Will You Help an Imprisoned Pastor?

Please call your elected representative on behalf of American Pastor Saeed Abedini. He was in Iran visiting family and organizing an orphanage when he was pulled off of a bus and thrown in prison. He has been sentenced to 8 years in Evin Prison, a deplorable torture prison: http://bit.ly/WmV4nd How bad is Evin Prison? See the Fox News Expose:http://fxn.ws/T0275u
To learn more visit the ACLJ website: http://bit.ly/117kmoP
To find your elected representatives contact information: http://bit.ly/Vmkws5

Jesus said, “I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:36,40 ESV


Love Means Caring Enough to Tell People the Truth

Help, I’m sick sinful!   Have you ever been desperately ill? In my role as a pastor and chaplain, I frequently meet with families where someone is very ill or has recently died. Those who are sick and their loved ones want nothing more than someone or something that can cure them and give them a new lease on life!

While we pray for physical health and healing whenever we encounter sickness, it’s important to recognize that underlying the physical problems we see and experience is a spiritual and moral problem called sin. When Jesus Christ lived on the earth, He intentionally sought out people who were aware that their moral choices had created a serious problem between them and God. The ultra-religious of His day criticized Him for spending time with “sinners” but Jesus simply replied, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”[1]

As contemporary followers of Jesus Christ, we take our cues from His leading and look for opportunities to intentionally discuss the serious nature of our individual moral choices and the consequences for our personal failure to live up to God’s expectations. While this might not be “polite” conversation and at times creates socially awkward situations, we are compelled by God and His love to speak candidly about these critical subjects.

It’s as Plain as the Nose on Your Face!  Suppose you had a potentially life-threatening condition such as a cancerous growth on your nose and you had a neighbor who was a physician. On a chance meeting in your neighborhood you see each other and you talk about your jobs, your Sore Nosefamily and friends and some of the high-profile news of the day. The growth on your nose is very obvious and because of his medical training, the doctor recognizes that you have a serious problem. But he doesn’t want to make you feel bad by being confrontational so he pretends not to notice and only discusses “comfortable” subjects. In your opinion, would that doctor’s actions toward you be considered as loving? If he actually cared about you, would he ignore the signs of disease he could so clearly see? Of course not!

In a similar way, when a follower of Christ tries to discuss the sin problem which has affected each of us, he or she is actually doing one of the most loving and considerate things one  person can do for another. By talking about the obvious sin-sickness that each of us faces, and then offering the cure God has made available, the Christian is imitating Christ in a very practical way and obeying His parting command to “Go…and proclaim the gospel”.[2]

At this point, you might be thinking, “I don’t like it when people talk to me about my lifestyle and attitudes. Besides, wouldn’t more unbelievers be attracted to the church if Christians seemed accepting, positive and non-judgmental?”  The fact is, many contemporary churches and .tele-evangelists take great pains to attract people to their services or programs by by carefully sanitizing their language of “negative” words like “sin”, “hell”, and “judgment” to avoid offending those who come their way. Unfortunately, by changing the content of their message to be more appealing to the unconvinced, these “seeker friendly” churches frequently fail to deliver the bad news which the Bible demonstrates must be offered to enable people to recognize the good news God offers in Christ.

An authentic presentation of the Gospel message must always occur in light of the pure and Holy character of the God who created us and has the exclusive claim on our lives. How tragic to think of those who, in Jesus words, are among the many who are  “on the broad road that leads to destruction”[3] and are lulled into complacency by a Man-centered church that is no longer warns sinners of God’s judgment or urgently impresses them to escape from the “wrath to come”.[4]

Why discuss sin and God’s judgment of those who practice it? Because God reveals that His “…eyes are too pure to approve evil, And He cannot look on wickedness with favor.” [5]

While there are many today who speak only of God’s grace and mercy, the prophets of old have a more balanced message: “The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.[6]

Please let this fact sink into your thinking, a day is rapidly approaching when each and every one of us will be held accountable by God for our choices.“…God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”[7]

In light of that terrifying and dreadful day, we urge you to prepare now by accepting God’s diagnosis of your condition.

Here’s God’s diagnosis of our problem:

*You have a deep problem called a sinful heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick.”[8]

And while most people will admit that they have sinned, many have concluded that since so many others seem to be more immoral than they are, that they’ll be OK when judgment comes. The problem with that approach is the fact that God is NOT going to compare you to other sinners to determine whether you are accepted by Him. He’s already made clear that, on the basis of His law, you are a sinner and in His purity He must judge you!!!Don’t allow the false assurance being offered by false-teachers and Man-centered churches to cause you to foolishly believe that God in “grace” will overlook your sinful behavior.

*God will rescue you if you come to Him on His terms by admitting your sin problem and turn from your rebellion and seek restoration through Jesus Christ.

“….God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God…Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” [9]

 The Bible warns us that Jesus could return at any time. When He does the world will see the “Lord Jesus…revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.” [10]

You have a sin problem that’s as plain as the nose on your face….

The question is, do you want to get well?

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” [11]

[1] Luke 5:31,32

[2] Mark 16:15

[3] Matthew 7:13

[4] 1 Thessalonians 1:10

[5] Habakkuk 1:13

[6] Nahum 1:3

[7] Ecclesiastes 12:14

[8] Jeremiah 17:9,10

[9] John 3:17,18, 36

[10] 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

[11] Acts 17:30, 31