Warned About The Burn Pile
With major remodeling on our new house, a lot of trash had been thrown on the burn pile on the side of our yard. Yesterday, when I drove up, the pile was in flames and quickly the trash was gone. Seeing the power of the flames, reminded me of how preachers used to warn about the fiery judgment. Today this direct rebuke of sin is almost all gone. It’s been replaced by positive and potentiality thinking for success in life, in marriage, and in a career. Smiling, soothing orators warm us with assurances about the power of love and the need for each of us to affirm our own journey to discover our authentic identity. Does this kind of preaching have the right answer for a situation like this…
A powerful, foxy political leader went to visit his half-brother in the capital city. While a guest in his brother’s home, he fell in love with his brother’s wife. She fell in love with him, and they devised a plan. He would return home and divorce his wife, she would divorce his brother, and then they would both be free to revel in their new love. They pulled it off and began to enjoy the pleasure and luxury of their position. There was only one problem. This leader called himself the King of the Jews, a people who still believed strongly that the personal passions of two consenting adults doesn’t trump the 7th commandment.
The ruler’s name was Herod Antipas, the son of the Herod the Great who murdered the babies in Bethlehem. The woman’s name was Herodias, previously married to Antipas’ half-brother Philip, and their marriage took place in AD26, two or three years before John the Baptist started preaching. Did John exclude this power couple from his cry to repent? Listen to Dr. Luke’s summary of what happened.
“Now when Herod, the Tetrarch, was repeatedly rebuked by him (John) concerning Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil he was doing, Herod went on to add an even greater evil. He locked John up in prison.” - John 3:19-20
John could have chosen the safe course to remain silent about the adultery of the King. Instead, he loved Herod and Herodias enough to tell them the truth. Remember what we learned about Jesus the Messiah with the threshing fork in His hand. Those who don’t confess their adultery and ask Him for forgiveness end up the chaff on an eternal burn pile (Luke 3:17).
LORD, give me the Baptist’s courage to not allow powerful people to intimidate me. Help me have the courage to rebuke when your commandments are ignored, rejected, and disobeyed. Protect me from getting soft about the deadly power of sin, including sexual sins. Raise up a new generation of preachers who will track the Story of Your Word and be willing to rebuke, realizing that there can be no forgiveness of sin as long as sin is cuddled.
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