Faithlife
Faithlife

When Evil Triumphs

Current Events  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view

When It Seems Like Evil Is Winning

Notes & Transcripts

News Headlines

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m so fed up with the news. And I’m not talking about CNN vs Fox News, or whichever. I’m talking about all the nasty, crazy, and just evil stuff going on in the world.
Here are just a few sample headlines:

President’s arts and humanities committee resigns over Trump’s Charlottesville response

This was about the fact that, yet another of President Trump’s advisory committees has resigned over something he said, this time over the statements he made regarding the events in Charlottesville, VA.

‘We were guinea pigs’: Jailed inmates agreed to birth control

Inmates in a rural county of Tennessee were advised that they could shave off an entire month of their prison sentence if they would be willing to, for females, be on a long-term birth control solution, and for men, to endure a vasectomy.

Today's Headlines Signal Convergence with 'End of Days' Scenario, Rabbi Says

Aaaand this one. Let me read the last few paragraphs of this article:
The other reason is that there are so many prophecies being fulfilled that the Jewish people are focusing on that rather than heavenly signs, he said. He likened the coming of the Messiah to birth pangs and the contractions getting closer and closer together before a woman gives birth.
"So, too, events on the planet earth will get more and more intense and happen much more rapidly and certainly I would say things are speeding up very dramatically in the world, the change that is taking place, the political upheaval, the technological advances, as to whether that is linked to astronomical events that are coming, we'll only know [when it happens]," Spiro said.
"We could be hitting that end of days scenario," he continued. "Certainly time is definitely running out and as we see by what's going on in the world, in a positive and a negative way – I mean the rebirth of the State of Israel, the reunification of Jerusalem. We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of that. I mean that's unbelievable, that's prophecy coming true before our eyes. The nations of the world lining up against Israel, largely, what you see going on in UNESCO, the United Nations is clearly a sign," he said.

US vs THEM

If you look carefully at each and every event going on across the nation and the world, it always boils down to “us versus them.” Blacks versus whites, liberal versus conservative, Muslim versus Christian, Westerner versus Middle East or Europe. America versus Russia. Man versus woman. Adventists versus Catholicism. We - They; Us - Them.
Here’s the thing, and I hate that I have to preface this, but let me be clear: I condemn all acts of violence and hate, regardless their source. I am not against defending innocent people who have committed no violent acts, but I am against responding to violence with more violence. I believe that, in this, Dr. Martin Luther King got things right.
That said, with everything happening in our country and in the world right now, Christians as a whole, and especially as Adventists, are no better than anybody else. Period.
You see, Paul was dealing with this same issue when it came to the church in Rome. Turn with me to our Scripture reading for today, :

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;

11  no one understands;

no one seeks for God.

12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good,

not even one.”

13  “Their throat is an open grave;

they use their tongues to deceive.”

“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

14  “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16  in their paths are ruin and misery,

17  and the way of peace they have not known.”

18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Did you catch that? NONE IS RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE! NO ONE UNDERSTANDS. NO ONE SEEKS FOR GOD. ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, NO ONE DOES GOOD, NOT EVEN ONE!
This means:
the racist neo-Nazis are not righteous.
The counter protesters are not righteous.
The Democrats are not righteous.
The Republicans are not righteous.
Liberals are not righteous.
Conservatives are not righteous.
Europeans are not righteous.
Middle-easterners are not righteous.
Russians are not righeous.
Muslims are not righteous.
Muslims are not righteous.
Jews are not righteous.
Atheists are not righteous.
Christians are not righteous.
ADVENTISTS are not righteous!
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US, IF WE BEAR THE LABEL “HUMAN” ALSO BEARS THE OTHER LABELS THAT PAUL STATES IN TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING!!
You see, the Christian church in Rome had a bit of a race relations problem. Due to persecution, the Jewish Christians had to get out of Dodge. The synagogues where they were meeting were getting destroyed. So, what did the Gentile Christians do? Well, they had to keep on keeping on! They reorganized themselves with their own leaders, and met in house churches! Later on, after things blew over, the Jewish Christians came back, and found themselves…not needed. They were trying to take the leadership positions that they held when they left, positions of pastors, elders, deacons, etc…but found that those positions were filled…with Gentile Christians. It became a whole mess of us versus them, Jew versus Gentile. In a phrase: a total mess.

That said…then what’s the point?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s the point, and I’ve got three of them to make:
Getting into arguments, quarrels, and fights over all of this nonsense is absolutely pointless.
How we talk to one another and treat one another matters, especially to our salvation
There is one thing alone that is supposed to make us different from the rest of the world.

Why Fight?

