Summary: Today's sermon takes it's cue from the terrorist event of 9-11. It looks at what we as believers are to take away from this event to live fruitful and effective lives. We'll look at our need then to trust in God, His purposes and promises.
When Terror Strikes
Fifteen years ago on September 11, there were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks upon the United States by al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist group. Almost 3,000 people were killed and over 6,000 injured.
Four commercial airliners were hijacked. Two of them slammed into the World Trade Center bringing the two towers crashing to the ground. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon, while the fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania when its passengers tried to overpower the hijackers.
And while there have been terrorist attacks prior to this time, and many more afterwards, this one attack was not only the largest on U.S. soul, but it is probably the most defining terrorist attack of them all, and one that saw the U.S. and most of the western industrialized nations begin a war on terrorism.
When we look at this and other terror related events we wonder what hope is there? Is there any hope?
The unfortunate part is that people wander here and there, going to one religion or philosophy to another trying to make sense of it all, only to find themselves in a wilderness of despair with little if any hope, and that’s because the world’s philosophies and religions offers no hope.
In fact, this was the synopsis of Solomon when he said that while there’s a way that may seem right as far as the world is concerned, the answers they give only lead to everlasting separation from God.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12 NKJV)
The only hope that’s available is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus said that He is the only way to eternal life. He said that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that nobody can enter into the Father’s presence without Him, John 14:6.
Now, I’m not here to blow smoke telling you that everything is going to be peaches and crème when you come to faith in Jesus Christ. I’m not going to spout false doctrines that say God wants us healthy and wealthy. And I’m not going to speak the positive feel good messages that seem to inundate Christian media.
Instead I’m going to tell you the truth, that no one is immune from life’s problems. That stuff happens and there’s little if anything we can do in the natural realm to counter it. Jesus tells us this very thing, but also gives us the way by which we can handle life’s hardships and overcome them.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
This world is filled with violence and terror, and while the world can offer nothing that resembles any lasting peace, Jesus gives us a way by which we can have peace. And that’s through a personal relationship with Him. And when this happens we’ll have a peace that’s going to make a difference, a peace that will overcome any violence or terror that comes our way, and that is peace with God.
And so today we’re fifteen years away from that fateful day in 2001, and while we have memorials around the nation to remember, I wonder if we truly understand its significance.
The significance I’m talking about isn’t to our nation or to the world; rather it’s to our lives. In other words,
What’s Our Takeaway?
What truths can we take from this event that will help us live fruitful and effective lives in the midst of such violence that attacks us from every side.
1. Trust God’s Purposes
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)
God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us, which means that He has a purpose for you. God as a destiny for your life, and often times it includes these very things that literally scare us to death.
After their release from over 400 years of slavery the Jews find themselves between a rock and a hard place. The Red Sea is before them, and they have absolutely no natural means by which to cross it. And to make matters worse, Pharaoh and the Egyptian army, the most powerful army in the world, are coming up from behind.
What were they to do? Simple, trust God!
They saw God move as He sent ten plagues to release them, and so now they are faced with the same trust issue. They were to trust that God had a plan, that God had a purpose that extended beyond this impossible barrier called the Red Sea.