I think we're nearing the last days of time, and we just don't have much time in this old world. It won't be long and we'll be going home. As Seventh-day Adventists, our main doctrine is Jesus Christ and His righteousness and the truth in Jesus. And of course, we keep the Sabbath day. That's one of the pillars of our church. And another is that we believe in the advent, the soon advent of Jesus Christ. We think that that is soon. I believe that there is hardly a person in this world that would argue with you, today, that we are a lot nearer the Lord s coming than we were.
Prophecies are being fulfilled. I wish H. M. S. Richards could stand here this morning and share with us his viewpoints on what is happening in this old world.
I will tell you, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was driving to the hospital t be with my wife. She had just had major surgery the day before. I had just arrived at the hospital and someone told me that two 747 aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Towers. I thought, yea!? Sure! No way! One could be an accident, but not two. That could never happen. But when I did get to her room and visited a while, I turned on the TV and my eyes were glued to what I saw. I could not believe it. I was horrified to learn that America was under an attack by some idiotic crazy lunatics, terrorists.
And as the scene unfolded that morning, each new scene, you just sat there with your mouth open and your eyes glued. You just couldn't believe it. It is the worst thing that has ever happened to this country in my life-time. And I've been around for a few years. I couldn't believe it.
America will never be the same. It has forever changed overnight. We have been changed. Brazen terrorists have created another day of infamy. That s about what it amounts to. In fact, over twice as many were killed there in about a one hour period of time as were killed in all of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This is something big. This horrific attack on September 11, which is 911, has forever altered American life. We'll never go back. We will never be the same. It all happened with 4 Jets, 3 buildings, 2 cities and one lasting nightmare. We will never be the same.
19 terrorists swooped down on the wings of demons. Never since the Civil War has America seen such blood shed on our soil in America. Things are changing. Will we ever be safe again? And, what is next? Will terrorists use germ warfare? Will they hesitate to use Nuclear terrorism? Do they have nuclear capabilities? They have money, and nuclear bombs are for sale. Which target will be next? Atlanta? Chicago? Los Angles....?
I want to share with you ten lessons from this experience.
1. WAR HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US.
Let's keep focused on this experience War is nothing new. Come over here to Luke 21:9. These are the words of Jesus! He says, When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. Is America frightened today? There is fear in America, and we'll talk more about that later. Jesus says, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away. Are we at the end of the world today? Well, we're near the end. We're nearer than we've ever been. But is this the end? No, it's not. There s much more ahead of us. War has always been with us and we are now at war. An old Arabian Proverb says: "The world started with war, and it shall be destroyed by war." I suppose in a sense that is true, because the great controversy between Christ and Satan will finish it off.
Plato said: "Only the dead have seen the end of war." However, America is entering a new type of war. Our enemy this time is not some country. We do not fight some major army. We fight barbaric hatred. We fight religious hatred. We are striving to maintain a civilized life as we have known it. We are entering the last day type war. The rules have forever changed.
2. THINGS WILL GET WORSE.
You may say that things are really bad. I will tell you that things are going to get worse. Come over to Matthew 24:12. Here, Jesus makes another statement. I'm so glad that Jesus shares with us what is going to happen in the future so that we can be aware. Matthew 24:12. Jesus said, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold..."
What does wickedness do? It increases! More and more evil people, more and more bad people, crazy people, wicked people, terrorists. We face hell bound killers with modern flyable bombs that they can pick up free from any airport. They have been taught to believe that if they die killing the enemy, that seventy two beautiful virgins are waiting for them up in heaven. That s for each man that does this. I will tell you that if heaven is filled with such bloodthirsty hoards, I don't want to be there! If that's all heaven is about, then deliver me from such a place. What a false concept they have!
Look at Matthew 24:21. Jesus also ,makes a statement: "For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again." Great distress. Never to be equaled again. Great distress.
I looked "distress" up in the dictionary. It means anxiety. It means pain. It means trouble. It means worry. That is what the world is facing. I was going to preach an entirely different sermon today, and I decided that we are Seventh-day Adventists. We need a sermon on what is happening in our world. As I saw pictures of the faces of the victims I saw reflections of horror and panic. What we are facing here is not a new world order, but a new world disorder. The world is falling apart.
Apparently the Crusades of the dark ages are not over yet. Have you noticed that? The Muslim extremist...Let me make that very clear. The Muslim extremist are on the warpath, pitting their money, their blood, and their very life against what they consider to be the great Satan. I read in US News and World Report, Sept. 24, 2001, p. 47 "Advances in biotechnology and germ warfare have left America unprepared for catastrophic attack." Now, you read between the lines on that statement. Advances in biotechnology and germ warfare. Are we prepared for that? Not by any means.
