Three issues stood out in the last episode of Greenleaf titled, “Men As Trees Walking.”
First, let’s deal with preachers who are not called to preach.
In this episode, Bishop Greenleaf’s son, James, who had been relieved of his duties as a minister after his adultery came to light, comes back to his father seeking his old job back. Bishop Greenleaf shoots down his plea to be reinstated, and then asks him to recall what he wanted to be when he was growing up. James says he wanted to be a baseball player, and Bishop Greenleaf tells him that he was never called to be a preacher and that he only stepped in to try to fill the shoes of Grace when she left.
Unfortunately, in pulpits across America, there are preachers who were never called to preach. Some so-called preachers have gotten into the ministry because their father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncles were preachers. Some have gotten into it for money and fame. Some have gotten into it because family pressured them into it. Some have gotten into it because somebody told them they looked like a preacher. Some have gotten into it because they could give a good speech.
While all Christians are called to share the Gospel, no one should aspire to spiritual leadership over others unless they are called specifically by God to do so. Paul said, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” But desiring the office and being called to it by God are two different things. (One might desire to be a rock star, but if he does not have the skills, gifts, or musical ability to do so, he is wasting his time. He can try, but he will fail.) The call of God is an inward pulling of the Holy Spirit. Martin Luther called it “God’s voice heard by faith.” Charles Spurgeon described it as “an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work.” He advised young men who said they wanted to preach NOT to preach if they could help it. “But,” he added, “if he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man.” “Preacher,” if you are preaching for any other reason beyond the compelling call of the Holy Spirit in your life, if you do not feel as Paul felt when he said, “Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”, please sit down.
Now, let’s look at the relationship between Bishop Greenleaf and his daughter Grace.
The relationship between a father and his daughter is very special. One can see this in the interaction of Bishop Greenleaf and Grace — especially in how he welcomed her back home after she had been gone for years, much to the chagrin of his wife. However, it appears as though Grace will be the one who hurts Bishop Greenleaf the most in the end. That might sound shocking, but it happens in many families — the child most beloved by the parents is the one who hurts them the most.
It is indeed true that the people we love the most are the ones who can hurt us the most. As C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” No one wants a broken heart, but it is inevitable in this life. Parents especially run this risk when it comes to their children. The only way they can guard against this is to make sure that they have a love for God that surpasses the love they have for any other person. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 14:26 that our love for our family ought to look like hatred compared to our love for Him. That goes for family relationships, friendships, marriages, and other romantic relationships. You can love the other person very much. Just make sure you love Jesus more. He is the only person who will never let you down. He will never break your heart. He will never fail you.
Finally, let’s consider the question, Is Hell real?
Mac is reading the Bible in prison where he has been locked up for over a month now. He comes across a verse on Hell, and he calls Bishop Greenleaf to ask if Hell really does exist. Obviously, like many Christians today, Mac had not taken the topic of Hell too seriously. Now, feeling guilty over his crimes, he is considering what punishment might be.
Obviously, the doctrine of Hell is a controversial topic, and while we know Greenleaf is not a theology seminar, we would have hoped that a biblical answer had been given to this question. Instead, Bishop Greenleaf tells Mac that “Hell is looking back on your life and realizing what your life might have been had you done the right thing”.
While that answer likely played well with secular viewers, it is not the truth. The Bible clearly describes Hell as a real physical place of punishment for the devil, his demons, and all those who ultimately reject Jesus Christ as Savior. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible also says in Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Numerous passages throughout Scripture speak to the reality of Hell. Many pastors do not want to preach it. But if they are going to be faithful to God’s Word, they must. There are many in the church like Mac who want to know. And there are many in the world who need to know. If you were to die today, where would you go, Heaven or Hell? If you are not sure, please continue to listen.
In closing, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can be forgiven of your sins and begin a relationship with God today.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Now that is bad news, but here is the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
May God bless you, and I hope that you will join us next time for The Gospel According to Greenleaf.