Monday, October 03, 2011

Appearances can be deceiving!

It would appear that pilfering money internally from a Bank is easier than an external attempt by seasoned bank-robbers with their elaborate plans involving explosives and getaway vehicles. In the early to mid 1990’s Nick Leeson worked in Singapore for Baring’s Bank as general manager of their Futures Markets. By the title of his book he became a ‘Rogue Trader’, meaning that he fraudulently ran up debts against the Bank of US$1.4Billion. Eventually, in 1995 he was charged with fraud and sent to prison for six and a half years but was released in 1999 having been diagnosed with colon cancer. It was alleged in the New York Times that the British Press had uncovered accounts linked to him for the value of US$35million.

Springtime 2008 at Societe Generale Bank was not a happy place to be. In January another trader, Jerome Kerviel caused the Bank losses of US$7.2Billion by fraudulent trading. Then in March the Bank sued a Turkish Jeweller for the non payment of 15 Tonnes of Gold, the Jeweller accepted responsibility of payment for only 3,250 kg of the precious metal valued at US$94Million. This now you see it, now you don’t, has all the appearance of a massive scam.
German International Broadcaster Deutsche Welle, reported on 24th. September, ‘The chief executive of Swiss banking giant UBS, Oswald Gruebel, resigned on Saturday in the wake of a rogue trading scandal that cost the bank some $2.3 billion (1.7 billion euros).’ A London based trader for UBS, 31 year old, Kweku Adoboli has been charged with fraud and if found guilty could face a long custodial sentence. Barings, Societe Generale and UBS all appeared to be sound financial houses but each were found wanting in relation to security, no proper checks and balances were in place to avert such happenings.

About 25 years ago, my wife and I took our Motorhome/Gospel Van to the ‘Elephant Fayre’ in Cornwall. A word about the title, it had nothing to do with elephants other than if you look at a map of S/W England you will see that the County of Cornwall is shaped like an elephant’s head. The three day Rock/Arts Festival was staged at Lord Elliot’s estate at St. Germans, styled on the Gladstonbury Festival. Drugs and alcohol being an indulgence of many of the 30,000 people attending. We attached a market type stand to the side of our van, displaying free literature and presented a Gospel Witness to those that passed by, promoting some good spiritual conversations. Two young ‘Punk Rockers’ presented themselves to my wife with the question. “Does your religion give a cup of tea away?” She replied, not only so but if they wanted to join her in the van she would prepare them some cheese and tomato sandwiches. Their faces brightened, then they told her that they had been living out of the bins the past few days. I joined them at the table in the van and got talking to them and my heart went out to them as I told them the gospel. We had two sons of similar age to them! Their appearance was typical to their following, both had mohican hair cuts, one was dyed pale green, the other orange. From a distance you might have thought that they had got a parrot on their head. During the conversation one boy said to me, “Don’t judge us by our appearance”. I replied that I never judge a book by its cover! Their brashness seemed to disolve as we got under their radar and targetted their souls with the life giving message of the gospel.

Some appearances can be pretence, but the three appearances of the Son of God in Hebrews ch.9 have nothing false about them. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

The first reference tells us where Christ is presently; He is in the presence of God in Heaven. This statement confirms the fact that He is a living Saviour and that He is there FOR US! People that believe on Him and have committed their life to Him have the assurance that their Saviour is presently in Heaven for them, interceding on their behalf. It is good to know that one’s life is in the hands of the highest person in the highest place.

All this has been secured because in time passed He appeared on earth to deal with the offensiveness and guilt of man’s sin. He did this by giving His life at Calvary, where He died on our account that He might bring us undeserving sinners back to God. I love the gospel because it tells me of the grace of God (GRACE = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense). He loved me and gave Himself for me. Paul said that and so can all those that are saved by faith in His death and resurrection.

Soon that third reference will take place, He is going to appear the second time, apart from the sin question, because He is coming to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

It is not popular in today’s secular atheistic world to believe in any of those three appearances of Christ found in Hebrews ch.9, but I do and would encourage you to start with the middle one relating to the past, He appeared to put away your sin. Believe that and your present life will take on a different meaning and your future will be no pretence but you will appear with Him in glory. How about that?  God bless.

Written for Stephen Baker by Stan Burditt of Northampton       

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