INTRO: In 1969 we received a telephone call from a moving firm in Melbourne, Australia. As I recall, it was in the morning. On the other end of the line was a gentleman with whom we had made arrangements to move all of our worldly possessions back to Texas. His company had already come to our house, packed our goods and transported them to a warehouse in Melbourne. The reason for his telephone call was to tell us that there had been a fire in the warehouse and that all of our possessions were burned. For just a minute or two I did not know what to think. Wedding pictures, baby pictures, mementos, my library (nearly 2000 books) ... gone! All because a worker tossed a cigarette into some paper in the warehouse. What do we do with inexplicable events?
I. MOST OS US LIKE A LIFE THAT IS FAIRLY ROUTINE
A. "Calm, well ordered and serene" - the father in Mary Poppins
1. I expect that's what many (most) of us would really like
2. oh, an occasional surprise might be "o.k." - if not too drastic
B. Gen 8:22 - Life that is predictable, dependable ... not too bad
II. BUT THERE WILL COME THE CATASTROPHES FOR MANY OF US
A. What will the nature of it be?
1. a storm, an earthquake, a virus, a plane crash, a car wreck, etc.
2. emotions are in turmoil; finances are taxed to limit; disruptions
3. "catastrophe" can put a family into dire stresses, strains
B. Invariably, there will be unanswered questions
1. we hear, "They are searching for answers"
2. "why did this happen to me?", is a typical question
3. needs beyond our own experience become the dilemmas, quandaries
C. We may even come to point of not knowing how we should pray
1. because we do not know what is best
2.our human wisdom and experience can see no way of solution
3. so, how should I pray? for what should I pray?
III. WHAT IS ONE TO DO?
A. Live a life of preparation for those times of crisis
1. Rom 8:1,5b,6b - "...who walk ... after the Spirit..."
2. one who lives a spiritually oriented, active life will not be devastated
3. it is the carnal mind (8:7) which is totally unprepared for crisis!
B. One who is facing crisis prays
1. Rom 8:15 - "...whereby we cry, Abba, Father" -
2. Ps 38:21,22 - "...help me, O Lord my salvation" may be our only prayer!
3. and "Thy will be done" is the appropriate prayer of one who places himself into the hands of the Almighty God
C. One in the throes of catastrophe hopes
1. Rom 8:24 - "For we are saved by hope..."
2. for a child of God there is always hope - Rom 12:12
3. "hope" creates a state of mind which is able to see past crisis, to recognize true values, to count blessings, to appreciate priorities
D. One who prays, hopes most assuredly trusts
1. Rom 8:31 - "...If God be for us, who can be against us?"
2. 2 Cor 1:9,10 - the key here? "...that we should not trust in ourselves...."
3. the problem we may have is that when we cannot find answers in our own wisdom, experience we just assume there are not any answers!
E. And one in trouble, crisis believes good can come from catastrophe
1. Rom 8:28 - notice the emphasis ... "And we know..."
2. options? drown in the catastrophe or see beyond it! - the first is so easy
3. I readily admit that when life seems to be tumbling in upon us that it is not the easiest thing in the world to look for the good which can come
F. A person experiencing trouble does not forget who he is
1. Rom 8:28b,29 - he is one of the called, in the image of the Lord
2. I have heard Christians in crisis say very unChristian things - and do unChristian things ... they have lost touch with who they are
3. 2 Tim 4:16l,17a - no shaking his fist at God because abandoned in the hour of his greatest need - rather, remembers who he is ... the Lord is with him
G. This person must have a certain confidence
1. Rom 8:35-39 - "...shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or..."
2. for person led by the Spirit of God there can, should be triumph in trouble
3. peace, poise, calm are so very possible ... if one has been preparing for eventualities in his life by living a life of devotion to God
CLOSE: I revel in the sentiment of Lk 23:46 - "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." In life, or in death, can we not, in confidence, commend ourselves to the hands of our loving heavenly Father?
Cecil A. Hutson
May 14, 2006
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)