Do you know what the code is...I used to be a voluntary fireman and when they "ten twenty two" you, that means that your job is done. These numbers mean something to these terrorists. I don't know what is next, but obviously we haven't seen anything yet. Jesus said it is going to get worse. This could be the tip of the iceberg just before the great day before the time of trouble. What we're actually leading to Armageddon.
The great stethoscope of the Bible tells us that this old world is dying. 1 Corinthians 7:29 says: What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. The apostle Paul believed that and how long did we have to go then? Well, two thousand years. So, if he thought it was short, what should we think? It's really short.
3 HATRED WILL ABOUND
Back to Matthew 24:10. Here, Jesus makes another statement: "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other." Many people are going to drop out of the church. They are going to turn away from the faith and they are going to hate each other. In the last days you are going to see a lot of hatred. What did we see in New York and Washington DC? Hatred. That s basically what we saw. Even Christians are going to hate fellow Christians. Religious folk slitting each others throats because they disagree on what happens once their throats are slit. They can't agree whether they go to heaven or hell. So, "I'll just slit your throat."
But even though hatred abounds, God's love abounds much more. God is still alive. God still sits at the controls of the universe. God allowed this to happen. Did God stop it or allow it? He allowed it, didn't He? Therefore there must be some purpose in this. And I feel that a lot of people are going to start coming back to church. A lot of people are going to start reading their Bibles.
4 WAS THIS FORETOLD?
Was this experience in New York foretold? Well, I don't know. I want to read a statement to you from Volume 9 of the Testimonies for the Church, pp. 12,13 by Ellen White. What do you make of this statement that was made almost 100 years ago back in 1909. She says, "On one occasion, when in New York City, I was in the night season called upon to behold buildings rising story after story toward heaven." When that statement was written almost a hundred years ago, there were no extremely tall buildings anywhere like World Trade Center. Nothing like what she was describing. I feel that this was something that was yet to happen in the future. She continues: "These buildings were warranted to be fireproof, and they were erected to glorify their owners and builders." Now, think about that statement.
A special edition of Time Magazine describing the World trade towers and the Pentagon which were all destroyed said they were "Sanctuaries of money and power." Fit that in with that quotation.
Then I continued reading: "The scene that next passed before me was an alarm of fire. Men looked at the lofty and supposedly fireproof buildings and said: 'They are perfectly safe.' But these buildings were consumed as if made of pitch. The fire engines could do nothing to stay the destruction. The firemen were unable to operate the engines." Vol. 9, Testimonies for the Church, pp. 12, 13. by Ellen White. Now, I've read that statement over the years and I've thought "Unable to operate their engines? No way! I mean, They have a key. If they turn it on, it's going to run." Why were they unable to operate their engines? Because their engines were buried under the rubble. They were not able to use their engines. The rubble, seven stories high! The damage occupies an area the size of sixteen football fields. Both Trade Towers were 110 stories tall. Together they weighed 900,000 tons.
Now, here's one more quote, also written almost a hundred years ago. What do you make of its implications? I'm not saying this is a direct fulfillment, but it sounds like it is. "In the night I was....in a city, where I knew not, and I heard expression after expression. I rose up quickly in bed, and saw from my window large balls of fire. Jetting out were sparks, in the form of arrows, and buildings were being consumed, and in a very few minutes the entire block of buildings was falling and the screeching and mournful groans came distinctly to my ears." Ellen White, Volume 11 of Manuscript Releases, p. 361.1.
5 TERROR OR PANIC STRUCK HAS STRUCK AMERICA.
Jesus said, "Don't be afraid." And yet, that is exactly what has happened. Look at Luke 21:26 (KJV) "Men's hearts failing them for fear (TERROR), and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." Eventually it s going to get worse, isn't it.
This panic is not just physical. It is also financial panic. You've been cognizant of what has been happening on Wall street, which is right there. Panic seems to have struck Wall Street, and Wall Street is sick. Thousands of people are being laid off. Airlines are laying off huge numbers, like eighty thousand people. Panic also seems to be shaking up former Christians, Christians who have been a little lukewarm, Christians who haven't been attending church lately have begun to come back to church. They are showing up in churches. Last week, there were quite a few former members back in church. Backsliders are coming back. And it is about time. Some churches had standing room only the Sunday after the attack. It's a big wake up call.
Look at Romans 13:11 I'm going to read it from the New Living Translation, which is an excellent translation, "Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
6 THESE TERRORISTS WERE COMMITTED.
Notice their dedication. They totally surrendered their life to that which they believed. They were willing to die for the cause in which they believed. They gave their life to advance a false ideology. They risked everything to advance their movement.
That kind of zeal and total involvement was seen at the beginning of Christianity. The disciples gave up their fishing business to totally follow Jesus. They gave their life to advance the cause of Jesus Christ. All the disciples but one died a terrible death. They were willing to do that. That's what started Christianity. And that s what will finish Christianity if we don't be careful. These terrorist who have that zeal will be more successful. That's the type of zeal that makes a cause successful. I believe it's a time that Christians get serious about Jesus. Otherwise we are going to get eliminated by those who zealously follow the great Satan. And we are not the great Satan. I know who the great Satan is.
