This article recently appeared in the Hickory Daily Record, the Taylorsville Times, and at Just Ministry.
I arrived a few minutes before my friend for our weekly breakfast at a local greasy spoon. After ordering my usual tea, I noticed the conversation of the two older gentlemen seated across the room. They were brashly discussing the issues of the day, including the migrant caravan meandering its way from Central America toward the US border with Mexico; unsurprisingly, the two blue collar philosophers had a solution. To my horror and disgust, the remedy was to “lob some bombs into the crowd.” By applying the nomenclature of “invaders” to the group traveling toward our southern border, these gentlemen felt no shame in calling for the migrants’ untimely and brutal demise.
This eavesdropped conversation took place within the context of a week where two former presidents were sent packages with explosive materials, eleven innocent worshipers were gunned down in their synagogue by a bigoted, anti-Semitic madman, and two African Americans were executed in Louisville because of the color of their skin.
With that much hate on display over the last week, my fellow diners intimated that executing a few citizens of Central America is a joking matter for the first meal of the day (I hope they were joking).
What concerns me more than the flippant ignorance on display as I sipped my tea is the sobering reality that I have heard expressions not substantially dissimilar uttered by those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. This is a scandal; a scandal because the Christian faith is built on the bedrock principle that all people are created in the image of God. Not some people. Not just Christian people. All people, everywhere, at all times, are created by God and in His image. Our Lord sent His Son to die for all those created in His image—black and Jew, Latino and white, Democrat and Republican, and even two misguided greasy spoon patrons.
God sent His Son to reconcile the broken relationship sin created between God and those created in His image. He did so because He loves the world (John 3:16) and calls on His followers to love Him, and as an extension, to love their neighbor as they love themselves (Mark 12:30-31).
This must be our commitment as believers; we must rise above hate. We must not allow ideologies—political or cultural—to dictate our worldview. Our worldview is rooted in God’s Word, driven by His calling to make disciples of all nations, and reflected in our love for our neighbors.
When politicians discourage civility, we reject their call. When celebrities attempt to define morality, we rest in the truth revealed in Scripture. When leaders act like children, we pray for them—praying that they lead well (1 Timothy 2:1-2). When pundits seek to divide, we are quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; knowing that the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).
Brothers and Sisters, we do these things because our calling is not of this world. The King of Glory is above political parties and cultural rhetoric. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords in every political era. He will still reside on His throne when everything we have built lies in rubble. Friends, our calling in Christ is an eternal calling make disciples of all people. Let us not damage the effectiveness of that calling by sacrificing our witness on the altar of the temporal.
Introduction – The world teaches that we should desire deliverance simply because the absence of suffering is good. The world strives to avoid all pain and all hardship, no matter the consequences of avoiding pain and hardship. However, this is not the biblical view of suffering and hardship. Our desire for deliverance must be rooted in God’s promises. The Lord is going to deliver His people. The Psalmist longs for salvation because he hopes in the Word of God (v. 81). He wants to see the promises of God because they will comfort where nothing else can (v. 82). He is sure of that. This morning, as we continue to explore Psalm 119 together, we see 3 questions that we all ask in tribulation, and the answers to those questions from the life of the Psalmist.
Why do we need salvation?
What must our response be to tribulation?
Why can we be confident in the Lord’s deliverance?
Challenge – How we will respond in the tribulation that comes into our life? Will we be found faithful? Do you have confidence that not only can the Lord deliver, but that He will deliver His children from all tribulation. It may not come when we want and it may not come at a time where we escape all hardship. However, our Heavenly Father has sent His Son to deliver His people. The cross of Christ is the guarantor of our deliverance when we are found in Him. The great 20th century English preacher Charles Spurgeon put it this way: “In this day’s labors or trials say, ‘The LORD God will help me.’ Go forth boldly. Set your face like a flint and resolve that no faintness or shamefacedness shall come near you. If God helps, who can hinder? If you are sure of omnipotent aid, what can be too heavy for you? Begin the day joyously, and let no shade of doubt come between thee and the eternal sunshine.”
You can view the pictures from the youth conference here:
Puede ver las imágenes de la conferencia de jóvenes aquí: