EARTHLY CASUALNESS LEADS TO ETERNAL CASUALTIES: THE KOBE BRYANT STORY AND WHAT WE ALL NEED TO LEARN

I am greatly saddened by the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his young daughter, but I am just as saddened and grieved by the irresponsible and nonchalant response from the world and even from the church to such misfortune. Untimely deaths of young celebrities like Kobe Bryant are supposed to cause a deep pause and sincere reflection of our sinful lifestyles and earnestly consider the eternal consequences of going off into eternity without Christ.

Instead people are talking incessantly about what a great basketball legend he was and his immortality on the court. I understand recognizing Kobe’s talent and honoring what he contributed to the game of basketball, but it’s extremely callous not to consider our lives in the light of eternity and speak of that, too.

One tweet said this: “Heroes come and go, but legends are forever. Rest in peace.”

Really? Listen, basketball is just a game. Heroes and legends and every other famous person that’s ever lived come and go. Kings and mighty rulers of the earth come and go. The rich and the poor alike come and go. Life is very brief on this planet. Let’s not forget that there were 7 other people that lost their lives in that helicopter crash, not just Kobe and his young daughter. He is getting all the attention and honor because of his celebrity status, but in eternity there is no such regard for greatness in this life as men count greatness.

In this 2018 photo, Bryant poses with the Best Animated Short Film Oscar Award for Dear Basketball. [Mike Blake /Reuters]

What do earthly honors matter in the end? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? 

Yes, I know Kobe’s influence stretched far beyond sports, touching art, culture, business, and his family. But what does that all matter in the end if he knew not Christ?

In light of Kobe Bryant’s untimely death and all those who went down with him, it’s time to consider again the brevity of this earthly life and the eternal consequences of living a life without Christ.

“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

C.T. Studd said it this way:

“Only one life ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Leonard Ravenhill also had the right perspective:

“Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?” 

NO EARTHLY DISTINCTIONS IN THE ETERNAL REALM

God and Satan are not partial to anyone. There are no distinctions in the eternal realm. Kobe is not a superstar in eternity. They are not celebrating his life and greatness in the game of basketball. The only thing heaven celebrates is the life you lived for Christ. The honor you gave to Christ. The steps and pursuits you made for Christ. The people you led to Christ. Heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents.

“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

I honestly hope Kobe came to repentance before this fatal crash. I hope he was a real Christian and God found some honor in his heart for Christ; or perhaps he called on the Name of the Lord moments before that helicopter exploded in fire. If not, he is experiencing another kind of fire that is eternal where ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’ (Mark 9:44).

The God of all flesh has no regard for world celebrities, famous leaders, or mighty kings on this earth. Note the word of the Lord to the king of Babylon:

“In the place of the dead there is excitement over your arrival. The spirits of world leaders and mighty kings long dead stand up to see you” (Isaiah 14:9).

The surest thing in the world is not death and taxes, it’s death and eternity. Yet, we remain so unconcerned. We are not eternity conscious enough.

Not only are there no earthly distinctions made in heaven concerning our status, position, or achievements in this life, but even in the church world God makes no distinctions. There are no church or denominational distinctions in heaven. There is not one section in heaven for Presbyterian Christians, another section for Anglican Christians, and yet another for Baptist Christians. Unless a person has sincerely repented of his sins and placed his total trust in Christ for his salvation, proving it by his works, all of life was lived in vain.

JOHN WESLEY’S DREAM THAT REVOLUTIONIZED HIS LIFE

John Wesley had a dream which affected his life’s work tremendously. He dreamed that he died and came to the gate of heaven. He was anxious to know who had been admitted, so he questioned the keeper:
“Are there any Presbyterians here?”
“None”, replied the keeper of the gate.
Wesley was surprised. “Have you any Anglicans?” he asked.
“No one!” was the reply
“Surely, there must be many Baptists in heaven?”
“No, none”, replied the keeper.
Wesley grew pale. He was afraid to ask his next question:
“How many Methodists are there in heaven?”
“Not one,” answered the keeper quickly.
Wesley’s heart was filled with wonder. The angel at the gate then told Wesley that there were no earthly distinctions in heaven. “All of us here in heaven are one in Christ. We are just an assembly who love the Lord”.
Wesley was then taken downward, downward to the entrance of Hell. He met the keeper of the gate there.
“Have you any Presbyterians here?” asked Wesley.
“Oh, yes, many,” answered the keeper.
Wesley stood still, “Have you any Anglicans?” he asked.
“Yes, yes, many”, answered the keeper.
“Are there Baptists in there”? Wesley continued to ask.
“Of course, many,” replied the keeper.
”Wesley was afraid to ask the next question. “Are there any Methodists in hell?”
The keeper of the gate grinned. “Oh Yes, there are many Methodists here.”
Wesley could hardly speak. “Tell me, have you any here who love the Lord?”
“No, no, not one, not one” he answered. “No one in hell loves the Lord”
CONCLUSION OF ALL MATTERS IS TO LOVE AND FEAR GOD
Do you love the love the Lord? If so, you will have the highest regard and reverence for His holy Word and you will obey what is written therein.
But our obedience to God is not only a manifestation of our love for Him but also our fear of Him. And frankly, that is what is missing in American culture right now and even within church walls.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).

