Sunday my pastor Kelsey Cates preached on Luke13:1-5.
An often overlooked passage about an evil ruler who committed horrible acts on people and another catastrophe that results in loss of life. This subject must have been insensitively brought up in a discussion. Jesus aimed at the heart of those in the crowd, for he said, “do you think that they are worse than the others?” “You too, you need to repent unless you perish.”Pastor Kelsey explained why we need repentance and the seriousness of sin. 1) repent & 2) perish were the keywords driving the main point of the sermon. Repent, meaning to think differently or to be changed. Perish referring to the ultimate death not only the end of one’s life but eternal destruction.
Kelsey gave us the key to repent, “Repentance only comes when you replace sin with something better. Jesus is that Better.”
Later in the sermon, Kelsey preached an exhortation to come to repentance in light of the gospel saying, “Jesus is the Better…… A Christian that repents every day has tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord….. His mind has been changed after experiencing the Better.”
We are not saved by any amount of good works. Righteousness and holiness are something that we cannot earn. Jesus died on the cross for our forgiveness and imputed his righteousness to us that we may be saved by grace through faith in Jesus.
To listen to the full sermon click here: Kelsey Cates – Sermon – Change Your Mind
Kelsey provided a contemporary example for Luke 13:1-5, the recent shooting of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school in Parkland, Florida.
This sermon was timely for me, as I have been wanting to express a thought about this tragedy. By waiting until after Sunday, Kelsey gave me a greater insight and a wonderful text to base it off of.
We should examine our lives to find sin and replace it with satisfaction in Jesus. Are we doing this when a crisis occurs? Did we do this with the hurricanes? Do we do this with terrorism?
What about this? Are we being judgemental with our comments about the Florida school shooting? Judgemental? What? That would mean that we are criticizing the victims or assume that we are better.
No. We do not say that we are better. But the logic that we use might say otherwise. Why did the shooting occur? What is the reason something like this will not happen to us?
To say that we do not deserve what happened is to imply that the victims did.
Even if we are not using the same tone or judgment, isn’t it still legalism? Things like that do not happen to me because of,…? Who I am, what I do, what I believe?
Take a look at the Florida school shooting from a different perspective.
Let’s agree that we absolutely sympathize with the victims and families.
What about the shooter? What about him? What does he deserve?
Maybe we do not reason our safety against the tragedy of the victims, but do we claim for ourselves to be the judge of the guilty?
The shooter deserves every punishment that is lawful according to the government and God. But don’t we deserve this also?
If you were asked, “what is keeping you from judgment and punishment for your sins?” our only acceptable answer is what Jesus did on the cross. And if our answer is not that Jesus’ blood covered our sins and that is the only reason we do not deserve immediate judgment, then that is legalism. It is self-righteousness, it is works based, merit-based righteousness.
What is the appropriate response to a tragedy such as this?
Look to the gospel. That Jesus the sinless one was crucified as a criminal. We can be relieved in tragedies by fixing our eyes on the greatest tragedy. In dire circumstances, this truth anchors down further that God can use the worst of things for redemption. Tragedy reminds us the hope that eventually all things will be made new.
What are we to do though? Love.
Are the victims and families of the victims our neighbors? Yes. Is the shooter our neighbor? Yes.
We should not feel secure because of what we do and we cannot revel in someone else’s condemnation.
In such a sensitive time it is never more crucial to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
Love does not accuse. We should not leap on opportunities to transfer blame to organizations, political parties, or current procedures that we are seeking to attack.
As believers in Christ, we should be agents for justice and reform. But, of first importance is the gospel and our repentance, that we may be able to minister to the world.
To an atheist, the highest power they know can only be either evolution or Darwinism. The solution for disaster from evolution or Darwinism is the survival of the fittest. I am sure that is comforting at the funerals.
Or to an atheist, the highest powers are the civil government. So something by our government must be done to rectify this disaster or justice has failed.
As believers, we trust God for justice. We have the hope of a good and just yet merciful God who will right every wrong.
If our response to disasters as believers in Christ is the same response as the rest of the world, we need to repent.