1 Peter 4:7 says: The end of all things is near.
7 THE TALLEST and BIGGEST WERE THE TARGET
The tallest building and the biggest building were the targets. And I thought the bright lights will go out first, won't they. Have you ever heard that? The biggest building in America, I suppose, would be the Pentagon. The World Trade Towers were about 1368 feet tall. They had been the tallest buildings in the world at one time. And there were two of them. They were very big. The brightest lights will go out first. Satan loves to aim his attack at the leaders. If he can get a minister to fall, if the devil can get a teacher to fall, then I just imagine that the sinister choirs of "DEVILVILLE", wherever these people live, probably sing a lower note. If the devil can get a Christian mother to fall, if he can get a Christian father to go out and start drinking beer and be drunk all the time, I just imagine he is as happy as he can be. The devil picks on the leaders. He pick on the big targets. He also picks on the little targets. He picks on everything.
8 WE SHOULD BE ON FIRE FOR GOD.
It is appropriate that we should do more airport screening and we should strengthen the cockpit door to protect those pilots and therefore America. Yes we must do those things. But the crux of the problem is that we have grown lax. We have been lukewarm. For years, Americans have taken their liberties for granted. We have been coasting along while the enemy has been working at a diabolic pace. Good times and easy life have made us vulnerable. And I want to ask a serious question: Is your spiritual life in neutral? Have you been coasting along, has your Bible been gathering dust? If so, you are vulnerable. As Christians, we can be vulnerable just like the nation is vulnerable.
We are all upset and rightly so that 6500 people were ruthlessly killed. But do you know that that many die every day from Starvation! What are we doing about that? Does Congress vote forty billion dollars to eradicate starvation? Something is messed up here. And what about the tens of thousands of people that die every day and ar buried in a Christless grave? Do we vote to spend billions of dollars to help save them? What are our priorities? When they knock our building down, we own big money something is wrong.
9 SOME DANGEROUS POSSIBILITIES LOOM AHEAD.
I want to suggest some of these to you. Notice how this disaster is bringing churches together! Did you notice? Catholics, Jews, Protestants, all the religions were there together. And Some Religious leaders are throwing out some interesting statements. One said that God allowed or permitted this to happen to America because of our stand on abortion among other things. Later he apologized for making that statement. I shutter to think of the possibilities that this could be a reflection of the thoughts of other religious leaders. If so, what do you suppose they would say if more and more disasters followed quickly in the wake of this attack? What do you suppose they would say?
Would they strongly proclaim that God is permitting these disaster to happen because we are not in church on Sunday? Would they then push for legislation requiring church attendance on Sunday? If so then our nation would become like some of the countries we are fighting who have Zero religious Liberty. That's what the terrorists want. Our freedoms would then be severely repressed. This is a road we must not go down. Freedom must not be sacrificed.
But the truth is, that this is the very road that will be chosen. America will enforce the decrees, the requests, the desires these religious leaders for everybody to be in church to worship. Worship will be required in the near future. Revelation 13:15 speaks of this very act: He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed Tremendous things are ahead.
10 ARE WE READY FOR JESUS TO COME?
What is this world coming to? It had better be coming to Jesus! 6500 people died in one day. Were they ready to go? Some were sitting at their desk, and looked up to see the nose of a 350,000 pound Boeing 767 crashing into their office at 400 miles per hour. That's the last thing they saw. Others died in the flaming jet fuel at impact. There was no time to prepare. No time to make things right with God. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly.
Did these people pray to God that morning before they went to the office? Did they have a friendship relationship with Jesus? Did you take time to pray this morning? Did you read your Bible this morning? Do you know Jesus as your best friend? Are you in a right relationship with Jesus?
What should we be doing now? We need to be supporting our President and our government. Pray for God's guidance in all that happens. We need to be personally prepared to meet our Maker. And we need to be getting others ready.
Because Jesus came the first time we know that He will come again the second time. What is it that ends war? His coming! The answer to all of our problems is the coming of Jesus. Jesus can bring good out of evil. A prime example is the cross. Out of the cruel cross came Salvation. Good can result from this crisis also.
Thousands of years ago astounded folk stood gazing up toward the sky. Acts 1:11 This is an amazing statement, and I want to bank my hope on this statement. Acts 1:11. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Jesus is coming again! His coming won't be long. Even so, come Lord Jesus!Bulletin
Hymn of Praise: #421, For All the Saints Scripture: John 14:1-3 Hymn of Response: #213, Jesus is Coming Again 010922Gettys#123
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last updated 9/23/2001 by Bob Beckett.