Summary: This week we are going to look at a hugely important issue that God has laid on my heart: AIDS. We’ll look at this crisis that the church is facing and some ways to respond.

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It’s an Epidemic

Matthew 4:23-25

August 10, 2008

A man asked his friend, “What color are your pastor’s eyes?” He answered, “I don’t know. When he prays He closes his eyes and when he preaches I close mine.”

As many of you know, we’ve examining some important issues for our congregation. This week we are going to look at a hugely important issue that God has laid on my heart: AIDS. Unfortunately this week there is, well, some bad news. There is an epidemic raging. Millions are suffering and dying from it. And well the really bad news is that the church, the people of God, has responded abysmally to it. Of course it is the AIDS epidemic.

Now wait a minute, though. Don’t tune me out just yet. I know its tempting but hang with me.

A man would come home every night from work, only to be hit with the day’s calamities by his wife. One night he said to her, “‘Honey, before you hit me with everything that has gone wrong, would you at least let me sit down and enjoy a good night’s meal’? The next night, as soon as he came through the door his wife said to him, ‘Honey, hurry up and eat, I have something terrible to tell you.’”

Yes, there is bad news but this should not be depressing because we have the ultimate good news. We read from Matthew 4 earlier. Jesus came announcing the good news that a new way of living had come. He told people that they should be looking to God not the government, not Caesar, not even their religious leaders to help them but look to God and to live out God’s ways. To show them the blessing of the kingdom that leads to life, he healed hundreds if not thousands of people.

Jesus told them how God desires us to be whole people. He touched them and healed them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Now let me ask you this, do you think that they got sick again? Sure. Maybe not with their original ailment. But certainly they got sick and you know what else they died. Because this body has been corrupted. But one day when Jesus comes again all will be set right and we will be resurrected just as Jesus was resurrected and we will finally show the glory of God in the way that we were meant too.

So in the meantime, this means showing people God’s love. It means helping them as they suffer for we do suffer in this life, in this decaying world, that needs to be made new. It means that we have a sure and certain hope that the suffering and then death in this life is not the final answer. Death does not have the last say. So we are called to pray for others. We are called to minister to the least of these. We are called to share and show the love of Christ.

Now I have three hopes from this sermon.

Three Hopes

1. We will pray more fervently for people with AIDS.

2. We will seek to be more informed.

So often we ignore these issues not because we are uncaring but because we are so bewildered. We hear so many different stories and we so many contradictions and the problems seem so huge that we sort of give up. We give in to apathy. This, I’m convinced, is what the enemy wants for us more than anything else.

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