There are a number of debilitating diseases and maladies which are known to deform the human spine.
If you look at a healthy back bone from the back, it should appear to be straight up and down.
But there are millions of people with whom these things aren’t true.
Sometimes when looking at the spine from the back it may be permanently twisted from one side to the other, rather than straight up and down.
Names like: cerebral palsy; congenital scoliosis, muscular dystrophy and spina bifida.
My wife has worked with quite a few children suffering from various types of scoliosis.
She was telling me of one of her children who needed that procedure a couple of years ago, but who, at the time, was too sick to survive the surgery, so it wasn’t done.
Today he is horribly twisted and still getting worse.
Many of the people to whom Peter had just finished preaching, had been involved in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.
YE have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
BUT Christ “came unto his own, and his own received Him not.”
And said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
He told them not only to believe WHAT he was telling them, but also to believe ON the Lord Jesus.
He told them that they ought to be baptized.
It appears that he told them to join themselves to the church and to fellowship with the Apostles, so that they might learn more about Christ and how to serve and worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”
The word “untoward” is not exactly a common word in either the Bible or modern English.
So I did a little research.
Peter uses it again in I Peter 2:18 – “Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the FROWARD.”
Apparently “untoward” is the opposite of “good and gentle.”
John the Baptist also used the word in quoting Isaiah:
And the CROOKED shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth.”
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
Without rebuke, in the midst of a CROOKED and perverse nation,
Among whom ye shine as lights in the world” –
And the rest of the story is – the Greek word translated “untoward” is “SKOLIOS.”
Beloved, scoliosis is not something to wish upon your worst enemy.
“And with many other words did he testify and EXHORT, saying, Save yourselves from this SCOLIOTIC generation.”
C.H. Spurgeon once said: “Concerning salvation, we need only preach one sermon by way of explanation, but men need ten sermons by way of exhortation.”
This is Peter’s exhortation, not only to the people of his generation, but also to ours as well.
We need to preach Peter’s sermon and re-preach his exhoration until all the world has the words ringing in its ears.
“Save yourselves from this SCOLIOTIC generation.”
There is a phrase found several times in the Book of Judges which could be applied to our society:
The Word of God is as current as this morning’s newspaper and ten times more important.
Because, not only does the Bible describe our society, but it also answers our society.
The Bible is as current today as it was 2,000 years ago, because it is the eternal Word of God.
As the Lord Himself transcends time, there is a special way in which His Word does as well.
Until the Lord is the King over all the earth, we are going to be a part of an untoward generation.
But he might be taken as representative of us all – exaggerated a few thousand times.
Here is a man who in some ways loves prostitutes, but who murdered them by the dozens.
Here is a man who considers himself frugal, so he murdered them rather than paying their fees.
Here is a man who wants his own life spared, but who strangled at least 48 different people to death.
Here is a man who continues to take pride in his horrible accomplishments.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with a 5 being “the worst possible evil person,” Ridgway ranks himself as a 3.
In many ways he has been considered exemplary as a father and an employee.
Ordinarily, I don’t bring sensational news items into the House of the Lord,
We live in a scoloitic world.
Why is abortion killing thousands of our citizens? Because we live in an untoward generation.
Why have the Episcopalians elected an homosexual bishop? Because this is an untoward generation.
Why does a young man take a gun into his high school and start shooting?
But we can also say it about the more mundane things and things closer to home.
“Why is the house of God forsaken?” Because we live in a crooked and perverse generation.
Why aren’t the people of God as sacrificial as they ought to be?
“Scoliosis” is a term used to describe the unnatural curvature of the spine.
There is reason to argue that society should not be so untoward.
We have a sure foundation in the Word of God.
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.”
When scoliosis begins to weaken and twist the Christian’s spine he needs the insertion of the steel rod of God’s truth.
There is a fine line between the sins of venerating and adoring the Lord’s church and not giving it the respect that the Word of God says that it should have.
Becoming a member, attending, supporting and sustaining one of the Lord’s churches will help any saint of God from becoming untoward.
Because Jehovah is still upon the throne, and He takes no pleasure in spiritual scoliosis.
Peter could have preached Ezekiel 18:4,
The soul that sinneth it shall die.”
The people in that Pentecostal throng were all headed toward death – physical and eternal.
And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
“Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”
In a sense Peter did preach Isaiah 55:7:
And let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him;
And to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
I believe that salvation is completely by the grace of God from beginning to end.
I don’t believe that there is a single lost soul in the entire world truly seeking God on his own,
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Those whom the Lord touches will respond in several distinct ways.
And “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,”
The natural man will never of his own free will obey the commands of the Spirit of God.
But the fact remains that repentance is a deliberate change of heart and mind on the part of the sinner.
Repentance is not just an attitude hidden away in the depths of his soul.
It is a change of heart which produces tangible fruit in the physical life of that sinner.
It is seen in an ongoing battle to rid one’s life of acts, effects and residue of sin.
“Save yourselves from this SCOLIOTIC generation. Repent!”
Another step that Peter exhorted upon these people to take was to put faith in the Christ that they had previously rejected and crucified (verse 44).
This had been a part of the theme of the Saviour Himself.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, & shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” – Jn. 5:21-24.
John the Apostle thought that this faith was so important he summarized his Gospel with the words:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
“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.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
But only a repentant soul will acknowledge the name and authority of the LORD Jesus Christ.
Then when sinners save themselves through repentance and faith,
They will begin to follow and serve the Lord in the rest of His commands,
Including baptism, and continuing stedfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and fellowship.
The gospel message must be preached again and again,
And then it needs to be echoed with the constant exhortation to gladly receive the Word.
Will you not “save yourselves from this untoward generation?”
Repent before God and put your faith and hope on the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation.”