God's Warning Signals (Ch. 9, pages 121-129)
God wants us to enjoy skating on his lake of joy while we are on this earth, but he also wants us to keep away from the area marked "THIN ICE!" This is simple to do, for he has clearly marked the warning signs in the Bible.
We don't have to worry and fret trying to live a Christian life. When we are walking with him in his light, we have complete freedom from fear and we never have to be afraid! His heart is beating twenty-four hours a day, and as long as it beats, which is for all of eternity, we are totally and completely protected while we are serving him.
God loves us so much that he offers us everything in heaven and earth, even making us joint-heirs with Jesus. However, some individuals still choose to voluntarily walk out from under the atonement (the covering, or the blood of Jesus) through REBELLION and IDOLATRY.
To rebel is to refuse allegiance to or resist the authority of someone or some authority over you. God is our authority. To rebel against him is to turn our backs on that which he offers: the protection, the blessings, the love and the promises. Throughout the Bible, God plainly spells out the overwhelming blessings which come when we submit to his absolute control, and the curses which come when we resist or rebel against him.
Idolatry is excessive attachment or veneration (reverence) for some person or thing; admiration which borders on adoration. Idolatry is not just worshiping a god or image other than God, it is lusting after our own desires and pleasures, instead of doing what he wants us to do for him.
The message of rebellion and idolatry are divine warning signals for us to heed so that we may be protected from slipping away from God. Gabriel referred me to 1 Corinthians 10, and let me look at Moses and the children of Israel, who were God's chosen people, to see what took them out from under the cloud covering which is a illustration of the blood covering God places over us today. Verse 1 says, "Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea."
They had everything going for them! They were separated from Egypt, which was a type of the (evil) world; they were protected and spared; and they had this beautiful covering, the cloud!
Then he said, "And they were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well please; for they were overthrown in the wilderness." Notice that even though they had supernatural experiences, and the cloud covered them, God was not pleased. Why wasn't he pleased? "For they were overthrown in the wilderness." Why? Because they lusted after evil things! They rebelled against what God had for them and they worshiped the idol of self-pleasure!
What is an evil thing? It's hungering after those things which God says to leave alone because he knows they will bring ultimate destruction.
Look at it from God's written Word: "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three hundred and twenty thousand." (1 Corinthians 10:6-8).
They fell into idolatry and put something else in place of God. They called him Lord but flagrantly failed to do the things he told them to do. The same thing is happening today because there is a false teaching going around the world which says that fornication is not wrong! These false teachers that the Bible warns about are saying that this is an old-fashioned idea of another generation to keep this one from having fun!
This commandment didn't start a generation or two ago; God gave it to the Israelites over 3,000 years ago. He put this in his plan and his Word because he hates this sin, and let us know that when we rebel against him, we are starting down that road which leads out from under the covering.
A young man and woman who had been "live-in" partners under the new morality recently gave their lives to the Lord. They were excited when they discovered their sins were forgiven, and thought for a while they could continue living in sin. Like many young people today, they had been ensnared by a style of living which condones fornication or other forms of rebellion and idolatry. Praise God, they saw the light and were married shortly afterward!
Some people show an utter lack of respect for what God has said. "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents" (1 Corinthians 10:9). God showed his hatred for what they did in disobeying his wishes for them, and when they murmured, God sent his angel to destroy 23,000 of them!
WARNING! "So be careful. If you are thinking, 'Oh, I would never behave like that' - let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin. But remember this - the wrong desires that come into your life aren't anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation's power so that you can bear up patiently against it. So, dear friends, carefully avoid idol-worship of every kind" (1 Corinthians 10:12-24).
Do you see how God's covering works? He does not condone sin, but he wants people to hear the Good News so they can reach out and find the power to be lifted out of these sins. Only those who defy him and walk in their own way find themselves on thin ice because they have paid no attention to his warning signs. God is not looking for reasons to condemn you, and that's the reason he has posted warning signs. His heart cry is, "I want to save you; I want you to have life and have it more abundantly!"
WARNING! There are some definite warning signals in the Word where God highlights his plan, his acceptance and his covering for his people. He is not deleting the warnings and the call to his people to walk with him and to live for him. The warnings that he has given are just as sure as ever, but he wants them to be put in their proper perspective. He wants people who love him and desire to live for him to know how safe they are. But he wants people to know that the path they are on could lead to real trouble if they are not taking him seriously.
Law-abiding people are not worried every day because there happens to be a jail downtown! In fact, they can even walk right up to a policeman, look him in the eye, shake hands and give him a friendly greeting. They don't need to be worried, because they have been obeying the law. That is exactly the way God wants you to feel about him!
