Sunday’s Advent Sermon in 18 Tweets

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Sunday was the second Sunday of Advent, and I preached on 2 Peter 3:8-15. You can listen to the entire sermon here. I saw that a pastor friend of mine condense his Sunday sermon into tweets (140 characters or less), so I thought I’d try. It really boils the message down to the essentials!  Here goes…

Advent is a season of waiting, but waiting is hard. We’re tempted to give up, so Peter gives us perspective.

2 Pet 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact beloved that with the Lord one day is as 1000 years, and 1000 years as one day.

2 Pet 3:9a The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…

2 Pet 3:9b …not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God “delays” because every moment that passes is another moment that a non-believer can repent and believe.

But, the Lord will return. Judgment will come. His patience will end. It will be unexpected for the unprepared.

God’s judgment of sin, the wicked, and the unrepentant will be absolutely, categorically complete.

Therefore, Christians must live lives of holiness and godliness while waiting. And it looks like this:

1. Be diligent (make haste) to be found by Him without spot or blemish (1 Pet 3:14)

Make haste to continually forsake sin and diligently practice prayer, praise, Scripture intake, worship, communion, fellowship.

By the way, we do all of this on Sundays together!

2. Be diligent (make haste) to be found by Him at peace (1 Pet 3:14) But how?

Phil 4:6 Don’t be anxious about anything, but pray and make requests of God with thanksgiving.

Phil 4:7 And when you do, the unexplainable peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

3. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation. (2 Pet 3:15)

2 Cor 5:20 We are ambassadors for Christ as God makes His appeal through us.

Every day the Lord “delays” His return is another day for us to be ambassadors for Him to unbelievers.

In conclusion, while you await His return, grow in holiness and godliness – and share your faith!

Are You Really Pro-Life?

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the recent killings of criminals by the police. I’m sure you have too.  You may even have a well-crafted opinion about them like, “The kid in Ferguson was a thug and deserved what he got.  The man in New York City should not have resisted arrest and shouldn’t have been so unhealthy in the first place.”  These are common opinions I’ve heard from many – including some of my Christian brothers and sisters.

Now…I don’t want to get into a debate about whether or not the police were justified in using the kind of force they did.  I don’t want to argue about whether or not those they killed deserved it or not.  I want to speak to my Christian brothers and sisters who claim to be pro-life.

At the most basic of levels, to be pro-life is to oppose abortion and euthanasia.  A person who is pro-life fights to protect the lives of the unborn and the elderly.  It’s a position that claims the “sanctity of human life” as one of its main tenants.  Christians who hold this position quote Bible verses like Psalm 139:13-14 to support their pro-life stance. And rightfully so.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

However, to REALLY be pro-life means that we value not just life at the beginning and end, but life in-between too.  It means that we value all human lives – including those who have made a mess of theirs.  Being pro-life means that we do not celebrate the taking of one human life by another human.  Being pro-life means we fight for and seek to preserve life from conception forward.

Some may call my position “liberal” – and it is.  As a Christian, I believe that the One we follow calls us to be liberal with our views on and protection of those who live.  Actually, it’s not as much a liberal position as it is a “biblical” position.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:38-44:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’ but I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Words like these from Jesus, coupled with the fact that God is the creator, giver, and sustainer of all life ought to heavily inform the way in which those of us who follow Him view the issue of life.

While on earth, Jesus claimed to be “the life,” called His followers to love everyone (including their enemies), to live lives of peace, and He even wept over the death of His friends.  And then ultimately, Jesus allowed Himself  to be murdered in order to once-and-for-all defeat death and give life to all mankind.

Therefore, no one who claims to be pro-life should ever celebrate the killing of one man by another – regardless of the scenario.

I do believe that God has established the ruling authorities as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 13.  I’m thankful for our laws that are some of the most just and fair laws in the world, and I’m thankful for our rulers – including the police, who we hire to enforce our laws.  I believe they have one of the most difficult jobs in our society.  When they kill someone in the line of duty – whether we think it’s justified or not – as pro-life Christians, we should mourn.

So, in order to be consistent with what I say I believe, I’m choosing to mourn the deaths of those who have recently been killed by the police.  If you are pro-life, will you join me?