Summary: Let’s live like we’re dying…because we are. But let’s also live like we’re going to live forever…because we will…either in heaven or in hell.
Living in Light of Eternity
October 7-8, 2017
Rev. Brian Bill
As we consider the massacre that took place in Las Vegas this past week, many emotions rise to the surface and numerous questions remain unanswered.
Here are some that come to mind.
• It bothers us that a motive for these senseless murders has been so elusive.
• We’ve been reminded that horrific evil is a reality in our world. It was unnerving on Friday to hear that Stephen Paddock was born in Clinton, Iowa.
• We’ve witnessed the good in people who shielded loved ones and helped people they didn’t even know. So many people offered to donate blood that they had to turn most of them away.
• We’ve also heard stories of sacrificial serving among first responders, dispatchers, police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, and medical personnel. I’m so glad we honored those who serve in our community at Awana this past Wednesday.
Like so many other selfless people on Sunday night, Taylor Winston, who has served our country as a Marine, didn’t think twice about his own safety as bullets were raining down on the Harvest Music Festival. Here’s what he said in an interview: “I saw a field with a bunch of white trucks. I tested my luck to see if any of them had keys in it, first one we tried opening had keys sitting right there,” he recalls. “I started looking for people to take to the hospital. There was just too many and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere.”
One by one, injured victims packed themselves into the back seat and the truck bed before Taylor rushed them to the hospital in the stolen vehicle. “Once we dropped them off, we were like well, let’s go back for round two and go get some more,” he said.
Almost 24 hours later, the owner of the truck was able to get in touch with Winston. This is what he texted: “Hey Taylor, told you might have the keys to my truck?? All I want is the key. Other then that it’s all water under the bridge to me…and how’s the person you hauled doing?”
Here’s how Winston responded: “I have em for ya. When do you want to meet for em? We’re at the Monte Carlo. I took about 30 critically injured to the hospital. Your truck was extremely important saving those people’s lives. I don’t know if they all made it. Sorry about doing so and all the blood.”
How are we to respond to tragedies like this?
• Lament and mourning. We’re called to weep with those who weep.
• Prayer for victims and for churches in Las Vegas as they reach out in the name of Jesus.
And here are five lessons I wrote down.
• Life is fragile and the stakes are eternal. James 4:14: “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
• Things are bad and will continue to get worse. Matthew 24:12: “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
• The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer. John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
• The church must live on mission in the midst of all the mess. Philippians 2:14-16: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life.”
• Repent and receive Jesus Christ before it’s too late. After people came to Jesus one day and pointed out two tragedies that had taken place, Jesus turned to them as they tried to make sense of it all and gave this response (he actually said it twice): “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5)
Here’s what I want us to get today: Let’s live like we’re dying…because we are. But let’s also live like we’re going to live forever…because we will…either in heaven or in hell.
Events like this also cause us to ask questions.
• Why did this happen?
• Is this life all there is?
• What happened to those who were killed suddenly? When you listen to commentators you hear things like, “so and so became an angel.” Is that true? Do we become angels when we die?
Please turn to Mark 12 where Jesus addresses some of these questions. Let’s set the context. It’s now the last week of Jesus’ life and He is involved with a series of confrontations with the religious and political parties who are trying to take Him out.