Illustration results for Indifference
Sermon Central Staff
One day Hudson Taylor was traveling on a Chinese junk from Shanghai to Ningpo. He had been witnessing to a man named Peter who rejected the gospel but was under deep conviction. In the course of events, Peter fell overboard, but no one made any effort to save him. Taylor sprang to the mast, let down the sail, and jumped overboard in hopes of finding his friend. But no one on board joined Taylor in his frantic search. Taylor saw a fishing boat nearby and yelled to them to help, but they wouldn't do it without money. Finally, after bartering for every penny that Taylor had, the fishermen stopped their fishing and began to look for Peter. In less than a minute of dragging their net, they found him, but it was too late. They were too busy fishing to care about saving a drowning man.
We can easily condemn the selfish indifference of those fishermen, but by indicting them, we may condemn ourselves. Are we too busy with our jobs and other activities to take the time to rescue those who are perishing without Christ?
(Kenneth Cole, The Crucial Message. From a sermon by Gerald Flury, Why Are You Standing Around? 8/16/2012)
FALLEN HUMAN NATURE
The fate of the women from Judges 19 touches the most troubling question of our modern time. Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel describe the most traumatic memory of his life, a scene from the year 1945, when he and his family were sent to the concentration camp by the German military machine:
'As the sea of people drifts by I see for the last time a mother and her little daughter, ghostly silent and introverted,' wrote Wiesel. 'I see them walk away, hand in hand, closely entwined. I will continue seeing them in my mind's eye as long as I live, how they disappear.'
The mother was his mother, too, and the daughter was his little sister, disappearing from view and forever lost to him in the extermination camp at Auschwitz. He, too, had experienced at first hand God's inaction in the face of injustice and His apparent indifference to human suffering.
'The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful, was silent' he protested in his book, The Night. He expressed the feelings of countless defenseless victims who pleaded for a hand to intervene and deliver them from the evil they did not have the means to escape.
To find the story from Judges 19 in a book that is supposed to tell about God, suggests that the Bible presents the evidence fairly and in an unbiased manner. During a long, chilly night in the hills of Judaea, a young woman was deserted by her husband and sexually abused to death by people who had been chosen from among the nations of the world to safeguard a knowledge of God. Itís a story of our fallen human nature, a story revealing what people who chased away the presence of the Holy Spirit, can become. BeastsÖ
WE'LL STAY OUT OF THE WAY
The Call to Worship had just been pronounced starting Easter Sunday Morning service in an East Texas church. The choir started its processional, singing "Up from the Grave He Arose" as they marched in perfect step down the center aisle to the front of the church.
The last lady was wearing shoes with very slender heels. Without a thought for her fancy heels, she marched toward the grating that covered that hot air register in the middle of the aisle. Suddenly the heel of one shoe sank into the hole in the register grate.
In a flash she realized her predicament. Not wishing to hold up the whole processional, without missing a step, she slipped her foot out of her shoe and continued marching down the aisle.
There wasnít a hitch. The processional moved with clock-like precision. The first man after her spotted the situation and without losing a step, reached down and pulled up her shoe, but the entire grate came with it! Surprised, but still singing, the man kept on going down the aisle, holding in his hand the grate with the shoe attached.
Everything still moved like clockwork. Still in tune and still in step, the next man in line stepped into the open register and disappeared from sight. The service took on a special meaning that Sunday, for just as the choir ended with "Allelujah! Christ arose!" a voice was heard under the church shouting, "I hope all of you are out of the way ícause Iím coming out now!"
The little girl closest to the aisle shouted, "Come on, Jesus! Weíll stay out of the way."
A VACATION OF COMPASSION
In 1958, 35 year old Englishwoman Anita Goulden went on holiday to Peru to visit her brother. Anita was a widowed, single mother who owned two haberdasheries in Manchester, England. She was about to go home by way of the United States when she saw an unbelievable sight--children with tuberculosis and meningitis lying neglected and abandoned in the street in pools of their own blood. "In my wildest dream, I had never thought of human beings in such shocking conditions," her diary recorded. "The appalling poverty; the indifference of those around. I can only liken it to visiting a store and finding all the goods priced wrongly. Precious goods worthless. Worthless goods precious."
