|Vol. 16 No. 6 June 2014||
David A. Sargent
A family was casually driving around sightseeing on vacation. It was a warm, clear, summer day, and they were enjoying the breeze coming through the rolled down windows. Soon the peaceful drive was interrupted when a honeybee flew through an open window and buzzed around the car. A young girl, who was allergic to bee stings, squirmed and shrieked as the bee flew close to her. She called out, “Daddy, Daddy! It’s a bee! It’s going to sting me!”
The father quickly pulled the car over and began trying to get the bee out of the car. Unable to do so, and not wanting to anger the bee into accidentally stinging his daughter, he cornered the bee against the windshield. Having the bee trapped, he grasped the bee in his hand and waited for the inevitable sting. Feeling the sharp pain of the sting, he opened his hand and released the bee out the window. The little girl began panicking again, “Daddy, it’s going to fly back here again and sting me!” The father gently responded, “No honey, he can’t sting you now. Look at my hand.” In his hand was the bee’s stinger.
Consider carefully the words of 1 Corinthians 15: “O Death, where is your sting? O Grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 55-57). “The sting of death is sin,” because sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
However, Jesus took the sting of death away for us because He endured the “sting” for us! “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Through Jesus, we can be “healed” of (saved from) our sins (the sting of death) and receive the gift of eternal life! “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Jesus will provide salvation and life to those who will place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized (immersed) into Christ so that His blood can wash away sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
As a Christian, one does not have to fear death (see Hebrews 2:14-15), because Jesus has taken the sting away by dying on the cross for our sins. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” Won’t you accept His offer of salvation and life?
Robert C. Lupo
Rarely do you ever hear anyone point out that Jesus calls upon us to make judgments, even about others. Matthew’s account of the Master’s words begins much in the same way that Luke’s does (6:37), but Matthew 7 goes on to record Jesus as teaching that proper judging begins with judging one’s self (remove beam in one’s own eye, v. 5). Then notice the purpose for this is so that we may properly judge others (to see clearly to remove a speck in a brother’s eye). This is intended to help the other person, but it definitely involves judging the other person.
Jesus went on to teach that we must judge who is a dog and who is a hog (v. 6). We must judge which is the right way and the wrong way to go into eternal life (v. 13-14). We must judge between true prophets (teachers) and false prophets (teachers) (v. 15-16). We must judge men by their fruits (v. 15-16). We must determine a good tree from a bad (evil tree), and again, it is by their fruits (v. 20).
Notice that God judges anyone who hears and does these things (and all that the Lord teaches) to be wise (saved), while anyone who hears these things (and all that the Lord teaches, but does not do them), He judges them to be foolish (lost) (v. 21-27).
In everything, we should not judge according to appearance only, but we should judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). That is, we should use the Word of God as our righteous standard for determining (judging) what and who is right, as well as, what and who is wrong. We should then hold on to that which is right (1Thessalonians 5:21)! Think about it!