we will be full of faith, we will know great and deep joy and our love will keep on growing. That is the victory!

Our testimony will be, "He does indeed send fourth His love and His faithfulness."

We go in faith, our own great weakness feeling
And needing more, each day thy grace to know
Yet from our hearts, a song of triumph peeling
We rest on thee, and in Thy name we go.






Monday, 31 October 2016

Encouragement ans Spiritual Attack

Brothers and Sisters, 

As you know we face challenging times. It's good to remember Peter, when walking on water, all the time his eyes were fixed on Jesus he was able to do what he couldn't possibly do otherwise, no matter how the tempest around him raged he defied all odds, all the rules of physics and nature and did what was not possible for him to do - he walked on water! But the moment he took his eyes off Jesus and focussed on the waves, crashing in around him on all sides, he began to sink, fear, hopelessness, and despair, the impossibility of the situation overtook him. 

God gave us all great encouragement on Sunday, I hope you all took it and took it to heart where it belongs. 

We have an Enemy

However, we are wise to remember, we have a cruel and wicked enemy who is relentlessly and zealously opposed to us. He wants to rob us all of any strength God supplied and supplies. What's more, he has allies, as I found out. 

About an hour after the service I got a very long, text, telling me how I am failing, comparing me to Eric and Giles (whom I love and appreciate) essentially questioning my fitness to be a Pastor etc. On it went. 

It is not often I am so personally attacked, and the reason I share it is because I fear that perhaps you may also be subject to Satan's attack. 


Three things to Remember when under Attack

As I read the text, All the encouragement disaappeared - I realised I was in a spiritual battle. Three thoughts prevailed. (1) the temptation to defend my 'self' under attack would prevent me from seeing any truth in their tirade. (2) Even if they are wrong, I am in fact far worse and less deserving for countless other reasons that they know nothing about - nor would they be concerned about - but God is, so only in my pride would I take offence. (3) Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, this person is not my enemy, but is both a victim and instrument of the enemy.  They are eaperiencing anger, anguish, confusion and turmoil. Their attack should provoke compassion - that is what it means to love our enemies.

Satan's other Ally

Sadly, Satan not only has allies in broken-hearted, misdirected hurting pawns like my poor critic, but also within. And that, or more precisely 'I' am by far my biggest problem, not my attacker, but my natural defender, my natural justifier - ME! My own pride and sinfulness vies for prominence and victory over my critic. I want to prove myself right, righteous - and my oppnent wrong - unjustified.

A False Choice

It so often seems that we must either "overcome" by our self-righteousness or give in and be defeated and crushed by discouragement, doubt and failure. Either they / he / she is right and I am wrong, or they / he / she is wrong and I am right! Right? Wrong! Things are rarely black and white.

To justify myself and accuse my critic, pointing out how wrong he is, how he has no room to talk and to  judge him (self righteously) would be very easy, that comes naturally. To take criticism to heart and feel a defeated failure comes easily. But you cannot fight fire with fire. Either would have consumed me even as it consumed my critic. To stand against a spiritual attack is demanding - it does require time and energy, discipline and faith.

A time for everything under the sun

So my first battle was to commit it to the Lord to weigh up later, 'now' was not the time to deal with it - I had my family around me - a source of love and strength to encourage me and me them. Instead, I rested in the knowledge that, if I have done wrong, the Lord will show me my sin, and I have a solution, the gospel, which alone justifies the faith-filled repentant. So I concentrated instead on enjoying my family around me during the afternoon and evening, I'd deal with it before the Lord tomorrow (Monday).

Satan is an intruder - and we must not let him have his terms. Yes it needed dealing with, but for now, God has given me my family to enjoy, and by faith, that is what I did.

Standing Firm

Then later I went to bed with the criticism at the back of my mind. George and I read together and then it was time to sleep. 

It was then again the battle began. My tired mind drifted to the accusations, I kept reminding myself, "now is not the time to deal with this but to sleep". In the end I put my earphones in my ears and launched Bible gateway, listening to Revelation being read. It was some time after chapter 10 I drifted off (note to self, Don't listen to revelation to help you sleep!). 

But it was better to go to sleep fighting, persevering, than defeated, that is God's grace. I woke up, as if 'from the battle and to the battle', and began to read again. Even as I read and focus on Jesus, I had to drag my mind to focus on what I was reading and not allow my 'self' to drag me back to the criticism and all manner of connected but undisciplined trains of thought - and that was a battle! If I allowed that to happen, I would again be robbed of whatever strength, encouragement, and blessing the Lord had for me - and He knows I need it.