So Anita stayed to help--for the next 44 years she stayed, only returning home one time before her death in 2002, and that trip was to buy medicine.
Anita started traveling by donkey to the nearby villages surrounding Piura, Peru to find more unwanted children. Her first stop in these towns was always the pigsty, the common place for leaving physically and mentally handicapped babies with the excuse that they were of no use to their families and sent as a curse from God.
"Anita's unwavering faith in God's capacity to answer her desperate prayers for food, clothing or housing when there was none left for the children, has succeeded in providing permanent care for the most sorely afflicted and has established a good education for 250 of the poorest children from th...
Sermon Central Staff
THE EEYORE SYNDROME
In the past I have spoken of what I call, "The Eeyore Syndrome"--these are Christians who walk around acting like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. They choose to look at the gloomy side of life. Their eyes are cast down, their countenance is cheerless, and they have no enthusiasm or anticipation for life.
Joyful people cannot have The Eeyore Syndrome. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a Fruit of the Spirit. The Eeyore Syndrome is not a realistic view of life nor faith-filled.
William Ward writes words about discouragement that can apply to the Eeyore Syndrome. He says, "Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God."
(SOURCE: William Ward. Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 18. From a sermon by Ken Pell, A Fruit-Full Marriage: Joy-full Love, 6/26/2011)
Just how bad is it out there? And what really are we up against? Well, let me share with you some of the information I gleaned from 17 pages of fairly up to date statistics. [SLIDE 4] I learned first of all that sex is the #1 topic searched on the internet. Now I wasnít really surprised to learn that---but the number of pornographic sites did surprise me. [SLIDE 5] I found that in 1998 there were 14 million pornographic websites. Five years later that number had grown to 260 million. The next year that number jumped from 260 to 372 million. If that rate of growth continues through the end of this year---when 2007 comes to an end there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 million pornographic websites out there. And weíve got a whole generation coming up---many to be married soon who have been gathering strange, unholy and unhealthy ideas about sex from the net---incredibly sad is that the [SLIDE 6] largest consumers of internet pornography are young people in the 12-17 year age bracket. [SLIDE 7] Folks 2.5 BILLION pornographic emails are sent everyday over the web. And while many people operate under the assumption that porn is a guy problem---the truth is [SLIDE 8] there are growing numbers of both men and women who are becoming addicted to internet porn. I donít know about you [SLIDE 9] but it makes me wonder ---whatís next?
Besides the internet sexual immorality is being promoted via the adult movie industry. [SLIDE 10] Here in America weíre producing 11,000 new porn films every year and Americans are renting 800 million adult videos & DVDs annually. [SLIDE 11] HALF of all hotel guests watch pornographic movies. [SLIDE 12] And PORN accounts for 70% of the in-room revenue raised by hotels. ARE YOU BEGINNING TO GET THE PICTURE? [SLIDE 13] Cable networks provide pay per view services for those who donít feel like they have to sneak off to a hotel to watch adult programming. [SLIDE 14] It wasnít all that long ago that MTV launched a new channel---the LOGO channel which has been designed to appeal to and promote the homosexual lifestyle. [SLIDE 15] And in America the number of couples cohabitating went from about Ĺ million in 1960 to over 5 million by the year 2000. Iím not sure what that number is today. By the way Iíve got to say this about cohabitating---besides the fact itís a sin---society has sold us a totally lame idea. Hereís what Iím talking about [SLIDE 16] in our culture people often speak of cohabitating---that is living together before marriageóin terms of a test drive. They say ---well now you wouldnít go out and buy a car without taking it for a test drive first, would you? So doesnít it just make sense to have a trial run before you commit to marriage?Ē [SLIDE 17] Now the idea of taking the relationship for a test run sounds pretty good when you think in terms of being the driverÖbut thatís where the analogy breaks down. [SLIDE 18] The idea of the test drive doesnít sound so good when you think of yourself as the car. Get real. Cars donít have feelings. They donít have a soul---so if you take them back after a test spin---they feel nothing. But dumping people because you decided to look for a different modelóthatís a whole different matter.