It’s time for America, the church world, and all the nations of the earth to fear God, so they can be spared eternal damnation and live a life worthy of the reward of Christ’s sacrifice. It’s time for all of of us to realize that there are only two distinctions in the eternal world, the saved and the damned. Those who have received the life of Christ and those who have not.

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).

I pray for all those close to Kobe, and most especially for his grieving family during this devastating time in their lives. May they find Christ and receive the hope, strength, and comfort they so desperately need.

IS AMERICA ON THE BRINK OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION?

I just completed a manuscript called, The Tumultuous 2020s And Beyond: A New Era For America, The Church, And The Nations. I may add one more chapter to it because many voices are now warning us of judgment on America. It is no longer a question of if, but when, and how extensive it will be.

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and nursing babes; let the bridegroom go out from his chamber, and the bride from her dressing room.

Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, and do not give Your heritage to reproach, that the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:15-17)

Unless the Church humbles herself there will be judgment in America beginning in 2020 and 2021. These years are pivotal in the governmental arena of our nation. This is not absolute but it is a severe warning. Civil unrest and civil war in parts of our nation will result in such chaos that it will open us to foreign invasion. Prophets from America and other nations are being visited and warned.

Great and sincere humility and repentance is required for judgment to pass over us or even for greater delay in it. Most Christians just want to pray judgment away and continue on with their self-centered lives, but that posture will not move the hand of God. That type of prayer and lack of humility is worthless. Attempts at avoiding judgment without true repentance evidenced by a lifestyle change is fruitless and an absolute waste of time. God sees through situational repentance which is only motivated by a desire to avoid tragedy and hardship. True repentance is a complete submission and a turning over of our lives to the Lord that is motivated by a heart-felt desire for total obedience. God will not be mocked by anything else.

We are nearer to a severe disruption in this nation that is now at the door. I believe it can be further delayed but not sure it can be stopped without massive repentance in the Church. This will affect our nation politically, governmentally, and economically. Some of us have been in a state of humility and repentance personally, but the sin is Church-wide and body-wide. It must begin at the leadership level (read my book on Cleansing The Temple where this is outlined).

IT STARTS WITH CHURCH LEADERSHIP

Church leaders are not letting Christ build His Church and have His way. They are not leading people to Christ but to their own plan and agenda. God is tired of manmade systems dominated by human wisdom. To many Church leaders the ministry is a job and a means of making a living, and attendance, buildings, and cash are the bottom line with many of them. If that’s you, you need to get out of the ministry fast because you are a liability to Christ’s Church and not an asset.

Leadership is about being a friend of the Bridegroom and getting people to Jesus and not drawing them after yourself and your vision and agenda. If you connect people to the Lord they won’t need you as much. Leaders must decrease so Christ can increase. Some leaders’ egos are too big to live like that. Leaders are ordained by God to help people connect vertically to the Lord and walk with Him.

Here are two more sin issues:

  1. Sexual sin: Not only that, but many leaders and Christians are bound by sexual sin, pornography, and perversion. Their marriages and families are unstable and out of order, and yet they are trying to lead God’s people. What a sham. It is such a mess and worse than many have even thought. I praise the Lord for godly leadership, but there are so many ministers that can’t keep their pants on and are living in sexual sin.
  2. Schisms and division: We must also put an end to the schisms and division that is such a black mark against the body of Christ. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Satan, the accuser of the brethren, is busy accusing members of the body and setting them against each other. If we continue to wrestle against flesh and blood, and not recognize our true enemy and his devices, we will never be in a position to exercise our authority over him and to have a great effect on both the Church and the nation.

When 9/11 happened we had fire escape religion. Many people began to attend church and consider God again in their lives, but soon the tragedy was forgotten and people went on with their sinful lives and living however they wanted to. They didn’t find the power of God in the church but got only religion. This is the problem we have today. Many people are de-churched and un-churched because they are not finding a place to be touched by God and transformed. They are receiving information but little impartation and transformation.

I’m afraid that unless we have a real crisis in our nation too many Christians and leaders will continue to yawn and slumber and sleep. Personally, I’m living as soberly as I ever have. I’m as prayerful and watchful as I’ve ever been. I’m endeavoring to walk in love and obedience more consistently than ever in my Christian life. Something is coming down the pike that is going to rattle this nation and cause great panic and fear among many. But we need not fear if we are right with God and walking with Him in true consecration and holiness.

Nuclear war is now even a very real threat and possibility. We are in the final hour of the last days and the nations are being aligned with Bible prophecy and last days events.

It’s time to wake up, humble ourselves, repent, and live for the Lord wholeheartedly. If you’re walking close to the Lord you will have wisdom and guidance for the tumultuous times ahead, peace and authority in your spirit to rule and reign, and courage to face hardship. 

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