Summary: This message will focus on the salvation message in order to help believers learn a gospel presentation they can share with their friends. Believers are also urged to invite their non-Christian friends and family members to this “reaping” service.
Telling His Story
Rev. Brian Bill
I want to begin this morning by reading part of an article written by Bob Greene, a nationally syndicated columnist.
“In the hours after the carnage at the school near San Diego—as the sick, too familiar, pit-of-the-stomach feelings returned—the nation once again began to search for answers. Maybe it’s finally time to just admit it: We don’t have the answers. Look around this country. School administrators don’t have the answers, and teachers don’t have the answers, and mothers and fathers don’t have the answers, and police departments don’t have the answers. The president of the United States doesn’t have the answers and the Congress doesn’t have the answers…
“But even if we, as a society, were able to prevent every student from having a firearm, we would still be left with the harder question: Why? Why has it come to this? Why do students murder? One theory…is that there is a growing soullessness in the land, a vacuum inside some young people: a vacuum whose utter emptiness is beyond our comprehending. The reason we as a society are struggling as we throw stopgap measures at the schools is that if we really knew—if we genuinely understood how to stop this—then we would have done it already…
“What we are dealing with is something so profound that it belongs as much to the area of theology as it does to education or law enforcement. Our attempts to construct barriers of safety around our schools—however well-intentioned the efforts—are just bandages over a wound that is growing too big…” (Pontiac Daily Leader, 3/13/01, “Terribly, The News Was No Surprise”)
We readily admit that our country has some problems, don’t we? This morning, I want to argue that the answer, like Bob Greene suggests, is theological. Are you aware that since the Columbine tragedy, there have been twenty-two shootings in American schools? Amidst the cries for tougher gun laws, we’re faced with a much bigger issue. The root problem is what the Bible calls sin.
My message this morning is based in large part, on a book written by my friend Ray Pritchard called, “An Anchor for the Soul.” I had the privilege of editing his manuscript and Ray gave me permission to use some of it this morning (Moody Press, 2000).
When God first created the world, Genesis 1:26 says that He made Adam and Eve “in his image” and “after his likeness.” We were made in God’s image, which means there is something in us that reflects who God is. You and I were made with the ability to know God personally. We can illustrate it this way:
But we have a problem. Even though we were made by God to know God, we generally pull back from Him. And, when we want to find Him, we can’t locate Him on our own, and so we end up searching in all the wrong places. Here’s an important truth to remember: We can never know God unless He reveals Himself to us. Thankfully, God has not left us to live in darkness forever. He has revealed Himself to us. Acts 17:27 says that God is “not far from each one of us.”
God is holy, which means He is utterly pure, free from all evil, totally without blame or error. Holiness is what makes God God. He never lowers His standards, never compromises, and makes no “deals.” He Himself is the final standard of right and wrong. As a result, everything He says about you and me is true.
Knowing the God who made you is the most important thing in life. It gives meaning and purpose to everything else. If you don’t know God, nothing else matters.
The Truth About You
A quarter-century ago psychiatrist Karl Menninger wrote a landmark book titled “Whatever Became of Sin?” When you think about it, nothing has happened to sin but something has happened to us. We simply don’t want to talk about sin anymore. It isn’t a polite topic, in a politically correct world. Try mentioning the word “sin” the next time you go to a party and see how long it takes for someone to change the subject.
I heard a story about a painter who was contracted to paint the outside of a local church white. The deacons negotiated a price with the painter and he went to work. As he worked he decided that if he thinned the paint with some water, he could make even more money on the job. When he was done, he was already thinking about how he could spend his extra cash. But then it started to rain. And it rained. And it rained. As the paint ran off the sides of the church and into the gutter, the painter fell to his knees and cried out, “Why me, God? I’m sorry. What should I do?” Suddenly a voice was heard from heaven, “Repaint, and thin no more!”