Warnings are like guardrails on the road. They give us guidance, protection, and ways to continue. I've disregarded my fair share of warnings. Sometimes my desire for venturing beyond the guardrails led to epic adventures and other times not so epic. Depends on who you ask and the outcome.
Today we want to continue our discussion on Christ The Prophet. Last week we discussed Christ The Prophet - Instructions.
Take a minute to recap...
This week we're going to look at Christ The Prophet - Divine Warning.
Before we dive into this, I'd like to ask everyone a question: "Imagine the outcomes of (Insert outcome scenario here) in our life if we would heed warnings?" Would your life be better or worse? Would you still be the person you are or someone better or someone worse?
Take a minute to think through these questions...
Ok! Let's take a look at what Matt Allen has to say about Christ The Prophet - Divine Warning:
Throughout the Biblical narrative, God used prophets to proclaim a divine warning to turn away from sin, and to seek restoration with their Creator. A concise example of a prophetic warning can be found in Isaiah’s ministry:
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
God used men like Jonah to warn the Ninevites to repent. God used Samuel to warn God’s people of the consequences of their ongoing sin. Elijah warned the wicked king and queen of Israel of their dire need to repent and turn to the Lord.
See Module 4: God’s progressive revelation: Prophets for more details.
One thing I want to note - Matt brings up an important note: "God used prophets to proclaim a divine warning to turn away from sin, and to seek restoration with their creator."
Let's take this back to warnings. Does this not, in a roundabout way, sum up all warnings you've ever read?
A warning tells you to turn around or do not enter.
God's prophets tell us to turn around or do not enter this selfish way of life.
A warning gives us instructions on how to stay safe or in the event of emergency who to contact. At times a warning will also tell us of our punishment if we don't abide by said rules.
God's prophets not only warn us to turn from our sin, but they give us instruction - seek restoration with your creator.
While these warnings help guide us, they do not stop us from disobeying or disregarding. Let's look at the first part of Isaiah 55:7 - "Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts."
Sometimes we venture beyond the warning, and we quickly understand why the warning is in place. Warnings can't stop you from doing something, but let's heed Isaiah's call to let the wicked (you and I) forsake our ways (our disregard for warnings or guidance). Hint hint - Christ The Prophet ---> Instructions
The last part is important - "Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon."
Much like the ski patrol who kindly ventures beyond the warning sign to rescue you despite your blatant disregard of the warning they put in place. God is ready and waiting to freely pardon us or all our wickedness and unrighteous thoughts.
There are two final points we want to hit on:
1. Despite our sinfulness, God will, at times, use people to proclaim a divine warning. Let's take a look at what Matt has for us:
Christ the prophet spoke the essence of this same message. Not only did He warn of God’s wrath on sinners, but He himself offered to give His own life to save those He loved. Compare this with the prophet Jonah, who God chooses to use despite His sinfulness.
Jonah: fled the call to go to Nineveh
Jonah: groaned and prayed that God would destroy those he warned
Jonah: wanted to surrender his own life, but only to avoid his duty to preach repentance
Jesus: obeyed God’s assignment to dwell among sinful people
Jesus: prayed for the salvation of those He warned
Jesus: loved and gave His life for those He warned
Recommended Reading: Matthew 12:38-41
Despite our sinfulness... God will use us if we're willing. Our disregard for warnings should not be a hindrance to allow God to work in our lives. He can use us (despite our past) for His glory and to proclaim his Kingdom.
I've always said, "I'm not ashamed of my past anymore because God is using me now to further His kingdom." I always follow this up with a disclaimer (when speaking to youth) - although I got myself in trouble frequently, I DO NOT encourage you to do the same to seek God's glory. Take the easier path to him, not my rugged trail!
Much like Matt compares Jonah to Jesus, God is using my sinfulness to glorify Him and further His kingdom. I made a the choice to Repent.
Which brings us to point #2...
2. Little time remains - Repent.
From early on, Christ spoke this divine warning that little time remained to resolve the enmity between God and man.
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The lesson here helps us wrap up our discussion on warnings. While we disregard warnings, at times, there is an urgency to repent or learn from our mistakes. Don't keep shooting yourself in the foot. Turn from your ways and seek His guidance, His grace, and He will strengthen you for His divine journey in your life to honor Him and further His kingdom.
Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!
*Passages in blue are from Fully Packed Adventure Ministries Biblical Foundation material authored by Matt Allen