A Thankful Heart

After saying my goodbyes to Georgie and Gemma, I set off on my walk to the Moulsecoomb station to get the train to East Anglia for the FIEC Leader's conference. As I walked and prayed the battle continued again. But now I found it somewhat easier to count my blessings. I thanked God for all the blessings of having John and Tessa stay with us, how they loved and encouraged us. I thanked God for His presence during the worship and especially the clear gospel message so richly preached by John. The Lord decked us with glorious gospel jewels! I thanked God for how you all served us as you worked together, cooking, serving tea and coffee, washing up, sweeping floors, putting out tables, watching children, talking to visitors etc. I thanked God that he blessed me with family and despite his efforts, Satan never robbed me of that joy. I thanked God that on top of all that I was off to a conference where God wants to strengthen and encourage me so that I can serve you better - which I really want to do. I thanked God that despite a few issues that cropped up in the morning, I left my wife and daughter in peace. 

As I thanked God for all His blessings, God established His peace and joy again in my heart.

How easily all the blessings mentioned above (and more besides) - could have been robbed by the thief! He tried to snatch them out of my hands but I held on! He may well be doing the same to you.

Have I got what it takes to overcome? No and Yes! 

It is only as we stand our ground, resisting the devil that we find out how strong is the devil and our own natural rebelliousness. When we give in to negativity, defeat, dounbt, lies etc -  we don't know how hard it is to overcome. Just as when you try to undo the lid of a jam jar; you put all your strength into it - finally, it pops off! But the person who had a quick, half-hearted try and gave up will never know how tight it was - how hard it was - but you do because you did it. But in reality, you did not use all your strength because you did it. Were it a little harder, you might still have done it. Of course we all have our limit, but when it comes to spiritual battle, we will never reach a limit because, at some point, God's strength kicks in! 

"When we reach the end 
of our hoarded resources 
the Father's full love's just begun!"

Where we end and He begins we cannot know. I suspect our strength ends and His begins much sooner than we imagine. But the flip side is, when we don't give in, we  realise how God's grace really is always sufficient for us to be overcomers, which is what we are saved to be! Saints! Set apart - different, persevering in the strength God gives. 

Are you under attack?

So perhaps you too have been under attack. Yesterday God was at work to bless, encourage, strengthen and empower you because of His special love for you!  Not because you (or I) are big shots, but (as John reminded us) because of His covenant with His Son, our Jesus! 

If you have been under attack it will most likely be in the realm of your thoughts that is where the battle is, 

"We demolish every argument and pretension
that sets itself up against the (true)
knowledge of God". 

Have you been under spiritual attack? Perhaps it was an outright, obvious attack like mine? Usually it is more subtle, Satan the father of lies whispering in your ear, "none of this makes a difference", "Look at that hypocrite", "They're only serving because ..." , "they never normally come, they'll not be here next week", "It's all fake"

Identifying the enemy

Sometimes it is hard to tell If the criticism arises from the enemy within (a critical kind of spirit) or from demons whispering subtle lies in our ears. I'm no expert, but I think if we find these thoughts 'getting into our minds' against our will, (That is, we know they are wrong and try to resist them - but they keep coming), I suspect that to be a demonic spiritual attack. Satan and his demons don't want you to enjoy God's abundant grace in the midst of battle but God deos ... 

Psalm 23
In the midst of my enemies
You prepare a table for me
My cup overflows

They don't want your eyes to be on Jesus and His truths, the ones that really matter, that edify both you and others. 

However, if you find yourself defending negative, critical thoughts, eg, saying to yourself, "but it is true, all those criticisms are valid because they are true facts!", I suspect it arises from your own critical spirit (even if it is true). Either way, it is going to strangle the spiritual life out of you. Some truths are not edifying or helpful to you or anyone else. Remember - we are not justified by a particular truth - we are justified by Jesus death on the cross. So even if something is true - it does not justify a critical spirit. We must recognise it, confess it to the Lord and repent, trusting His full forgiveness - walking in it - and He will help us overcome.

Satan knows we are weak and vulnerable. He will attack each of us in whatever way he can. He will attack you - especially if you have influence. But God's grace is greater - and he wants to help us all overcome, and as Luther put it ... 

For us fights the proper man
whom God Himself hath bidden
Ask me "who is this same?"
Christ Jesus is His name!
Him and no other one
Shall conquer in the battle!

Let's each be repentant, and love one another more than ever, not less. Let's "fight the good fight of the faith!"

Under intense attack, God instructs us "Resist the devil and he will flee from you". He tempted Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days - Jesus resisted Him and Satan left Him. We may need to resist intense spiritual attack for a little while yet, but let's not give up - do not let Satan rob you of your crown or diminish it at all! He will leave us when he sees he cannot win.

If you are experiencing spiritual attack - tell a brother or sister who will help you, encourage you and pray for you.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Hope for this World?

Introduction
Many people, understandably are concerned for this world. It is a real mixture. On the one hand, we see the heights of nobility, goodness and love, but on the other, we see the depths of depravity, evil and unthinkable wickedness. Political movements want to save the world, save various species etc. There are ideologies that look forward to a utopia - a world that mankind achieves that is without suffering etc. Many people give their lives to this cause. What do the scriptures tell us?

Understanding 2 Peter 3:3-15. 

God's word could not be clearer. There is no hope of saving our world - God has already spoken. But that does not mean His people do not have a hope or purpose and mission - we do - the Apostle Peter spells it all out. 


