Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God is not safe nor tame, but He’s good and you can trust Him with your life.

It’s the Christmas season. Now is the time we like to think about the manger scene, the baby, “gentle Jesus, meek and mild”. Today, however, I want to project you 30 years after that 1st Christmas, to Jesus the fiery preacher. He’s warmed up today…

(Read Luke 12:1-7)

I don’t usually put much significance in my dreams, but this one I dreamed several weeks ago is interesting enough to tell. We are on our family farm. I’m driving a sort of open vehicle like a golf cart. My wife and children are with me. There are lions running all around. They are running, milling, stirred up by something or someone up on the hills to the South. My feeling is that these are tame lions. They’re not going to hurt us, but then one lioness begins to follow closely behind the cart. There’s a hungry look in her eye, and I wonder for a moment, just how safe are these lions?

While lions and tigers can be hand raised and “tamed” to a point, any animal trainer will tell you they’re never as completely tame as your housecat. Just ask Sigfried and Roy!

I think that very fact may be the reason that C.S. Lewis chose a lion to be the god figure in his classic children’s book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

You’ve seen the posters, and the TV ads. Disney and Walden Media coming out with The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on Dec. 9. I’ve been waiting for this movie for 30 years. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was written by C.S. Lewis, a theologian and one of the sharpest Christian minds of the 20th century. He wrote Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, Surprised by Joy, and The Screwtape Letters. Then in 1950 he published the first of 7 books for children: The Chronicles of Narnia. These books has been read by millions around the world for more than half a century.

In the book, four children go through a wardrobe and enter the world of Narnia, where there are talking animals, giants, centaurs and unicorns, and, of course a lion and a witch. The lion, whose name is Aslan is the god and creator of this world, and is said to be the “son of the Great Emperor beyond the sea.” He is the Christ figure.

When the children first hear the name Aslan they have curious reactions. Three of the children--Peter, Susan and Lucy—have positive responses. “Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.” But their brother Edmond, who has gone down a path of sin and betrayal, has quite a different reaction. He felt a “sensation of mysterious horror.”

Then when the children find out that Aslan is a lion, they are all struck with fear. They are talking with Mr. Beaver and they ask him “Who is Aslan?”

Then Lucy asks, “Is—is he a man?”

“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King. I tell you.”

In one of the later books in the series another character says of Aslan, “It’s not as if he were a tame lion.”

What I love about Narnia’s Aslan is that he flies in the face of much of our modern thought about God.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I just can’t believe in a God who would condemn anyone to Hell or allow an infant to be taken from its mother.” Or “My God, would not create someone one way and then expect them to behave in another.” “My God is a God of love who accepts everyone and wants people to be happy.” The way they say “My God” makes it sound like, rather than being a fearsome lion, God is a trained kitten on a leash. One modern writer who claims to be a Christian actually wrote that Jesus was like an alley cat who just moved in and took up residence. That’s not God. That’s a pet. It’s certainly not the God of the Bible.

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