Why Is Our World So Broken?

This morning I could’ve come up with a number of titles for this presentation. It’s a little bit out of the box, but I settled on “Why is our world so broken?” Now, that’s not a real inspiring title, but I think it’s true, and I think the reason it’s true, the reason it’s broken is because of the spiritual condition of man.

The Bible uses interesting words to describe the natural spiritual condition of human beings. You know, you read the parable of the prodigal son, you read the fact that he was lost, and had been found, he had been dead, and now is alive.  The other day, I was reading one of Paul’s letters, he uses the word, an “ignorance” that we have for the things of God. You heard the words like to be blind, like in the song Amazing Grace,I was blind but now I see“, but the word that’s probably used more often than any other word to describe the human condition, our spiritual condition, it is this: to be in darkness. The idea of walking through life in darkness, not knowing where to go, or what to do. And in the book of John alone, you see this contrast between light and darkness throughout the entire book. For instance, “Jesus spoke to them saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. In John 12:35, “So Jesus said to them, for a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light so that the darkness will not overtake you. He who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.

I see that a lot, men not knowing where they’re going. “I have come as Light into the world so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in the darkness.” And the one that I find most perplexing, and yet most true, is John 3:19 where it talks about the Light, being Jesus, is come into the world, but the problem is, men love the darkness. You know, in the physical world that we live in, rarely do you find yourself in total complete darkness. We have lights everywhere, then, when we go outside, we’ve get stars, but, if you’ve ever been in total pitch black darkness, one of the things you realize after a few minutes, it is totally disorienting. I was in a hotel room with my wife the last time this happened to me, a nice hotel room with a suite, and I get up in the middle of the night, to go to the bathroom, and don’t turn on the light to wake up my wife. I think I’m going back to my side of the bed, and the next thing you know, I’m in the next room, in the closet, trying to find my way around. That’s what the darkness does. It disorients us. It has this disorienting effect.

Back in 1914, British explorer Ernest Shelton and his crew took a ship to Antarctica. Their plan was to land and then walk across Antarctica, across the South Pole, and continue all the way across, but the problem is their plan had to be abandoned because the ship The Endurance, got caught in polar ice and was crushed. And here they were, stuck, and over the following months, even though this is the milder part of the winter, their crew just fought to survive and get home. One of Shackleton’s biographers states that in all the difficulties they faced, including starvation and frigid temperatures, he says the worst thing was the darkness. Because near the South Pole, the sun goes down in mid-May, it doesn’t come back until late July, and there’s no daytime. Ever. There’s no sunshine. There’s no sunlight. And they had to endure that over two months. You see, polar explorers will tell you there is nothing more desolate than the polar night. It will drive men mad because it’s so disorienting and leaves you in such isolation – the darkness.

But you know, this is also true of spiritual darkness. Tim Keller says spiritual darkness comes when we turn away from God as our true light and make something else as the center of our lives. He says the Bible sometimes compares God to the sun. Why is the sun so important? It’s the source of visual truth because by it, we see everything and the sun is a source of biological life because without it, nothing could live. And God, the Bible says, is the source of all truth and all life. If you orbit around God, then your life has truth and vitality. You are in the light, but if you turn away from God, and orbit around yourself, the result is spiritual darkness. You are turning away from the truth, away from life, towards the darkness. And what I found to be true, in the work that I do, in meeting with men, when you are in spiritual darkness, you think you’re heading in the right direction, but you’re not. In reality, you are profoundly disoriented.

Now I want to take a minute, and this is just my opinion. I want to share with you, I think, one of the greatest insights regarding this issue in the entire Bible and, just a couple sentences, I’m going to read it to you, and you’re gonna scratch your head and wonder, what in the world is he talking about. I had that same perplexing thought, what in the world was Jesus saying, it didn’t make much sense. Listen to what He says. He says this on two different occasions; He says it in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, and He says it again in Luke chapter 11 in a completely different scenario. Listen to the words. This was written 2000 years ago and unbelievable pertinence to our lives today. “The eye is the lamp of your body and when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light, but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light and no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Now, before I explain to you what He just said, did you hear verse 35? He’s warning us to watch out and make sure that the light that you think you have is not actually darkness.

