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Topic: Service (12/21/03)
TITLE: Normal Service Will Be Resumed As Soon As Possible
By David Ritchie
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This was a message that came on to television screens regularly in the early days of television. It was like a test card that was put up every time there was a fault in the programme. It is many years since I have seen it, as with the advances in technology breakdowns are extremely rare. The technological advances during my lifetime have been phenomenal; I have just bought a ‘flash memory stick’ for my computer. This allows me to connect it to a USB port and drag and drop up to 128 megabyte of data on to it (equivalent to about 76 floppy disks). The gadget looks and is about the size of a pen, and the above operation can be done in seconds.
As I contemplated the wonder of this, and knowing absolutely nothing of how this thing actually works, I remembered the words of a preacher I heard possibly 20 years ago, when technology was nothing to what it is now. He was speaking about the judgement seat of Christ and said (whether right or wrong I don’t know);
“Think of a time when you have been in a cave or a valley when you have shouted and your words bounce back at you. The words you speak just keep on going into space, waiting the moment when God will recall them in that day when every idle work will have to be accounted for!”(Mathew 12 v 36 Jesus said, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.") I cannot verify whether words do actually keep on going into space, but with today’s technology it is far easier than it was 20 years ago to comprehend that if men can do these wonderful things, an all powerful God has no limits.
I have this comic strip vision of my words floating back in from space, just like a ribbon in the wind, being called back into God’s decoder and being played out before me. Those idle words that for a brief fleeting moment were so gratifying, but then regretfully could not be taken back. The words in a business meeting when we have been absolutely stuck, and God dropped them in my heart, certainly not my thinking, yet the answer to the situation. How easy it was to accept the praise. Of course there are also words that will bring a well done, so it is really important that words are spoken thoughtfully.
I realise there are many perspectives of the judgement seat of Christ (2 Corr 5 v 10), but whatever the perspective, some way or another a just God has to perform justice, even dealing with the injustices of Christian against Christian. It is hard to imaging how God will do that without some kind of accountability of word and deed. So whether the old preacher got it right or not with the words going into space, waiting to be recalled by God, I don’t know. What I do know is that it has made me more careful of what I say, as I believe from several scriptures that one day I will stand before God and be called to give account of the ‘deeds done in the body’, which by necessity will include my words.
Am I suggesting that God is like a dictator who will punish me for what I have done, not at all? God is love (1 John 4 v 8), however he is also just and loves me too much to allow any taint of sin to remain upon me as I enter heaven. I can see the judgement seat of Christ as the place where grace, love, mercy and justice meet, and we finally enter God’s Heaven of rest, finally free of sin and the taints of sin, free to live eternally in the sinless place he has prepared for us.
As my ‘ribbon of words’comes floating back, I am sure there will be many times when I would wish that the programme would stop and the sign go up, Normal Service Will Be Resumed As Soon As Possible.