Sermons

Summary: A response to Tuesday September 11 attack on the United States. A sermon that calls us to faith, rather than fear for God is with us.

Matthew 24:1-8

Eads and Haswell UMC

September 16, 2001

Tuesday morning,

I got out of bed and went through my normal array of morning activities.

I showered, dressed, ate breakfast,

And sat down to drink my morning cup of coffee.

I was remarkably pleased with the Broncos the night before

And I thought I would flip on Sportscenter

for a recap of the Monday Night Football

to find out what happened to Ed McCaffrey.

Instead of sports highlights,

ABC News was broadcasting on ESPN.

That’s odd, I thought to myself.

I checked the channel to make sure it was ESPN.

Yes, the channel is right,

Why is there smoke and fire on ESPN?

“Uh Mary,

I think that something bad has happened.”

We sat and watched the horror unfold of that morning’s events.

Four planes highjacked and rammed into buildings containing

Fathers, mothers, children going about there daily lives.

“My God help us”

I looked at Mary and said,

“Our world is forever a different place.”

Then they showed the Pentagon.

We held our breath waiting,

And the images only got worse and worse.

I never realized how much the world could change in just a single day.

And then, the media showed us the demonic face of evil,

The monstrosity of hate known as Bin Laden.

As we continued to watch the horror unfold before us,

I realized that this is just the beginning of something big.

And when I look at who the players in this confrontation are,

I began to get scared.

Christian television was little comfort.

Christians declaring that this is the wrath of God unleashed on our nation.

Christians declaring that God is allowing us to be punished that we might

Come back to him.

Christians declaring that this indeed may be the beginning

Of the end.

From what I could see,

Terrorism had accomplished its goal not only against the nation,

But against the church.

Christians assigned God the blame for evil,

Rather than recognizing that Satan

Has reached out to kill God’s people

Since the time of Cain and Able.

Christians declared that this is the beginning of the apocalypse

Rather than waiting to see where we go from here.

Do not get me wrong,

We are called to be watchful people.

The return of Christ is absolutely imminent,

As it has been for the last 2000 years.

He is at the door,

And we are to stand ready.

But, in these times, we are called to make a choice in our discernment.

Will we choose fear, or will we choose faith?

I think anyone who has watched these events unfold

This last week has experienced fear.

That is only to be expected.

Yet fear cannot ever be the driving force

Behind our lives or our Christianity.

Even if… especially if… this truly is the beginning of the end times,

We are called to be people of great faith and not fear.

Now, there is all kind of apocalyptic literature in the Bible.

Many of us think of Revelation and Daniel when we think of the

Prophesies about the end times.

And, rightly so, this is the majority of the

literature we have to work with.

But, there is also material in the Gospel that I want to take a look at.

Not only does Jesus tell us what to expect,

But he tells us how we are to be as his faithful followers..

The Gospel Lesson this morning comes from Matthew 24:1-8

1 As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 Then he asked them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down."

3 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" 4 Jesus answered them, "Beware that no one leads you astray. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ’I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8 all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

This is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I think that the first thing we need to realize is that

People have been asking the question

“when will the end of the earth come”

for a long, long time.

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