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Rising or Falling

1 Peter 2:7-8
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for. (NIVUK)

Jesus is very precious to all those who trust Him for their salvation and are growing in relationship with Him. However, some people patronise Jesus as a 'nice optional extra' or an ‘interesting example of a good life’; while others consider Him to be an irritant, obstruction or irrelevance in their lives. But the truth is: Father God has made Jesus to be central to everything for everybody (Colossians 1:15-20). That is wonderful for all those who love Him as the Master of their lives, but for those who refuse to obey Him (Isaiah 8:14) - however nicely they may speak about Him or ignore Him - He becomes an obstacle over which they will fall (Luke 13:24-30).

Although we can easily understand the analogy of tripping up over a stone or rock, Peter explains what that means.  The obstacle is Jesus.  People fall because they refuse to obey the message about Jesus.  Jesus is righteousness, grace and mercy personified.  To kick against God’s gracious provision in Christ is to despise all that God has provided to lead people to salvation.  Their end is self-inflicted because they refuse to face the light (John 3:18-21).

That may not be always evident in this life, where often it seems that the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer (Psalm 92:6-7). But life does not end in the grave. John 5:28-29 says, "... for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." The true rise or fall of each person is not marked until Jesus the Judge gives His verdict. The key question will be, "Did you obey the message of the gospel of Jesus?"  Those who refuse have no place in the majestically powerful presence of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).  

Do not be surprised that some of your closest colleagues and dearest friends reject Jesus. But that does not stop you wanting them to find Jesus, praying for them, explaining the gospel to them and testifying how much Jesus has already done for you. The Apostle Paul did not give up seeking to win people for Christ (1 Corinthians 9:22-23); neither should we.  Part of the purpose of a Christian group at work is to pray for your colleagues and senior management - that they may receive God's blessing, and see how special Jesus is (1 Timothy 2:1-8 ); even if they get angry because you represent Jesus.

Wonderful Saviour, Jesus. Thank You for being so precious to me. I pray for all my family, friends and colleagues who have not realised the seriousness of failing to welcome You into their lives. Please forgive me for failing to present You to them as I might. Also help me to work with You in showing them Your love and explaining Your gospel. Please give them a heart to respond to the message, show Your kindness to them, and help them to see You are the One who has died for them as well. In Your Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams