Step Up to the Plate
God is not sending another Savior. Today’s sermon takes a look at how we are all now responsible for how we live and how God will hold us accountable for all of our actions and our inactions
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart[a] brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. – Matthew 12:35-36 NKJV
We are now responsible
I want to start this Sunday’s sermon off with this statement: God is not sending another Savior. Let me repeat that statement for you one more time: God is not sending another Savior. In other words, God is not going to “save us” again. This may startle you, but I want you to understand that the Lord has already sent His only begotten Son into this world. Remember, the scripture (John 3:16) describes Christ as the “only begotten Son” of the Lord. We believe that the Lord is going to come and save us from our mess, the mess that we have created. The truth of the matter is that God is not coming back to save us again.
Truthfully, when the Lord returns, it will not be about saving mankind. We who have believed will join Him in the air to be taken to our eternal home in the Father’s house (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). I taught about this in a bible study a couple of months ago, and I feel you should definitely give that study a read when you get the chance. I have said all of this because it is important for us to understand that we are all now responsible for the way we choose to live our lives.
Many of us already understand responsibility for physical, everyday living life point of view. We understand taking care of the things that are required of us. However, it is important for us not ignore our spiritual responsibilities as well. We have begun to put our spiritual responsibilities on the back-burner, and some of us forget them entirely. Yet, the time is up when it comes to being ignorant of our spiritual responsibilities.
The Apostle Paul said (Acts 17:30), during his speech before the Areopagus council, there was a time when God overlooked mankind’s ignorance. What changed? Well, God sent His Son to save the world! Before Christ, the Lord overlooked mankind’s ways. Aside from Israel, who had received the Law, God “winked” (batted His eyes) at the rest of the gentile world.
John described (John 1:9) Christ as the true Light and wrote that the true Light gave His light to every man. You see, Jesus entered this dark world and shined His light (the truth) onto mankind. Mankind received that light (the truth) of Christ and began to share this light with others in the world. The gospel of God (Christ) began in Jerusalem and spread, initially through Jews, in all directions through the teaching of the apostles and other disciples. Mankind has now reached a point to where the light is now known of anywhere in the world. To me, that is absolutely remarkable especially when you consider that the gospel began to spread long before the existence of the internet.
We now know what is right morally. We also know what is wrong morally. We now know what is right spiritually. We also know what is wrong spiritually; all of this according to God. I also want to state that if you do not believe in the Lord or Christ, then you will probably disagree with that statement. The truth is that I am a believer and me, and many others accept this to be true. Quintessentially, we know what the Lord approves of and does not approve of; we know what is sin to God and what is not sin. Because of this knowledge, we now hold a very important responsibility for how we choose to live, spiritually, in the world today.
The Lord says (Romans 14:11) that every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess at that day of judgment. The scripture in Romans is actually a cross-reference with a scripture from Isaiah 45:23, which says:
I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.
Isaiah 45:23 NKJV
Have you ever wondered what you would confess to God? I have always heard that scripture quoted, and always wondered what we would have to confess to God. God knows everything there is to know about us! God knows our thoughts afar off (Psalm 139:2). I just wanted to know, what could I tell God about myself that He did not already know?
Then I understood that was exactly the point. God wants us to admit (hold ourselves accountable) to everything we have done, good and bad. We will one day give an account to the Lord about everything; not because God does not know, but because the Lord holds us responsible for everything! It’s like having to come clean to your parents when you know your parents already know what you did.
We have a responsibility
We have a responsibility for what we think, say, and do. We have a responsibility to others as well, and I feel how we choose to treat others is of the utmost importance to the Lord as well. We have a responsibility, according to Christ, how we treat the poor, the sick, less fortunate, broken-hearted, and even our enemies. We are responsible for how we choose to live within ourselves and with others as well. Have you noticed that nearly every sermon I have preached so far in 2018 has dealt with our responsibilities as a Christian?
My parents, just like yours, probably, were very big on teaching me and my brother responsibility. The one thing I remember my dad teaching us at an early age was that we were responsible for keeping each other. My dad would then always talk about how the community he grew up in always looked out for one another. We don’t really look out for each other as they did back then but we should. I believe, as Christians, we should go a step further than just our community as well. We should be there to help all people regardless of their race, creed, religion, and beliefs!
We know this to be true because of what we saw in scripture in last week’s sermon when Jesus said (Matthew 18:7) woe to the person who causes another to stumble. We see in our text today that Paul says (Romans 14:13) let us not put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in another’s way. I find myself always circling back around to the stumbling block. If you have read my sermons over the last six years, then you know that I am big on Christians not putting a stumbling block in the path of others.
However, after recent events, and seeing how some so-called Christians have responded to recent events, I must ask an entirely new question. Honestly, this question is not brand new, nor is it rocket science, but it is a question that kindergarteners are asked – that says a lot more about us than you may think. The question I will ask today: If we see a stumbling block in the way of another, should we intervene and help remove that block? Should we assist another with the block that’s in their path or should we stand by and let them deal with the block on their own? Should we potentially stand there and allow them to fall over the stumbling block?
The real shame here is that this question has to be asked. You may be saying to yourself, “preacher, you did not have to ask that question!” Or you may be thinking to yourself, “Oh, that’s easy. You move the stumbling block.” Are we actually helping to move the stumbling block?
Let’s consider that, as I said in a few recent sermons, we often see the hurt of the poor and we do nothing. We hear the cries of the broken-hearted and we do nothing. We now live in a time where we see the death of our children, and we stand by and do nothing. Again, in our key verse, Jesus tells us that the day is coming when you will be judged for your idle words! I tell you again that there is a day coming when we are held accountable for our inaction when we should have taken action!
Step up to the plate
It seems that after every tragedy, that only then do we decide to turn to the Lord in prayer. We then sit there waiting for the Lord to clean up our mess instead of getting into action to clean up our own mess. God is not going to work that way – He is not our butler! God is not going to save us from actions that we have taken in this world because we are responsible for everything that we put into this world. I tell you that faith is not saying a prayer and then doing nothing!
When something is idle, it is not running. Let me make this clear for you. When something is idle, it is not in motion. Here is the definition of idle, according to Google: avoiding work; lazy. When something is idle, it is standing or sitting still – not moving. Our scripture (Matthew 12:36) used the phrase “idle words”. You know, when we say we are going to do something but never get around to doing it – those are idle words.
There are many idle words floating around in the world today. There are so many people, including leaders, spiritual leaders, that say they are going to do something and they do not move. Too much of this is going on in our world today. We turn around and we can look at ourselves, and I have been saying all year long how we as a Church have started to go idle; going idle is simply no good because nothing gets done. We must step up to plate and actually do something – we must act.
We must break away from the mindset of just praying for somebody. We must pray and then we must act! There are many who are crying out for our help, and we always find a way to not actually do anything. We will say, “If there is anything I can do to help, let me know,” but then we not even raise a finger to lend a helping hand. Tell me, does that sound like the way that God’s children should act? Our society needs help with all of the violence that takes place within it, but too many of us are talking about how nothing can be done to fix the issues. Well, certainly nothing will be done if you stand by idly.
We can pray all we want, but faith without works is dead (James 2:20). We must step up to the plate. We think and believe that God is going to clean up our mess, but I tell you today that God has left the responsibility to mankind – He has already sent His Son. What are we going to do?