As I said, for years I never really understood these words, then a couple years ago, I decided I want to get to the bottom of this. I’m going to try to figure out what was He really talking about, and so, after doing all this research, and then sharing and having it confirmed by a guy who is an expert in the Greek language, this is what Jesus was saying. What is your eye? Your eye is the lens through which you see life. It’s your perception of reality. The word that we might use in our everyday vocabulary is perspective. It’s our perspective. Stephen Covey calls it a paradigm. We see life through various paradigms. The academic world and the political world use a word that I like. It is the word “worldview”. What Jesus is saying is, your perspective, your worldview, your perception of reality can be rooted in the truth or it can be rooted in falsehood. And He’s saying if it is rooted in the truth, your life will be full of light, and you’ll be healthy, and have vitality to your life. He says if it is rooted in falsehood, your life will be full of darkness.

On July 30th of this year in The Wall Street Journal, there was an interesting interview with Dr. Theodore Dalrymple. He was a British prison psychiatrist and he seemed to know a great deal about mass murderers and serial killers. The purpose of the interview was to try to understand the mass murderer Anders Brevick. That name ring a bell? Brevick was the Norwegian who went to that island and systematically killed 69, almost all of them teenagers, and he was not insane, he was a very sane individual. And in that article, listen to what Dalrymple says about Brevick. “He had a worldview and a vision of what was needed to achieve it.” Then says Dalrymple, “I assume that when he was shooting all these people what was in his mind was the higher good that he thought he was doing, and that was more real to him than the horror that he was creating around it.” And then he says this, “In itself, having a worldview that shapes our attention, informs even what we believe to be real, is perfectly normal.” He’s saying everybody has a worldview, but the problem is, what kind of worldview do you have? What is it rooted in? Dalrymple said in the article, “Clearly, Brevick’s worldview does not have a transcendent purpose. God is not a part of it.” And then he says this, kind of sarcastically, “and the reason we know this is religion is dead in Europe.”

If you ask a man on the street who is the most twisted evil American to ever live, many people would say Jeffrey Dahmer. Before he was killed in prison, he did several television interviews. I saw one of them. It was Dahmer, his father, and Stone Phillips on ABC. And what was so interesting, is this cannibal killer came across incredibly sane, and normal, and quite intelligent. And when he was asked why he tortured, killed, and cannibalized so many people, you’ve got to listen to his response. This is unbelievable. He says, “You people watching me on TV all have desires. Some may be the desire to exercise and work out. Others to go to a movie to eat ice cream. Other people like fast food, but people have desires, and people are going to satisfy their desires unless they have sufficient reason not to. So if people want to satisfy their desire for ice cream or fast food, they’re going to do this unless there’s an overriding reason that says they shouldn’t do it. When I was in high school, I found within myself the desire to torture animals. I didn’t believe in God, therefore I didn’t believe a judgment after death. I didn’t believe that God was looking. I didn’t believe we were here for a purpose. It seemed to me we evolve from the slime and when we die, our particles returned to the slime.” You know what, he was sharing his worldview, this is the way I see life. “I have four score and 10 to live in this earth, if I’m lucky. Given that, I wasn’t here for a purpose, and I’m going to die, and that’s the end of me, and there is no reason why I was here, and I couldn’t find any sufficient reason to deny the satisfaction of my desires. And as I tortured animals it got to the point it no longer satisfied me, so I decided at that point to torture human beings, and frankly, I could not think of a reason why I shouldn’t, given my view of reality.”

Now guys, I’m not saying that all atheists become evil killers but look at where his spiritual worldview led him. It justified what he did in his own mind. Just as we celebrated 9/11, it struck me that the guys who flew those planes into the towers had a worldview. Their worldview convinced them what they were doing was good. So guys, everybody has a worldview. You and I have a worldview, and it’s either rooted in falsehood or its rooted in the truth, and that’s what Jesus was talking about. What impacts our lives more than anything else is your spiritual worldview, your perception of spiritual reality.

In Proverbs 9:10, Solomon says, our knowledge of God is where we get our understanding of life. It’s the foundation of our thinking. Tim Keller says our view of God and spiritual reality determines how we reason. In other words, you end up embracing or screening out all that fits or does not fit with your view of God. That’s what Jeffrey Dahmer was sharing. Today, probably if not the most prominent, one of the most prominent, psychiatrists in our country is Armand Nicholi. He teaches at Harvard Medical School. Listen to what he says; this is huge. He says, “Our view of God influences how we perceive ourselves, how we relate to others, how we adjust to adversity, and what we understand to be our purpose. Our spiritual worldview helps determine our values, our ethics, and our capacity for happiness. It helps us to understand where we come from, our heritage, who we are, our identity, why we exist on this planet, our purpose, what drives us, our motivation, and where we are going, our destiny.” And then he says this, “Nothing has more profound and more far-reaching implication for lives than our view of God and the role that He plays in our lives.”

