您的位置 首页 麦克阿瑟

审判要从神的家起首(麦克阿瑟)陈鸽翻译 2018-10-22

(译者附加小标题)

 时过境迁

 当使徒约翰接近人生尾声之时,他更是切身地体会到(译者注:保罗的话):“……凡立志在基督耶稣里敬虔度日的也都要受逼迫。”(提后3:12)他告诉他所牧养的羊群,“弟兄们,世人若恨你们,不要以为希奇。”(约一3:13)然而,当约翰在拔摩岛上,在劳改的苦役中度晚年时,他可能回忆起他跟随耶稣起初的期盼,对比他现今的处境,前后何等不同,令他感慨万千。

 弥赛亚梦

 以色列人对弥赛亚将要建立的国度寄予极高的盼望。他们热切地期盼大卫宝座的继承人会兴起,推翻罗马人的辖制,消灭以色列的仇敌,并实现神给亚伯拉罕、大卫和众先知的应许,然而他们所期盼的拯救只是暂时的,不是永恒的。

 门徒们也抱着这个期盼。在基督生平的服侍中,他们常在神所应许的国度中争先恐后,抢夺高位(参:太18:1-5;路 9:46-48)。约翰和他的兄弟雅各甚至让他们妈妈来,替他们向主提出请求(太20:20-21)。使徒行传 1:6告诉我们,直到基督升天的那一刻,他的门徒们还指望着他彰显他的权能,并在世上引进他的国度。

 在以后的岁月中,教会猛长,神又借着圣灵的恩赐和神迹奇事证实使徒的侍奉,似乎主的再来已迫在眉睫,但紧接着,教会又被假师傅全面渗透了。不久,许多与约翰同作使徒的弟兄们都死于罗马人之手,当约翰到达拔摩岛时,已是唯一幸存的使徒了。

 破灭的梦

 信徒遭到无情的逼迫,羊群困苦流离,教会荒凉退后,事态如此严峻,此时,约翰理当灰心沮丧。难道主对教会的计划失败了吗?不难想象约翰呼求主,让他得到上头来的异象,看见主在教会中的作为,好叫他在暮年的侍奉中,得到些鼓励和安慰。无论他灵性何等成熟老练,他都一定需要点儿鼓舞和盼望吧!

 雪上加霜

 但相反地,他反而看见极其可怕的异象。约翰告诉我们,这令他扑倒在地“像死了一样”(启1:17)。他所见到的是荣耀的基督,以统治者、审判者、执法者的身份出现。约翰看见主身为教会元首,在他的荣耀里,预备施行审判,不是在这世界上,乃是在他的教会中,伸张他的公义。 

呼吁悔改

 基督借着约翰传给教会的信息是明确的:“悔改”!一次又一次,基督呼吁这些倒退的教会悔改归正。对以弗所的教会,他说:“所以,应当回想你是从那里坠落的,并要悔改,行起初所行的事。”(启2:5)他也给了別迦摩教会类似的信息:“所以,你当悔改;若不悔改,我就快临到你那里,用我口中的剑攻击他们。”(启2:16 他更警戒推雅推喇教会,“若不悔改所行的”(启2:22),他们即将面临严厉的审判。他又嘱咐撒狄的教会:“所以要回想你是怎样领受、怎样听见的、又要遵守,并要悔改。”(启3:3)他更对老底嘉教会发出最后通牒,提醒他们说:“凡我所疼爱的,我就责备管教他;所以你要发热心,也要悔改。”(启3:19

 严厉警戒

 这些可不是轻率、冷漠的警戒。每一次悔改的呼吁,教会若不回应,都伴随着灾难性的后果。从这个意义上讲,约翰所见所闻,正应验了彼得几十年前他第一封书信中的话:“因为时候到了,审判要从神的家起首。”(彼前4:17)正如保罗一样,彼得也看见许多属灵的威胁步步逼近教会,甚至连教会内部也危机四伏。他知道,在某些情况下,教会将屈服于恶者的攻击、世界的诱惑、错误的教训、各样的试探。因此,彼得呼吁他的读者在迫害中要坚忍到底,他看见这些逼迫,在一定程度上,是神对不忠诚之教会的审判。并且,彼得明白这也是神对付他百姓的一贯方式。

 旧约先例
作为旧约的好学生,彼得肯定很熟悉以西结第九章的预言,这是上帝审判的另一个恐怖的异象:“他向我耳中大声喊叫说:「要使那监管这城的人手中各拿灭命的兵器前来。」”(结9:1)写于巴比伦掳掠期间,以西结在异象中看见神招聚外邦的列国来审判他的百姓。这个异象继续:

