Jump Start # 1918
Luke 21:9 “When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.”
Our verse is difficult for many to fit into their happy theology that they want to believe Jesus lived and taught. In warning the disciples about the coming destruction upon Jerusalem, Jesus paints a bleak picture. Jerusalem will be surrounded. Many will be captured. Many will be killed. The words of Jesus would spare the disciples from the same fate. They would know to escape. They would pay attention to the words of Jesus.
There are lessons for us in these words.
Trust and faith are easy with things are going well. It’s when the world is falling apart and we don’t know what to do that we must trust the words of God. The words throughout this section of Luke are serious. Jesus says, “Be on guard,” and, “keep on the alert,” and, “Pray.” Those are not the words one might expect, especially, the way some have distorted Jesus these days. We’d think He ought to say, “It’ll be ok.” Or, “the sun will come back out.” That’s not what we find here. Pray for strength to flee. Woe to those who are nursing babies. It won’t be easy.
Wars and disturbances, as our verse states, are nothing new. Back then, it was Rome who was making noise about war. Today, it’s North Korea. Wars and disturbances have always been. They are nothing new. We wonder, why can’t people get along? Why does there have to be racism? Why does hatred exist? Why can’t North Korea and America be friends? Imagine the good both countries could do for each other. Instead, threats are made. Why? The quick and easy answer is sin and hearts that do not want to do what is right. Put some little kids in a room and before long, one is crying because the other has the toy that he wants. Some never change. They have never learned to get along, share or apologize. They become adults and they continue to act like little children. Selfishness, fear and ignorance also adds to the reasons why people cannot get along.
People are wanting a Heaven on earth without God. That will never happen. Heaven will never be down here. Heaven will never exist without God. As long as God remains out of our lives, there will be wars and disturbances. The wars may not be international. They may be wars at home. They may be disturbances with the neighbors. People want everyone to get along. The sixties promoted love. The songs were about love and peace. What the sixties left out was God. The love and peace turned into a drug fest and a sexual revolution that was simply more fornication. Without God, forgiveness, grace and the spirit of serving will not be found. Heaven will never be here.
There will be trouble in the world because there is trouble in the hearts of people. Not knowing how to deal with issues in life, causes many to make the wrong choices. These choices lead to more trouble and more turmoil. Jesus begs us to come to Him. All you who are weary and heavy laden are offered rest in Jesus Christ. Weary of trouble. Weary of failing. Weary of things not working out. The rest is internal. The rest is spiritual. The rest is salvation. The world is looking for what God is offering, but they don’t want God. As a result, there has always been unrest, wars and trouble. This will continue. It doesn’t matter how many conferences are held. How many speeches are delivered. How many statues are taken down. How many colored ribbons appear on Facebook. Things will never be as they should be without God.
One of the hymns begins, “Troublesome times are hear, filling men’s hearts with fear.” This is where we are. So, as followers of Christ, what are we to do?
First, keep listening to God. Turn off the talk shows. They get you fired up, excited and agitated. Put your nose into God’s book. Read about those days of Egyptian turmoil. Read about the days of Babylon. See what the people of God did. That’s what we need to do. Pray more and worry less. Trust God more and trust the promises of man less.
Second, tell others about Jesus. People do not have to live the way that they are. There is an answer. There is a better way. Show them through your life, peace and hope that is only found in Christ. Lace your answers with Biblical truths.
Third, don’t let the world pull you down. Take a spiritual vacation from the planet. Set your mind on things above. Pray. Praise. Reflect upon the goodness of God. Think about Heaven. Think about who will be there. Think about what won’t be there. Think about all the problems that will never make it to Heaven. Think about some of our hymns about Heaven, there’s a bunch. Some day we are out of here.
Fourth, don’t live in denial. Jesus didn’t sugar coat things. Jerusalem was going to fall. It was going to be ugly. Many would die. That would happen and it did. The disciples listened, learned and escaped. We live in tough times. The drug problem today is as bad as it was in the 60’s. There is a lot of unrest in the nation and internationally. Liberal thinking has moved past homosexual marriages to the transgender issue. Once they get what they want, then they will move on to multiple marriages at the same time. Once that is accomplished, people will be marrying their pets. The door is open. There is no stopping dumb. I suppose if a guy can marry his goldfish, then the goldfish can file for divorce. I wonder who will get the house? Removing standards, authority and God from society, leaves us in serious troublesome times.
Fifth, God’s people will continue to shine as a people who are content, happy and hopeful. It is important that are marriages are good and solid. It is important that we keep close to the cross. The differences are becoming more and more obvious. Contemporary religion is shallow and not making any difference. People feel good for a moment, but there is no substance and no foundation. A happy verse here and there doesn’t deal with sin and the moral life that God demands. The people of God are in a great position to pull people out of the drowning waters of lifeless living. What’s the purpose? God’s people know. What’s the point of all this? God’s people know. We know. We live it. We show it.
Wars and disturbances…nothing new. Nothing we can’t handle as long as God is with us, and more importantly, as long as we are with God.