But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete. (Luke 6:49 NIV)

Running onto the playing field and into the huddle went the young man. After a few moments of bewilderment, he felt the stares. “What’s the play?” “Yeh, what did coach tell you?” “You don’t know do you?” It was obvious the fresh player forgot why he was there.

If we polled Christians about their God-given purpose in these climactic days, how many blank expressions would we see? Haven’t we yet listened to enough sermons, sang enough songs or read enough Bible or isn’t that the answer? From Jesus’ teaching in Luke 6:49, hearing isn’t enough.

Scripture is full of examples of a sad turn of events. Twelve of Israel’s finest returned to camp describing a land flowing with milk and honey. Ten forgot why they were chosen to enter Canaan, then paid with their lives. Achan forgot God’s command and stole devoted things from Jericho’s ruins. He, and all associated with him, ended up under a pile of desert rocks. A prophet from Judah disregarded God’s strict orders and sat down to a meal. A lion met him on the way home and killed him (1 Kings 13:20-26).

At the surprise judgment, the goats will stand on the Son of Man’s left and hear they are condemned to the place prepared for the devil and his angels. Or on that day many will address Christ, saying, “Lord, Lord.” Even so, they will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). Truly, a sad turn of events.

God’s instruction must be put into practice. Prophecy is where most are vulnerable to serious missteps. Ezekiel gives warnings to “the righteous” about falling from their privileged position (18:24-32, 33:6-9). If the righteous are unprepared for the day of disaster, the sword of the Lord will cut them down along with the wicked (9:3-11, 21:1-6). (Does this ring true?)

Clear signals of the end are being transmitted from heaven. The result among God’s people tends to resemble confusion and inaction. We have largely ignored the prophets’ message to embrace a positivism that says nothing bad can happen because we “accepted Jesus.” This surely invites a sad turn of events. We should pay careful attention to what we have heard (Hebrews 2:1). Dismiss God’s wrath to the peril of our soul.

Listen to a sad turn of events as prophesied in Amos: “All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’ ” (9:10)