Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience.
~ Ephesians 5:6
When my children were small I would give them warnings concerning their behavior. There were rules in place, because I loved them. These rules were established to encourage them to become safe, responsible, giving, and loving adults. These rules were not meant to harm them, but to help them.
When they were young, I used the count-to-three system. I strictly enforced it. There were no exceptions. They knew that if, “three,” came out of my mouth, there would be consequences.
Many times today, I hear parents just keep counting and counting, or they elongate their numbers waiting for their child to comply. The problem in this system is, there is nothing to be gained or lost, by the child, for amending their behavior. Being a good parent includes discipline, warnings and structure.
Unfortunately, some churches are fearful of giving warnings. They often tickle the ears of people; tell them what they want to hear, so as to grow the numbers. We definitely need to hear the message of love and acceptance, but we also need to hear difficult lessons that God has to teach us. If we feed our children ice cream only, they will not thrive. We need to feed them protein and vegetables, along with the dessert. If church people are fed only chocolate milk, the church may grow in numbers, but not in spirituality. On the outside, the church may look appealing with a myriad of elaborate programs, videos, music and dynamic speakers, but God sees the heart.
God gives us warnings with consequences. He is the ultimate supreme Father of love, so if God used warnings, then the church should follow His example in the pulpit. We need to hear both the good and the bad; the broccoli and the cake.
One warning in the Bible, given by Jesus in Luke 13, tells us to try very hard to get through the door, before it is shut. He warns that no matter how we cry and beg outside that closed door for it to open up, the owner will not open it. In fact, He will claim that he does not know us.
What exactly does this mean and how do we know what the door is? It’s obviously a door that is beneficial for us to enter. Jesus states clearly in John 10:9 “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved.” We are also told in John 3:16, that for those who believe in Jesus, will not die but have eternal life. This is the message of warning. We hear the message loud and clear. Do we accept or reject it?
My children knew, that if I said, “three,” it was too late. The result was consequences. Jesus gave us words of caution. He is the gate, and He is bidding us to enter now. Once the door is closed, it’s too late. One, two, three; we have been warned!
Dear God, I hear your voice calling. I come to your gate of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Thank you for welcoming me. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert