Summary: Christians are to be people of hope, above all else. Why all the paranoia and suspicion?!
Hope In Uncertain Times
Wildwind Community Church
November 15, 2008
Today’s message is called Hope in Uncertain Times. I am not up here today to preach a political sermon. My concern is not with politics, which concern the affairs of this world, but rather my concern is with the church – with her health, her state of mind, her well-being, and her fitness to be the bride of Christ that scripture says she is.
I want to talk to you today, about what seems to be a loss – or rather a giving up – of hope. Here are the things I have heard this week, mostly from Christians:
1. Barack Obama is the antichrist.
2. This financial meltdown will spiral completely out of control, crash our economy, and spell the end of the US as we know it.
3. The end is almost here
Why is it that Christians, entrusted with the ultimate message of hope and sent out to be messengers of a hope in a dark world, are often some of the gloomiest, most depressing people to be around, and some of the most paranoid people I know? What’s that all about?
Let me ask you, how are things for you right now? Are you getting gas in your cars and heat in your house? Do you have money in the bank and people around who love you and a few fun songs on your iPod and a few fun movies on your DVR? Do you have a roof over your head, blankets to keep you warm, and a doctor to help you stay healthy? Three squares a day, more or less? Then as of right now – despite what is happening around you – you are among the most privileged, the most blessed, and the most secure people who have ever lived on this planet. Could that change at any time? Sure. Nothing is guaranteed. Are there things out there that are cause for concern? Of course! But we are to live in the circumstances where God has placed us, not be shooting ourselves far beyond them in order to make wild conjectures about future things. Check this out.
John 11:7-9 (MSG)
7 After the two days, he said to his disciples, "Let’s go back to Judea."
8 They said, "Rabbi, you can’t do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?"
9 Jesus replied, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn’t stumble because there’s plenty of light from the sun.
What’s Christ’s message here? First, that we are to walk by the light we have. God has apportioned each of us a certain number of hours and while those hours remain, we are to busy ourselves not with fearful predictions and forecasts, not with doom and gloom, not with anxiously tracking every move of the stock market or hearing or inventing conspiracy stories about our political leaders, but with whatever work God has given us to do. Let us work while it is daylight!
Second, right along with that message is the inevitable fact that one day time for us, like it did for Jesus, will run out. Jesus walked back into a hornet’s nest simply because he knew he walked in God’s will and by God’s light. As long as he was able to breathe and make the choice, he would go where he was needed and do what he had been born and called to do. At the time of Jesus, Jerusalem was under the boot of Rome, and yet there is not one single recorded discourse where Jesus goes off about this and that regarding the Roman Empire. Some terrible things were happening because of government and things were about to get a whole lot worse. But by and large, Jesus stayed on message, which was the availability of the Kingdom of God to ordinary people like you and me.
What did Jesus know? Jesus knew that God had given him 12 hours of daylight. My brother has put this better than anyone I’ve ever heard, when he said, “If it ain’t your time, nothing can kill ya.” Jesus knew this, believed it, and walked in that belief all the way back to Judea to raise Lazarus from the dead.
Do you know what concerns me more than our economic crisis, and more than the state of our planet with regard to warming, and more than nuclear proliferation? What concerns me WAY more than any of these things is that so many in the church (have some conversations and go online if you don’t know what I mean) are acting in godless ways. And by godless I do not mean committing sexual sin and worshipping idols and stuff – I simply mean forfeiting what is the main inheritance God has given us as his children, which is hope! So many are giving in to fear and suspicion and paranoia.