Summary: Looking back over our lives and seen how good the Lord has been.
Scripture: Various, especially James 4:14
As We Remember
Introduction: Where were you when you heard the news of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001? We’re not likely to forget the circumstances surrounding that day in our lives. As we pause both as a nation and more specifically as a community of believers, I want to share with you three things that we need to keep in mind when we reflect on this tragic event.
1. Life Is Brief and Uncertain (James 4:1317). Most of those who worked in the Trade Towers or the Pentagon woke up that morning, went through their morning routines, and ended up at work as usual. Those who were on the fatal flights that day probably didn’t think anything about getting on those planes. However, for many in the Trade Towers, for those on the planes, for those in the Pentagon, this was their last day. Life is brief and so uncertain. James says it’s like a vapor that disappears in an instant. We should ask ourselves three questions:
A. Am I Ready to Die? Another way to ask this question is: What have you done with Jesus? The Bible says that God loves you, and that Jesus Christ suffered, died, and shed His blood and rose again so that we could be forgiven and restored to God. Have you ever confessed your sin to God? Have you ever believed and received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? If you have not, I beg you make that decision this morning because life is brief and uncertain. If you have made this decision, what kind of legacy will you leave when you die? Are there people you haven’t forgiven? Friends you haven’t shared the gospel with?
B. Am I Living in Surrender? James tells us not to tell others our plans, but to qualify every future action in our lives to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that" (James 4:14, 15). One of the biggest struggles in life for Christians is to submit our future to the Lord, but it’s the most important struggle to overcome!
C. Am I Living to the Fullest? James tells us that knowing the good we should do and refraining from it is sin (v. 17)! While we are still living, we should take every opportunity to serve the Lord. Are you doing this?
2. God Is Our Only Source of Hope (Ps. 46). These verses tell us not to fear, but to hope in God during trouble. Reflecting on the events of September11, we are forced to answer some basic questions like, "Is there a God?" and, "What kind of God would let this happen?" Is this world just chaos, and is tragedy the proof? Is God cruel and uncaring about us? God has revealed Himself through this world and through Scripture, and as Christians; we believe He exists, so why did He allow this to happen? He is not uninvolved or uninformed, as some critics and even scholars might suggest; the Bible teaches that He is ultimately in control. The Lord works through tragedy. Was it not the most horrific tragedy when Jesus Christ, God in human form, was tortured and crucified? Yet, the Lord provided salvation through this tragedy. It’s God’s job to guide His creation, and ours to hope only in Him.
3. We Should Be Proactive in Eliminating Hatred and Terrorism (Rom. 1).
You might think I sound like a politician now, but Romans 1:16 tells us that we are not to be ashamed of the gospel because, "it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." (NKJV) That includes Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. This doesn’t mean we support acts of terror or that we are promoting other religions, but it does mean that even terrorists are fallen, sinful people just like we are without the salvation of Jesus Christ. The gospel is a gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15). We, as believers, have a responsibility to fight darkness, terrorism, and hatred with prayer, fasting, and evangelism. Are you doing your part?
Are you ready to die, to surrender, and to live? Is your hope in God or yourself? What are we doing to advance the message of Jesus in our own community and around the world? Our life is vanishing quickly, so make a decision today to surrender your life completely, hoping in Him through tragedy and triumph.