19 Nov Do You Like Warnings As Much As Blessings?
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Preacher Huijun - 19 November 2022
Weekend Devotion: Do You Like Warnings As Much As Blessings?
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We all love the blessings mentioned in the Bible. But how about those warnings written in it? Can we appreciate the value and purpose of God’s warnings? Some people simply ignore every warning, as it makes them uncomfortable or fearful. Thus, they do not like to hear mood-dampening warnings, but only enjoy listening to words of grace and blessings. Indeed warnings may not always be welcomed, just as when we were younger, we used to dislike and dismiss the warnings of our parents. But is it really wise to ignore warnings? In fact, other than blessings, a large portion of the Bible also records many warnings. Such as warnings concerning God’s final judgment, eternal punishment if one rejects Christ, and warnings against greed, idolatry, pride and other sins, against the devil’s lies and schemes, against having a false sense of security, against falling away from the faith and so on.
Since the beginning, God already gave the first man very solemn warning. He told Adam, “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Gen 2:17). Many warnings can be found in the New Testament too, such as:
(Heb 9:27) Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.
(Jn 3:36) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
(Mt 7:15) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
(Mt 7:19, 21) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
(1 Ti 6:10-11) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
There are many more other warnings in the Bible, so how are we responding to them?
We humans need appropriate warnings.
Why? Because we fallen men often could not detect dangers until it was too late. Furthermore, we always fail to see sin as sin. On the contrary, we often treat what is risky as safe and consider enemies as friends. Just as Eve used to treat the serpent as a friend and chatted with him without any sense of caution. Likewise, we also easily find the sin which is repulsive to God attractive. Instead of turning us off, many a times sin makes us excited and happy instead. Just like a married man may get thrilled by a beautiful woman who is not his wife; or a person is happy when he can earn quick money by some indecent means; or someone feels he is very smart because he can get away from trouble by lying, etc. Because our sinful nature loves sins, it becomes very hard for us to stay away from sins. Instead, we often tell ourselves that certain sin is not such a serious wrong. Until the consequences of sins catch up with us, then we regret.
Furthermore, humans also tend to use their own means to solve problems or get what they want. When they succeed, they get proud easily and feel that they do not need God. So they leave God and fall into greater problems. Therefore, men need God’s reminders and warnings so that they will be awakened from their pride and stubborn sins.
Yet, it’s a pity that some Christians think the warnings in the Bible are meant for others but not themselves. They think that they are spiritual enough and do not need any warning. However, the Bible also warns: So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! (1 Co 10:12). Hence, no one can treat the Bible’s warnings lightly, because we are all sinners who are weak and can fall anytime.
God warns us out of His love.
Now, if God knows we are doing some dangerous or foolish things and yet He doesn’t warn us, then it means He does not love us. But precisely because God does not wish that we are hurt or that we go through avoidable judgment, that’s why He warns us. Thus, although warning doesn’t sound nice, it is also a form of blessing. A timely warning can save lives. Just as warnings of earthquakes, tsunamis, etc., can help divert people from dangerous sites. Likewise, God gives us warnings to protect us, so that we will not do things that lead to God’s dreadful punishment. Or if we already sinned against God, we can also be warned and repent in time, so that we shun evil and turn to God, thus receiving His forgiveness. Therefore, God’s warnings reflect His love, patience and kindness. Because God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live” (Eze 33:11).
So we should reflect: every time when we believed God’s warnings and obeyed Him, did we manage to avoid unnecessary troubles? In fact, God is just like our parents. They use both rewards and warnings for the same reason: to encourage us to obey them and so enjoy their protection. Importantly, God does not give us warnings so that we become afraid of Him and hide from Him. On the contrary, through His warnings, God wants us to realise we cannot leave Him, because only He can protect us from the very things He warns us about. So let’s cherish God’s every warning with humility and gratitude as we remember that He warns us out of His love for us.
We should also warn others with God’s truth.
God ever told prophet Ezekiel, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.” (Eze 3:17-19)
Likewise, today, since God has already entrusted His gospel truth to us, so we too have the duty to share the good news with others. This includes telling them the hard truth that all humans are sinners and terrible punishment awaits sinners on God’s final judgment day. Yet at the same time, God’s judgment can be avoided, if only sinners will repent and accept the salvation of Christ. Although it may be hard to get words of warning out of our mouths, we have the obligation to warn others, so that they may repent and be saved in time. We must love and warn others like how God has loved and warned us. No matter if they heed our warnings or not, if we have warned them, at least we will not be held accountable for their fate.
In conclusion, brothers and sisters, remember that God’s warnings are meant for our benefit. So pray that we will take His warnings to heart, and humbly obey Him!