Do you see the significance of this? This is why Jesus places such emphasis on having a spiritual view of reality rooted in the truth. This is why I believe our world is so broken because our worldview is rooted in falsehood, and consequently, we’re a culture that lives in the darkness. I think every single one of us should pay close attention to those words in verse 35 where Jesus says, “Watch out and make sure that the light you think you have in your own life, is not actually darkness.” I take this seriously. I love my work, I love what I do, I love helping men when I can, but in working very closely with them, I find how walking in darkness does disorient us and causes us to stumble and to fall. Solomon says it like this in the book of Proverbs, “We stumble and fall, and we don’t know what we stumble over,” and maybe you find yourself asking yourself this question sometimes. Cause I’ll find a man whose life is really troubling, and he comes in and he asks the question, “Why is this happening to me? Why is life not working for me?” And he’s generally clueless. He’s in the dark. It’s so easy to think we’re going in the right direction, and maybe we’re just not.

You know where I’ve seen this most specifically? I’m going to share three areas, and then I’ll close up. I’ve seen this in three areas, but most specifically I’ve seen this in the human search for happiness. We have a flawed view of happiness, and in my preparation, I really learned something quite interesting, but I think that a majority of people in our land would contend that the object of life is to be happy. The problem is, I’m not sure most people know what that is. Think about this. If I gave you a note card and I said, in 60 seconds, I want you to write down your definition of happiness, what would you write? It’s hard to get our arms around what happiness is, and yet we’re on a desperate search for it. There was another article in The Wall Street Journal that said our focus must be on what makes a life full and flourishing. Happiness, of course, is the natural answer but there are problems. What kind of happiness, and what is happiness anyway? Is it a momentary feeling, is it a lasting disposition, or is it just a mere absence of misery? What is happiness?

What’s so interesting guys is most people aren’t aware of it, but over the last 20 years, there’s been a massive amount of research done on this. At the University of Chicago at Princeton and Harvard and Yale, attempting to understand this one thing, I think this is a great study, trying to figure out the relationship between happiness and rising prosperity. What’s happened is the results of all this research have been quite baffling. As prosperity has risen in the Western world, instead of increasing our sense of well-being, the researchers are seeing it go into decline. Princeton professor Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize for economics in 2002, spent the best part of two decades observing people’s subjective well-being and you know what he did? After two decades, he abandoned his research. He said he could not come up with any conclusive insights regarding people’s happiness. He couldn’t figure it out. Nobel prizewinner came to no conclusions. But you know what the research did conclude? And this you can read in the book that’s called The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook. “We’re a culture,” he says, “that equates pleasure and good feelings with happiness. Modern humans have elevated the pursuit of pleasure, enjoyment, and good feelings into a philosophy of life”. A life that revolves around pleasure does not provide happiness. It seems to make us more miserable, according to the research.

What I want to share with you is unbelievably fascinating. Those of you who know me know I’ll read three or four books at once. I’m about two thirds of the way the book called Christianity for Modern Pagans, and what it is, it’s a critique of Blaise Pascal’s classic work, Pensées. “Pensées” is the French word for “thoughts”. The guy who critiques it is Peter Kreeft. He teaches philosophy at Boston College and he’s written over 50 books, well-credentialed, I quote him often. If you remember, Einstein believed Pascal was one of the most brilliant people that ever lived, and this is what is so interesting. Pensées is a defense of the Christian faith and it rests its arguments on one simple and undeniable fact in the mind of Pascal. That we are naturally unhappy. Human beings are on a desperate search for happiness and yet they can’t find it, and this was written 350 years ago. And he says, “Unhappiness is perhaps the most obvious and pervasive feature of human experience.” And then Kreeft says this; think about this, he says, “Though this is life’s most obvious fact, Americans and British cover this up more than others as if it were a disgrace.” Does that ring a bell? If you read the book, The True Measure of a Man, we talk about that. That men are not supposed to get down, they’re not supposed to get depressed, they’re not supposed to be unhappy, we’re supposed to be strong, we’re supposed to always be up, optimistic, and together, and so we cover it up. As you look around a big room like this, you never know, what is the real condition of your life and your heart? On a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the highest, one being the lowest, what would your score be?

