Which one are you doing? This is one of my favorite sermons. I found this message several years ago but I did not have the courage to post it. Now, by God’s grace, I’m posting it for you.
The campaign is on to establish a cabinet level U.S. Department of Peace. Introduced to congress by Dennis Kucinich, a U.S. Department of Peace (H.R. 808) would be dedicated to studying conditions that would promote domestic and international peace, as well as develop policies that would establish resolutions to national and international conflicts. This department would establish policy to create a “culture of peace”.
The bill calls for “peace training and education” at all levels of society, the creation of the office of Secretary of Peace, the establishment of a U.S. Peace Academy, the institution of Peace Day and the establishment of policy for the prevention of conflict. The goal would be to prevent violence and conflict in all forms. Those who support this legislation state that violence occurs in forms other than physical; therefore this department would establish policy (“solutions”) that would prevent “verbal and emotional violence “ as well.
God’s Word tells us that the reason for conflict, violence and evil in the world is sin and rebellion against God. We know that the only solution is the Prince of Peace, God’s Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. The real peace issue is whether a person has the forgiveness of sins (justification) that Christ provides to those who trust in Him. Real peace is the peace that is established between guilty sinners and a holy God, through the mediation and intercession of Jesus Christ, by the covenant in His blood, through faith.
What does a U.S. Department of Peace mean for us? If you read the bill, you will notice that the language suggests the probability of establishing laws or policies that would make the teaching, preaching and telling of the Gospel, illegal (thus “preventing religious conflict”). The Gospel brings peace for those who believe, and conflict for those who reject it. For those who are promoting the one world religion, the goal is to silence the message that Jesus promised would cause conflict (Matt.10:34), all for the goal of “world peace” and global spiritual unity.
We know what our response to such legislation must be. By God’s grace, and by His Spirit, we must obey God rather than men and continue to be witnesses of the Gospel with boldness, humility, and compassion for the lost, declaring Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom.5:1
Several years ago I sat at a coffee shop with a dear elder saint. He was back home helping raise the grandkids after spending most of his life as a foreign missionary. We were talking about “domestic missions and me”. He asked me who I was called to reach; at the time I had not seriously considered that. As a missionary, he suggested that it is wise and strategic to narrow it down and know who specifically you are seeking to reach.
Here in the Bay Area, the demographic is quite complex. We’re surrounded by Roman Catholics, soccer moms, teenagers, University professors, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, international immigrants, homeless people, lawyers, corporate CEOs and hardcore New Agers… and there’s hundreds more.
Actually, I never was successful at narrowing it down to just one specific “people group”. As an indigenous missionary, I have seen the Lord provide opportunity to witness to many different kinds of people. I suppose one group of people that is on my heart often is the international community. It is an enormous thrill to consider that the world has come here that we may reach them with the Gospel. For me this is also an enormous challenge because of the language barrier. The Lord uses this issue (among other things) to remind me of my utter weakness and dependence on Him, for He has given me a desire to share the Gospel with people I can hardly communicate with. But this just makes life as an ambassador of Christ that much more exciting as He uses us weak and broken clay pots to carry His message of grace to the lost.
The Lord Jesus has sent us to reach the whole world. Like Paul, we seek to “be all things to all men” in our desire to reach all kinds of people. So who are you called to reach?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” Matt.28:19
A week ago Saturday there was a man on the corner holding up a ‘Yes on 8’ sign. It said something about ‘Yes on 8 = religious freedom’. Well I thought, there was a guy who may be open to talking about spiritual things! So we had a long conversation. After asking him to explain to me what the connection is between prop.8 and religious freedom, I started getting into the gospel with him. He happened to be a Mormon, but I did not get into it about the deity of Christ; rather I spoke to him about man’s accountability to God. After going over the gospel with him and talking about sin, righteousness and judgment, and after hearing clearly what are God’s terms (faith in Christ’s alone) and what He does not accept (self righteousness, religious works) he still insisted that it is up to each of us to earn our own salvation through religion, good works, being a good person and keeping God’s Law (by trying hard). I left him happy in his self-righteousness. A seed sower can sow the seed, but it is God alone who makes it sprout unto life and yield a good harvest.
On Friday the kids and I had lunch with relatives in my hometown. Then the we went to a local park. I always thought that I would never witness to anyone in my hometown, mainly because of issues relating to Mark 6:4, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town and among his own relatives and in his own household.” So I was sitting on a bench, and this 88 year old woman comes and sits next to me and starts talking. She brought up the terrible fate our country seems to be heading towards, and I used that to bring up what is much more important: our relationship to the Holy Creator God. At first she kept referring to sinners as “those people”. After going through the Law and what Jesus said about the spiritual meaning of it, she began to realize that she was in that category, too. She was so happy to hear the gospel. She told me at the end of our conversation that she had been wondering all her life, waiting for someone to explain to her how to be in right relationship with God. She previously thought she must light candles, pray to the saints and hope that works out. Just because we are without honor in our hometown does not mean that God will never have us witness there. And whether we are honored or not, God will be glorified in the end.
Saturday I went to the memorial service for a sweet, adorable little 9 year old boy who died a month ago in a horrible car accident. We knew the boy from cub scouts. The mother, just out of surgery and weeks of intensive care, was in a wheelchair, pushed by her husband. I cannot even fathom the agony they are going through. The United Methodist minister’s message was that “we are all born children of God”. He said “God is able to give us hope”, but he did not say how. His message for the family was that “we (the community) are there as courage, hope and redemption”. After an hour I watched as hundreds of crying people exited the building, still without eternal hope. Many people who enter a church building will never hear the gospel there. That is why God is sending you out into all the world to tell them.