Summary: Some reflections in the light of the 11 Sept. about what God must do by his Spirit, if the world is to change.
Date: 16 September 2001
Service/s: 8.30am, 10.00am
Series: 2 part series on the Holy Spirit
Passage: John 16:5-15
Aim: To show people the role of the Holy Spirit working in the world to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement.
I want to help people to understand what this means in the light of the attack on America.
* I doubt we’ll ever forget the images of this week
* Throughout the week I’ve tried in vain to put myself in the shoes of some of the people involved...
* I’ve asked myself what must it have felt like to be stuck above where the planes had gone into the buildings, unable to get down...
* I’ve asked myself what must it have been like to be sitting down at your desk and see a plane coming straight for you...
* I tried to imagine what it must have been like to witness a plane going into one of our skyscrapers, or see one of them come down.
* What must it have been like to be on one of the planes... heading straight for the building - or that 4th one, where it appears passengers ganged up against the hijackers?
* I’ve asked myself what it must have been like to receive a call from your wife or husband from one of the planes or from the 103rd floor of the World Trade Centre and have them tell you this is goodbye and I love you...
* And I’ve asked myself what must it have been like to be so controlled by rage and hate for Americans, that you could so boldly take controls of a plane that you have been learning how to fly and take it straight in to a building knowing you would instantly die?
* ...I didn’t have many answers to my questions... I don’t think we could possibly imagine what it was like.. nor what it is like now - to wait with fading hope for news of loved ones missing... to be combing through rubble several stories high... to be pulling out bodies and body parts...
* those in a generation older than myself, know perhaps some of the shock and horror of the week - perhaps from WWII or Vietnam... but the Gulf War a decade ago, did not seem as serious as this. The unknown question of what this could escalate into, is very much on our minds and is the subject of our prayers...
* I want to reflect with you about the week this morning under 3 headings... trouble, hope, and perspective.
1 Where has this trouble come from?
* There was a Salvation Army officer being interviewed on Channel 9 through the week and he shared the story of being asked in situations such as these the inevitable question ’where was your God in all of this?’.
* The Salvation Army officer politely answered his accuser by saying, ’tell me this, does God control your life?’, The answer came swift and firm: ’No way. I run my own life’. To which the Salvation army officer replied, ’then there is your answer’.
* We cannot blame God for the actions of men and women. God has blessed us with a clear choice - love, serve, worship and live for him... or not.
* Like all evil in the world today, this happened because men and women rejected the truth about the Lord Jesus, were filled with rage and hate of America and all it stood for... and boldly, cunningly, brazenly, over a period of many years, planned to let their anger and hate run its full course.
* Why is the world in the mess it is in - even before the terrible events of this week? Because of the wholesale rejection of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
* As I said in my email during the week, if you reject God, anything goes... there is no need for love... mercy... compassion... no rules... no standards... you decide... you become your own God. All the worse if it is justified by the twisted distortion of ’religion’!
* The Bible is not surprised by this violence, and makes it clear that terrible things will continue to happen in a world that has pushed God out...
* But we mustn’t be so naïve as to think its all over there and far away... nor must we think it is new or getting worse... for the evil in our own nation, our own city, our own families, our own lives, comes from the rejection of God as God, and the exaltation of self in his place.
* Take evil to its ultimate conclusion and everything that is the opposite to love and grace and mercy will result.