Monday, February 25, 2013

Shot Across The Bow

I desire for all of us here at Awake Church to be incredibly encouraged and firmly established in our faith.  As we endeavor to help facilitate you being built up and strengthened, I recognize that another aspect of maturity includes receiving correction, discipline and warnings as well.  In this blog, I want to share something that I feel is a help from God in the form of a warning - a warning for the world, but also for us as believers.

Last Friday (2/15/2013) while astronomers and scientists were awaiting the unusual event of an asteroid named “2012 DA14” that was to fly very close to the earth, something even stranger happened.  A undetected meteor from a different direction actually slammed into our atmosphere at around 35,000 miles per hour, exploding with a force 20 times larger than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.  The shock wave from this meteor exploding 30 miles above the surface of the earth damaged numerous buildings and injured over a thousand people. Astonishingly, no one was killed.  It’s been 105 years since an event like this has taken place on the earth.

Then, several hours later, the anticipated asteroid did shoot past the earth at 17,000 miles per hour. No harm done.  It had been a generation since that large of an asteroid had come so close to us - a narrow miss.

Scientists have calculated that the odds of an asteroid shooting by us along with a meteor hitting us on the same day is 1 out of 100,000,000 days. Since there have only been about 2.2 million days since Adam and Eve were walking around on the planet, the February 15th events were indeed rare.

After these events, I asked the Lord what this meant, and internally heard this:  “It’s a shot across the bow.”  A “shot across the bow” is a military term where a ship fires a warning shot over the bow of an opposing vessel that is headed in the wrong direction or is on a dangerous course.  The shot is not intended to harm, just as the asteroid did no harm but sailed right by us several times faster than a bullet.  A “shot across the bow” is a warning and message that if the current course doesn’t change, there are consequences coming. 
Over the past several months I’ve had a growing concern for our nation regarding blatant sexual immorality, and I believe that this warning “shot” is related to this.  With the very public and open proliferation of sexual sin - internet pornography ($97 billion a year business), homosexuality, adultery, perversion and all manner of sex outside of marriage, our world is like a ship unashamedly heading in a dangerous direction.   Sensuality in our culture is at a dangerously high level.  The word given to Isaiah was “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;” (Is 5:20).  When things that are evil (like sexual acts outside of marriage) are called “good” and widely promoted, and good things like having moral standards are called “evil” or “hate,” we have clearly entered dangerous waters. 

 In the 3rd century, the Romans held a festival called “Lupercalla” on February 15th (same day), which was a bizarre ceremony where bloody strips of animal hide were slapped upon young women, followed by the young men drawing from a raffle, choosing the name of a teenage girl to have sex with for the next several months.  Later, this sexual festival was moved up a day and called “Valentine’s day,” mixing a pagan festival with the name of a good Christian man named “Valentine.”

While I believe that this “shot across the bow” is a warning for billions on the earth, 1 Peter 4:17 says that judgment first begins with those who know God.  So, I believe that this is a wake up call for the body of Christ before anyone else. 

In Paul’s letters to several churches, he repeatedly warned against immorality.  In Jesus’s messages to the churches in the book of Revelation (Rev 1-3), He also makes it clear that He hates the sexually immorality practiced by the Nicolaitans, saying that there were consequences if repentance didn’t follow the warning.  In the book of Hebrews we are also warned not to “trample underfoot the Son of God,” or “insult the Spirit of grace.”  This is very strong language with appalling metaphors.  These metaphors highlight the seriousness of cooperation with sin that the Son of man excruciatingly paid for.  The grace of God does not grant permission to participate in sin, but rather to free us from it’s grip on our lives.

As the light of the world, it’s crucial that we extricate ourselves from all manner of sexual immorality in both physical action (immorality of all kinds – adultery, fornication, etc.) and in our thoughts (impurity - fantasy/pornography).   Repentance is a beautiful thing, and it’s not for God - it’s for us.  If we hear a warning from God and take ownership of our sin, shove that sin in the light and then turn toward Jesus, the consequences that we rightly deserve are nullified!  Repentance is a gift from a loving Father and a generous Son.     

The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7) and we are not destined for wrath (1 Thes 5:9).  However, if we purposely continue to involve ourselves in sexual immorality, we are placing ourselves on a dangerous path with consequences we may not be able to comprehend.   

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be
named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be
no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not
fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with
certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man,
who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ 
and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because
of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of
disobedience” Eph 5:3-8

- Matt Peterson

(To hear an expanded message on this topic, please visit the podcasts for 2/17/2013 and 2/24/2013 on the website).  

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