 忽然有六个人从朝北的上门而来,各人手拿杀人的兵器;内中有一人身穿细麻衣,腰间带著墨盒子。他们进来,站在铜祭坛旁。

 以色列神的荣耀本在基路伯上,现今从那里升到殿的门槛。神将那身穿细麻衣、腰间带著墨盒子的人召来。耶和华对他说:「你去走遍耶路撒冷全城,那些因城中所行可憎之事叹息哀哭的人,画记号在额上。」我耳中听见他对其余的人说:「要跟随他走遍全城,以行击杀。你们的眼不要顾惜,也不要可怜他们。要将年老的、年少的,并处女、婴孩,和妇女,从圣所起全都杀尽,只是凡有记号的人不要挨近他。」於是他们从殿前的长老杀起。”(以西结 9:2-6

 神家起首

 神对背道的以色列人的忿怒已经到达了沸点。他先在少数忠诚的余民身上作了标记,给他们留下一条后路,但其余的人都必须面对他全面的审判。并且,这杀戮将从离经叛道的罪魁祸首开始,就是从他权柄和敬拜的中心起首。

 无独有偶

 从本质而言,约翰也看到了同样的异象,就是这位按公义审判的主,呼吁他叛道的教会悔改归正。

 大多数人,去了教会,就以为到了安全地带。从主审判的威胁而言,教会也许是最安全的地方,上了教会几乎等于上了方舟,一旦你进去了,就进了保险柜,万事大吉了。

 然而,事实并非如此。坦白说,这种想法其实很愚昧、很危险。仅仅因为你进了教会,或进了一个你认为的教会,在那里有人奉主的名唱诗赞美,并不意味着你就平安稳妥,可以逃脱上帝的审判了。在启示录头几章里,主向众教会直接地发出了极严厉的警戒。由此可见,教会不比世界安全,教会的罪过往往需要更迅速的审判。

 不容忽视

 这就是为什么这段经文,常被忽略也很少讨论的原因。虽然主再三呼吁以色列人悔改,恢复与他正常的关系,但启示录前几章是他使用类似语言对付教会罪恶和失败的唯一地方。想到神呼召教会悔改归正,并以审判威胁不悔改的教会,令我们如坐针毡,浑身不舒服。然而,我们聆听基督借着约翰的笔给我们的警告,却生死攸关、至关重要。

 时代信息

 没错,这些都是写给当地特定的教会、面对他们各自特殊处境的书信,但也是对历世历代整体教会的警戒。我们也将要看到,对亚细亚教会的责备,也同样适用于现代的教会,甚至更加如此。

 那些曾经腐化第一世纪教会的问题,如今也同样威胁着今日的教会:如偶像崇拜、放纵情欲、假冒伪善、灵里麻木、以及与世俗为友和向异教文化的妥协。过了这么多个世纪,教会仍未克服这些老毛病,神也没有降低他公义的标准。无论在何时何地,神都要求教会纯全而无疵。

 这就是启示录中,他向众教会所发出的信息。大约两千年后的今天,基督仍在呼吁他的教会悔改,若不悔改,他警戒我们,后果将不堪设想、可怕无比。


 (改编于:基督的呼召:教会要改革)

————————————

 Judgment Begins with theHousehold of God

 by John MacArthur

Monday, October 22, 2018

 By the time the apostle John was nearing the end of hisearthly life, he was acutely aware that “all who desire to live godly in ChristJesus will be persecuted” (2Timothy 3:12). He told people in his pastoral care, “Do not besurprised, brethren, if the world hates you” (1John 3:13). But as John was living out his final days in torturouslabor on the Isle of Patmos, he may have looked back in amazement at howdifferent his circumstances were from what he expected when he set out tofollow Jesus.

 Israel had very high expectations for the Messiah and thekingdom He would institute. They eagerly anticipated the arrival of an heir tothe Davidic throne who would overthrow Rome’s occupying forces, wipe outIsrael’s enemies, and usher in the fulfillment of all God’s promises toAbraham, David, and the prophets. The salvation they awaited was temporal, noteternal.

 The disciples held that hope. Throughout Christ’sministry, they frequently jockeyed for supremacy in the promised kingdom ofheaven (see Matthew 18:1–5; Luke9:46–48). John and his brother James even enlisted their mother topetition the Lord on their behalf (Matthew20:20–21). Acts 1:6 tells us that right up to the momentChrist ascended into heaven, His disciples expected Him to unleash Hissovereign power and inaugurate His kingdom on earth.

 In the years that followed, as the church exploded intoexistence and the Holy Spirit authenticated the apostles’ ministry throughmiraculous gifts, it must have seemed that the Lord’s return was imminent. Butalmost immediately the church was inundated with false teachers. Before long,many of John’s apostolic brothers were dead at the hands of Rome—by the time hereached Patmos, he was the only apostle still alive.

 With believers on the run from merciless persecution andwith churches in serious spiritual decline, John might have had every reason tobe disappointed and depressed. Had the Lord’s plan for the church failed? Itwould be easy to imagine him crying out for a vision of what the Lord was doingin His church—some divine insight to encourage and comfort him in the twilightof his apostolic ministry. No matter how seasoned and spiritually mature hewas, he surely could have used some hope and solace.

