This is the second post in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

If you were to describe Jesus in a few words, what words would you choose?

Surely, words like loving, merciful, kind, compassionate, gentle, peaceful, and humble would be near the top of the list.

The truth is, Jesus is so much more than cupcakes and good feelings.

Words like bold, courageous, zealous, jealous, angry, judge, and confrontational certainly wouldn't make many people's lists of descriptive words for our Savior King.  But these are exactly the words - along with the previous list of "nicer" words - that describe our God in Heaven, assuming that human words can even begin to define His limitless qualities.

For whatever historical reason, Jesus has recently been painted as a God who accepts everyone, regardless if that person ever comes to true repentance.  This, my friends, is far from the truth.  Our God demands righteousness.  No one short of perfect can enter near His glorious presence.  (If you feel hopeless now, please keep reading to the very end to find the true hope you are looking for!)

There are a few stories in the Bible that put Jesus in a different reality than love, butterflies, and laughter.  Jesus, God in the flesh, represented one thing: Perfection.  And perfection cannot tolerate anything imperfect.

Today, Christians who stand up for Truth are viewed as intolerant, self-righteous know-it-alls.  We are also mislabeled as judgmental and condemning.  God, however, calls us to take a stand for what is right, regardless of the persecution that comes because of it.

In John 2:12-17 (and also Matthew 21:12-16), we find Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.  But what the people in the Temple were doing sent Jesus into a bit of a tirade:
"In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money.  So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here!  How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!'
His disciples remembered that it is written: 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'"
 Whoa!  What?!  Did Jesus just get violent?  Did Jesus just lose His temper?  Yes.  Yes, He did.  But He did it for all the right reasons.

The reserved Jesus that we often picture, stood up courageously, boldly stating the Truth that God's House should be kept sacred and holy.  If Jesus did that today in your church's coffee shop, how would you react?

Here is the first point: Standing up for Truth requires an all-in attitude.  In this story Jesus showed us that righteous anger - getting angry over things done wrong or over sin - is okay.  Actually, it's encouraged.  When you see someone being bullied, it is right that you feel angry.  You should get angry.  And then you should stand up for that person and defend them (Proverbs 31:9).

The next illustration comes from Luke 12:49-53:
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!  Do you think I came to bring peace on earth?  No, I tell you, but division.  From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against tow and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."
Whoa!  Not again!  This totally destroys everything I thought about Jesus bringing peace to the world!  Did Jesus really say He came to bring division?  Yes.

Jesus is once again boldly stating the fact that He did not come to the world to make everyone feel good about themselves.  Instead of hugs and kisses and false reassurances that "everything will be alright", Jesus came to bring the light of Truth.  The Truth He brought from Heaven ultimately leads to peace, but it also means that choosing Jesus and His peace will bring division between you and other people - maybe even someone in your family.

Think about it like this: Jesus is your track coach.  At the end of the season, Coach Jesus hands out awards to the members of the team.  Johnny gets the first award: Most Valuable Player.  Johnny is the fastest runner on the entire team and clearly is the track star, so it makes sense for him to get MVP.  Good job, Johnny!

Next is Greg.  Coach Jesus calls Greg to the stage to give him his award: Most Valuable Player.  Johnny is confused, along with the rest of the people in the crowd.  Greg was the slowest runner on the team and only placed in one race the entire season.

It doesn't make sense to give both Johnny and Greg MVP awards.  The truth is that Johnny should get the MVP award and Greg should not.

The second point, then, is this: Jesus will not say things are okay when they are not.  Greg will no more get an MVP award than you will get a thumbs up from Jesus if you refuse to accept Him.  Jesus will never accept sin.

Please don't misunderstand me: Jesus loves everyone equally (John 3:16-17).  BUT unless you choose Jesus, you will never know that love.  Jesus desires all come to repentance (turn from their wicked ways) and acknowledge Him as Lord of their life.  But if they never choose Jesus, then they will not be accepted into Heaven, where God's love lives in its fullness.

This may be one of the biggest lies permeating through our culture today: "Do what you want and believe what you want, you'll still go to Heaven when you die.  A loving god like Jesus won't turn you away."  This is as false as saying trees don't grow out of the ground.  Jesus demands repentance from sin.  Period.

In Luke 13:3 and 5, Jesus says as much:
"I tell you... unless you repent, you... will all perish!
Unless you repent, you too will perish!"
Repent: "to turn away from due to feelings of sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin."  Do not perish.  Come to Jesus today and repent from your sin.

According to Google, the word "repent" in published books has declined significantly in recent decades.  (Click the image to make it bigger.)

The final point is found in the chilling words of Jesus in Revelation 3:15-16:
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one of the other!  So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
As I have been saying, I believe we have been believing a false-truth that says we can do what we want and live our lives in sin and God will still be okay with it.  And, as I said earlier, this statement bleeds falsehood.  Jesus says that if you repent and give your life to God, you will be considered "hot"; in other words, by choosing Jesus and His free gift of salvation, God will allow you to enter Heaven, since you have been covered by His Son's perfection.  God no longer sees your sin after repentance; He only sees His Son's perfection covering you.

On the other hand, if you refuse to repent and choose sin over Jesus, you will be considered "cold" meaning you are still imperfect.  Since nothing imperfect can enter Heaven, you will spend eternity in hell, which is truly a horrible place to be.

What about those who are lukewarm, who have not yet chosen God or yet rejected Him?

There is story that goes something like this:

Once there was a meadow with a fence dividing it down the middle.  On one side there was a sign that said, "Mine," signed "God."  On this side of the fence, many people had built their homes.

On the other side there was a sign that read, "Mine," signed "Satan."  On this side of the fence, many people had built their homes as well.

In the middle, there were many people just sitting on the fence.  They looked toward both sides, but couldn't make up their minds which side they liked better.

One day, Judgment Day came.  So God went to His side of the fence and took His sign out of the dirt and walked into Heaven.  Following Him were the people who had built their homes on His side.

On the other side of the fence, Satan walked over to his sign and pulled it out of the dirt and walked into hell.  Following him were the people who had built their homes on his side.

All that were left were the people sitting on the fence.  Soon, however, Satan came back and said to the people on the fence, "Let's go.  I own the fence too."

This vivid illustration shows us the Truth and the final point: We must all repent of our sins and choose Jesus in order to be shown grace and mercy by God.  Jesus is always extending His arms in forgiveness, it is now up to us to choose to run to them and be saved, or turn away from them and perish.  You must make a choice: Follow Jesus or reject Him; there is no middle-ground.

Jesus takes a direct stance on Truth and He will never tolerate anything less than perfect obedience to His Truth.  Thankfully, since none of us can be perfect, God sent Jesus to make the Way for us to know Him.  When we know Him, we have life - eternal life.

Jesus says in Revelation 3:20: "Behold!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him and he with me."  Please open the door today.  Choose Jesus.

Do not be deceived by the false-truths that abound in the culture around you.  Instead, be received by the Truth that lives in the Spirit of God all around you!

Join us next time to see another one of Truth's Heroes in action and discover what it means to stand up for what's right - no mater what!

Choose Jesus to go beyond the normal.