Pastor Joe Miller IV
Well, I did it. I turned on the news and watched it. I even went from channel to channel to get a broad, more complete view of what’s happening around us. It has been about two years since I have read or listened to any news, but when I did two verses immediately popped into my head.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us."
There is not a truer statement: "there is no new thing under the sun.” Division, hatred, pandemic, riots, murder, anti-authority, glorification of sin, and the hatred towards God. Yes, nothing new under the sun. Since I was a kid, I have witnessed a spiritual war that has been going on since the beginning of time. It was never the USA vs. Russia, Democrats vs. Republicans, haves vs. have nots, blacks vs. whites, you name it - these are all just products of a root problem called sin. It has been going on forever - nothing new. God has always been working to reconcile a lost and broken human race. By the way, there is only one race called the human race of which we are ALL part of and of which Jesus the Son of God came to save.
Luke 2:11-14, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
The Son of God came and brought peace to Earth. Peace is the absence of strife, and when I look around I don’t see people hating each other via cultures, countries, politics, colors, genders, but people are rejecting the love of the Creator and Savior. The word ‘goodwill’ means benefit or good pleasure because of God’s grace toward men.
John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
"For God so loved the world." The sum total of all persons. In God’s eyes and by His actions, all people matter, but we see that not all people accept that. Paul and Silas, after a spiritually successful prison ministry in Acts 16, found themselves in Thessalonica spreading the good news. Many accepted, but not all. (Acts 17:1-8)
In verse five, the unbelievers, because of envy, set the city in an uproar. In verse eight, we see the people were troubled. Again, nothing new under the sun. Hatred and division brought about by a rejection of God‘s love. So what do we do as Christians when we find ourselves in an ungodly climate and an intense spiritual war like we see all around us? Paul writes a letter to the Christians at Thessalonica that I think is applicable today to help us make a difference.
1 Thessalonians 4:7-12, "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing."
Verse 7. Be holy. Abstain from sin.
Verse 8. People that reject are rejecting God, not man.
Verse 9. Starting at Harvest Baptist Church, love one another. Love covers a multitude of sins.
Verse 10. Grow.
Verse 11. Your actions influence more than your words. (Matthew 5:16)
Verse 12. Be like Jesus in your circle of influence with a message, not of anger, controversy, and condemnation, but of peace, hope, and love to the glory of God.