I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. (Luke 12:4-5)
Relate: Today is a pretty rough day in history. Every now and then I go to a site that will tell me what happened on this day in the past. Well, one hundred fifty-three days ago today the Union and the Confederates squared off for what would be the bloodiest battle in the Civil War up to that point, by far. Between the two armies 107,000 collided and over 23,000 were left behind dead, wounded, or missing. The conflict left both armies and the nation in shock and horror. Nobody yet realized that three more years, and many far worse battles were still to come.
Today was also the day that Congress voted by overwhelming majority to enter “The Great War” (now WWI) on the side of the Allies. Before our boys came home we would rack up more than 110,000 dead and 200,000 severely wounded. This was far and away the bloodiest fight we had to date on foreign soil. Little did we know that a few decades down the road we would be back for a fight that made this seem childs play. If the outcome of Shiloh or joining WWI had been known ahead of time, there is a very good chance the decision makers would have been scared into inaction.
But as horrifying as these things are, they are not the worst things to have happened on April 6 in American history. One hundred eighty three days ago today, in Fayette Township, NY, a man named Joseph Smith, along with a small group of followers officially organized the Church of Christ. After some time and growth and travel they would eventually be renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but most of the world would call them Mormons. This cult would grow and spread worldwide. While they do no damage to the body, this demonically motivated group would be active in leading over fourteen million souls to hell.
React: Sometimes I do not enjoy speaking harsh truths like that last sentence but it must be said. We know from the first chapter of the gospel of John and from 1 John 5:20 that eternal life comes only through Jesus, through an acceptance of who He is and what He has done. A Mormon would openly say that they believe in God, but what they are more reluctant to say at first is that they also believe you and I are sons of God in the exact same way. They claim that Jesus was created first among God’s “spirit children”. They might credit Him with all the Bible claims He says and does, but clearly their Jesus is not the same Jesus a Christian knows and believes. Jesus is the true God and eternal life. (1J 5:20) To deny this truth is to be denied by Him on the day of judgment. More than any physical suffering or death, this is what we should fear.
God, let me never stray from the reality of who You are. Let me never wander from the truth of what You have done. You alone, God, my Savior died to take my sins then rose to give me life. You alone are God. Let me always worship You in the reality of who You are.