And while weíve talked touched on the topics or internet pornography, the adult movie industry, homosexuality and cohabitation--- thereís so much more going on--- [SLIDE 19] thereís printed porn---STDs/AIDSÖ900 numbersÖadult bookstores, strip joints, night clubs, prostitution and on and on we could go. But let me tell you what really concerns me most in all of this---itís the indifference of so many Christians---the lack of voices speaking out against this tidal wave of immorality---even worse than the lack of voices are those voices of agreement. Believe it or not---[SLIDE 20] studies show that half of the people in our nation who call themselves Christians donít see a problem with couples living together. [SLIDE 21] 39% think thereís nothing wrong with sexual fantasizing. [SLIDE 22] Incredibly more than 1/3 of todayís church going women have intentionally visited pornographic websites. [SLIDE 23] And get this Ĺ of church going men struggle with pornography.
And here in this seventh commandment, [SLIDE 24] the commandment where God says ďYou shall not commit adulteryĒ is a clear call for Godís people in every generation to maintain sexual purity.
Sermon Central Staff
GOD KNOWS WHERE WE ARE
Ken Gaub wrote about an experience he had back in the 1990s:
"Do you believe that God not only loves you, but knows where you are and what youíre doing every minute of the day? I certainly do after an amazing experience I had several years ago.
"At the time I was driving on 1-75 near Dayton, Ohio, with my wife and children. We turned off the highway for a rest and refreshment stop. My wife Barbara and children went into the restaurant. I suddenly felt the need to stretch my legs, so waved them off ahead saying Iíd join them later.
"I bought a soft drink, and as I walked toward a Dairy Queen, feelings of self-pity enshrouded my mind. I loved the Lord and my ministry, but I felt drained, burdened. My cup was empty.
"Suddenly the impatient ringing of a telephone nearby jarred me out of my doldrums. It was coming from a phone booth at a service station on the corner. Wasnít anyone going to answer the phone?
"Noise from the traffic flowing through the busy intersection must have drowned out the sound because the service station attendant continued looking after his customers, oblivious to the ringing. 'Why doesnít somebody answer that phone?' I muttered.
"I began reasoning. It may be important. What if itís an emergency? Curiosity overcame my indifference. I stepped inside the booth and picked up the phone. 'Hello?' I said casually and took a big sip of my drink.
"The operator said: 'Long distance call for Ken Gaub.'
"My eyes widened, and I almost choked on a chunk of ice. Swallowing hard, I said, 'Youíre crazy!' Then realizing I shouldnít speak to an operator like that, I added, 'This canít be! I was walking down the road, not bothering anyone, and the phone was ringing... '
"'Is Ken Gaub there?' the operator interrupted, 'I have a long distance call for him.'
"It took a moment to gain control of my babbling, but I finally replied, 'Yes, he is here.' Searching for a possible explanation, I wondered if I could possibly be on Candid Camera!
"Still shaken, perplexed, I asked, 'How in the world did you reach me here? I was walking down the road, the pay phone started ringing, and I just answered it on chance. You canít mean me.'
"'Well,' the operator asked, 'Is Mr. Gaub there or isnít he?'
"Yes, I am Ken Gaub," I said, finally convinced by the tone of her voice that the call was real.
"Then I heard another voice say, 'Yes, thatís him, operator. Thatís Ken Gaub.'
"I listened dumbfounded to a strange voice identify herself. 'Iím Millie from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You donít know me, Mr. Gaub, but Iím desperate. Please help me.'
"'What can I do for you?'
