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.

WHAT SOME MINISTERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE TUMULTUOUS 2020s AND BEYOND

THE TUMULTUOUS 2020s AND BEYOND, by BERT M. FARIAS is a warning from God to protect you in the coming days. Bert says what the Lord told him to say, and he does not care about the consequences. The 2020s will be the greatest test American believers have ever faced.

Never forget that God-given warnings are sent out of love — not out of anger, or hate. This book is a Godsend to help you not only face the 2020s but to thrive for God in them.

It is my sincere prayer that God will turn this much needed warning into a much heeded warning.

Evangelist Mario Murillo, Mario Murillo Ministries

 

The ministry of Bert Farias is marked by the burning heart of a prophet and the anointed passion of a revivalist. I believe he is a voice that God has raised up in this hour with an important message for the church. In Bert’s newest work — The Tumultuous 2020s and Beyond — the clarion call that characterizes his ministry comes through with a cutting edge that is sharp and clear. In this timely book, Bert Farias pulls no punches as he tackles relevant and controversial issues that will define the Church in our generation and determine what we pass on to the next. I highly recommend Bert Farias, his ministry, and this book.

Daniel Kolenda
President and CEO, Christ for the Nations

The Tumultuous 2020’s and Beyond is a clarion call to the body of Christ to return to its first love, but with a warning: It will challenge you to examine what you believe and why; it may even make you angry at times. Bert effectively lays out the sad state of politics, morals, agendas, and problems of our day, and then, while clearly laying out the consequences of continuing along the current path, he presents the solution. This book is prophetic, quoting several prophecies and inspired words on what is to come in the natural world, while at the same time showing the glory of the body of Christ rising up to fulfill her destiny. A must-read!

John Fenn
Founder, Church Without Walls International

This book by Bert Farias is like fine wine. God has truly reserved some of the best and most authentic oracles for these last days. With urgency and a father’s heart, Bert ushers the reader into a tremendous vision of the future and a clear call to repentance and sobriety. If you are ready for a serious burden from heaven and possess a desire to impact the world around you, start reading now!

Jeremiah Johnson
Best Selling Author, and Founder of Heart of the Father Ministry

Image result for the tumultuous 2020s

Please don’t miss the burden of the Lord. Get your copy today! In paperback and now kindle. 

The Tumultuous 2020s And Beyond 

KEY TO CLEANSING THE LATTER HOUSE: JUDGMENT AND THE FEAR OF THE LORD

I believe there is no other way the modern day Church will be cleansed from all its hypocrisy and impurities derived from the worship  of mammon, except through judgment that produces the fear of the Lord. It may come through hardship, death, or even a crisis of massive proportions such as a civil war to bring this about. The landscape of Christianity must be cleansed, so that the Church’s impact can be much more far reaching. Without widespread and deep repentance and awakening,  this may be the only solution and remedy to the current idolatrous condition of the church world. The power and glory of God may not be restored to the Church any other way. We are so far gone and numb to the true condition of the nation and the Church that this may be the only remedy to true restoration (see this recent article by my friend Michael L. Brown – How Can We Be So Numb?). A severe shaking may be our last line of hope.

Let’s take a close look at the first miracle of judgment in the early Church that cleansed it immediately of the sin and hypocrisy that was seeking entrance. This judgment kept it strong and pure and increased its power and impact.

“In hearing these words, Ananias fell down and died. And great fear came on all those who heard these things” (Acts 5:5).

“At once she (Sapphira) fell down at his feet and died. Upon entering, the young men found her dead and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear came on the entire church and on all those who heard these things. Many signs and wonders were performed among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Porch. No one else dared join them, but the people respected them. Believers were increasingly added to the Lord, crowds of both men and women” (Acts 5:10-14).

Can you see how this cleansing led to increased fear and power with many believers being added to the Lord?

We often forget these portions of Scripture and how this judgment produced the component of the fear of the Lord, which stopped this lie and other impurities from having access into the early Church, thus preserving its white hot purity and keeping it from being defiled. This miracle of judgment contributed to the glory, power, and growth of the early Church. Notice also the effect it had on the people:

“No one else dared join them (the disciples), but the people respected them” (Acts 5:13).

The Message Bible says it this way: “But even though people admired them a lot, outsiders were wary about joining them. On the other hand, those who put their trust in the Master were added right and left, men and women both.”

Could these incidents of judgment in the early Church be a type and shadow of what we may expect in the last days Church in both the coming judgment and glory:

Could it be that preachers who have peddled the word of God for gain have their ministries judged and some even be publicly humiliated and taken out of the way?

Could churches and ministries that have been built on compromise and the wisdom of man see a mass exodus as people begin to seek pure truth and authenticity as well as the reality of the Holy Spirit and the power of God?

Could we see organizations and companies who have used their power and wealth to persecute the righteous be shaken and some big CEO’s even die? Could we also see the same type of judgement on leaders of nations who persecute the glorious Church and do not give glory to God (think of king Herod; Acts 12:23)?

I believe we will see these kind judgments again but only as the glory increases and is restored to the true Church.

POLARIZATION: ONE EFFECT OF GOD’S JUDGMENTS AND THE FEAR OF THE LORD

The judgment that fell on Ananias and Sapphira caused sinners to be leery of joining themselves to the apostles and the church while at the same time gaining public respect and influence. This divided or polarized those who were not interested in genuine repentance and living whole-heartedly for the Lord from the multitudes that were being genuinely converted and being added to the church. Oh how we need this work done today in this era of postmodern and so called progressive Christianity! It would root out so much complacency, carnality, and compromise.

The dividing line was very distinct in the early Church. In a day when we are trying to include everyone into our sheepfolds by toning down on the demands of the gospel, there was a certain exclusivity that the judgments of God and the fear of the Lord produced in the Church’s earliest beginnings. People couldn’t enter in with sin in their lives. In many places today, it is difficult to tell the difference between the Christian and non-Christian, but not in the early Church. God wants to restore this polarization in the Church of today.

This is an excerpt from my newest book awaiting its release, THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE, RESTORING THE GLORY TO THE LATTER DAY CHURCH. 

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