 Instead, what he saw was utterly terrifying. John tellsus it caused him to fall to the ground “like a dead man” (Revelation 1:17). What he saw was the glorifiedChrist, appearing as ruler, judge, and executioner. John saw the Lord in allHis glory as the Head of the church, ready to mete out righteous judgment—noton the world, but on His church!

 Christ’s message to the church, through John, isunequivocal: “Repent.” Over and over, Christ calls these wayward churches torepent and reform. To the church at Ephesus, He said, “Therefore remember fromwhere you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). He had a similar message for thechurch at Pergamum: “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, andI will make war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Revelation 2:16). He warned the church at Thyatiraof the severe judgment that awaited “unless they repent” (Revelation 2:22). He charged the church at Sardis to“remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent” (Revelation 3:3). And He gave a final warning tochurch at Laodicea, reminding them that “Those whom I love, I reprove anddiscipline; therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation3:19).

 These were not casual, dispassionate warnings. Each callto repentance was accompanied by the devastating consequences that awaited if achurch failed to reform. In that sense, what John saw and heard was thefulfillment of Peter’s words decades earlier in his first epistle: “For it istime for judgment to begin with the household of God” (1 Peter 4:17). Like Paul, Peter knew the manylooming spiritual dangers that threatened the church, even from within. He alsoknew that churches would in some cases succumb to temptations, false doctrines,the lure of the world, or the assaults of the evil one. Peter called hisreaders to persevere under persecution, which he saw in part as God’s judgmentagainst the unfaithful church. Moreover, Peter understood that this is how Godalways operates with His people.

 As a good student of the Old Testament, Peter would havebeen familiar with the prophecy of Ezekiel 9, which was another terrifyingvision of God’s judgment: “Then He cried out in my hearing with a loud voicesaying, ‘Draw near, O executioners of the city, each with his destroying weaponin his hand’” (Ezekiel 9:1).Writing during the Babylonian captivity, Ezekiel saw a vision of God callingforeign powers to execute His judgment on His people. The vision continues,

 Behold, six men came from the direction of the upper gatewhich faces north, each with his shattering weapon in his hand; and among themwas a certain man clothed in linen with a writing case at his loins. And theywent in and stood beside the bronze altar.

 Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from thecherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called tothe man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. The Lord said tohim, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem,and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all theabominations which are being committed in its midst.” But to the others He saidin my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eyehave pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, littlechildren, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and youshall start from My sanctuary.” So they started with the elders who were beforethe temple. (Ezekiel9:2–6)

 God’s wrath had reached a boiling point with apostateIsrael. He made a provision to mark out the few who had remained faithful, buteveryone else would face the fullness of His judgment. Moreover, the slaughterwould start at the very seat of His authority and the center of worship, withthose most culpable for Israel’s apostasy.

 In essence, that is the same vision John saw—the Lord asthe righteous judge, coming to call His churches to repent of unfaithfulness toHim.

 Most people who go to a church believe it is a safeplace—perhaps the safest place—when it comes to threats of judgment from theLord. It’s almost like climbing aboard the ark; once you’re safely inside,you’re untouchable.

 But that’s not true. Frankly, it’s a foolish anddangerous notion. Just because you are in a church—or something you call achurch, where Jesus’ name is invoked and songs are sung about Him—does not meanyou’re safe against threats from God. Here in the opening chapters ofRevelation, the Lord makes some very strong, direct threats against churches. Achurch is no safer than the world in that regard, and its transgressions oftendemand a swifter judgment.

 That’s why this passage is so often overlooked and rarelydiscussed. While the Lord repeatedly called for Israel to repent and return toa right relationship with Him, the early chapters of Revelation are the onlyplace He employs similar language when dealing with the sins and failures ofchurches. It makes us uncomfortable to think about God calling His church torepent and reform, and threatening them with judgment if they don’t. But it iscritically important that we heed the warnings Christ delivers to us throughthe pen of John in Revelation.

 Yes, these were letters written to specific localcongregations about their particular issues. But they also stand as warnings tothe entire church throughout its history. And as we’ll see, the rebukesdelivered to the churches of Asia Minor are just as applicable to the modernchurch, if not more so.

 The issues that corrupted churches in the first centuryare the same threats facing the church today: idolatry, sexual immorality,compromise with the world and its pagan culture, spiritual deadness, andhypocrisy. Over the intervening centuries, the church has not outgrown thesefamiliar pitfalls. Nor has God lowered or softened His righteous standard.Regardless of when and where it exists, He demands a pure church.

 That was His message to the churches in Revelation.Roughly two thousand years later, Christ is still calling churches torepent and warning us about dire consequences if they don’t.


 (Adapted from Christ’s Call to Reform the Church)

关于作者: 陈鸽

热门文章