19 Pentecost 2019

It was quiet in the Ardennes on Sunday, December 16, 1944. People were praying for their first free Christmas since the Nazis had been driven out. That’s when hundreds of German artillery batteries began firing on the American positions. Over 250,000 German soldiers and 1,000 deadly ‘Panzer’ tanks rolled through the line. The Nazi’s goal was to take the city of Bastogne first, then take back the rest of Europe. By December 20th, American troops under the command of General A.C. McAuliffe were surrounded. 2 days later, the Germans called for his surrender. History records his monosyllabic reply, “Nuts.” McAuliff held the line until Allied forces, under the command of General George Patton, finally reached his position.

But history has mostly ignored the words of one private, a young man from the south. He was in Bastogne, and along with his unit, was surrounded by the German Army. Being relatively young, you’d think he would be shaking in his boots. Instead, he was actually quite calm. So calm, in fact, that he drew the attention of his sergeant during breakfast. Their conversation went something like this, after cleaning-up their language: The sergeant asked, “You do know that the Germans have us surrounded, don’t you?” “Yep, I get that Sarge.” “And how do you feel about that?“  “Well Sarge, I feel sorry for them dirty dogs.” With that, the Sergeant erupted, “What do you mean them? We’re the ones surrounded!” Finishing the last bite of his breakfast, the private explained, “True enough, Sarge, but if I understand things correctly, this is the first time in this war we can attack ‘em in any direction we want!”

Now we find ourselves in a different kind of war, today we’re in a spiritual war. Out-numbered 1,000 to 1 on the battlefield, we find ourselves agreeing with the private about being able to “attack the enemy in any direction we want.” Although we’re saddened by such a reality, we’re not surprised. We’re not surprised because 2,000 years ago the Apostle Paul said that the day would come when both the message of salvation and the Savior’s people would come under relentless attack. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul said, “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” 

Having made this prophecy, and so that God’s people might be prepared for the attacks, the Holy Spirit described what this day would look like. Listen to the Lord’s words, and decide for yourself if these words accurately describe our generation:

First – God said that everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (3:12).

Second – Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, and they will deceive the people just like the devil has deceived them (3:13)

Third – The truth of God’s Word is going to be ignored (4:3-4)

Fourth – People will find man-made myths to be more acceptable to their minds, more palatable to their spiritual appetites, than the truth.

Its beginning to look like Paul was right. Other sins rise and fall in popularity like the length of skirts. But attacking and criticizing the Word of God has never gone out of style. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve believed the lies of Satan and tried to take control of everything away from God. The builders of the Tower of Babel saw their work as a direct challenge to God’s sovereignty. During the time in the wilderness, Moses couldn’t take a step without the people complaining. Although people throughout history have nagged and nit-picked God and His ways, this current generation has taken their disapproval of God and raised it to a whole ‘nother level. 

In Psalm 53, David wrote, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God!” Today its become fashionable for Colleges founded by Christians and intended for the Christian education of men and women, to no longer feel ‘shackled and bound’ by the myths, fables, and legends they believe the Scriptures contain.

Today entire denominations have thrown-out what God’s Word says, and replaced it with their own beliefs and opinions of what is good and what is evil. They believe that embracing homosexual behavior is the right thing for the church to do. Mis-guided pastors are teaching their people that actually welcoming that evil into their fellowship is the ‘loving thing’ to do, and that its OK to embrace the gay lifestyle.

The Church here in this world to tell people how much God loves them. We’re here to tell people that God hates our sin, but He always loves the sinner. We’re here in this world to tell people that, no matter what you’ve done wrong, no matter how big your sin is or how many sins you have, in Jesus Christ there is free and unconditional forgiveness. Jesus Christ took your guilt upon Himself. He died for you, and He rose again, for you. All of that so that you would be forgiven and heaven would be your home

Share the truth of God’s Word – you may change the world.

Share the truth of God’s Word, so that the world will not change you.

Speak the truth in love, and let everyone know whose side you’re on –we are on God’s side and we will not be ashamed of that. God’s truth has power that the lies of the devil and this world do not have. God’s Word tells us who we are – God’s Word is what we believe, teach, confess, and live by. Amen.