"She began weeping. Finally she regained control and continued. 'I was about to commit suicide and had just finished writing a note, when I began to pray and tell God I really didnít want to do this. Then I suddenly remembered seeing you on television and thought if I could just talk to you, you could help me. I knew that was impossible because I didnít know how to reach you, I didnít know anyone who could help me find you. Then some numbers came to my mind, and I scribbled them down.'
"At this point she began weeping again, and I prayed silently for wisdom to help her. She continued, 'I looked at the numbers and thought, "Wouldnít it be wonderful if I had a miracle from God, and He has given me Kenís phone number?" I decided to try calling it. I canít believe Iím talking to you. Are you in your office in California?'
"I replied, 'Lady, I donít have an office in California. My office is in Yakima, Washington.'
"A little surprised, she asked, 'Oh really, then where are you?'
"'Donít you know?' I responded. 'You made the call.'
"She explained, 'But I donít even know what area Iím calling. I just dialed the number that I had on this paper.'
"'Maíam, you wonít believe this, but Iím in a phone booth in Dayton, Ohio!'
"'Really?' she exclaimed. 'Well, what are you doing there?'
"I kidded her gently, 'Well, Iím answering the phone. It was ringing as I walked by, so I answered it.'
"Knowing this encounter could only have been arranged by God, I began to counsel the woman. As she told me of her despair and frustration, the presence of the Holy Spirit flooded the phone booth giving me words of wisdom beyond my ability. In a matter of moments, she prayed the sinnerís prayer and met the One who would lead her out of her situation into a new life. I walked away from that telephone booth with an electrifying sense of our Heavenly Fatherís concern for each of His children.
"What were the astronomical odds of this happening? With all the millions of phones and innumerable combinations of numbers, only an all-knowing God could have caused that woman to call that number in that phone booth at that moment in time. Forgetting my drink and nearly bursting with exhilaration, I headed back to my family, wondering if they would believe my story. Maybe I better not tell this, I thought, but I couldnít contain it.
"'Barb, you wonít believe this! God knows where I am!'"
(From a sermon by David Scudder, El Roi "The Strong One who Sees" Part 2, 3/27/2011)
In his book, The Yoke of Christ, Elton Trueblood quotes a letter from a school girl who probes the depth of her soul. She writes, "Iíve been thinking much this year about the importance of caring, of the passion of life. Iíve often realized that it takes courage to care. Caring is dangerous. It leaves you open to hurt and to looking like a fool. And perhaps itís because they have been hurt so often that people are afraid to care. You canít die if youíre not alive. And then who would rather be a stone? I have found many places in my own life where I keep a secr...
COMPROMISE AND ANTI-CHRIST
Religious tolerance is not always a sign of good will. It can be a sign of careless, perhaps hypocritical religious indifference of the most high-handed philosophic relativism. It can also be a mask behind which to hide downright malice. During the Nazi era, for example, arguments for Christian openness to other perspectives were used by German Christians in an attempt to neuter the churchís protest against the neo-paganism of Hitler and his minions. The Confessing Church in Germany found in John 10 a theological basis to stand against Hitler. There are times in which the only way to keep alive the non-vindictive, nonjudgmental, self-sacrificing witness of Jesus Christ is to stand with rude dogmatism on the rock that is Jesus Christ, condemning all compromise as the work of the Antichrist.
SOURCE: Ronald Goetz in "Exclusivistic Universality" (Christian Century, April 21, 1993). Sep00
"The religious dead play at a faÁade of piety while trusting that the big check they dropped in the plate today will cover for their indulgence in the lusts of the flesh yesterday.
They take a week or two to travel to a third world country and pass out rice and Bibles and that washes away any stain of indifference to the plight of their unsaved neighbor or their disdainful treatment of the unwed mother in the pew behind them. Redemption is not purchased with any of these things; not big checks and not good deeds. God could make the stars into diamonds. He could speak and turn the planets into gold and silver and you would sell your own soul for paltry penance?
Would you think to buy His favor with that which you would not have apart from His grace?" c.e.t.