The Great Escape! – November 6th, 2018

The Great Escape!

For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

Hebrews 2:1-3 (CSB) 

Do you know your way out?

Read on…

How will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

I am going to paint this picture with a very broad brush this morning. We all are plotting our escape. What we are seeking to escape from and where we are seeking to escape to are going to be different depending on what lay in our hearts. The means to affect that escape likewise may differ as well. As will our willingness to accomplish our escape.

So we have the ‘What’, the ‘Where’, the ‘How’, and the ‘Wherewithal’ to consider for each of us.

Because this is a devotional blog and I attempt to keep it as brief as possible we will not go into all possibilities for each of these. I will focus on the one for those faithful to Jesus Christ foremost, this represents the ‘norm’ or standard for the disciple of Jesus. Then will look briefly at deviations from that in the church today, we will refer to these as ‘Faux Christians’. And finally, a glimpse of the aberrations that exist in the world of the lost.

Within each heading, we’ll seek to understand all three. The conclusion, I will suggest what we should consider in our own escape scenario and leave the conclusion to your heart.

What

What we are escaping is going to be the most important ‘what’ we can answer. The answer we give for what we are escaping has a massive impact on the ‘Where’ coming up next.

The Disciple’s What – The Disciple of Jesus should be seeking to escape the snares of the evil one.

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

James 4:7-10 (CSB)

Technically they have sought and accomplished an escape from damnation, eternal destruction, and separation from the Creator because that isn’t something that we can accomplish on our own. it is only afforded to those who accept the Grace and Forgiveness offered by Christ by Faith.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (CSB)

The Faux Christian What – What the faux Christian seeks to escape from is judgment, accountability, and punishment.

Adopting just enough of the window dressing of the true believer, they have built up a comfort zone, a shell if you will, that they feel provides them sufficient shelter from the result of living outside of Grace. They are often very difficult to distinguish by outward appearance because their motivation is to adopt just enough that they appear to God and everyone around them as one of God’s Children.

A fairly foolish disguise, but nonetheless, commonplace.

The Lost What – The Lost are in pain and often do not even realize this as they seek to relieve from that pain in worldly pleasures and pursuits. They simply are not running from their lost condition, but from the oppression that is ever persistent in their lives.

The next acquisition, the next thrill, the next laugh, the next drink, the next partner may be the solution, they really don’t know or truly wish to know. They are simply looking for that next fix.

Where

Where is an important component of this entire exercise because it tends to disclose the motivations of the heart.

For am I now trying to persuade people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10 (CSB)

The Disciple’s Where – is to be in an ever closer relationship with the Creator, Jesus. It’s just that simple. The disciple seeks to be closer and become more and more like the one who has rescued them from the darkness of sin and death.

Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 9:23 (CSB)

And then…

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, and even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:26-27 (CSB)

To remove any ambiguity from this passage, let me make it clear that this ‘hate’ of one’s own family and their own life isn’t to say that the disciple is called to conflict with them or ourselves, but rather that our loyalty and commitment is first to Christ Jesus above all others including ourselves.

Jesus used these strong words to convey that the ultimate ‘where’ for the His Disciple is Him alone and none other. This doesn’t put us at war with our family and loved ones, only that the one we love above all others is Jesus.

The eternal destination for the Disciple is unity with God.

The Faux Christian Where – Just as with the ‘What’ covered last the Faux Christian is deceiving. Attempting to deceive those around them that they are a follower of Jesus, adopting the behavior and external appearance of a disciple of Christ.  But tragically they deceive themselves first because while they feel that their ‘Where’ is ultimately the safe harbor in the afterlife which is Heaven.

The problem with this is that if Heaven is anything, it is life in the presence of God.  All of God, the Trinity. Heaven is that which the Disciple seeks manifested in physical form (or perhaps what appears to be physical form).

There is a transitive property in here that I am trying to formulate in my mind and I suppose it would be this: If you don’t seek unity with God in our earthly life, we are trusting in a fallacy if we believe we will have unity with God when our physical life is over.

You simply do not get the golden streets and all that comes with it, if you are not participating in the unity that Jesus provides for us when we give our lives to Him and He places His Spirit in us.

