Sermons

Summary: Looking at September 11 as an honest and devoted follower of Christ.

Sermon

"Turning Tragedy Into Triumph?"

December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001 are two days that will forever live in infamy in American history. This Tuesday, 19 men changed the world in which we live. From this tragedy, as people who are seeking to be honest and devoted followers of Christ, what can we learn? There are three things, I believe, that we must realize and three things that we must do.

We need to realize that one person CAN change the world. The Bible (Romans 5:12) says, “Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Paul is talking about Adam. His choice to eat one piece of fruit has changed the way we live as well. His sin allowed sin to enter into our world. His sin has resulted in the hatred and bitterness that is becoming a part of our everyday lives. His sin has allowed death to reign supreme, victorious over all except Enoch and Elijah. One person CAN change the world.

On Tuesday, one man changed our world. Whether Osama bin Laden is the mastermind behind this tragedy, we do not know just yet. What we do know is that he has changed our lives. He has become the symbol that we as Americans will relate to this tragedy. In one hour, he has changed the way Americans feel about air travel. In one hour, he has changed the way Americans feel about their personal safety at large special events. In one hour, he has changed the way Americans live. In one hour, he has changed the way Hollywood does business. For years, cultural commentators have complained about the excess of violence in the movies. Things have changed. Arnold’s new movie “Collateral Damage” about terrorism, will not be released any time soon if at all, unless the criminals in this tragedy are caught. Other movies and even some TV series, such as the premiere of Dharma and Greg, are making and or considering changes in their programming. What many people have sought to do over decades, one man has done in one hour. One person CAN change the world.

Too many times, too many people fall prey to the lie that their lives really don’t matter that much. They believe they are insignificant. Worse, they believe they are unimportant. (Listen) There is not a person here today who cannot change this world. Edward Kimball was an unknown Sunday School teacher who led D. L. Moody to Christ. Full of fear and trembling, God still used Kimball to change the world that we live in. D. L. Moody is one of the best-known evangelists in the world. Billy Sunday, the famous evangelist, came to Christ because of Moody and Billy Graham came to Christ because of Billy Sunday. Over 1 Billion people, 1/6 of the world’s population has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ from Billy Graham’s lips. Why? Because of one unknown Sunday School teacher who trusted God to change a life. One person CAN change the world.

One person HAS changed the world. His name is Jesus. Just as Adam’s one simple choice to eat a simple piece of fruit changed the world, Jesus choice to give His life, His choice to die on a cross for us and for our sin, has changed the world in which we live in. Yes, we still face the twin tyrants of sin and death, but Jesus has conquered both of them. He has set us free from the power of sin and death through His death on the cross and His resurrection unto life. Jesus has given us a hope, the hope of eternity and a hope of glory.

We need to realize that God CAN turn something evil into something for good. Joseph, speaking to his brothers, in the Bible says (Genesis 50:20), “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” One day, Joseph’s brothers, full of bitterness and hatred, decided to get rid of their upstart brother. Who was he to think that he would rule over them? First, they thought to kill him, but this seemed too much for their sensitive conscience. Then, they decided to make money off of him by selling him as a slave to a bunch of traders. Hiding their sin, they lied to their father about his son’s death. Now in Egypt, with their father dead, the brothers decided to come to Joseph and apologize so that he would not hurt them for the wrong that they had done to him. Notice what Joseph says. (Genesis 50:20) God CAN turn something evil into something good.

This Tuesday, we saw a great evil. Several thousand unsuspecting people lost their lives. As honest and devoted followers of Christ we are (and should be) angry. Such cowardice and callousness are beyond our comprehension. This was a deliberate act to harm America and the people who live in this country. Who knows how many other teams were on planes or were about to board planes with similar motives. Who knows how many people are alive today because the FAA grounded all flights all across America. Evil reared its ugly head on Tuesday, but God is doing something. For decades, America has been pushing God out of the schools and out of the courts. Our culture has rejected God. We have become independent of the very Person who has created us for a relationship with Him. Yet, in the last week, in light of this terrible tragedy, more people have turned to God and to prayer. ABC ran locations for prayer services all over Chicago. For one hour on Friday, America worshipped together as a country. God is drawing people to Himself. God CAN turn something evil into something good.

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