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Turn with me to Luke 13:1-9.

A Christian came to me last week, and asked me if the people who lost their lives in the storm were somehow deserving of that fate? Did God bring the storm, or can we blame the devil for such devastation? So many times when we hear of natural disasters, we like to refer to them as “wrath of God” events. After all, God could have intervened and stopped the storm, or the earthquake or the fire.  Maybe these people were deserving of God’s judgment.  However, it’s interesting that Job, who lost all of his personal possessions, even his children, to a natural disaster was reported by God to be,  “perfect and upright,” before God, “ and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.”  And yet, tragedy and devastation came his way, and he cried out,

Job 3:25,

for the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

Even Job, in his close walk with God, was not exempt from the effects of sin in this world. Certainly we know that Satan was behind every ordeal Job went through, but because we live in a world plagued with sin, it is not necessary that Satan or God be blamed for every negative occurrence in a person’s life.  Sometimes natural disasters are just that, “natural.” And we best not judge the victims.

Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-3,

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Were the people who lost their lives in the recent storm deserving of death? The fact of the matter is, the Bible teaches us that we are all deserving of death!

Turn with me to Luke 13:1-9.

Jesus has been speaking to the people about judgment! The Bible clearly teaches the fact that there is going to be a day of judgment!

Luke 13:1,

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

In order to understand this bit of information, we need to understand that these people, sharing this report with Christ, considered the judgment that fell on the Galileans as just punishment for the Galileans rebelling against Roman authority. The Jewish leadership was absolutely opposed to the use of force against Rome in any fashion. Yet, the Galileans were not afraid at all of facing and fighting against Romans. And so, in this case of the Galileans, when Pilate heard that a band of Galileans were in the temple praying, supposing them to be insurrectionists, he ordered his soldiers to disguise themselves and go into the temple, separate out the Galileans, and kill them. Apparently, these Galileans were massacred right in the midst of their offering a blood sacrifice to the LORD.  Thus their blood was mingled with their own sacrifice. And so, the Jews considered the death of these Galileans as deserving judgment! God, supposedly, killed them for their sin of disrupting the peace! But Christ didn’t see it that way at all.

Luke 13:2,

And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things?

Jesus makes the point that these Galileans suffered death not because they were against Roman domination, but because death comes, sooner or later, to every man’s door. 

Luke 13:3,

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Sin is not a cancer that belongs to just a group of people, or even to one or two, here and there. Sin is a cancer that infests every heart and every soul. And unless the soul repents, no matter how they meet the death angel, that soul will perish! These Jews were focusing on the sinful acts of others when God brings it right back to their own doorstep! Before you spend time talking or guessing about someone else’s fate and the reasons for it, you’d best be securing your own fate! And the way to do that is to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins that’s found in Christ Jesus! Every one of us needs to quit talking about the sins of others, and tend to our own.

Now note how foolish Christ makes their argument look in light of another tragedy that occurred where Galileans were not involved at all, but hard working, conforming Jews. Remember, the Jews were claiming that the Galileans met their fate because they were non-conformers to the Roman authority. Now Christ asks them to explain the death of many conforming Jews who were building a massive aqueduct for Pilate. These were Jews helping the Roman cause… they were going along with the status quo!

Luke 13:4,

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

With the same philosophy of the Jews, the Galileans could say that the Jews fell to their deaths because they were conformers. They died because of their sin of helping the Romans. But this too, Christ says, is not true.

Luke 13:5,

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Consider this, a racecar driver, traveling at 185 mph, loses control of his vehicle, it slams into the track wall and he dies… why did he die?

Was it because he was a greater sinner than all the other drivers?

Was it because he was an unfaithful husband, or an abusive father?

Was it because he was racing on Sunday!

Christ would say, NO! This man met death because death is appointed unto every man. Whether death comes in a racecar accident, a tower collapse, a murderous act, an explosion, a terrible aircraft mishap, or a natural disaster, every soul has an appointment with death. Some meet death alone, others cross over in groups. The important point is that unrepentant sin can keep you from crossing over at all! You could be the greatest father or mother in the world, the finest brother or sister, the most attentive church member, the best preacher, the hardest working deacon, but when you die, it’s not going to mean a hill of beans to you what the world thinks about your death… why did he die? The most important thing to you, at that moment, is your relationship with Christ! Have you repented of your sins, and are you covered by the blood of Christ? If death comes your way today, are you ready to meet Christ?

When will your appointed time of death come?

Consider the following parable that Christ shares with his listeners. Remember, he’s speaking to a group of people who have been judgmental about the death of others.

Luke 13:6,

He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

According to the book of Leviticus, fruit from newly planted trees was not eaten for three years. The fourth year’s fruit belonged to the LORD.  So when this farmer came to enjoy fruit for himself, he found no fruit on the tree. So he’s been waiting for this tree to produce fruit for five or six years and yet he finds nothing! He determines to cut it down.

Luke 13:7-9,

Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

How much fruit are we producing for the glory of Christ today? Is God happy with our fruitfulness? When will our opportunity for fruit production come to an end? I suppose if anyone of the victims of the recent storm knew they would be stepping out into eternity that day, they would have taken better care beforehand to make their calling and election sure! 

Were the victims of the recent storm deserving of death more than others? We are all deserving of death equally. We are all sinners. And every one of us is going to meet death one of these days. And the Bible says that, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The Bible says that, the wages of sin is death!” (Romans 6:23) We are all deserving of death. But that same verse of Scriptures says, But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our LORD.” Here is the most exciting information. Because we are sinners, we are deserving of eternal death. But because we believe in Jesus Christ, that he died on the cross of Calvary in our place, God has extended eternal life to us as a free GIFT.

Romans 10:9,

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.


Romans 6:23,

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Romans 5:18,

Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.


Ephesians 2:8,

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

God has given to every soul that believes upon His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, eternal life as a free gift!

“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.”

Won’t you receive Christ this morning as your LORD and Savior? Tomorrow may just be too late.

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