WALKING WITH JESUS: Walking In Fear: Foxholes & Atheists

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Walking In Fear: Foxholes & Atheists Matthew 10:28-33 This is by God’s design to save you, when you learn to fear God it will bring you nearer to Him. Rather Fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Jeremiah 17:9 Foxholes & Victory

 Walking In Fear: Foxholes & Atheists Matthew 10:28–33 There are no atheists in foxholes. I’ve mentioned that for the last 3 weeks as we’ve studied along with Jesus. As we looked at Jesus and forgiveness. As we’ve looked at Jesus and Kingdom - how is it that this statement that draws on fear, has been so relevant to Jesus who said, perfect love casts out fear? This week I pray that we’ll see what Jesus does with our fear. Remember this is all leading us into our study through the book of Jonah that we’ll start not next week but the week after. Fear has been associated with negativity but guys fear will save your life. We’ve made fear be a bad thing, a negative thing – right, we play the flinch game where someone pretends to hit you and if you flinch (or move to not to be hit) you lose because your afraid, now listen let me tell you what, if someone punches you in the face and you don’t move your not tough because you have no fear, you’re a stinking moron. And now, you’re a moron with a hurting face. The 90s were weird so we had a whole clothing line called “No Fear” Fear will save your life. It will make you dodge a punch, move from in front of the barrel of a gun, jump out from in front of a car, - This is by God’s design to save you, when you learn to fear God it will bring you nearer to Him. And so we need to understand how we’re to bear God. To do that I want to first look at that phrase, there are no atheist in foxholes. Folks aren’t sure where this aphorism came from. An aphorism is a phrase coming from generally recognized truths from life: ▪ A rolling stone gathers no moss. ▪ Better safe than sorry. ▪ Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. ▪ Every cloud has a silver lining. And so too, there are no atheists in foxholes. Many people think that this was a phrase coined by a chaplain William Cummings at the battle of Bataan. That battle at Bataan was ruthless and gory, General McArthur had his troops standing primarily ready for the main attack at the beaches, and not at Bataan - our surrender at Bataan to the Japanese was the largest surrender since the civil war at that time, and still the largest standing surrender. The Japanese we’re ruthless and greatly outnumbered the American and Philippine making this stand after Pearl Harbor - I’ve met many of the men in this battle shaking their hands at the beginning of the 25 mile memorial to their death march as captives to the Japanese. The march was of about 65 miles and resulted in the POWs dying from the forced march - nearly 650 American prisoners died during the march and it was determined to be a Japanese war crime: There are no atheists in foxholes because that fear is designed to save you. They fought off the Japanese without incoming support, out numbered out gunned and faced with being prisoners of war; there were no atheists in foxholes. When we realize life is outside our control we turn to the only thing that makes since, the necessary reality that the existence of life demands a creator and the fact that life, is outside our control, should be enough. We cannot control our lives, we cannot even keep our bodies breathing, and we cannot even fight the desire, the innate desire, no DEMAND, to breathe. Go ahead, try - something fights to keep you alive, that’s God the all sustaining, all consuming God - who sent His son to live for you and here is what he said, to put you in the fox hole. Matthew 10:28 (ESV) 28 …do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Do NOT be afraid of people like you. OK, got it. Rather Oh. Rather “with better reason or more propriety: more properly. Don’t fear people, like you, with better reason… Fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. SO, this is Jesus - the calming comforting Jesus. The one who loves the little children all the children of the world. This is Jesus who came to reconcile us to God. This is Jesus savior who says, don’t be afraid of people like you - more appropriately be afraid of God. Jesus placed you in a foxhole. He’s driving your fear, he's showing you the ever presence of life end, in a moment making it all real. This notion, that we forget, of life’s fragility and brevity points us to the creator who makes us ask… why. Why life, why live, why did He create us. And the answer is, so that in Christ we’d find Him, be rejoined to Him, and live not in our state but His. That in this life we’d turn from our own ways and understand and to Him and His - his Kingdom is made of people who Know Christ as Lord. Matthew 10:29 (ESV) 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Life isn't insignificant, spun up and then God watches it all run down - no, rather - more appropriately, it’s all inside of God’s control and will and works for His purposes. Have you ever noticed how amazingly all of creation works to sustain you? The sea never pushes beyond the land and consumes the world, it stays in it’s place, the earth keeps turning, in it’s slow methodical turn so that we can have calendars, and Microsoft Outlook and schedule things inside time measured by the same movement, as the earth follows it’s same path around the sun and the other planets move along at the same rates, so that we even know where they’ll be in the sky when - that we’re the perfect distance from the sun, never too far to freeze, never too close to fry - though a few times this summer I started to wonder - that the animals all seem to have babies at the same time, and we can measure that and know when it’s deer season - that your body just breathes even when it sleeps - because noting even falls, whiteout the knowledge of God. Matthew 10:30-31 (ESV) 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Life - human life is particularly valuable and precious to God. Jesus here uses the “how much more” argument - not the redneck lets kill some animals, argument. Jesus doesn’t say just kill birds they’re not important, he says even the birds are important to God, he created them - but how much more (want an interesting word/phrase study, follow that phrase “how much more” around the Bible), people. You. Matthew 10:32-33 (ESV) 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. And so, while this life feels consumed by work, and us today think we find our purpose in our work, be bought into some story that what we do to make our living defines our value - and so often we get jaded by that - our value in this life, comes form being God’s special creation and so whether you sell paper in Scranton, or preach the gospel as a paid minister in Harrisburg. If you’re a factory worker or a police officer, if you’re a librarian or a software developer, if you’re an office professional or a stunt double for Matt Damon - you’re God’s special creation and he’s destined all of life for you to be driven to him, to see that the earth tracks on the path that he designed, that the seas stop at His boundaries, that the clouds form float above earth full of water ready to release at His command, and that your lungs move to bring in air, even when you resist or even when you’re not aware that it’s time for that next breath - your body is stamped with His desire for your life. And so, Jesus puts you in the foxhole, today. Will you see your fragile life; will you see God’s design for all of life, today? I know you care, or you wouldn’t be here today will your fear drive you to salvation? Jesus’ call is an honest one. He isn’t coddling us and telling us we can be whatever we want, and telling us that everything’s going to be OK, rather he says - God is uniquely involved in all aspects of life - and acknowledgement of Him, Jesus, the God man, before men - is salvation before God. Do you acknowledge the God-man before men - let me tell you what that looks like. It’s some who has been in the foxhole, who has realized life is fragile, that God is judge, and that Christ is mediator and so now rather than trusting yourself you trust Christ. Rather than saying I’m a good person and God will accept the way I lived my life before Him, you realize Christ is the best person and He lived before God on my behalf. That good person argument is interesting - we said a few weeks ago, if we erected a hall in your honor, when I say you, think your name, it’s called the hall of <you> motives and internal monologue your motives. I say this because, it’s puts you in the foxhole when you look for God. It reveals that sin isn’t simply that we cannot be good enough people, feed enough homeless people, be nice enough to people for God to like us, but rather the core of our being is opposed to a God of perfect love. Jesus said in Matthew 5 if you’ve hated your brother, even in your heart, you’ve sinned - it puts us in the foxhole, and seeing our motives and monologue before others in a hall on display where as people walk through and walk out we’re standing on the other side facing them reminds us of our sinful selves, but God… James Montgomery Boice wrote, “If you understand those two words—’but God’—they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely.” But God, rich in mercy and great in love sent Jesus - church lets profess Him before men, in Salvation, lets profess Him before men, in Baptism, and lets profess Him before men as we live lives of purpose - it’s a foxhole life and the fear of it drives us to see Him, then the perfectly available perfectly lived life of Christ was life FOR us. But God - that beautiful phrase that brings us from the foxhole into life - lets celebrate that as we live even THIS week. Foxholes & Victory WALKING WITH JESUS: Gospel For Today Pastor John Weathersby Transcend Church 4 of 4 Sunday 8/13/2017
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