Now stay with me because Pascal has a very unusual insight here, a very unusual take. He says, “There is a reason that human beings are unhappy, and this is the reason why.” He says, “Because we’re mortal. Because of our mortality.” He says, “Death is the most obvious fact of life. He says, “It slaps us in the face when we realize our own helplessness in overcoming it. It slaps us in the face, and deep down,” he says, “we are haunted by this fact that when we die we will experience the loss of everything in this life, everything you own, everything you’ve earned, everything you spent your life building, you will leave here.” And he says that haunts us. And this is why he says we love pleasure so much. It diverts the mind, it keeps us from thinking about our mortal condition, and the horrors of dying.  And then Kreeft gives a great illustration. I love this. I thought this was so on target. He says, “This is a picture of the human situation. Imagine you are locked in a car, and that car, in this illustration, represents your body and your life”, and he says, “The car is speeding down a hill.” That’s time going by, the time of your life going by. He said, “It’s foggy and you are unable to see ahead.” We’re in spiritual darkness. He says, “The door to the car, you can’t get out.” You know, we’re all kinda stuck in this life. You can’t get out because the doors are welded shut, the steering works only a little, and the brakes are nonexistent. He says, “We have one certainty, and that is, the car, sooner or later, falls over the edge of the cliff into the abyss.” And he asked this question, “So how do humans deal with this reality?” He says, “We erect billboards at the edge of the cliff so then we don’t have to look into the abyss.” He says, “These billboards are our worldly pleasures, the diversions in our lives to keep us from reflecting on our true condition.” He says, “This is the human story.”

And I always feel like whenever I make a talk on anything that relates to pleasure, my children even said this, “Dad, you just don’t want anybody to have any fun.” And I just would say again, the pleasures of life are a gift from God, they are good, and there is a proper place for them, but they don’t have the power to make human beings happy nor do they lead to a very meaningful life. If you will read between the lines, Pascal is saying this, If you really want to find happiness in this life, this is the starting place. You have to be delivered from the fear of death. And he said, and believed with all his heart, only Jesus could do that for a man or for a woman. This is what Armand Nicholi says about how C.S. Lewis’s changed his worldviews; you know Lewis was an atheist for 31 years, and then he becomes a Christian a couple years later. Listen to how Lewis’ change in worldview impacted his ability to find happiness. He says, “When we observe the life of C.S. Lewis before and after his conversion, we can’t help but observe how one’s worldview has a profound impact on one’s capacity to experience happiness. Lewis stated clearly that his pessimism and gloom were closely related to his atheism. His conversion experience changed his pessimism, gloom, and despair, to joy, freedom from the burden of his driving ambition, and led to many satisfying relationships.” And furthermore, Lewis anticipated death with cheerfulness and peace. If you read anything about it, you see a man who truly lived a joyful, happy life. A week before his death, he shared these words with his brother Warren. He said, “Warren, I have done all that I was sent in the world to do and I am ready to go,” and his brother remarked, “I have never seen death looked in the face so tranquilly.”

Listen to these powerful words that address this issue. These are the words of Zechariah in Luke 1 talking about Jesus who was getting ready to be born. And he says, “This is one of the reasons Jesus is coming into the world, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise”…Sunrise is capitalized; he’s making reference to Jesus. Verse 78 of Luke 1,”with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us.” The Sunrise is soon to visit us. Why? To shine upon those who sit in darkness, and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. I think Pascal may be onto something guys because I believe he’s right. A person cannot find earthly happiness until he is at peace about his mortal condition. So our culture has a flawed view of happiness, but secondly, we also have a flawed view of who God is, which also leads us into the darkness. Think about this. When I mention the word “God” what is your first thought? Os Guinness tells an interesting story, and he says, “I’ll never forget a woman who sat in our living room when we lived in Switzerland. She argued, she cried, she pounded the floor, why should she trust God? He was a monster. A hard unyielding monarch. A Mafia boss whose power was everywhere. A merciless creditor who demanded His pound of flesh. Hadn’t she tried to obey Him? Hadn’t she given it everything, but the more she saw God, the more she feared, and the more she feared, the more she became angry, and the angrier she became the more she hated, and the more she hated, the more afraid of God she grew. She knew she was caught in a vicious trap sliding down a slippery spiral. She was young, she was loved, she was successful, but none of it made any difference. She could not trust God. She could not trust with real zest, and without reservations, and in the bitterness of doubt, her spirit was like the darkness at noon.” I wonder if any of us have ever felt this way about God. How do you see Him? Guinness says, fortunately, this woman today has come to know God, as He really is, the true God. She’s able to trust Him. She is able to entrust herself to Him, and Guinness says, her whole life reflects the difference. It’s transformed her.

You see, it’s crucial for us to understand who God is, and as you sit here this morning, what picture do you have of Him? Is it sharp and clear or is it blurred and ill defined? Is it something you dreamed up, or is it the actual picture God has given us of Himself as found in the Scriptures? It’s crucial to get this right, because if you don’t, you can never trust Him, you can never draw near to Him. That’s part of what we do in The Investigative Study. We teach men, this is Who God is. This is who the Scripture say that He is.

So, we have a flawed view of happiness, we have a flawed view of God, and finally, our culture has a flawed view of the Gospel message found in the New Testament. This is really what I find to be true here even in the Bible Belt. I wish I had kept tally of the number of men I’ve gone through The Investigative Study with, and we go through it, explain it, try to make it very clear, but I can’t tell you the number of men who have gone through it, and at the at the end of the day, look at me and say, “I have never heard that before.” I had one guy not long ago say, “Wow, I have never heard that.” Then he thought for a second, and he said, “You know, I think I’m kinda mad about that. Here I am in my 50s and nobody’s ever told me that?” I know a man who was halfway through seminary, and then he realized, “I’m lost! Spiritually I’m in the darkness.” I heard an Anglican priest share, “I was ordained and teaching and preaching in the church and discovered that I was spiritually lost. I was in the darkness and I had a flawed view of the Gospel message.” You may think, “How could that be?” but Jesus talks about this.

These are some of the most powerful words, I believe, in the New Testament. Every time I share this at any event, it always gets people’s attention. It’s from Matthew 7 and Jesus is talking about people who don’t have a good understanding, have a flawed view of the Gospel. He said, “Not everyone who calls me Lord, Lord is going to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” He’s talking about religious people, because they call Him Lord, they believe in Him. “Many,” Jesus says, will say on that day, the Judgment Day, “many will say but Lord, didn’t I prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name, I did many wonderful works?” Jesus said, “I will declare to him, depart from Me. I never knew you.”

There’s a man here in the audience today, he is my physician, he doesn’t mind my sharing this because I’ve asked him, he’ll tell you, when he heard these words years ago, made him realize, “That’s me that Jesus is talking about! I’m a doctor. I do good things. I go to church. I’m married, I’m a father, I have friends. I’m a law-abiding citizen, but this is talking about me.” He’ll tell you, “I realized I did not know God, I did not have a relationship with Him. I was in the darkness.” And Jesus says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

The problem is, guys, we confuse the true Gospel with religion. You see, religion is, you work your way to God, you follow the rules, and hopefully you save yourself. It’s called self salvation but the true Gospel is a gift from God that you have to receive by faith. You don’t rely on your record to get in, you rely on Jesus’ record and your sins are nailed to the cross.

David Platt, in his best-selling book, Radical, tells a great story. He says, “I remember sitting outside a Buddhist temple in Indonesia. Men and women filled the elaborate colorful temple grounds where they daily performed their religious rituals. Meanwhile, I was engaged in a conversation with a Buddhist leader and a Muslim leader in this particular community. They were discussing how all religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different. We may have different views about small issues, one of them said, but when it comes down to the essential issues, each religion is the same. I listened for a while and then they asked me what I thought. I said, ‘It sounds as though you both picture God, or whatever you call God, at the top of a mountain. It seems as if you believe that we are all at the bottom of the mountain, and I, the Christian, work my way up the mountain, but you take another route, and you work your way up the mountain, and you, the Muslim, you take another route, and you work your way up the mountain. It’s like we all follow the same religious laws and they are all fundamentally the same, and at the end we all get to the top. Is that what you say?’ They smiled, happily replied, now you now understand, then Platt leaned in and said, ‘Let me ask you a question. What would think if I told you that the God of the top of the mountain actually came down to where we are? What would you think if I told you that God doesn’t wait for people to find their way to Him, but instead He comes to us’? They thought for a moment, and then responded, that would be great. Platt said, ‘Well let me introduce you to Jesus.‘ “

