Summary: Discusses various masks people wear to keep people from really knowing who they are.

Title: Are you wearing a mask?

Text: 2 Corinthians 11:10-15

Date: 8/30/08

Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church

Introduction: Masks have been used in the world of Theater and T.V. for many years. In fact the ancient Greeks used masks in their theatrical performances on a regular basis. Zoro, The Lone Ranger, and more recently Batman and Robin have used masks to conceal their true identity.

In His book, “Dropping Your Guard,” Christian Author Chuck Swindoll says, he believes that there is a mask for every occasion.”

Having said that I wonder how many of you this morning are wearing a mask?

I. Some of you are wearing the Jessie Ventura Mask this morning.

Jessie Ventura, the former Navy Seal, and former Governor of Minnesota once said, that “organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak minded people who need strength in numbers.”

In a follow up interview Ventura said He considers himself a Christian and believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God but just doesn’t see the need to go to church. In essence what this macho man is saying is that he doesn’t need anybody’s help, and that includes the church and God. And from what He has said he believes those of us who do attend church regularly are pathetic weak minded individuals who don’t know any better.

But let me remind you of what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10. He said, “That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When you put on the “Jessie Ventura” mask you don’t have to worry about admitting how frightened or upset you may actually be.

Perhaps you or someone you love is facing an illness or a situation that scares the living daylights out of you but you don’t want anyone to know it. So when someone asks you how you’re doing you smile and say, “I’ve never been better, when in reality you’ve never felt worse.

Maybe you are having problems at home, but since you don’t won’t anyone to know how bad you are hurting, when they ask you how you’re making it you say you’re fine. But In reality nothing could be further from the truth.

Then perhaps some of you have either lost your job or are facing the prospect of losing a job during one of the most difficult economic periods that this nation has seen during the last 10-20 years. It has consumed you, it’s all you ever think about but when your friends or family members ask how you’re doing you always respond with, everything is going to be okay.

Some of you may have recently lost loved ones or perhaps close friends, yet you never leave home without putting on your “Jessie Venutura ‘tough guy” mask because you want to give everyone the impression that you’re being strong, while on the inside you’re heart is breaking.

Dr. John Claypool, once served as the pastor of Cresent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Several years ago he had a young daughter who was suffering with Leukemia. When she went into remission everyone hoped that she had been healed, but unfortunately the Leukemia returned. After suffering terribly for two weeks this little girl looked up at her father and said, “Daddy did you talk to God about my Leukemia?” He assured her that he had, and that many other people were praying for her as well. Then she looked at him and said, “What did God say when you asked him how long the Leukemia would last?

Claypool was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted, and really didn’t know how to respond to his daughter’s question and just a few hours later she died. In his book, “Tracks of a Fellow Strurggler, Claypools recalls this incident by saying, “What do you say to your daughter when you can’t help her, and the heavens are silent?”

The Sunday morning following his daughters death, Claypool got into the pulpit to preach. Many of the members of Cresent Hill Baptist Church will tell you that it was one of the most powerful sermons that he ever preached. His text came from Isaiah 40:31 which says, “Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

In that sermon, Dr. Claypool said something like this:

There are three stages of life. Sometimes we mount up with wings like eagles and sore to new heights. During this stage of our lives we feel great and everything around us is going great. We couldn’t be happier!

Sometimes we run and don’t grow weary we just cruise through our daily routine. During this time in our lives we’re so busy that we don’t take the time to stop and reflect on everything that God has done for us and how he has blessed us during our lives.

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