Title: A relevant message in times of war
Focus: When tragedies such as war or disaster strike, we should, in our reliance on God, also be ready to render meaningful service to others in the name of Christ.
Function: To motivate the hearers to participate in ministry to those affected by the war
Text: Isaiah 31:1-5; Luke 10:25ff
Intro: 1. Events we learned at Tulsa prompted me to delay series on Romans - We not let it overshadow why we in Tulsa 2. But, also, we not always good at responding to crisis a. Pacifism? Compartmentalize? Individualism? b. Not seem to affect us? 3. IT DOES affect us!! Some have loved ones over there 4. How do you respond when something like this happen? 5. Okay John, are you making political speech? No, this a pulpit a. But not want to do “business as usual” by ignoring war b. Many charge Christianity as ancient, irrelevant antiquity c. Okay if want to be part of religious club d. But when missles start flying, it not much help 6. Is God really irrelevant in face of crisis? Nothing to offer? a. I fear we unintentionally communicate this by our action, or inaction b. Irony - We know about sin and effects of sin, life, death c. We know about important questions of life d. We freeze up when time to apply these truths in difficult times 7. We will look at newspaper in one hand, bible in the other. How to respond? I. Rely on God A. So basic, even trite. Harder in time of trouble B. First Reason to rely on God. 1. (Isa 31:1-5) a. If you king, ruthless army threaten, what you do? b. Rely on allies, make alliances? c. That what Israel did d. It problem because they not rely on God 2. What would reliance in foreign alliances get them? Nothing a. Horse are flesh, will stumble and fall b. They not reliable, they not God c. Whether horses, chariots, B-2’s, tanks, they not God 3. Review of history - Many powerful nations a. Alexander the Great, Roman Empire, Soviet Union b. Where are they today? Gone!! 4. First Reason: Power of men and machines limited C. Second Reason: God’s Power is unlimited 1. (Isa 31:4-5) - The Lord is my Shepherd!! a. Think of 23rd Psalm b. Ever think of Lord fearlessly fighting for his sheep? 2. Interesting to Read this and 23rd Psalm together: (Ps 23:1-4) a. Literally: Valley of extreme darkness/ terror of darkness b. Not talking about one dying, but one in danger c. Image of sheep in Valley, predators lurking d. Not fear because Shepherd is there with rod and staff 3. Psalm finishes strong (Ps 23:5-6) a. Anointing - To honored guest b. Word follow literally means “pursue” or “chase” c. Not the enemy, but good chases you d. Live in the Lord’s house forever D. Ps 118:6 The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? 1. Plenty! He can kill me! 2. But death does two things for faithful Christians: a. Releases them b. Removes them from the enemy forever 3. Will be safe in the Lord’s house forever as honored guest 4. So never stop praying and relying on God II. AND never cease to minister to others A. Easy to find million reasons not to 1. Satan has endless supply of excuses 2. Some are even disguised as doctrine - Can’t help non-members 3. What good it do to say, Be warmed and filled? 4. Faith without works is dead B. Do you remember the parable of the good Samaritan? (Lk 10:25) 1. Man from Kansas Ctiy to Leavenworth a. Preacher pray for him and use as illustration in sermon b. Elder pray and call church together to pray c. Buddhist put in care and take to hospital 2. When tragedy strike, it opportunity to minister C. Christians answered call to care for sick, dying and hurting 1. Ghana, Ethiopia - Caught attention of their gov’t 2. Churches of Christ Disaster Relief 3. Manhattan Church of Christ and 9-11 D. Dare we get involved in such things? 1. Will mean going out of way like Good Samaritan 2. May mean getting a little messy a. To be expected when deal with messed up world b. Are you willing to get a little messy? 3. Jesus went ouf of his way and got really messy a. Ministered to world downcast and harrassed b. Was crucified c. But look at result of his self-sacrifice! III. Does God Expect US to Minister to Others? A. Lk 9:23 - If anyone wished to come after me, take up cross... 1. I fear many have so “spiritualized” it, that it has no substance 2. Fear it no longer means stopping those beaten & left for dead 3. Sure, getting involved can be exhausting, messy, consuming 4. But it is extremely Biblical!!! B. Why story of Good Samaritan? Let’s read: (Luke 10:25-29) 1. Is it God’s command to love neighbor? 2. HOW do you obey command? 3. Does it mean saying or praying? Or DOING? 4. It means GETTING INVOLVED!! Concl: 1. So, is there anything I can be doing now? a. AMEN program b. Bible resources to purchase and send c. Care packages d. Letters 2. Can get involved as a family, Bible class, Ministry Monday, etc. 3. Will also be opening the door to spread the Gospel as Jesus did a. He healed sick, fed hungry, comfort fainthearted b. Then shared the Gospel c. Went from lesser to the greater need d. Never forget the GREATEST need 4. We are full of good news - World temporary, Heaven awaits through Jesus 5. In meantime, we have brethren to encourage and support - Good News 6. Will you commit to rendering meaningful service? Have you relied on God? If you have not, then now is the time to respond, repent and make the decision to do so today.