Saturday, June 4, 2016

you label it

The Word for today:
Ezekiel 25, 26
Tyre is about to meet its fate.
Tyre was a great commercial center, the seafaring center of the Mediterranean world. Tyre owned the waves and the sea lanes, or so they thought.
But God had long ago made a promise. The promise is embedded in a covenant he made with Abraham:
I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
 (Genesis 12:2-3)
The covenant is, of course, a prophecy of Christ. (Abraham has been no direct blessing to me, but Christ--who came through Abraham genealogically--has saved my life.)
We rejoice over the blessing promised in this pivotal scripture. But we forget that there is a flip side to the covenant:
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse.
Every part of the Bible is in perfect agreement with every other part of the Bible. So, going from Genesis all the way to John, let's look at another pivotal scripture which has an often forgotten flip side:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
 (John 3:16-18)
The Bible presents a picture of the blessed and the unblessed,
the saved and the unsaved,
the forgiven and the unforgiven.
We can be lulled by lies--emanating from our culture and from unbiblical churches--into believing that Jesus is a blessing to all people. Scripture teaches that he is not. Scripture teaches that he is a curse and a condemnation to all who will oppose him.
Just ask Tyre. Because Tyre exulted over Israel's destruction, she brought a curse upon herself:
"Son of man, Tyre has rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, saying, 'Ha! She who controlled the rich trade routes to the east has been broken, and I am the heir!'
"Therefore, I am your enemy, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the waves of the sea crashing against your shoreline. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and tear down its towers. I will scrape away its soil and make it a bare rock! It will be a place for fishermen to spread their nets. They will plunder all your riches and merchandise and break down your walls. They will destroy your lovely homes and dump your stones and timbers and even your dust into the sea. 
(Ezekiel 26:2-5, 12)
The prediction of Tyre's ruin in chapters 26-28 has been fulfilled with literal accuracy. Just as Ezekiel predicted, Nebuchednezzar conquered and destroyed the city. When he did, some of the people from Tyre escaped to an island and built a new city there. Three hundred years later, Alexander the Great, desiring to conquer this island city, scraped the dust and rubble of ancient Tyre and dumped it into the sea, building a causeway to the island nearly a half mile out. Thus the remains of ancient Tyre are in the sea, and the ancient city remains as bare as the top of a rock.
Just as the covenants are a blessing to some and a curse to others, so the gospel of Jesus Christ is salvation to some and condemnation to others.
The Good News is not good news to the person who will not go to the cross of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. In fact, the Bible teaches that what is life to those who trust Christ is death to those who will not:
Wherever we go God uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a sweet perfume. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).
I bring news. For those who will receive it, it's the Good News. For those who will not receive it, it's their obituary.
I bring a bottle of fragrance. You label it.

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