WARNING: Beware of a loss of a sense of the importance of spiritual things!
There are many, many believers on the road of lethargy. Lethargy is a sense of lack of importance; a drowsy dullness to God; a lack of spiritual energy; sluggish in activity. Lethargy speaks forth from our inner being when we say, "It's easier to stay home. It's hard to generate excitement and zeal for the things of God. I have a few other things I want to do today, so I just won't go to church!"
God's remedy: "Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near" (Hebrews 10:25 TLB). Remember, if you feel numb and cold inside and it's a weight and a burden for you to think, "Here's another weekend and I have to go to church. What a chore!" WATCH OUT! DANGER! THIN ICE!
WARNING! UNBELIEF! God wants us to have an alive awareness of what he is doing. He wants us to believe in the supernatural, because he is the God of the supernatural. If in your heart you are standing aloof, beware! "(Therefore beware,) brothers; take care lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart - which refuses to cleave to, trust in and rely on Him - leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12 Amp).
You might have had a real interest in church and working for God, but there has crept into your thinking a spirit of skepticism. You stand aloof with unbelief or doubt, both of which are enemies of God. If you say you believe in the supernatural and give one reason why you do and nine why you don't, your words are just hollow echoes. The warning says that you don't really believe in the supernatural, and without even realizing it, you find yourself questioning God's ways in your mind.
It is so easy to be lulled into becoming an observer who stands aloof saying, "I can't get too involved; I'm more or less neutral." There is no neutral ground - you are either pulling one way or another.
We need to be like Peter and Paul and some of the other disciples who followed Jesus and were willing to lay down their lives for God! I'm excited to say that there has never been a time in the history of the world when God's people were more dedicated to what he is doing that they are today.
WARNING: "The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways;" (Proverbs 14:14). When you begin drifting back, long before you get totally away from God, you are interested only in those things that pertain to you, not the things of God. This is a warning sign.
WARNING! "What will we say then? Will we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" (Romans 6:1). The grace of God is a beautiful covering, but it is not a license to sin. God's grace is something we did not earn, something we cannot buy. A person who thinks they can do what they please is rebelling against God and skating on thin ice!
WARNING! "... Receive not the grace of God in vain" (2 Corinthians 6:1). God's grace is a gift and should not be received in vain. Paul tells about this in connection with what God did in providing his covering, and he gave us this warning: "For God took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins. Then, in exchange, he poured God's goodness into us! As God's partners we beg you not to toss aside this marvelous message of God's great kindness." God did this for you and what a beautiful word of assurance he is giving, but he warned us not to toss it aside for worldly pleasures. "For God says, 'Your cry came to me at a favorable time, when the doors of welcome were wide open. I helped you on a day when salvation was being offered.' Right now God is ready to welcome you. Today he is ready to save you."
Then he goes on to tell us how we can keep from tossing it aside: "We try to live in such a way that no one will ever be offended or kept back from finding the Lord by the way we act, so that no one can find fault with us and blame it on the Lord. In fact, in everything we do we try to show that we are true ministers of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21 and 6:1-4 TLB). Hallelujah!
Suppose you just purchased a new dishwasher for your home. You are excited about all the new features and the many hours it will save you in your kitchen, and you are reading the instructions on how to make it do the best job for you. You discover a little sign that says, "WARNING! For the best and most efficient operation, do thus and so."
What would happen if you suddenly thought, "I can't keep this in my home; it may fail me!" Just for a moment you took your eyes off of the benefits and enlarge on the word of caution and immediately all the benefits diminished in your mind!
What God has promised is the same thing for the individual who recognizes what has been done for him and what God wants to do. God's promises and his benefits are all spelled out for him and the equipment is superior. We are sold on how good God is and how his interest in us is told in all of his good promises, not one word of which has he ever failed to perform. His guarantee is unlimited! But there is still a warning sign, and it is there to make it work for you!
A red light flashes at a railroad crossing when the train is coming, to prevent us from getting killed! A fire engine sounds a siren to warn us of its approach! An ambulance and a police car flash lights when there is danger, and the wail of their siren warns us to pull over and get out of the way. A fever warns us of sickness and infection.
All of these signals are good, and so are God's warning signs. They are just as effective to keep us from getting killed (spiritually) as the flashing lights at a railroad crossing are to keep us from getting killed physically! God loves us so much he has posted warning signs all along the lake of joy, just for our protection!
Next: When God Says Thanks!
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