Summary: Christ has transformed us. We need to remind ourselves of that fact and continually claim it by faith!
Everything seemed normal when British Airways’ flight #2069 left London’s Heathrow Airport. Six hours into the flight things started to go downhill fast, literally! Scuffling was heard near the front and the cockpit became a whirling kaleidoscope of fists, arms and legs. The problem was that a 27-year-old deranged and suicidal man had rushed into the cockpit and momentarily gained control of the plane. When the pilots jumped him, he began to punch and pull and bite them. Somehow he was able to break free and grab the controls sending the 747 into a deep and violent plunge. At this point everything in the cabin was absolutely chaotic. People were yelling and screaming. People were praying. People were writing notes to their loved ones. Most people lost interest in the in-flight movie! Doom and death hung over the passengers as the 747 plunged toward the ground.
Earlier that day a man by the name of Clark Bineham had tried to get a flight from London to Uganda, but he was bumped due to bad weather, so he got on flight 2069 going from London to Kenya instead. British Airways would then fly him the last leg of his journey from Kenya to Uganda.
To make up for the inconvenience, they put him in first class. Clark said it was the first time he had ever flown in first class. They put him two seats back from the cockpit. Clark, a preacher from South Carolina, was on a short-term mission trip. The preacher that God had redirected to this flight also happened to be an athletic, strapping six-foot-seven. Later on, he said in the report that he saw a very short flight attendant going to assist in the cockpit and about that time, he said, he realized it was his calling to get involved.
So he undid his seat belt and jumped into the cockpit confusion where everyone was fighting this madman who determinedly remained firmly attached to the controls. Thankfully six-foot-seven pastor Clark pulled the guy out of the cockpit like a bad weed in a freshly tilled garden. He then literally threw him on the floor and jumped on him. With the help of his preaching partner, he subdued the man and quickly tied him up. Meanwhile, the pilot regained control of the plane and leveled it off literally moments before they would have crashed.
The pilot later revealed that the plane was only 2 or 3 seconds from the point of no return. There would have been nothing he could have done to save them.
Of course, the moral of the story is that it is good to send your pastor on short-term mission trips. Let’s close with a prayer!
(Edited and personalized from "Are You Still Amazed by God’s Grace?" by David Yarbrough http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermon.asp?SermonID=56933)
The REAL moral of the story is that the passengers on that plane thought they were doomed, but because of the quick intervention of a preacher from North Carolina, they had a whole new lease on life. These people were helpless, unable to do anything. If it hadn’t been for the actions of one man, everyone would have died, away from friends and family, away from their intended destination. Pastor Clark was a hero, just like all pastors are!
Please turn with me to Colossians 1:21-23
As you are turning there let me remind you of the amazing poem that Paul has just finished reciting in vv. 15-20. We spent three weeks on these verses, and we really just started to scratch the surface. As I have said before, if you want to get the BIG picture of Jesus’ nature, mission and identity, this is the passage to turn to. No other passage says more about the divinity, power and authority of Christ.
Paul’s poem tells us that Jesus created all things and he holds them all together. It tells us that everything was created by him and for him and that he is the head of the Church and the firstborn from among the dead. Finally, as we saw last week, he is also the one that will reconcile all things to him–whether things in heaven or on earth, all things will be reconciled by Jesus’ blood shed on the cross.
No one who hears these words can let them pass by without noticing their grandeur and power. You can’t help but be impressed. Paul has just written Jesus’ ultimate uber-resume, but what’s it all mean? You might be thinking, "I am happy for Jesus, but where do I fit in?"
Well today Paul is going to answer that question. Let’s read together beginning at v. 21: "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation-- 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant."