Sunday, January 05, 2014

He Who Laughs Last

As we face a new year, we face uncertainty. The future is always like that. We know it is coming, we just do not know what it involves. Like the old joke, the light at the end of the tunnel just might be a train. Or, as any minister can tell you, things are never so bad that they can’t get worse.
         Cheering words to start the year, eh? Especially after we got all geared up with new resolutions, rejoiced with hope, grasping the future with ever fleeting waves of faith. We try to bolster ourselves up with a positive mental attitude. I am all for a positive mental attitude and waves of hope but unless they are rightly placed, they come and go like the waves on the sea. We have it then we don’t. We are sure then we are not. We are solid until we sink.
         As we look at the society around us, at least in its public form; film, music, entertainment, sports, politics and even the church, there is plenty we can be disheartened about. We hope these things will get better but the message being pounded into our heads is that they really won’t, so we may as well embrace the chaos, the futility, the absurdity, the meaninglessness.
         I think we are often sold a bill of goods. Satan is a good showman. He can elicit despair by the mere show of the futility of resistance. The show says resistance is futile and therefore we wrongly assume that victory or even resistance is impossible. Satan’s ploy is to get us to give in, to give up and to become insignificant. By Satan, I do not mean the Devil, per se. I do not think the devil, as a person, is organized enough for such haughty and deliberate opposition. There is a real devil, the one that tempted Eve in the garden. But he has been judged by Jesus and will be tossed into the lake of fire. But there is a satanic influence in our culture, the culture that embraces death, the abortion mills, the sodomite agenda, those that legislate away our freedoms, and the prosper at any cost capitalists. We live in era in which we see every day, displayed by a media that has succumbed to these influences, that resistance is futile. The wave has rolled over us.
         To some degree, this satanic method is successful. Christians act defenseless, are frustrated and seem resigned to the downward spiral. This ought not to be the case. Professing Christians make up 75 % of the American culture. That is a high number. I am not saying that these are all faithful evangelical Christians. But 75% of Americans in a recent poll identified belief in God and associated that belief with Christianity. Only 17% consider themselves unbelievers. 5% are adherents of other religions. That leaves 3% in some other category.
         When we consider how successful the immoral minority has been in controlling most of the media outlets in our country, it is truly astounding. The abortion mills and the sodomites have nearly silenced a nation that ought to overwhelmingly defeat their antichrist agenda. What has happened to us?
         In the recent flap with Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, the contrast has become stark. A man speaks and presumably 75% of Americans agree with him at some level. The extreme leftist minority chimes in, with the megaphone of mainstream media and 200 million Christians cower in fear or start making qualifying statements. Folks, find a voice. Do not fear the devil, no matter what sort of clothes he dresses in. He can dress like your nightly news anchor, a homosexual Episcopal priest, a professional basketball player, Miley Cyrus. The devil creates the chaos, so that the crowd can affix its gaze at its victim. In the latest case, the victim was Phil Robertson. But what happens if the victim will not be victimized? What happens when the victim refuses to be sacrificed?
         Folks, we have to stop being the victims. This does not mean that we return evil for evil. We do not lash out with the same sort of violence that verbally attacks and is willing for more murderous rage. But we do not cave into the demands of the devil. We do not agree with him. The bible says to resist the devil and he will flee from you.
         Is this a surprise to you? Christians have been led to believe that if we resist the devil, he will run right over us. But the devil is a bully and bullies cannot defeat Jesus. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
         Folks, the devil is running a show with smoke and mirrors. The reality is that Jesus is the victor. Time to stand up to him, like Jesus, making a show of him openly, triumphing over him, in the cross.
         Why is sodomy bad? Because Jesus died to save such sinners. Why are the abortion mills bad? Because Jesus died for the innocent, including the unborn. Why is seeking profits at any cost wicked? Because Jesus took the side of the widow and orphan. Why is seizing political power not the way to win the world to Christ? Because Jesus washed the disciples feet and served though He was the creator of all.
         We have the answer to these questions and the answer is not traditional marriage, or the Judeo Christian ethic, or conservative politics. We have been fighting those losing battles far too long. The answer is that Jesus came into the world to save sinners and He is doing just that.
         Phil Robertson had the gall to call men sinners. This was their only hope in being saved, to recognize their sin and turn from it and to Christ. Instead, they tried to laugh Phil into scorn. But the scornful do not get the last laugh. Our Lord watches this all from heaven. He holds them in derision and laughs.

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