Seriously, I have had it up to here with social media arguments and fighting. He said, she said, blah, blah, blah. And 99% of what I’m seeing is coming from fellow Christians, and of that, 90% is coming from fellow Adventists. Seriously? I mean, come on!
Who here can tell me that there is ANY use or ANY kind of love in these fights and arguments?
Show pictures of FB Posts.
Show Twitter posts
It is so sad to see these kinds of things popping up all over social media. And then people arguing and fighting over what was posted, and why, and yada yada yada.
Let’s see what Scripture has to say about all this, shall we?

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Hmm…interesting...
Well, as Paul told Timothy, I say to you:

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene.

We talk and we argue. Our mouths get us into a lot of trouble.
James had something to say on that...

5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

And on that subject, here, referring to verse 9, I’d like to talk about how we speak to each other and treat one another.

The Golden Rule

I’ve preached on this more than I like to admit, not because I want to, but because it has become a necessity.
Look back on :

9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

I would like to remind everyone here:
All of the following people were made in the image of God:
Show pictures of most hated people in history and today
Every single one of these people are or were made in God’s image. For those still alive, I want to remind everyone here, that these are people, and they need prayer. Do their actions, when warranted, need to be denounced? Absolutely. Nobody here, I believe, would support the doings of Klansmen, or the vehicular homicide of protesters, or the leader of the most brutal and oppressive dictatorship that the world has ever seen. Could any of these people be defined as “good?” Of course not!
What about these people?
Show pictures of beloved people
Are these people any better than those who I showed before? Well, I surely hope that my leadership chain is not comprised of the sort that would commit the atrocities that some of the others did, but there is only one difference between the two groups of people, which leads me to my next point:

What do we do?!

The only difference between the two groups, is, or at least should be, is Jesus. And if Jesus is the difference, then what do we do?
First, we go to God in prayer. There is a serious lack of it in our daily lives, and a serious lack of it in the world. If we look back in our Scripture reading, Paul decries this exact thing, saying “no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless.”
First, we go to God in prayer. There is a serious lack of it in our daily lives, and a serious lack of it in the world. If we look back in our Scripture reading, Paul decries this exact thing, saying “no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless.”
It is for this reason, I am going to begin a weekly prayer meeting here in Kearney. If any of you are able to come, that is wonderful. It’s not going to be long, only a half-hour at the longest. I will start with a short, 5 min devotional. We will pray openly as a group, giving simply aloud our prayer requests. Then we will go individually to our seats and pray to the Father for each other, our church as a whole, for our nation, for our world, and for Jesus to come again!
I am committing to being here, during the lunch hour, every Wednesday, from noon to 1 pm, opening the church from 12:15-12:45 unless otherwise notified for anyone who wants to come in, to do so for silent prayer or meditation. Then, I will have, on the 1st Wednesday of the month, at 6:30 pm to 7 pm, the prayer meeting I described earlier. I feel God is leading me to set the example in this. If you cannot come out, for whatever reason, I ask that you set aside those times to pray. If we all come together, asking God earnestly for His divine intervention, there’s no telling what can happen!
The second thing we do is to just…STOP. Stop the senseless arguments, stop the rants, stop the rebuttals…just stop. You know, despite how well it could be used, and I’ll admit, how it is sometimes used, for the most part, social media has become an idol. Checking our Facebook or Instagram, or whatever people are into these days has become as essential as breathing. I urge you to use it in a way that brings Glory to God.
Lastly, I encourage everyone to speak out against all forms of hatred, bigotry, and divisions, be they political, racial, gender, social class, or otherwise. Speak out against the behaviors and actions. Pray for the victims AS WELL AS the perpetrators. It is God’s will that none should perish, but that all should come into repentance.
If there is one thing you can take away from this sermon, one thing to remember, it would be to ask your self the following questions every day: What are my actions and words doing to bring God glory and honor, and am I leading people to Him or away from Him?
Let us set aside our divisions, and come together as Paul told us to, as we were all baptized in Christ. Let us remember that we are to love one another as Christ loves us. Let us remember, that the only response to hate and bigotry and violence is to turn to God in prayer, and to love those who don’t know Him. Violence and hate only beget more violence and hate.
Show violence begets violence
As we close out, I ask everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes, and pray with me.

AMEN

Father, we give you all the glory, all of the honor, all of the praise, for You alone are Holy, and we only love You, because You first loved us.
Lord, every human on this planet is made in Your image. We are sorry for cursing our fellow man, who was made in Your image. We promise to dedicate our lives to loving and praying for those people who truly don’t know you.
Lord, we thank You for the sacrifice of Your son, without which we would be lost. We thank You for Your love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We thank you for this wonderful Sabbath that we have to worship on. We thank you for a place to worship, and we thank you for friends and family to worship with.
Lord, we ask that you lead us, and save us from ourselves. We, as humans, are unworthy of the gift of salvation. We constantly strive, but its useless. Lord, show us Your will in our lives, and take over the throne of our hearts. Forgive us our sins, and help us be worthy of being a Follower of Your Son, Jesus.
We ask this all in Your Holy Name.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →