they are totally without activity, it’s just that they are just without kingdom
activity. They find time for other
activities, duties and functions but they never have time to work in the
church, strange thing that. There’s room
in their lives for the Lions Club or school activities or sports activities,
but if you ask them to commit time to ministry, they will tell you “Well Pastor,
family comes first.” Well actually if
the truth was known family probably comes twelfth after work, play, hobbies,
school, sports, television, friends, yard work, the cottage, fishing, crafts
and defleaing the dog. But God’s work
definitely comes after family, regardless of what rank family actually is.
of direction. Those who were dead didn’t
have to know what direction to go in cause they weren’t moving, they was quite
content to head in whatever direction they’d been laid in.
we are moving but we’re not sure what direction we are supposed to be
going. It’s like we’re all guys who don’t
want to admit that we don’t know the way and we certainly aren’t going to ask
for directions. But guess what? We got to.
a lack of spiritual direction in their life but it’s cause they ain’t asked the
way. If you want to know where God wants
you to you gotta ask. And when you talk
to God that’s called prayer. A sign of
spiritual deadness is a lack of spiritual growth or spiritual direction.
direct the dead. Doesn’t have to cause
they’re not going anywhere.
loved all kinds of people, their friends and their family. People that they went to the synagogue with.
their love died with them. Dead people
can’t express their love and neither do dead churches. The spiritual appetite, spiritual activity
and spiritual direction, which we have seen is indicative of life, must
ultimately produce Love. A love that
touches people and communities for the lord Jesus Christ.
quotient? How do you exhibit your love
to the people who surround you? And not
only do we have to love people, but we need to tell people that we love them. We need to express our love now because there
will come a time that we are unable to express it.
the Book of the Revelation, which is the last book of the Bible Jesus spoke to
the Church in Ephesus, which is the same church that the scripture that was
read earlier was written to. And He
commended them for all they did and then he said this Revelation 2:4 “But I have this
complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”
necessarily something I would want said about me or about this church. I truly believe that if we were to try and
find a secret weapon for reaching people it would be love. Bill Hybels,
the pastor of Willow Creek Community Church just outside of Chicago makes this
you create a loving community, first time seekers will sniff it and say “I want
in.” Crusty old veteran believers whose
hearts have shut down will warm up again.
Arrogant people will have their pride melted.” That’s my desire for Cornerstone.
up? Are you dead or alive? If there’s no appetite, activity, direction,
or love then it’s probably time to take a spiritual pulse, and I’d bet dollars
to donuts that you won’t find a pulse at all.
have expired, deceased, passed away, you’re no longer with us, you’ve kicked
the bucket, you’re done dead. You may
not think so, but like Christ said in Revelation 3:1 “I know all the
things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead.”
dead then what do you need, well there are some who say all that people need is
a good example, and there are
those who do their very best to provide that good example for society. But let’s face it have you ever tried to be a
good example to a dead person? It is
really quite hopeless.
encouragement, they need to know that the possibilities are endless. Now I think that encouragement is wonderful,
enthusiasm is contagious. But you can
never encourage a dead man to be anymore then dead.
person’s environment, that if we can get them out of their negative environment
that everything will be all right. But
face it even if a dead man’s not in the funeral parlor he’s still just as dead.
education is, you can’t educate the dead, although some of my high school
teachers certainly tried. But face it if
a person is dead then their most pressing need is life. Very simple, when you are dead what you need
more than anything is to be alive. The
word life or live is mention 1458 times in the bible, that’s almost one hundred
more incidence then death.
say fair enough preacher I need life where do I get it from. After Lazarus died his sister asked Jesus the
same question and here is his reply, John 11:25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone
who believes in me will live, even after dying.
one can come to the Father except through me.
can only be given by the life giver and that is Christ. He gives life, not in teaspoons but in
buckets, in 100-gallon drums. John 10:10 The thief’s
purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and
we started with Ephesians 2:4-5 But God is so rich in mercy,
and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he
gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace
that you have been saved!)
to stay dead. But it’s not because of
how good you are, it’s not because of what you do, it’s all because of what
Jesus did and what Jesus offers. That is
what grace is all about, remember, getting what we don’t deserve.
Sunday we are planning a believer’s baptism in both services, and that is a
fitting way to end this series on the dead being given new life, listen to what
Paul writes to the believers in the city of Rome. Romans 6:3-4 Or have you
forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him
in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as
Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we
also may live new lives.
Christ by baptism. And then just as
Jesus was raised from the dead we are raised in baptism. I truly believe that Baptism is the first
step of obedience for a Christ follower and if you have taken the challenge of
following Christ but have resisted his command to be baptised I would challenge
you as to why. What has stood in your
way of obeying that command? If you think
believer’s baptism isn’t necessary then you need to go back and reread the New
Testament and see what Paul said about baptism, what John said about baptism,
what Peter said about baptism and what Jesus said about baptism.
I have no memory of that event whatsoever. On the other hand, I do remember where I was and what I was doing on November 18th, 1978, and I remember how I felt when I heard the news about the Jonestown tragedy. At 18 years old, I couldn’t comprehend what would compel 913 people to commit suicide. At 53 I’m none the wiser, at least in regard to that incident.
So here’s the question. Are we as committed to giving Jesus Christ our lives to live as they were in giving Jim Jones their lives to die?
God works in his own time.
Faith is required
Death is defeated.
You are alive
coming into the community of Nain and around him a crowd of his followers
jostled one another to get closer to their friend and teacher. And as often is
the case when a group of like-minded people gather together the sound of
laughter rose above the sound of good natured conversation. They spoke of the
miracles he had performed and of the lessons he had taught. It was a great day to be alive and those
following Jesus were celebrating life.
at the same time. But instead of celebrating life they were mourning a death.
The death of a son, a brother a friend. A life cut short. And we don’t know if
it was cut short by an accident or an illness. But we do know that however his
life ended it ended too soon and however the young man’s life ended it was a
tragedy. And that was not the way it was
supposed to be, children are supposed to bury parents, parents aren’t supposed
to bury children. But it happens; as a
matter of fact the first death recorded in the bible was not that of a father
but that of a son. It was not an older
person it was a younger person. But that
doesn’t make it any more right.
on the other hand we have a group mourning. Laughter and tears. One group
looking ahead to all the future holds and the other group looking back to the
past and what it had held.
Cornerstone, a series that has taken us on a journey through the Biblical
accounts of folks who were literally given their lives back. From the 10 Lepers in the first week, to Lazarus
who Jesus called out of the tomb after he had been dead for four days, a valley
full of dry bones that Ezekiel watched re-animate and come to life, to last
week’s story of Eutychus who was literally bored to death before being raised
from the dead.
they are anything but normal. Dead
people don’t come back to life.
same name, now in its fourth season. In
the show “The Walking Dead” are those who have been infected by some unknown post-apocalyptic
plague. The show follows Deputy Sheriff
Rick Grimes and a small band of survivors who are trying to stay alive and
discover the cause of the plague.
popular shows on Television right now.
But really when you get right down to it, it’s just a soap opera with
fever, it has even spread to academia,
one example is the book “Zombie Autopsies” written by Harvard psychiatrist
Steven Schlozman. Even my wife has
caught the bug, so to speak, when she read “Pride Prejudice and Zombies” last
year and enjoyed it.
upon on his travels. And in this event
we see the dichotomy that often appears in times of loss.
prepare for a memorial service for a loved one, a collision of two worlds.
member you will hear the sound of sound of laughter comes from the next room
mixed with the sobs as folks talk about their father, mother, brother, sister
or friend. A collision of two worlds, as
we celebrate the life of a loved one and mourn their death at the same time.
the middle of the collision was Jesus.
And we are told on that day that Jesus’ heart broke as he saw this woman
who had already lost her husband and now had lost her only son. And so he did
what he had only done twice before, he reached out his hand and spoke to the
boy and told him to arise and he did.
And through his touch and his words Jesus defeated death. But the defeat was only temporary because we
have to assume that the time came that the young man closed his eyes for one
last time and died, and the second time the preacher from Galilee was not there
to bring him back.
recorded of Jesus restoring life he uses the same method: he spoke to the dead
daughter and the climax came in Mark 5:41-42 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means “Little girl, get up!” And the girl, who was twelve years old,
immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally
shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet
bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap
him and let him go!”
7:14-15 Then he walked over to the coffin
and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get
up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his
dead people back to life; listen to the words of Christ to the church in Sardis
Revelation 3:1 “I
know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but
you are dead.” Now listen to
what Christ tells the church in Revelation 3:2 “Wake up!”
death, physical death and spiritual death and that remains true for each one of
that we know for sure about this young man and those are two things that he
shares with every person who has ever lived and who will ever live. The first thing we know is that he was born
and the second thing we know is that he died and in the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon
writes in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity
under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.
part of that equation, we have been born, and at some time down the road each
of us will experience the second part, we will die.
would affect us being born, every once in a while someone will be past their
due date and will say “This baby just doesn’t want to be born.” Doesn’t matter, it’s still going to happen
but there is absolutely nothing we will be able to do to affect our dying. It was David Niven who said about dying “I won’t go,
I’ll kick and scream and make a terrible fuss”
But on July 29 1983 he still went.
determine how long we will live is our genetics so we have to be very careful
in who we choice to be our parents. You had no control over your life beginning
and you will have very little control over your life ending but you have an
amazing amount of control over what happens between those two points. You understand that the most important thing
on our tombstones will not be the date we were born or the date that we die but
the dash that separates them because that little dash represents our entire
everyone else was happy and we should live in such a way that when we die
everyone else cries and we are happy. It
was John Wesley who said “The world can
say what they like about us Methodist, but they have to admit: we die well.”
die not only will you die well but that you will cause a collision of two
worlds where people will gather to laugh and celebrate your life and at the
same time weep and mourn your death. So
what is it that people should celebrate?
1:11 May you always be filled with the fruit
of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus
Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Should Celebrate Your Life. This is a matter of character. When someone passes away one of the first
reactions people have to the news of their death is a description of their
character. “He was a nice guy, that’s
too bad.” Or “What a jerk, he sure won’t
be missed.” And it’s not enough for you to be eulogized
as a person of character, people are supposed to say nice things about the
dearly departed. How often have you been
told not to speak ill of the dead?
and I have never heard a bad word said about the guest of honour. You’d think that I’ve only buried saints, and
I can assure you that’s not the case. People even find nice things to say about
jerks, but when they are mouthing the words people may be nodding their heads
on the outside but they are shaking their heads on the inside.
wont to do. He described the dearly departed as a loving and supportive
husband, a good provider and a wonderful and caring father. Someone who was
loved and admired throughout the community. Finally the widow leaned over to
her son and said “Go up and see if that’s really your father.
Corinthians 6:3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no
one will find fault with our ministry.
The Guptill paraphrase is: live in such a way so people won’t
have to lie at your funeral.
This encompasses a wide range of activities, your morals, and
your ethics, how you treat your family, your friends, and your co-workers. How do you want to be remembered when you die?
What is it that you would have them write in your obituary and carve on your
Hopefully you won’t be like the politician who Mark Twain had
in mind when he wrote “I did not attend his funeral, but I wrote a nice letter
saying I approved of it.”
112:1 Praise the LORD! How joyful are those
who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. . . Psalm 112:9 They
share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be
remembered forever. They will have influence and honour.
Celebrate Your Legacy. Now I know all the clichés, that there
won’t be a U-Haul following your hearse, and at the end of your life everything
you’ve spent your life collecting will belong to someone else but understand
that we are not talking here about your estate, because often that isn’t a
reason to celebrate it’s simply a reason for your family to fight.
no reason to be the richest man in the cemetery.” What you leave in the
material sense may be celebrated while at the same time you might not be celebrated
for leaving it.
behind is the change you’ve made in this world.
are people who are just putting in time.
They’re just here going through the motions. I mean they are here, they go to work every
day and raise a family but the overriding goal of each day is simply to make it
through to the next day. They lay
absolutely nothing on the line, never take any risks, and never put anything
back into life.
Rembrandt, may never be a Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa that we were
each put on this world to make a difference.
We can help make an impact on our world, but only if we want to.
finger into a bucket of water and then pull it out, that is the difference that
your being here will make.” I am here to
say, “That is wrong, wrong, wrong!” The
world is what it is today not because of what society has done but because of
what individual people have done. And
every one of us has the potential to make a difference.
part of us they will talk about what we left behind in terms of making a
difference of how the world or at least our world is a better place because we
family? How will you make your world a
better place? What will be your legacy?
Cuyler wrote “You may not be able to leave your children a great inheritance, but day
by day, you may be weaving coats for them which they will wear for all
others will come because of what you left but the people you want to be there
will be there for a deeper reason.
12:10 Love each other with genuine
affection, and take delight in honouring each other.
island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the
main.” There are times when we
want to subscribe to being an island when we want to hide in a hole and never
come up but if our life is going to be all that it can be then we need to reach
out to those around us. In each of our
lives are other people, people with whom we have to coexist and to those people
we owe a certain obligation, and that obligation is love.
of us have children at home, all of us have friends and each one of those relationships
require one essential ingredient and that is love. Now not necessarily the same type of love,
that is impossible. You don’t love your
children like you love your parents and you don’t love your friends like you
love your spouse. But in our lives there
is to be reciprocity. Just as we are to
make a difference in our world we are to make a difference in the lives of
people we share our life with.
the people in your life know that you love them? I mean without guessing. Is your love revealed through your
words? Through your actions? Ultimately it will be the greatest thing you
leave in the hearts of your family and friends. We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 13:13 Three
things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is
love. In the end they may talk
about your faith, they may remember how positive you were in life but the thing
they will cherish more than anything will be the love you had for them.
to guess if you loved them.
it’s not just the love we have for our family that will be celebrated but the
love we had for our God and our church. You understand at the funeral of a Christian
the talk shouldn’t be about their theology but about their love. Remember the words of Jesus in John 13:35 Your love for
one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
celebrate your love when you are gone you will have to demonstrate that love
while you are here. And so your life
should be celebrated but we all know that isn’t the entire story.
which is John
11:35 Jesus wept!
only a celebration of life, there was also a mourning. So People
Should Mourn Your Death. You see the old must die and the young may
die. We will all die; every person here
today will die, unless the Lord returns first.
Death is the only thing humanity has in common besides birth.
make it any easier, regardless if it happens when you are 9 or 99. Let’s go back to John 11:35
Jesus wept! That was at the
funeral of his friend Lazarus, the very same Lazarus whom he raised from the
dead just a few moments later. And in
the story that was read it says in Luke 7:13 When the Lord
saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. And then Jesus reached out and touched
the boy and raised him from the dead.
If we believe in eternal life, that those who have embraced Jesus Christ
will live forever with their Creator and Saviour without pain, without sorrow,
without grief why do we cry?
Because. We weep for our loss, we
weep because we will miss our friend, our child, our parent our spouse. We weep for the hole their death has left in
our lives. And that’s all right, that’s
the way it’s supposed to be.
the script on the day you die. Will people celebrate your life and mourn your
death? Only you have the power to assure
that they do.
leave you with the words of my favourite philosopher Yogi
Berra, “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to
yours.” When you have a chance to
go to a friend or colleague’s funeral make every attempt to make either the
service or the visitation beforehand.
It’s not for the dearly departed but for those they have left behind. So that those who have lost their loved one
will be reassured that their mother, father, brother, sister, child or friend
had an impact on their world and the people they knew and interacted with.
If the charges are proved to be true, then the young man has not only damaged his career and family but has brought disrepute on his church and all churches. And if the charges are proved to be false, well the damage has been done. At least in one news accounts it states, “None of the allegations against Hudgins have been tested in court.” But in the real world that really doesn’t matter because he has already been tried in the media. If he is found to be not guilty there won’t be nearly as much attention coverage given and he will always be painted with that particular brush.
could have been prevented. But really isn’t that the way of most tragedies?
we have looked at 10 lepers who were healed and given their lives back. In many ways the lepers were the walking
dead, when they were diagnosed they were declared legally dead, their spouse
was allowed to remarry and their estate was divided amongst their heirs. And Jesus miraculously intervened and literally
gave them their lives back. In week two
we looked at the story of Lazarus and how he had been dead for four days when
Jesus called him out of his tomb and gave him his life back. When he appeared in the door of the tomb
with his grave clothes hanging off him, he must have scared some of those folks
half to death. For many he would always
be one of the walking dead, “Look there goes Lazarus, you know he was dead and
then Jesus made him alive. That is so
the Valley of the Dead Bones, even sounds like a great name for a horror
wondering, what’s with this Walking Dead stuff?
Halloween is finished. Well, through
October and November we are looking at stories from the Bible where people have
been given their lives back.
these stories, but they aren’t normal.
Dead men aren’t called out of their tombs; people with incurable
diseases aren’t suddenly and miraculously healed, valleys full of dry bones don’t
suddenly begin to move.
in a post-apocalyptic world populated by Zombies or Walkers as they are called
in the show. The hero of the show is
Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes who joins with a small band of survivors who are trying to stay alive while at the
same time solve the mystery of what has happened to the world as they knew it
and whether or not they will be able to reverse the Zombie Apocalypse. In honour of the geekiness of the entire show
each week I am wearing a themed T-shirt.
something not to be taken serious. The
CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has an entire section of
their website dedicated to Zombie Preparedness and has produced a 40 page
Graphic novel on that theme. Granted the CDC claims they aren’t actually
preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse, they are simple using the concept as a
teaching tool. Or so they say.
could have been prevented. But really isn’t that the way of most tragedies?
last missionary journey and he ends up making a brief stopover in Troas, which
if we bring up our trusty map we discover is located here in what is now called
Turkey. After being there a week Paul
is ready to move on to Assos by land.
But before he leaves we are told Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week,
we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was
preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until
midnight. It is interesting to note
that the church has gathered to celebrate communion, not on the Sabbath which
was Saturday or the last day of the week but instead on Sunday the first day of
the week. The day that is referred to as
“The Lord’s Day” and is commemorated because it was the day of the
resurrection. And because he was leaving
the next day Paul wanted to spend as much time as possible bringing the church
up to speed and teaching them all they would need to know as believers. And so we are told that he talked until
midnight. A couple of weeks ago I was in Moncton as part
of a task force on New Church Development and I roomed with AJ Thomas the
pastor at Deep Water Church. And we
talked until after one in the morning.
But the difference is that we talked and here it said that Paul
talked. This wasn’t a discussion, Paul
was downloading as much information as possible for the believers.
story we read Acts 20:8-9 The upstairs room where we met was lighted with many
flickering lamps. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting
on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and
dropped three stories to his death below.
what’s happening. It’s late, people have
worked all day and now that have come weary but eager to listen to Paul. They meet in a room crowded with people,
probably hot and stuffy to start with,
lit with oil lamps and not just a few, the author here, who was an eye
witness, makes sure we understand that there were many flickering lamps. This isn’t just a detail he throws in, we are
told that the author, Luke, was a doctor and I’m sure he seeking to isolate or
at least identify some of the causes for what would happen.
begins to nod off, but instead of slumping asleep in his chair he tips back
through an open window and falls to his death.
Now I understand that there are those who would suggest that Eutychus
wasn’t dead that he was just knocked senseless.
But remember that this was a doctor who witnessed what had
happened. The word that Luke uses in the
original language is the Greek word “nekros” and it means “dead”. That word is used 132 times in the New
Testament and each time it means “dead” not senseless, not unconscious but
himself in this case, as opposed to a story told by the same author earlier in
the book of Acts. There he was talking
about Paul being stoned for preaching the gospel and we are told in Acts 14:19 Then
some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side.
They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. They
thought Paul was dead they knew Eutychus was dead. Or as that great modern day philosopher Homer
Simpson summed it up “Don’t let Krusty’s death get you down, boy. People die
all the time, just like that. Why, you could wake up dead tomorrow! Well, good
could have been prevented. But really isn’t that the way of most tragedies? And tragedies are something we all have in
common, the degrees of our tragedies may differ but it’s very doubtful that we
will escape this life without experiencing a loss.
musical comedy, it’s a Greek tragedy.”
family would have been expecting him to go to church and die.
9:12 People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or
birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.
at: How Do We React to Tragedy? Actually my initial theme was “The Church,
boring people to death for 2000 years.”
response to tragedy for most is that We Question We ask, why did this happen? Or
more often why did this happen to me?
And that’s tough to answer. Often
there is no answer or the answer is one we don’t want to hear and that is: Why
not you? Is there someone who is more
deserving of the tragedy? Perhaps it
would be more comforting for tragedy to only happen to bad people, but who gets
to determine who is bad enough to be subjected to the loss of a child or the
loss of a spouse. There are only so many
Hitlers out there.
should get cancer or should lose their job because of a bad economy? If not Eutychus was there someone else in the
room who was more deserving of falling to their death? Would another family have been more deserving
to lose their son?
because you needed to be taught a lesson, it wasn’t because God knew you were
strong enough to stand it. It happened
because you were a person.
and see how others have suffered more than you, but really would that do any
good? Would that make you feel any
questioning the next thing we tend to do is We Blame If we can’t figure out why it happened to us
than we need to find someone to point the finger at.
the blame on, and often when we are faced with tragedy we seek the usual
first stop when we play the blame game.
We feel that we are under attack by the forces of evil. And I would never want to minimize the power
of Satan. We are warned in 1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch
out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion,
looking for someone to devour.
happened. The early church is starting
to gain traction in Asia, people are coming to know Jesus, leadership is being
developed, and the message is poised to spread into Europe. A little distraction might be what is
needed. So it would be easy to picture
Satan giving Eutychus a little shove backward.
us personally or in our church we want to blame Satan for what’s
happening. “After all” we say “Look at
Job.” True enough, the central theme of
the book of Job seems to be what Satan did to Job. Actually the central theme of the book of Job
is how Job stands up to those attacks.
And remember what qualified Job for Satan’s wrath, Job 1:1 There once
was a man named Job . . . He was
blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.
Probably most of us are safe. When we focus on Satan being the author of
our problems often it causes us to be looking in the wrong direction.
is a defeated enemy. That fact is
reiterated time and time again in the New Testament. 1 John 4:4 But you belong to God, my dear
children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit
who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. That is your promise for today: You have already won the victory.
it was God’s Fault Ultimately God could
have prevented Eutychus’ fall and subsequent death. He could have nudged him to wake him up, he
could have provided an angel to catch him on the way down, or he could have
just done a God thing and the kid could have fallen and not been hurt.
didn’t he cure the cancer? Why didn’t he
keep my spouse from cheating? Why didn’t
he keep our child from rebelling? And
sometime those questions are valid, but in many instances they move into the
realm of removing our free will.
that have been those who would say that maybe God had a direct hand in what
happened. That maybe he gave Eutychus
the nudge that sent him hurtling to his death.
Matthew Henry writes “Others think that God designed it for a warning to
all people to take heed of sleeping when they are hearing the word preached;
and certainly we are to make this use of it. . . Let us watch and pray, that we
enter not into this temptation, and by it into worse. Let the punishment of
Eutychus strike an awe upon us, and show us how jealous God is in the matters
of his worship; Be not deceived, God is not mocked.”
pushes him out a window? Not the God I serve. Not the God who told Jeremiah in Jeremiah
29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for
good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
with skin on them to cast the blame on.
So Perhaps it was Paul’s Fault
tired Eutychus really was, and why didn’t Paul warn Eutychus that he shouldn’t
be sitting in an open window. Bad Paul.
letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches
are worthless!” So maybe if Paul had of
been a better preacher. . .
Cornerstone for 19 of those years and I’ve copped the blame for all kinds of
things. Kid’s rebel, must be the
preacher’s fault. You aren’t getting
enough out of church, you aren’t being fed spiritually, must be the preachers
fault. Your spouse just doesn’t’ get it,
must be the preachers fault.
don’t want to blame ourselves or the
ones we love so we look around to see where the blame should go. Your kid’s not doing well in school, blame
the teacher, it couldn’t possibly be that your child isn’t interested in
learning and has behavioural issues..
You can’t seem to catch a break at work and then you lose your job, must
be because your boss is a jerk and the other employees are out to get you.
police chase that ended tragically, for whatever reason the police attempt to
pull over a car and the car decides they can outrun the police they miss a
turn, hit a tree or whatever and then we hear the hue and cry in the media
blaming the police. Really? When I’m driving and the lights and siren
come on behind me I pull over.
sure it wasn’t his fault. Although it
reminds me of the story of the preacher who notice a man sleeping during his
sermon and told an usher “wake that man up!” to which the usher replied “You
wake him up you put him to sleep.”
sleep while Paul was preaching? And then
what was he thinking sitting in an open window three stories up? Why didn’t he think? The truth is in Billy Sunday’s words “Sinners
can repent, but stupid is forever.”
everything I had ever done or want to do I’d never get anything done. So maybe it wasn’t the wisest move to sit in
an open window, but hey the room was hot and he was trying to stay awake. You at least have to give him credit for
involved. We play the “If only” game or
“What were they thinking?” Reality, they
probably weren’t. They didn’t do it hurt
you, or ruin your life, they were probably as surprised as anyone when the
accident happened, or they got arrested, or fired or discovered they had lung
it, God could have prevented it, fallen in a wagon full of hay, could have
nudged the kid and woke him up before he fell.
have put someone to sleep. And while bad
preaching seldom kills anyone physically I would hate to think of those my
preaching has caused to reject the gospel.
regardless of how good Paul was when he started to preach it’s hard to maintain
people’s attention forever. The room was
probably too warm and because of all the lamps that were lit it was probably
stuffy and the CO2 was probably a factor.
response be to tragedy? Let’s go back to
the story that we looked at a couple of weeks ago. The story of Lazarus in John Chapter 11. Jesus’ friend Lazarus was sick and his
sisters sent a message to Jesus letting them know about their brother.
time Jesus got to the village Lazarus had been dead for four days.
sister Mary we hear this part of the conversation: John 11:21-22 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if
only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know
that God will give you whatever you ask.”
In the face of the tragedy Martha still believed in the goodness of
God. So it’s fine if we question, we
might not like the answers.
someone to blame. But ultimately we need
to be able to say “Even now.”
Need to Learn to Trust. And this can be
tough, to be able to say, even now, I may not understand it, I may not like it,
I might not even agree but I will believe that you can be trusted.
know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love,
and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.
Because we need to trust his love.
How much does he love us? John
3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so
that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
story of Eutychus, remember he’s fallen asleep and fallen three stories to his
death, Acts 20:10-12 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” Then they all went back upstairs, shared
in the Lord’s Supper, and ate together. Paul continued talking to them until
dawn, and then he left. Meanwhile, the young man was taken home unhurt, and
everyone was greatly relieved.
was raised from the dead but your loved one wasn’t. but ultimately Eutychus died again, and that
time he stayed dead, just like the rest of us.
And if his parents or other loved ones were there when he fell then they
would have to experience the loss of Eutychus not once but twice.
Johnson who wrote:
remembered is how much has been escaped.”
Not only trusting that God will do what is good but that whatever God
does is good? Let us pray.