The Lost Where – Not totally unlike the Faux Christian, the Lost have their own delusion of where they are escaping to.  It may be a comfortable retirement, a mountain retreat, a warm fire, or the arms of a lover. But all of the things where they seek to escape to have one thing in common, they are temporary and an illusion of what their soul really desires.

They have convinced themselves that if they only can get that one thing that they will be happy and at peace.

But as we see so many that have seemed to achieve the pinnacle of success in terms of the world, it is futile and they end themselves in frustration, unsatisfied with the results of their struggle.

How

The ‘How’ tends to be defined by the ‘What’ and ‘Where’ we hold.

The Disciple’s How – Is founded in the pursuit of righteousness. This is not because they wish to be righteous, but rather that they wish to emulate the one who they follow and seek to be like as their destination, the one that is growing an ever increasing level of unity with.

This pursuit is going to have manifestations in the Disciples behavior and focus.

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31-32 (CSB)

The Disciples ‘How’ is understanding God’s truth and through their lives of service, they find a freedom that only can be afforded the one that relinquishes control of the ‘Where’ they are bound for, and rests it in the hands of their Savior.

That truth is embedded in the Word of God and revealed to the Disciple by the Spirit of God that lives within them.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.

John 14:16-17 (CSB)

Do you see this destination of unity taking shape in the Disciple?  “He remains with you and will be in you.

The Faux Christian How – As already touched upon, the ‘How’ for the Faux Christian is to create a façade of the Disciple, so as to blend in for the trip to their mistaken destination.

The Lost How – How the lost endeavor to secure their escape is through the pursuit of all things that tend to satisfy their longing for peace and happiness.

Often times this pursuit results in a rush to the bottom, with massive pain and suffering.

Wherewithal

The Disciple’s Wherewithal – The enabling factor for the Disciple is going to be their devotion to be that Disciple of Christ Jesus as fully as they are able. At times sacrificing temporary gains in this life for treasure that is everlasting. Walking in the Spirit that Jesus has placed in them. Thriving in unity.

On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”

John 14:20-21 (CSB)

The enablement of the Holy Spirit in the Disciple teaches them from the Word of God, and through Him, they are provided the ability to constantly be in union with God and share in Him.

The Faux Christian Wherewithal – Hollow determination. Believing that they are doing only what is required to secure heaven in the life hereafter. The pursue a course of works and behavior in vain, resulting in eternal death and separation from the one that they neglected to unite within this life.

Repeating this passage.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (CSB)

What they seek in their escape is given freely based on faith and faith alone. It’s not what we do or how we present ourselves that determines the outcome of our escape plan. Our escape is dependent on a rescuer. His name is Jesus Christ.

The Lost Wherewithal – Corruption is the core of the enabling of the Lost in their escapes. As one fails the next one is pursued and each disappointment stacks one upon the other.

The only means at the Lost’s disposal is to attach more and more of the world upon them so that before the thrill is gone from the last the next is well on its way to its pinnacle.

Serving as mear distractions until physical life is gone and they are faced with an eternity of separation from God and a torment that never ends.

Conclusion

I not sorry if some of this was uncomfortable. You need to understand that your decision today of where you are escaping to, determines your destiny tomorrow.

I don’t want anyone to suffer in separation from God today or for eternity. That is a fate that is beyond horror, and something that I can’t even wish upon those that hate and despise me and the one I follow with the intent of being in Him and He in me.

Evaluate the track you find closes to you and then evaluate what you really want when it is all said and done and we exist in eternity either separated from God in torment or co-existing in God’s presence.

When we die physically, it’s not lights out and we are done. We are created with eternity implanted in us.

He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (CSB)

That’s everyone. We all have eternity in our hearts. The only question is where will we spend that eternity.

For the Disciple of Christ Jesus that destination is with them now in this life and they remain in it and grow into it throughout eternity.

Consider the costs of being a Disciple, but at the same time consider the costs if your soul is lost.

For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life? What can anyone give in exchange for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Mark 8:36-38 (CSB)

Blessings,
Kip…


 

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