Summary: A message to people in a rural community in which the Sheriff, a lifetime resident, had just been shot to death while serving a warrant at a meth-lab.
What Would Jesus Say About 1-20-2005?
On Wednesday Morning 1-19-2005 Eureka and Greenwood County suffered a tragedy. A tragedy that maybe we don’t understand, or can’t understand. Matt Samuels, the Sheriff of Greenwood County was murdered. Like everyone else in Eureka, when I heard the news I went through a variety of emotions. Some of them weren’t the type of reaction that Christians are required to exhibit. This is one of those times in our lives when it’s just plain hard to exhibit the emotions and reactions that we as Christians are commanded to show. Some of the things that we’re working through are feelings of: disbelief, un-acceptance, anger, fear, not understanding, doubt, revenge, and probably some that I haven’t listed.
My first reaction was that of an ex-law enforcement officer. And I’ve had to work my way through some emotions and feelings that I thought were handled years ago. I’m sure that everyone here either has worked or is working through some tough emotions.
At times we hear stories about Law Enforcement officers who have a near brush with death but come through just fine, or Firemen, or Soldiers. But, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. That’s when we have questions, like: “Why did God let this happen?”
Well, that’s what I’d like to try to address today.
To begin with let me make it perfectly clear, real public service professions, Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters, EMS Personnel, and Military personnel. God, I believe, calls these people, into their chosen professions just as surely as a Preacher is called to preach the gospel. All of these professions that I’ve just named have a common denominator, it’s putting the good of others first, placing themselves between us and the evil that’s out there in this world. I don’t believe that any profession is as active in this area on a day-to-day basis as Law Enforcement. Now, I’m not trying to tell you that all Law Enforcement Personnel are good Christian people, or even that they’re all good people, but they all are God’s Ministers. God is still the One who puts them there.
Turn with me to today’s text please.
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authority, resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of thee authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same.
4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.
We’ve all listened to the news, or watched the news, talked to one another, read the papers and so forth. We just don’t understand how this could happen here in Greenwood County America. This is rural America after all. Well, it’s driven home to many of us that wherever you go, evil’s there, Satan’s active, and sometimes good people get hurt.
So let’s look at two questions today.
What would Jesus say about the Law Enforcement people involved?
What would Jesus say about the criminals involved?
I. What about the Law Enforcement people?
As to the Law Enforcement personnel, I think probably He’s say, “Well done,” Yes, Well done.”
The did their sworn duty, the bad guys were arrested.
But, why did Matt have to die?
Well, that’s harder to answer, but let me try. He died because evil is loose in this world, and has been since Adam & Eve fell. Those men in that house are evil men, in their own way just as evil as Osama Bin Laden, or Saddam Hussein, and lots of others who God’s allowed to live at the expense of good people.
OK. Why does God allow evil to exist? Why does He allow these evil men to live and destroy so many innocent lives? That’d be the next logical question.
Believe it or not, it’s because He loves us. He loves us so much that He allows us to have a choice. A choice to love Him or reject Him. If a person were forced to love, then that’s not true love. But, if we love someone because we choose to, then that’s real love. And that’s God greatest desire, for us to honestly love Him. In order for that to happen we must have the choice to love Him or not. The men in that house had the same choice in that area as each of us have.