Monday, June 20, 2011

How Does the Church Respond to Evil?

(This is an outline from our pastor's sermon yesterday. He sent it to everyone in a newsletter today.) Great sermon. I encourage you to read the outline and accept the challenge. (SFNchurch)
At some point in our lives each of us will face the reality of evil and suffering, whether through the heinous actions of another individual, an accident, or an attack on our physical bodies from a disease. As I mentioned on Sunday morning – none of us are exempt – we live on a fallen planet filled with sickness, death, and decay and we are all subject to its effects. The important things for us to remember are:

1. God is not the source of our suffering. When Adam & Eve sinned they rebelled against God’s authority and stepped outside of His protective boundaries and subjected themselves to the authority of another, one hell-bent on their destruction. That enemy, Satan, is the source of the evil and suffering in this world.
2. One glorious day God is going to liberate this world from its bondage to decay. Paul tells us that one day God is going to set the world to rights and rid this earth of pain and suffering (Romans 8:18-24). One day this world will be set free!
3. Because of this glorious hope, we will continue to fight the good fight. Paul reminds us that “Our present suffering does not compare to the glory that awaits the Sons of God” (Romans 8:18). No matter what hardship we are facing, we know that we can endure it just a little while longer. Why? Because we know that it pales in comparison to the glory that awaits those who place their faith in Christ.

Having this hope of future glory, how do we respond to the evil and suffering in the here and now? First of all, we pray as Jesus did, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Second, I believe that prayer is also a call to action as the Church responds to circumstances in the world around us that are in conflict with the will of God. We seek to advance the Kingdom of God on earth by fighting against the evil and suffering in our world.

This reminds me of the passage of Scripture in Micah 6:8 which says, “And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” I recently heard this passage of Scripture shortened to a three word motto for the church, “DO – LOVE – WALK”. These three words are all verbs, they are actions, and I believe that God has called the Church to action in responding to evil and suffering in the world around us. How will you respond?

I want to encourage you this week to look for ways that you can respond to evil and suffering in the world around us. You don’t have to travel half way around the world; it may just be next door. There is evil and suffering all around us, just open your eyes and ask God how He would have you respond. It may be in the form of comforting a hurting friend, neighbor, or co-worker. It may be through volunteering at the hospital or the local shelter. Whatever it is, know that when you do so you are the hands and feet of Christ to a hurting and broken world.

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