Summary: Spiritual implications for the church and nation of the terrorist attack on NYC, DC, and Pennsylvania.
UNITED WE STAND
1. Play the song “We Pledge Allegiance” (Lee Greenwood: American Patriot)
2. My Brothers and Sisters, the unthinkable has happened. That which we never, in our wildest imaginations, would ever have dreamed could take place on U.S. soil, has ripped into the very soul and psyche of this nation.
· Within the space of an hour to 90 minutes on September 11, 2001 the lives of every man, woman and child in the United States, and indeed on planet earth, have been for ever changed. We can never be the same again.
· Something of the reality of the cosmic conflict between GOOD and EVIL, has been thrust upon us in a way that we cannot ignore.
· All the nightmarish horrors with which Hollywood and Nintendo and the video arcades have bombarded us over recent years have suddenly moved from VIRTUAL REALITY right into GLARING, STARK, COLD, LIFE-SIZED REALITY
· How we wish we could just wake up and say, “Wow, that was a bad dream!” OR get up from our movie seats, dump our empty popcorn buckets and with a sigh of relief, go back to our comfortable, cozy, unruffled world. But sadly, that is not so.
3. For some of us, especially those more immediately affected, around GROUND ZERO in New York City and Washington DC – the families who have lost loved ones, the children who have had parents suddenly and forever snatched away, huge and influential financial companies that have lost their brightest and best men and women, airlines that have lost fine pilots and flight attendants, our military that has had some of its finest personnel right inside what should have been the safest place for them to be, the various rescue departments that have had to say a sudden and unprepared farewell to firemen and police officers doing their level best to save others, those who are still walking in a daze from hospital to hospital and shelter to shelter hunting and hoping to find a dear one – it is understandable if all these feel as if they had themselves received the sentence of death.
4. The Apostle Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthians about a time where he and those working in the cause of the Gospel felt the same way.
· Read 2 Cor. 1:3-11
· His response in that situation, where all his own props had been pulled out from under him, was to deliberately cast himself on the mercy of the Lord, to trust in Him, and to call on the Corinthians to back them up in prayer.
· I believe that is exactly what God is calling us to do in response to this devastating tragedy – to cast ourselves anew upon Him, and to support in prayer all those who are on the front lines of this battle.
· We did that here on Tuesday evening at 6.30pm, we did so again on Friday as we joined the nation at 12 noon, and this sanctuary will continue to remain an open place of prayer for as long as necessary.
5. How do we make sense of all that has already happened and all that may yet lie before us?
· Who among us can fully comprehend the Satanic depths of iniquity? No one but the Lord God Himself.
· But there are some hints in His word that give us hope and strength and comfort in a time like this.
6. In the 50th chapter of Genesis, Joseph, now prime Minister of Egypt, came face-to-face with his brothers who had tried to kill him, had thrown him down a well and left him to die, then sold him off as a slave to Arab traders and took his coat of many colors back to their father Isaac, having dipped it in goat’s blood, and told him that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
· He now had every right and reason and power and opportunity to exact revenge on them for what they had done to him years before.
· But listen to what happened: (Read Genesis 50: 15-21)
· Note verse 20: As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
· What you meant for evil, God took it and used it for good.
· In Nehemiah 13:2 we read how the Ammonites and Moabites hired Balaam to curse the Israelites – “Yet our God turned the curse into a blessing”.
7. And that is the power and the greatness of our God. He is the One who can turn all curses into blessings if we will let Him.
· After all, He did so in the most dramatic and ultimate way when He took that “Old Rugged Cross, the symbol of suffering and shame” – and the OT scripture says “Cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree” and He turned it into the source of eternal blessing for all who put their trust in His Son – so that old rugged cross has now become the sign and symbol of the VICTORY and TRIUMPH of GOOD over EVIL and of LOVE over HATE.