Let us pray: Dear Savior, we face a scary world. At every turn Satan seeks to drag us into fear and despair, this evil world tries to dishonor us through temptations, and our sinful flesh is often only too happy to oblige. Lord, keep us away from moral and spiritual filth. And uplift and protect us with Your powerful Word of forgiveness and eternal love. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO LOVED YOU ENOUGH TO SUFFER AND DIE FOR YOUR SINS!
TEXT: Romans 8: 35-39
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
IT’S SCARY WHEN YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN! Those aren’t just words, or preacher talk. That is reality. Our lesson is a beautiful song about God’s love for us. It is comforting and uplifting—especially when our faith is under fire. But lest we take them for granted, let’s look at them from the opposite side.
Most of your friends and even family members know little or nothing about Christ and His love. Moreover, they don’t seem to care, either. So, when trouble comes in the form of disillusioned kids, or peer pressure to drink, do drugs, or engage in elicit sex because they’re trying to escape their unhappy reality—how do they respond? You know the answer. The AIDS statistics, teen drinking epidemic, and America’s inability to reduce drug use is eloquent testimony to human sin.
Then there is hardship. How many of you are truly happy with your lives? Do you wake up each morning ready to do something productive and meaningful, or not? America is all about getting a good job and getting ahead. It’s about buying new toys—both the kid and the adult kind. Unfortunately job layoffs, or an accident, or illness afflict all of us at times. How do you handle such hardships? Do you run away? Do you blame others? Does such behavior make you happy and uplift you? You know the answer.
Persecution is not dead. Anytime you stand for something, you’re also standing against something else. In the church we’re for morally clean lifestyles, which means we’re against sexual promiscuity, illegal drug use, or drinking too much. You teens face tremendous peer pressure to renounce Christ and engage in such behavior because “everyone else is doing it and I want to be accepted.” You adults who come faithfully to church face the sneers of neighbors or relatives who view you are nerdy and weird because of your reliance upon God.
We all have food to eat. None of us is starving. We all have clothes to wear, none of us is naked. Yet, how many feel empty inside? How many feel they have no direction in their lives? How many wear the bravado of youth or the pompousness of adulthood because thereby they think they can hide their own insecurities?
Danger and sword await us at every turn. Today we call it living in fear. People are fearful. They fear for their kids. They fear for their jobs. They fear for their retirement. They fear the bill collector. They fear life.
If an angel appeared to most Americans do you think they’d be happy or afraid? I’m betting on afraid. You see, you cannot hide your sins from an angel. They see every nasty thought, hear every hurtful word, and know about every embarrassing thing you’ve ever done. We put our best face on for the world to see, but angels see what’s behind our deceptive masks. And it’s not pretty. So, yes, most would fear their visible presence. When it comes to demons, it would be even worse. Put a hideous mask on the most evil person in the world, give them power you cannot combat no matter how hard you try, and watch them torture you with no escape. Yes, demons are scary, so why do so many walk with them, talk with them, and go to bed with them? Just because they might wear stylish clothes, act cool, or act like our friends doesn’t mean they’re not trying to destroy us.
Death used to be scary until Satan and his anti-Christian allies convinced most people that the best way of dealing with it was to adopt the “out of sight, out of mind” approach. Folks, there is no safety net when it comes to death as there is on “Fear Factor” when people jump off tall buildings and land on the air cushion. Cancer is not pretty. Drunk drivers causing accidents are not heroes. When I was in 8th grade a local doctor took a shotgun and blew his head off because the pressure of life got to him. I watched his kids fall apart from his suicide. Thirty years later they’re still a mess. And he’s still dead. No, death is final, inescapable, and definitely cannot be ignored. It impacts both us and everyone around us.
It’s scary when you’re not a Christian because when evil intrudes into your life you have nowhere to turn. Friends come and go—they especially go when you’re in trouble. Money cannot buy safety. Ted Williams frozen body tells us that. Recently I’ve heard of at least 3 divorces that came out of the blue and devastated families. If someone calls you with such bad news at 3 a.m. what are you going to tell them? Pious platitudes such as: “It’ll work out alright? Or, I’m sorry?” All the while thinking: “Gee, I’m glad it wasn’t me?”
Last September the news media went bananas talking about how those New York fireman and cops were heroes because they put themselves out for their fellow human beings. Well, today I’m looking at a whole ‘nother set of heroes. Heroes who get up each day and quietly work for their families. Heroes who go to school and try not to disappoint either their parents or their God. Heroes who struggle when “friends” try to pull them down, who struggle with resisting temptations. Heroes who aren’t ashamed to be labeled as nerdy, weird, or boring. Heroes who live their lives by trying to honor God and helping those around them. Heroes who are fighting Satan at every turn and who aren’t cowards who simply give up because they’re tired.
And what makes you a hero? That’s simple. The love that God has for you and gives you in Jesus Christ! If you had a billion dollars you’d feel pretty good. You’d feel pretty important. You’d feel like you could accomplish anything. You’d be envied by all. Well, my friends, you and I have something even better! We have the love of Jesus Christ! We have God’s eternal riches which can and do and will overcome all evil and all problems if we but put them to use. So, as you leave today, I want every one of you to remember this: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yes, it’s scary when you’re not a Christian. But since you are a Christian through faith in Christ, you don’t have to fear anything. For with God in your corner, “all things are possible.” Amen