A couple of years ago NBA player, Kyrie Irving, told an interviewer that the earth is flat. His comments became a sensation, reported widely. In a later interview, he stepped back a bit. “I’m just interested in that kind of stuff. I like conspiracy theories. I like to talk about it.” He also realized the power of his celebrity, especially among the young, and admitted that some ideas were best discussed in private conversations. I don’t know Mr. Irving nor do I have any idea how seriously he takes his ideas about the shape of the earth, but I can say with confidence that it is a proven fact that the earth is round. Suggesting otherwise might be ‘interesting’ but there is no truth in it.
So, what’s my point this morning? Christian, we need to anchor our lives in the TRUTH. We risk looking silly or worse, becoming deceived, when we spend too much time ‘just talkin’ about things that are perhaps interesting but that have no foundation in fact. There are hundreds of ‘teachers’ who speak, publish books, and write blogs that are speculations about the future or theories about evil in the present. They claim that they are basing their message on the Scripture but the reality is that it is the thinnest thread of connection to texts taken wildly out of context. A ‘faith’ that is built on isolated texts is not only dangerous, it dishonors the Lord.
Paul told Timothy that his message must be anchored in the truth. We need to take this warning to heart. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.” (2 Timothy 2, ESV)
Few doctrines are more abused than the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus promised that He would return. The New Testament writers are clear that He will bring God’s Kingdom. From that basis, hundreds of false teachers, from the earliest days of Christianity to the present, have spun theories about times and dates. These teachers tend to gain more traction in times of crisis and during social upheaval.
In 1843, when America was debating slavery and going through a difficult economic situation, a preacher named William Miller founded an end-times movement – Millerism. He declared that the Second Coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower seemed to confirm his theories to those who were ‘true believers.’ On March 21, 1844 Miller’s predictions ran into the truth; Christ did not appear. A few of his devotees attempted to set another date of Oct 22, 1844. When that date came and went, it was reported that “The world made merry over the old Prophet’s predicament. The taunts and jeers of the ‘scoffers’ were well-nigh unbearable.”
Many of Miller’s ideas survived in the teaching of the Jehovah’s Witnesses movement which has set numerous dates for the return of Christ over the last century. In my life-time, we had Harold Camping who set a firm date for 1994. He was wrong! Few remember the sensation in Bible-believing churches caused by the little book by Edgar C. Whisenant, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture will take place in 1988. When September, 1988 came and went, he actually re-published a revision for 1989… and people bought it!
All of this has happened again and again in spite of Jesus’ own declaration that no one knows the day of His return and His instruction for Believers to be diligent in the work of the Lord. Christian, beware of the latest ‘best-seller’ that is just ‘so interesting’ in which some teachers claim to be unveiling some ‘new’ truth, some previously unknown interpretation of the prophets. These are distractions from the business of the Kingdom, ways to escape life’s tedium, nothing more.
The real excitement of the Christian life is not found in speculative ideas about the future, nor is it in long debates over commas and periods in the Scripture. The Holy Spirit lives in us, empowers us, and allows us to participate in the amazing and supernatural work of seeing ordinary human beings turned into God’s children, those ‘dead in sins’ becoming ‘alive in Christ.’
We have the privilege of sharing real hope, that goes beyond finding momentary pleasure, a life of joy and peace. There is far more fulfillment in feeding a hungry person, teaching a child to love God, holding up a despairing person than will ever be found in ‘just talkin’ about speculative ‘doctrines.’
Here is a wonderful word from the Word. God says He invests His inestimable treasure in us, ordinary clay pots! Now that’s worth getting excited about. “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-9, NIV)
Let’s keep the faith, live in hope, and serve in love – until the Kingdom comes!
(A great song that points us to real faith in the Builder)
Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You We live for You
Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me
I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken
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