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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or …”–Matt 27:17 ESV
An ellipsis is a mark or series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word or a phrase from the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence. An ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech.
I read a story in the local papers recently of a young man who master minded and killed 10 people in a horrific cold blooded shooting spree. After a trial and conviction he was sentenced to death by lethal injection. Just a few hours before his execution by lethal injection he remained calm, stoic and defiant. Determined to face his death with a grim face; his thoughts remained veiled behind an expressionless face. Refusing to speak he was led to the death chamber. Witnesses watched intently as he was sprawled onto the gurney with arms out stretched and a needle inserted in each arm. He was asked if he had any last words. He was a few moments from his death… his ellipsis. Man’s ellipsis is that subtle transitory moment when he gives up his last breath, yields his spirit and graduates into the after life. That process. That pause. That trailing off …
150,000 people will die today. Many of whom will be sadly eternally separated from God. It’s the hope of every christian to reach every soul with the gospel before that…ellipsis. Jesus called this being a fisher of men. For man is sinful and depraved from birth. Born in sin, man becomes a slave to sin. The good we want to do we do not do; the things we don’t want to do we end up doing. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. –Heb 9:27 ESV
The grim ripper has his moment for every dignitary, celebrity and beggar. Its an appointment that death never fails to keep. After death every man will stand before a just and holy God. The bible says if God is to be the just and holy judge that He is, then no man is good enough to deserve a pardon or even a parole. All our righteousness is as filthy menstrual rags before him.
There is none righteous, no not one. All our attempts to appear good are vain. Even when we keep all his laws but transgress at one only, we are guilty of all of them. We are like sheep that have all gone astray from birth by default. Like a broken record we spin to a perilous tune that harmonises against the very Law of God.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God so love the world that He gave his only son that who so ever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. He died on our behalf on the cross thereby taking our punishment. He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace. There is forgiveness with Him that he may be feared. The core message of the gospel is the good news that God is gracious and merciful only if a penitent sinner humbles himself in repentance, turns away from his sin and believes in Jesus Christ for his salvation.
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. –2 Cor 7:10
Armed with this good news for a lost wicked world to hear, one would expect the church to stand on the mountain tops and run through the highways and by ways. Waste no time, make haste. Make the most of this available time and reach as many as can be reached…before their ellipsis. For every life is spiralling down in a count down. Minute by minute…second by second. That ellipsis approaches…
It is now possible to live a “christian life” without doing the things that Jesus commanded us to do. “We have hired people to go into all the world, to visit those in prison. The average Christian doesn’t have to do it.–Cal Thomas
Every muscle tense with anticipation the young man waited for his parting words. In sequence the three-drug lethal cocktail was duly administered. The man awaiting his death blinked repeatedly. He then sombrely took about six or seven deep breaths. Within a minute, he was motionless… (ellipsis). At the ellipsis of life, he tragically slips to a vertex where he is beyond the grasp of fellow man. Even the best of evangelists cannot stir him up. For he is like that fish that wiggles out from the net…the one that got away!
The Bible talks of a man who was in prison for a local terrorist uprising, his name was called Barabbus. The day Jesus was crucified, Barabbus was released from deathrow by Pilate the Governor. His sentence was commuted. I wonder if somebody had been praying for his release. Maybe. Or could it have been just one of those things that happen that you cant explain- like your land lord winning the lottery?
The driving force behind evangelism and being a fisher of men is letting the love of God consume you to the point that the your heart begins to beat in pace with Him to reach another soul before its too late. God is patient, not wishing that any should perish and face his wrath, but that all should reach repentance. When a soul ebbs to its ellipsis it is but lost from human contact forever. When was the last time you stirred from your comfort zone and felt concerned about souls that are slipping toward that final ellipsis?
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching… always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. –2 Tim 4-5 ESV