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Monday morning news broke of a chaotic scene occuring the day before.
As darkness had fallen over what is called sin city, evil begin to reign down, literally upon thousands of people.
At the end of the week the count of those no longer living had reached 59 and the injured well over 500.
As the news continued to unravel the details in front of us, some of you may have been like me, pondering the pettiness of other events on Sunday, and just how insignificant they were in the bigger picture of a world filled with sin.
The church shooting in Nashville.
Hurricanes and Earthquakes.
Car crashes.
Drunk driving accidents.
Riots in Charolettsville and St. Louis and CA.
On and On
Thursday, I attended a Bible study class at River to River with some of the ladies from here.
Mrs. Ann Landis brought a book that delved into a question that has crossed the minds of nearly every human being at some point.
“Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Like the author of the book, it usually arises out of personal experience.
First let’s set ourselves on the right footing when discussing such things and let’s believe Jesus in his Word when he said in , “No one is good except God alone.”
So the question is now re-framed or rephrased to ask, “Why do bad things happen?”
From the text we were set to study today in our series through Philippians, we find the true answer in God’s Word.
Look in .
The Great Deception
Because of the tarrying of Jesus regarding His second coming, we are still living in a “crooked and perverted society.”
Would you say that to be true or false?
“crooked” - that which is curved as opposed to that which is straight.
“perverted” - that which is permanently distorted and twisted.
God gave, in His Word, a straight line and clear truth regarding marriage between one man and one woman, and intimacy b4 - yet society has sought to turn and twist that line of truth in so many ways
God gave, in His Word, a straight line and clear truth regarding marriage between one man and one woman, and that intimate relations between individuals is to be only as married men and women - yet society has sought to turn and twist that line of truth in so many ways
God created Adam and Eve as different yet equal for the purpose of complementary, not equal roles in marriage - yet society seeks to distort that truth by emasculating men and elevating women against God’s design.
God established two genders, determined by the science of biology and not the self of psychology - yet society has added curves where they do not belong and distorted curves where they were intended by God in Transgenderism, even to no-genderism.
The clear truth of scripture is that Earth and the Universe were created by God, only a few thousand years ago - yet the science of society has twisted and distorted that truth for years through evolution, but when science is used against them to declare things such as abortion and transgenderism being against God and His holy standards, they dismiss it as unimportant.
Jesus declared Himself as God and the Way, the Truth, and the Life as the only path to God the Father and Heaven - yet society wants to curve the straight way of Jesus by declaring that a loving God would not send anyone to hell, that even people living in sexual and ethically immorality will go to heaven, or that Jesus is just one path to heaven, we find our own way.
God gives a strict standard for respecting the life of human beings, pre-born or close to death, each one as image bearers of God, converted or not - yet society has ignored the 10 commandments.
People don’t bother twisting the truth, they tell lies.
Property is stolen.
Lives are killed.
Adultery and fornication is rampant.
The straightest of all standards are regarding God, his name, and His due worship -yet society has all but removed God from everything, even the church.
Bad things, even in nature, happen, and always have because of sin, and the presence of satan until the return of Christ to make things right.
The Great Difficulty
2 Timothy 3:1-4
The great difficulty Christians in the church face is not the fact of converting the world to Christ, rather the warning we are given is to fear God after our conversion to serve Christ.
The great difficulty Christians in the church face is not the fact of converting the world to Christ, rather the warning we are given is to fear God after our conversion in order to reach the people of the world for Christ.
The great difficult Christians in the church face is not the fact of converting the world to Christ, rather the warning we are given is to fear God after our conversion to serve Christ.
You spend enough time in church with a preacher worth his salt, you will hear often the word “Sanctification” or Christian perfection through spiritual maturity.
Through your time you will learn that it is a process or journey of each Christ-follower, and perfection is never achieved this side of heaven.
Paul, in - Here he gives us the Human responsibility and the divine responsibility of salvation and sanctification.
- Your responsibility:
“Just as you have always obeyed” - The Philippians obeyed God, His Word, Paul and their church leaders, beginning the moment Jesus saved them.
Your spiritual maturity begins with your obedience and continues with your obedience as you obey in the same way, they and Jesus did.
“work out your own salvation” - first salvation was theirs personally and it must be yours personally.
Biblical salvation involves deliverance from the penalty of sin, and your evidence of salvation, is your work striving to over come the power of sin.
Someone claiming membership yet living in constant immorality does not make a good witness.
Someone claiming membership yet hardly involved at church, not good witness.
Someone claiming membership yet lacking a Christlike affection, attitude and actions for others over self, does not make a good witness.
“fear and trembling” - without a show of hands, how many of you found the kneeling of NFL players during the anthem and flag ceremony horribly rude and disrespectful to country and flag?
How many of you who said yes, give God the same reverence and respect you demand others to give the country and flag?
Seeing God for who He is, brings comfort, but when it brings conviction we often want to see God as we want Him to be.
- God’s Responsibility:
Here is the great comforting encouragement in this passage.
God doesn’t expect you to do the work, he just expects your to submit to His work in you to do it.
The Father prunes and cleanses each believer, the Holy Spirit works in the heart and soul of each to bring forth Spiritual fruit, and Christ lives by our faith in our hearts.
The Greek word is ho energon - transliterated as “the one who energizes.”
While you work on your conduct, God is at work on your character from all areas.
The incentive - God is at work.
The imperative - so get busy!!
We find in - a call to read the employee handbook - to keep us from compromising with the world we are to stay focused on Christ through attention to His Word.
to keep from compromising with the world and ignoring Christ.
- says in the Beginning was the Word and the Word we know to be Jesus.
Then John describes what Jesus does for those who are saved by Him, and for the world through those he saves.
A few months before we moved here, I went with Silas’ 3rd grade class to the Florida caverns near by, and after we all gathered in the farthest one, the guide huddled us close and warned us to stick together and not move.
He then turned of the lights.
I could not see my hand in front of my face an inch away, until he turned on the light of his phone.
One by one, people turned on their phones, and little by little as those phones worked together that cave got brighter and brighter.
Paul tells the Philippians in that God wants us to work and allow Him to work in us, making us spiritual clean and morally upright, or blameless and pure.
God wants us as Christians to be little lights in a world of darkness.
God wants his children to be little lights together causing the world to get brighter and brighter.
The Great Dilemma
Does society seem to be getting less or more perverse and crooked?
Does society seem to be getting less or more perverse and crooked?
Is the world getting brighter or is the world getting darker?
If you answered yes is the deficiency with the power source or the light bulbs?
Is the power plant or the lighthouse broken?
Is the problem to be found in God or the house of God?
We find the answer in - “do everything” -
A light bulb and a lighthouse continues to shine as long as there is a continuous action of doing what God commands in His Word, .
But we have all had those bulbs that have become so dim that they are pretty much useless.
If a lighthouse has too many dim bulbs in it then the lighthouse is useless to God for keeping the ships/sinners from crashing on the rocks.
One of my favorite scenes in Finding Nemo, the little lost clown fish sought by his dad, is when he is caught in the net.
His dad has swam the ocean for thousands of miles, finally sees Nemo in the distance, and just before he gets to him, Nemo is caught up with a bunch of gray fish who begin to panic.
You hear them grumbling and complaining all swimming around in a frantic in different directions as the net is being pulled up by the boat.
Suddenly the dad remembers something he learned along his path.
He yells out to Nemo and the fish, “You have to swim in the same direction.”
Nemo, finally calms them down, and they begin to swim together in the same direction toward the bottom of the bay.
The boat tips.
The net hits the bay floor, burst open, and Nemo and the fish go free.
Paul warns of a satanic attitude that can creep into a church causing it to abandon God’s design to shine.
As each individual light bulb begins to grumble and complain in God’s church the light from God’s church grows dimmer and dimmer until suddenly God’s house is no longer a shining city on a hill.
Grumbling and complaining is rejecting and criticizing God’s will and ways.
The world grows a little darker each time one of God’s lighthouses closes up shop and seeks its own way instead of God’s.
But you know, it is far easier to point to the grumbling and complaining of others than it is to our own isn’t it.
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