Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Jesus has conquered – He is a lion. He was crucified – He is a lamb; therefore, He has control – He is Lord! Why not accept Him as YOUR Lord today?

In August of 2010, communications specialist Judy Rivers went to her local bank to open a new account. As the clerk input Rivers' personal information, everything seemed to be going smoothly, but then the woman behind the desk stopped abruptly and frowned.

“That's odd,” she said. “There seems to be an issue regarding your Social Security number.” With a skeptical glance, the employee rose and disappeared in the back room; several minutes later, Rivers was greeted by the branch manager. “Ma'am,” the woman pronounced, brandishing a folded paper, “your Social Security number was deactivated in 2008 due to death.”

Incredulous, Rivers rose from her chair. “You're trying to tell me I've been dead for two years,” she stammered, “and no one bothered to tell me?”

Rivers' isn’t the only living person to be categorized as deceased. The office of the Inspector General estimates that every year, some 12,200 U.S. citizens are declared dead by the Social Security Administration due to “keystroke errors.” Those affected become like the walking dead, unable to secure a job, make financial transactions, file taxes, or visit the doctor, and for months on end, must endure the nightmare of convincing a large bureaucracy that they haven't yet bit the dust. (Zachary Crockett, “What It's Like to Be Declared Dead by the Government,” Priceonomics blog, 6-16-15; www.PreachingToday.com)

Dealing with government bureaucracy can be absolutely frustrating. I think many of our politicians mean well; but in their attempt to make things better, they often make things worse.

The fact is that no human government can truly make things better. No world leader has ever been able to bring about lasting peace.

Augustus Caesar tried it around the time of Christ. He came to power in 27 B.C. with a dream to create a new era of peace and prosperity in the world, but because of ill-health, he was not sure he would live to see it happen.

So, early on he wrote his ideas on a scroll, and sealed it with seven seals. Then he sought for a worthy successor. He sought for someone who was worthy to open the scroll and implement his ideas for world peace.

So the search began and it ever continues to this day. Even in heaven, they are looking for such a ruler to bring the world together. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 5, Revelation 5, where we see all of heaven looking for someone worthy to rule the world.

Revelation 5:1-4 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. (ESV)

They found no one worthy to rule. They found no one with the skills to bring about a lasting peace to this world. Augustus Caesar couldn’t do it. His “new era of peace and prosperity” brought civil war as his successors fought for power.

A few centuries later, King Arthur couldn’t do it. He sought to bring about “the Kingdom of Summer.” His dream was a kingdom “where each man protects his brother’s dignity as his own, and where war and want have ceased and all races live under the same law of love an honor” (Lawhead, Merlin, p.108). Even so, his reign ushered in the “Dark Ages.”

Even the godly Puritans failed. They came to the New World to set up the Kingdom of God. They tried to set up a perfect society based on Biblical principles. It was a noble dream, but it failed in just one generation when their children did not embrace their faith.

Today, despite the best efforts of world leaders, we are no closer to world peace than we ever were. Human beings have set up all kinds of government systems, but each has failed to produce the results we’re all looking for.

In Communism, you have two cows; the government takes one and gives you part of the milk. In Socialism, you have two cows; the government takes one cow and gives it to your neighbor. In Fascism, you have two cows; the government takes both and sells you the milk. In Nazism, you have two cows; the government takes both and shoots you. In a Bureaucracy, you have two cows; the government takes both, shoots one, milks one and pours the milk down the drain. In Capitalism, you have two cows; you sell one and buy a bull.

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