In early 1977, the rock&roll group The Eagles released what is recognized as the greatest recording effort of their career. The album titled “Hotel California” contained a single by the same name and it was a monster hit to say the least. Written in a minor key, it has a somewhat eery feel to it with lyrics that are fittingly dark and mysterious. Some people claim that the lyrics talk about the band selling their souls to the devil for fame and fortune ala Robert Johnson.
As is usually the case, the truth is nowhere near as dark and sinister. The band did indeed have a secret, a big secret. They were known as a Southern California band but actually none of them lived there! Don Felder, then lead guitarist, tells about how they would all drive into LA very early in the morning to avoid being discovered as non-locals whenever they were rehearsing or recording. During these early morning drives, several ideas for songs were hatched.
In too many churches today there is also a big secret being kept. That secret is that God is just and sovereign. He can and will punish wickedness. He will cast everything evil into the lake of fire one day. Everyone whose name is not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be cast into it along with the devil, antiChrist, the false prophet and all demons.
Today, this is a well-kept secret. When is the last time you heard hell, punishment, damnation, justice, or the lake of fire talked about in your church? Believe me, Jesus spoke of these items often. The Bible deals with these sufficiently so that we can know that no metaphor or hyperbole is intended. Hell is real and you do not want to go there.
How can it be avoided? Jesus Christ set aside His position in Heaven temporarily and came to earth via a virgin birth. He lived on earth for 33 years. He ministered, taught, laughed, cried, and lived among friends and enemies. He was crucified by His own choice and by His own design in order to pay the price for the sins of all who would be redeemed. He gave up His life; no one took it from Him. He was buried in a donated tomb. He rose on the third day as He had said he would do. He then visited with His followers for a short while and ascended into Heaven assuming His rightful place at the right hand of the Father and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers.
I don’t care how much you care until I know how much you know.
You are probably saying, “Huh?” Let me explain. I am sick and beyond sick of hearing limp-wristed Christians apologize for the fact that there is black & white truth called scripture and some of it isn’t pretty.
They say, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I say that it doesn’t matter how much you care unless you know enough to be able to help them find the truth!
Wake up people. You were never told to hold a popularity contest to gain favor with sinners showing them how awesome your tolerance of their wickedness is. You were told to take God’s message of redemption to the world. This message includes sin, hell, penalty, and damnation just as much as it does grace, mercy, love, and peace.
Tell the whole story or you ain’t tellin’ God’s story. God doesn’t need you to spiff up His image in order to make him marketable! God doesn’t need an image consultant and if He did, it wouldn’t be you! Have the courage to face the truth.