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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Bringing our Loved ones and Friends to the Lord

You may remember that the last book in our Bible is Revelation.  You may be put off by its imagery and apocalyptic discourse.  At a significant level, I am.
Bringing our Loved ones and Friends to the Lord
In one of the studies that the Lord allowed me to lead, I was asked several times to cover Revelation.  Each time I was able to deflect the request to another book.  However, at one point I finally gave in.

Typically I do not use commentaries in my study.  Why?  For the most part the commentaries do not address the questions that I bring to them.  I have found that if I invest the time in prayerful observation, that John 16:13 continually is validated as true.

But for this study, Revelation, I acquired multiple commentaries.  Most of them did not help, two did.  But again it was the prayerful observation that yielded most in the study.

With that in mind look at Revelation 9:20 – 21 (here @ Bible Gateway).

I have been in many conversations over the years that went somewhat along the lines of, “If only God would punish __________, people would repent and follow Him…”

However, these verses seems to throw buckets of cold water on that notion.  It seems that punishment for sin, no matter how dire, will not bring men to repentance.  If anything they seem to dig in their heels and fight harder for the right to continue in sin.

Rather, it is the draw and conviction by the Holy Spirit alone that will bring men to dependence on Him.  To accept the lavishly gracious offer of a life free from the reality of the punishment that our sin demands.  To accept life from Him rather from the death that we have purchased with our rebellion.

So, if you are concerned about one of your family or friend’s standing with Jesus.  Rather than continually push them or guilt them toward Christ, pray.  Pray that the Spirit will draw them to the Lord.  This combination is most clearly shared by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:24 – 25 (here @ Bible Gateway).  We share in kindness knowing it is the Lord that grants their decision to change their mind about Him, to repent.

It is not in our control.  That is a real challenge for most of us.