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In The Garden Daily Devotional
Easter Sunday Message
"The Final Call"
Pastor Wayne Clabaugh

Scripture Text:"Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:" Luke 24:5b and 6a (KJV)


FRIEND LET ME ASK YOU TODAY, "WHAT CAUSES A MAN TO SO REJECT GOD?"

Some of the greatest words in the Bible are found there in the 24th chapter of Acts and in the 24th verse where we read:

"And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ." Act 24:24 (KJV)

Have you had anyone send for you lately and ask you to tell them about the RESURRECTION OF THE LORD? Why is that do you suppose?

This was a man was a Heathen who was indifferent to the things of God - let alone this Christ - yet he was persuaded by the urgency of the message of Paul and more importantly the testimony of Christ, and against all of the advisors at his disposal - and all of the urgings of the military at his command, he "desired" that he might "hear Paul" concerning "faith in Christ". Oh what a joy Paul must have felt along the way as he slipped into his Sunday Best and tethered on his best sandals and made his way to the house of Felix and Drusilla.

As Paul - filled with the fullness of God expounded the grace and the mercy of a soon coming King - in the end... though Felix was moved to receive this Christ which Paul shared with him, his final words to Paul "this time" was

"Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee." Acts 24:25 (KJV)

This is the equivalent, my friend, of seeing the cross as a symbol of God's sovereign grace; it is the equivalent of placing lilies at the foot of that cross and even draping the cross with a piece of cloth to signify that Jesus was no longer in the tomb but that He had risen: all "symbols" of Christianity; and then worshipping the Easter Bunny. If you cannot... do not... WILL NOT experience the saving power of the cross - it is of no effect! You may as well worship the Easter bunny, and at least have the taste of chocolate in your mouth.

Felix made it clearly abundant and abundantly clear that he could not, did not, that he WOULD NOT receive this Christ or the saving power of the cross at this time because it was not a time of "convenience" for him. What was he saying? Felix knew debauchery and wickedness greater than most men of his day. He was known to have at his command a group of assassins and had himself ordered the removal of men of God in the Synagogue - as well as men of Political office "by assasination" and his hands were stained with blood, and his conscience was as close to seared a scould get. He was living a life of sin with a woman he had stolen in adultery from another, and he was known to be the most cruel and wicked Governor of his day. He was in fact, headed for destruction, for Nero Himself had ordered that he be executed for his crimes, yet he was spared in the end because of family ties to the government of Nero. Eventually, an earthquake took his life and that of his mistress, and he died a beaten and judged man.

He could have Escaped My Friend! He could have listened to his heart that day when Paul told him of the coming Judgment of God on the wicked, and the compassionate grace and mercy bestowed on those who simply believed. But for whatever reason Felix did not escape through the cross, and he "was" and "will be" judged by it.

But if we sat and wondered today about other men of the Bible who had the chance to escape - someone from the old Testamant I would say that the account of Lot trying to escape to a town called ZOAR would come quickly to mind. Look at Gen 19:12,13 (KJV)

"And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it."

I am speaking today of the great escape of Lot and His family to a small city called ZOAR from the town of Sodom where sin and debauchery and decadence abound.

Friend, whether you like it or not, we are all heading for one of the greatest events that will ever be recorded in the history of man. Never since the flood, nor since the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah has there been nor will there ever be the destruction that is heading this way in the very near future. As much as I would like to stop and speak today about the Blessedness of Easter, and speak of that Great Resurrection Morning I cannot, because my mind and my heart is heavy thsi morning and I feel God leading me by His Holy Spirit to use this Easter Sunday Message as a word of WARNING and NOT OF COMFORT! If you are not saved, you are headed for destruction and the only thing that can save you today is the POWER OF THE CROSS. You cannot just look at it; you cannot just decorate it with lilies; you cannot just drape it with a piece of cloth and say that you have observed Easter Sunday Morning. If you cannot FEEL the power of that Cross of Calvary in your life today, then you need to cry out to the Lord your God today and ask for Him to SAVE you. You are lost and in need of escape from the certain destruction that is headed your way, if you do not receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

I want to take the time to point out to you today the urgency of accepting Jesus while he may yet be found.

In the scripture I just read in Genesis 19, we see where God had sent two angels to warn Lot and to remove his family from the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, for they were given instructions to level the city where they were living for all of the sins and debauchery that did there abound.

If youread the verse prior to the 12th and 13th verse in genesis 19 you will see that several men who had homosexual tendencies came forward to Lot's house when they seen and heard of these two young angels that were there. Now you have heard the stories of angels, how fair and pleasing they supposedly are to the eye. They were created beings and since God Created them (He doesn't create junk), we know they were probably very good looking men or beings, because that's something else we have learned that angels do not have gender for there is no need for it. They are not given in marriage and they are not blessed to have off-spring, but they apparently had bodies that were much like ours and these men of Sodom came to "have their way" with them.

We all know the story. Lot pleaded with the men that they would leave the angels alone and that they would go on their way. He even said that he would send out his two daughters and they could have their way with them, if they would leave the angels alone. Not so sure about Lot's reasoning there, but I want to stop here and mention how human Lot showed himself to be. He was trying to be God's "man of the hour" and he was trying to "help out God". OUCH! Have you ever done that? Get in the way of what God was trying to do - because you thought it needed to be "taken care of" from a human venue. That's got my name written all over it. Lot was even willing to place his very family at risk where there was no need - for the angels could not have been destroyed by these men nor could they have been harmed in anyway. In fact, they ended up smiting these men and blinding them so that they couldn't even find the door.

But here's what Lot was doing. He was trying to hang on to what was his. He wasn't ready for God to destroy Sodom for he had friends there and he very likely had a lucrative lifestyle there, and he was not ready to give it up. Several times the angels warned him to get his family and get out of the city because of the destruction that was about to take place, yet Lot would not gather up his family and prepare them to leave. So the angels - according to the WORD, took them by the arms and got them out of harms way, while Lot still holding on to "what was" implores that he might not leave that area entirely but just seek refuge in a "small city" named ZOAR.

There are many of us living in that kind of "pending destruction". We know that there is "something up" and yet we continue to live "as usual", paying no heed nor seeking God for what He is trying to tell us. What we have "known" and what we have "accumulated" through the years has become our most prized possessions, and to lose any of it, no matter how bad a life it might be, is more difficult than just "staying in" for the count - knowing all the while that the count could be our last. By the way, the city of Sodom did not escape the promised judgment of the Lord either.

But my friend, you have the great and wonderful opportunity today to be delivered and to escape the punishment of the wicked and the dead, by receiving into your heart and life today my friend - THE POWER OF THE CROSS - which is Jesus. He loves you and it is NOT HIS WILL THAT YOU SHOULD PERISH, but that you would have everlasting life. Will you receive Him today? Let's pray - I will pray for you and with you and then I will ask you to repeat after me...

Father, I have come to the cross during Easter week-end for so many years, and I have seen the lilies and seen the draped cloth and heard the sermon, but I have never heard the word so stirring as I have today. I have realized today that I have enjoyed the pageantry and I have enjoyed the early morning sunrise breakfasts, and I have enjoyed the singing and even the message. But Father, I have never received the power of that Cross into my life and I want to do that today. (Now here's where I want you to repeat after me)....say "Jesus, come into my heart. Save me form my sin; I receive you as Lord of my life today; and I choose to live for you from now on. Save Me Jesus! I receive you this day and make an about-face to not serve the world or the devil anymore. I will live for you for the rest of my Life, in Jesus' Name, Amen."

 

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