Jul 15, 2019
Join us as we explore God's ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
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Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
I’ve been thinking the last few months about the fact that 160,000 people within a five mile radius of my church have no church affiliation. When asked, they indicate they belong to or affiliate with no church or no denomination or no religious group...at all. None. That’s a tenth of the population of San Antonio, but just in our little corner of the city. It’s a bigger number than the population of most of the towns and cities around the world.
Let that sink in just a little. That number of people around my church put none as their religion. And that is the most popular answer when asked about religion in the United States today. None. People say they are spiritual, but affiliate with nothing. There is a problem with that.
Jesus is coming. God made the rules. He said, “Believe in me and have eternal life. Don’t believe in me and be eternally separated from God in a place of eternal punishment called hell.”
Those who follow and obey his teachings are called Christians. We are supposed to share his message of love and peace and inner joy. The institutional church hasn’t done such a good job of doing that if 160,000 people within five miles of my church check “none” as their preferred religion on surveys.
If you check the people living around your church, you’ll find the same percentages and the same appalling statistics, I’m sure. The institutional church has turned inward and failed to spread the message the way God intended or we would see smaller numbers professing “none” as their faith.
So here’s the other problem with where we are in history with that particular statistic. Jesus said he would return when everyone heard the gospel. Hmmm. Has everyone heard? If you poll high schools in my city, you’ll find that many of those teenagers know little about the Bible and San Antonio is still considered part of the Bible Belt. So has the message been heard?
I think it has. And here is why.
Yesterday’s lectionary included these verses from Deuteronomy chapter 9:
Then, in whatever you do, the Eternal your God, will give you more than enough of every good thing—children and cattle and crops—because the Eternal will once again delight to do you good as He delighted to do good to your ancestors. All this will happen if you’ll return to the Eternal your God, heart and soul, and you’ll listen to His voice and obey His commands and remember His regulations, which are written in this book of the law.
After all, what I’m commanding you today isn’t too difficult for you; it’s not out of reach. It’s not up in the sky, so you don’t have to say, “Who will go up into heaven and get it for us and tell us what it is, so we can obey it?” It’s not across the sea, so you don’t have to say, “Who will go beyond the watery abyss and get it for us and tell us what it is, so we can obey it?” No, the words you need to be faithful to the Eternal are very close to you. They are in your mouth (always talk about these laws, as I’ve commanded you) and in your heart (treasure them there).
Now what does that have to do with everyone hearing the message?
A little of everything. It’s hard to find a solid reference, but estimates range from 4 to 6 billion copies of the Bible have been sold. That doesn’t include the number given away. According to the world population clock, there are just over 7.7 billion people alive as I write this. And that only counts Bibles, not just New Testaments, or just books of the Bible. So enough Bibles have been printed and distributed to put one in the hands of every person alive.
Now, everyone doesn’t have one. I probably have 30 or more in my house. That means 29 or more of those 7.7 billion don’t have one. But you get the point. There are more than enough Bibles to get the word around the world.
That is just the printed word. Radio reaches everywhere. Today, there isn’t a population spot on earth that cannot be reached by satellite or some kind of air wave traffic. And all those air waves carry the message. Since the 1940s pastors and churches have used the air waves to carry the message of the gospel.
So what does that mean?
It means no one has an excuse. It means what Moses said to the Israelites as he departed from them is applicable to us today. “After all, what I’m commanding you today isn’t too difficult for you; it’s not out of reach. It’s not up in the sky, so you don’t have to say, “Who will go up into heaven and get it for us and tell us what it is, so we can obey it?” It’s not across the sea, so you don’t have to say, “Who will go beyond the watery abyss and get it for us and tell us what it is, so we can obey it?” No, the words you need to be faithful to the Eternal are very close to you. They are in your mouth (always talk about these laws, as I’ve commanded you) and in your heart (treasure them there).”
God’s word is available to everyone in every city, every nation, every continent. No one has an excuse for not hearing his word. Our only problem is our failure to listen and follow him. But ignorance is no excuse.
If you speed through the school zone, the police officer who pulls you over doesn’t listen to the excuse you didn’t see the sign as he writes you that $250 ticket. God will not listen to your excuses as he metes out his judgment that you didn’t know about him when he returns.
His word is available. His message is clear. His warnings are everywhere. What he commands is not too difficult for us; it’s not out of reach. We don’t have to go anywhere else to find it. It’s in every book store, every library, almost every home. All we have to do is pick it up and read it. All we have to do is tune our radio to listen to his word. All we have to do is put forth a tiny bit of effort and we will know him.
We have no excuse today. Those who proclaim “none” as their faith are in trouble. Those of us who claim “Christian” as our faith may be in trouble, too, if we just check the box and fail to do what he commands. Remember Moses’ words, “What he commands is not too difficult for you; it’s not out of reach.”
When we accept him as our sovereign Lord, he empowers us to live according to his commands. We just have to be willing to be subject to his Lordship. We must be willing to serve him instead of ourselves. We must understand that he is God. We are not and can never be God.
Jesus’ return is getting closer. We have no excuse for not knowing him. Have you read his word today? It’s not too late.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.