September 24th, The Emperor’s “yeah-but”!


I guarantee that one of you who reads this will say, “Yeah but this is different” before the end of this.

2 Timothy 4: 1-5

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:  proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.  For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.  But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.

Who of you remembers the story, The Emperors New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson?  Just a recap, a couple of swindlers come to town, convince the king to let these guys make them a new wardrobe.  They trick him into thinking that the clothes are so wonderful.  But the king can’t see them.  He thinks that if he tells people he can’t see them they will think he’s gone mad and a king could never have that happen.  Everyone else doesn’t see a thing either but are too scared to tell the king or he may get mad at them etc.  You get the idea.

In the end, the king makes a huge fool of himself, everyone see’s it and laughs at him.  The moral of the story, everyone involved should have just spoken up with what they saw instead of being too scared of a reaction.

This excerpt from Paul to Timothy is one of Paul’s final letters he wrote under house arrest in Rome.  As we read today he is telling Timothy with as much force and authority as he can to everyone no matter if it’s “…convenient or inconvenient”… or perhaps it could be understood as popular or unpopular. “Yeah, but…” but what?  You may lose a friend or two or a family member to the truth of what Jesus has taught? What about what Jesus said in Mark 8:36? “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”  

Are you going to give up eternal life for feel good now?  Why wouldn’t you?  We as a society have been told to live in the moment.  We are told that we can do anything if we put out mind to it.  Where’s God in all that?  We are no longer taught to think about our actions and consequences.  We aren’t taught and brought up to think about our path to salvation.  We’d rather be standing on the deck of the Titanic as it’s sinking telling people that the ship really isn’t sinking.  That’s just fake news or alternative facts.  Why? It’s easier to live a lie than face the truth, especially if we are too prideful to admit it. Too prideful to admit we are naked or too prideful and scared to tell the emperor he’s an idiot because he thinks he has clothes on.  Or is it you’re too prideful to admit that you were telling everyone what wonderful clothes the emperor was wearing because it was convenient and fashionable to do at the time.

It’s easier to believe a lie because we want to believe that lie is true rather than face the uncomfortable fact that you’ve been living a lie or following a lie.  You really should go read Chapter 1 of Romans.

“Yeah but, this isn’t a fable.  This is the real world.  Yeah but that Bible story has nothing to do with the world today.”   I told you’d be thinking that.

Just one more thing:  Are you the emperor? Are you the royal stewards who can’t bring themselves to tell the emperor the truth?  Or are you the guys swindling the emperor and making him believe a lie?  Can you swallow your pride and admit you could be following a lie? Or are you going to tell everyone else they are?


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