Summary: What do you say when something as terrible as 9-11 happens, or you see people rejoicing when they hear that a bomber has succeeded in blowing up a restaurant full of children? How do you explain that? (*Powerpoint Available - #237)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
(Changed e-mail address: PowerPoint slides used in this sermon are available at no charge. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request - #237.)
ILL. As many of you know, there is a Ministerial Association in Brownsville, & I’m a part of it. It is not a formal organization, issuing pronouncements or passing resolutions. It is just a group of preachers meeting for fellowship, sharing ideas & concerns, & seeking to understand each other a little better.
In our monthly meetings over the years, as we were trying to learn more about each other, we have discussed such questions as: "How did you happen to enter the ministry?” “What kind of preparation or training did you have?” “What do you feel to be the most important part of your ministry?” “What takes up most of your time?”
Some other subjects have been: “What verse of Scripture has had the biggest impact on your ministry?” “If you were making a list of your priorities, where would you put preaching?” “What kinds of sermons do you preach?” And, “How do you decide what to preach?"
A. Now, why am I telling you this? It is because of a discussion we had a few years ago. You see, some of the preachers (& I have no intention of naming names or being unkind in any way) have been taught to preach only certain kinds of sermons.
They have been taught that it is old?fashioned to preach about sin & Satan, & that people as affluent & educated as we are today wouldn’t tolerate anyone talking about a real hell, or telling them that they’re sinners & there is a Judgment Day coming.
So they tend to preach on more agreeable subjects, such as love & brotherhood. They have been told, "After all, people want to be happy & go home feeling good, thinking positive thoughts about themselves. So stick to those kinds of sermons."
Now it would seem ridiculous to ignore sin & Satan completely, so they don’t. But what God calls sin in the Bible isn’t necessarily what they consider to be sin now. And the idea of a real Satan is hard for some of them to accept.
But then what do you say when something as terrible as 9-11 happens, or you see pictures of people rejoicing wildly when they hear that a homicide bomber has succeeded in blowing up a restaurant full of little children? How do you explain that? Where does such evil come from?
If you don’t believe there is such a one as Satan, then what do you say? How do you answer the questions, & calm the fears? That is the problem some preachers are facing, & they’re struggling with it.
Unfortunately, others are just shrugging their shoulders & going on preaching their pet topics, seemingly oblivious to the needs of the people for a clear message about what God says concerning right & wrong, good & evil, & an eternity of heaven or hell.
But before I go any further, let me read you an e-mail that came this past week. I got a chuckle out of it & I think you will, too. It’s entitled: “How It Happened.”
ILL. How It Happened:
God populated the earth with broccoli & cauliflower & spinach, green & yellow vegetables of all kinds, so Man & Woman would live long & healthy lives.
Then Satan created McDonald’s.
And McDonald’s brought forth the 99-cent double-cheeseburger.
Then Satan said to Man, "You want fries with that?"
And Man said, "Super-size them." And Man gained pounds.
God created healthful yogurt so woman might keep her figure that man found so fair.
Then Satan brought forth chocolate. And woman gained pounds.
God said, "Try my crispy fresh salad."
Then Satan brought forth ice cream. And woman gained more pounds.
God said, "I have sent your heart healthy vegetables & olive oil with which to cook them."
Then Satan brought forth chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter.
And Man gained pounds & his bad cholesterol went through the roof.
So God brought forth running shoes & Man resolved to lose those extra pounds.
Then Satan brought forth cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil to change channels. And Man gained even more pounds.
God brought forth the potato, a vegetable naturally low in fat & brimming with nutrition.
Then Satan peeled off the healthful skin & sliced the starchy center into chips & deep-fat fried them. And he created sour cream dip also.
And Man clutched his remote control & ate the potato chips soaked in cholesterol.
Satan saw it & said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.
God sighed, & created quadruple bypass heart surgery.