You see, say we can’t make it to the top of the mountain by ourselves. To do it, you’d have to follow the law to perfection, and so what does He do instead of leaving us here in our desperate lives? He comes down the mountain to rescue us. And I like that word rescue, and it’s used in the New Testament a couple of times, and one of my favorite verses that explains what He does for us is Colossians 1:13-14, where He rescued us from the domain of darkness and He transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. You know guys, when somebody comes to rescue you it is because you are in danger, and you can’t rescue yourself.

Tim Keller tells this story that I think is a good ending. He says, “I know a man in my first parish who had lost most of his eyesight after he was shot in the face during a drug deal that had gone bad. He told me that he been an extremely selfish and cruel person, that he had always blamed his constant legal and relational problems on others. The loss of his sight had devastated him, but it had also profoundly humbled him. ‘As my physical eyes were closed, my spiritual eyes were opened, as it were. I finally saw how I’d been treating people. I changed, and now, for the first time in my life, I have friends, real friends. It was a terrible price to pay, yet I must say, it was worth it. I finally have what makes life worthwhile.'” Here is a man who had physically lost his eyesight, but spiritually was now able to see for the first time. He said, my spiritual eyes were opened, and he said, the trade-off was worth it.

This reminds me of John’s words in the book of Revelation in chapter 3 when he addresses the churches of Laodicea. This was a very wealthy church with wealthy people, and this is what God said to them. Your problem is that you are wealthy, and therefore you say, I have need of nothing, but, in reality, you have no eyes to see that spiritually you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Then God says, He doesn’t just condemn them, He says, “Come to me”, and find real gold. Find real wealth, and I’ll heal you. And the last thing he says, “And I will give you salve to put on your eyes so you can see.” So we can have spiritual eyes.

I said earlier that we have a flawed view of God so if you ask me as we leave here today, what is it that what is the Bible really tells us about Him? He tells us a lot. Let me tell you what I would say to you, man-to-man, the Bible says that Jesus, God, is a King, but He’s not just a king, he is the King of all Kings, and not only that, he is a wise, benevolent, loving King, who desires the very best for us His people. And he is a King that demonstrates His love for each of us by dying on a cross to rescue us from our sinfulness. That’s not something you would expect, a king on a cross, but, if we recognize him as King of Kings, we will realize you don’t negotiate with a King. You lay down your arms, and you serve him with your life, and this is where I get push back from men. I like the story, I like the rescue, I don’t want to be in darkness, but then when it’s the idea of laying down my arms, surrendering, and serving Him with my life, now you’ve gone to meddling, and you get push back, you get resistance, and the reason is, and this is just true of men, we don’t want to give up control of our lives.

But this is the great irony; we don’t control much of anything in this life. Think about it. Did you have any control over when and where you were born? You could have been born in Bolivia in 1850 but you weren’t. Did you have any control over the color of your skin, the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, did you have any control over the talents that you have, the abilities that you have, the intelligence that you have? Do you have any control over the economy, the stock market, interest rates, and even though we do have some control over our health, when it gets right down to it, at the end of the day, as time goes by, you don’t have any control over cancer, over strokes, over Alzheimer’s. You don’t.

One of the things that I’ve just realized. I have a 12, 13, and 14-year-old and I’m realizing now that 10 years from now, I’ll have no control over what happens to my kids. They’ll be making their own choices and decisions and the forces of life will act upon them, and I’m powerless to do anything. I’m not in control. In all probability, guys, we will have no say over when and how we die. We just won’t. And to think that men reject God so that they can be in control of their lives. Jesus, the King of Kings, is the one, who is ultimately in control, and He’s asking each of us to lay down our arms and to entrust our lives into His care and we can say yes to Him, or we can say no, but know this, there is no neutral position that we can take. Let me close with prayer.

Father we thank You for coming into this world to rescue us from our sins, to deliver us from the fear of death, and to find our way out of the darkness into Your marvelous light. I pray Lord that You would take this message and use it in each man’s life. I pray that You would bring us to that position where we are willing to lay down our arms and serve You with our lives. Thank You for our community, all the wonderful relationships and friendships that exist in this room, thank You for our families, for it’s in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


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