God's Promise
Basically, thousands of years ago, God judged this world by sending a devastating flood, saving His own people through Noah. He promised Noah and all subsequent mankind back then, never again will He destroy the earth with a flood and made the rainbow a reminder of that unbreakable promise. 

Genesis 9
11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.


God's Judgment
But He has also made it clear - He will judge the earth again - this time, not by water (As he has promised) - but by fire

2 Peter 3:10
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare."  

There is no man, no people, no army, no force or power, no movement of people - nothing that can save the world from this coming judgment of fire that will, once for all cleanse the earth of all wickedness, evil, sin, and rebellion against God.


God's Patience Mercy
The only reason He has not already judged the earth by fire, is because of His kind patience and love, to quote 2 Peter 3:9  

2 Peter 3:9
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

The Lord wants the maximum number of people to repent, turning to Jesus as King to be part of His new kingdom which He is establishing right now. 


God's Purpose for us now
But what then is our purpose and mission in life? Peter tells us in the next verse ... 

2 Peter 3:11-13
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 

This tells us how we should live now, we should live godly lives. Jesus is our supreme example of a godly life, and He showed us that a Godly life is to live out the will of God in our lives and live to please God. Jesus said ... 

John 4:34
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

John 6
38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

John 8
29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”


A New Earth
But also - surprisingly - it tells us that we should actually “look forward” (2 Peter 3: 2) to this judgment! Why? Because it is only God's judgment that will bring an end to the misery, pain, suffering, destruction and abuse in this world that we long to see ended - and only then will the new heavens and new earth be established, where righteousness dwells (Verse 13).

I love the picture of the new heavens and new earth given in Revelation 21

21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

But back to 2 Peter 3 - he goes on to tell us … 


Peace with God
2 Peter 3
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 

This tells us a number of key things we should now be concentrating on … 

1) We should first be looking forward to this 'new heavens and new earth'. Our eye is not on this world - as long as this world endures, pain and misery, wickedness and evil will continue. But a better world is coming.  And I want to be in that world to come forever. And I want my children and family there with me. By God’s grace I will be - I hope you will be too. 

2) We must “make every effort” to be found “spotless, blameless and at peace with Him”. Two important points from this are (a) it requires every effort. This means work, energy, time. “Every effort” is demanding.  In other words, we should be devoted to this. Devoted to what exactly? (b) Being found spotless and blameless and at Peace with Him. This means, we are not trying to be righteous in our own eyes, that is, self-righteous, nor in the eyes of other people - that will make us people-pleasers. But we are to make every effort to be found spotless and blameless in God’s eyes. 

Ultimately, He is going to judge us all. His piercing eye sees everything that is hidden, even in the crevices of our imaginations - nothing at all is hidden from Him - and on the day of judgment, it is what He thinks of us that matters. 

 What good is it to say on the day of judgment, “Well, although I am spending eternity in hell, at least I thought I was ok, and so did other people”. What we think of ourselves and what other people think of us will not matter at all on that day - all that will matter is what God thinks - how He judges us. And now is the time to make every effort to be found at “peace” with God. 

The word Peace here does not merely mean an inner feeling of peace, it is far more important than that. It is ‘peace’ as in ‘peace and war’. Basically - people are in rebellion against God - at war with Him - like two nations at war with each other. But the sides are not equal - at any moment, God could smite all His enemies. 


God's Patience revisited
2 Peter 3
15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

A  lot of people say, "but why doesn't God destroy all evil now?" This is a good question - but the answer cautions us. 

Whatever we think of ourselves and one another, Romans 3:10-18 reveals God's damning judgment on all mankind

10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14  “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16  ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

The ultimate evil is not child abuse, murder, rape, war etc - the ultimate evil is the ultimate crime against God Himself, that is the rejection of God as God of our lives - and by our actions, we have all committed this ultimate crime against God, countless times in countless ways. We say, "nobody is perfect' which is true - but it is just the same as saying "All are sinners". 

Why is it the ultimate crime so bad? It is because it is the crime of rejecting God that has opened the gate to all sin, misery, wickedness and evil in the world. Had we not committed that one crime - there would be no suffering, pain, misery, wickedness and evil. But we have all - to a man committed this crime - we are all guilty before God.

All that is to say - if God destroys all evil now - He would have to destroy us all.

But Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation; He is patient - not wanting any to perish (2 Peter 3:9). When He judges, He effectively ends His patience and wars against His enemies. Now is the time for us to make peace with Him, that is, find the salvation God wants for us all. But we must make every effort to make peace with God before the judgment comes. That is what these verses are telling us.

Conclusion
So God is being patient right now - not judging us right now - so that we might be saved. In other words, this world cannot be saved - but we can. This world will be destroyed and a new earth will be established - but only those who are saved will live forever on it. The reason you live and have not been destroyed already is because God wants you to make your peace with Him and be saved. He wants this more than you can know - that is why He sent Jesus into the world.

John 3:16-18
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 


Want to know more, message or phone me - I’d love to share and help you understand the good news of the gospel.