Monday, November 10, 2008

The Day of The Lord, Darkness not light

Twenty Sixth Sunday in Pentecost
11/6/08
Amos 5:18-24
Bror Erickson



[18] Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light, Amos 5:18 (ESV)


The Church year is drawing to a close. Pentecost the season of the church, which celebrates the church, is making way for Advent, the season of the church year in which we prepare for the coming of our Lord. We remember that He came once with grace and mercy, a child, flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone. But He will come again as a judge, in power and glory to judge the living and the dead, that is the believers and the unbelievers. And so we begin to focus, not only on the end of the church year, the end of the season of the church, but on the end of time itself. We focus in on that great and glorious day, when we will pass through judgment and into the pearly gates on the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, whose blood and righteousness have become our glorious dress, our righteousness.

Amos the prophet, who once was nothing more than a goatherd and picker of sycamore figs, a simple man, called by God to prophecy. The simple man who has to tell the king that his wife’s future profession will be the oldest one known, and that his sons will fall by the sword. I don’t think Amos really relished his job. He had to speak, that is the way it is for prophets. They know they should by all accounts shut up. They know very little of what they have to say is going to be pleasant or pleasing. But they can’t shut up. So he speaks to us today.
Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness and not light.
Why would we have the day of the Lord? I can name a billion reasons why I want the day of the Lord. When I was a young boy I first learned of this glorious day when the world would come to an end. And I also learned that since Jesus had paid for my sins I had nothing to worry about I would be going to heaven on that day. So I used to dream about it on my way home from school the day before a test I hadn’t studied for, or possibly on the way home with that test score in my hand. Oh there are days even now when I wonder: can you just end it now Lord? Why do our children have to grow up in such a mess? I spoke to a friend on Wednesday and he was ready for it, because of the way the election went. Look around you. Look at the wars, the genocide, the abortions. Look at the world constantly going on as it always has before. Oh people always want to talk about the good old days. I’m an amateur historian. I only like to read history. And I have been searching for those good old days. I don’t think I would find them in the memory of man, if God hadn’t inspired Moses to write the first two chapters of Genesis. And those two chapters leave out a lot of detail. The good old days?
Look around you; every thing is as it was before. And I am tempted to think, may Jesus Come now! I mean I don’t know about you but when I hear news reports detailing the human sex traffic trade, the abuse of teenage girls, the kidnapping and raping of women and girls all over the country and world. I am sick and disgusted. It does not endear me to this world. When I see the sick and filthy porn world explode to the point that it can’t hardly be hidden from children anymore. Little children 6 and 7 years old robbed of the bliss and ignorance of sexual impurity, so that it is little wonder that 1 fourth of all girls graduating from high school are already infected with an std. Make that one half if you are African American. It makes me sick. It makes me want to cry for them. It really does. But then it is nothing new. Take a walk through Pompeii some time, the ancient city the dug up from the volcanic ash that covered it. You see brothel after brothel painted with disgusting frescoes detailing the individual girls specialty. No kid safe there either. Society it seems has always been the same, full of sinners like you and me.
I sometimes wonder why it doesn’t all come to an end now, before it gets worse. Before I have to live in a worse world. Before my boy, and possible grandchildren have to see this world for what it is, a cesspool of sin and wickedness, an orgy of maggots feasting on the festering corpse of a sewer rat. And we are the maggots. Oh we feast on it, and relish even that which we detest. We do. We Christians. We fight this war inside ourselves, guilty of that which we detest. A sack of worms that is what Luther used to call himself. Not a pretty picture is it. Can’t it be over? It has gotten so bad that unbelievers would rather abort their children now than expose them to this cesspool. They portray abortion as if it were some act of mercy. They only add to the horrors of this world. It shows their ultimate selfishness. Believers can’t resort to that. Part of us will always long for the end, for the coming of our Lord. But as long as our Lord sees it fit to sustain this world, we will see fit not only to live in this world, but also to the best of our ability make it a better place to live in. to love this world as our Lord loves this world. We know we can’t fix it. But we can do our part to make it more comfortable. We can befriend our neighbors, do an honest days work, and watch over our families. Most of all we can tell the world of Christ’s love, the love that sent Him to the cross to die for us that we might live. We live in the world, and in a sense even love the world, but we dare not become part of the world. Yes God has put us here. God has left us here for a while. So that we can show those around us, the love of God for the world. We can proclaim the gospel.
The Gospel what a wonderful sustenance we have in the Gospel. It is refreshing to know that there is more to life than the pain and suffering of this world. It is refreshing to know that our sins have been forgiven, by Christ’s death on the cross. It is refreshing to know the love of God. It sustains us in this world. Gives us something to live for, and perhaps more importantly something to die for. There is hope. Death is not the end. There is life, true life. Life that will reign forever. Life unfettered by death. It is a message worth sharing. A message worth sharing as long as our Lord sees fit to sustain this world.
And he does see fit to sustain this world. Amidst all the pain and suffering of this world God knows a worse reality. A reality that he would love to spare from man. A reality he created for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41. The reality of hell. The lake of fire. This is why he asks us “Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness not light.” It is darkness not light. No for us it is light. For us it is salvation. But for the world it is darkness and not light. We are of the light, we live in the light, and walk in the light, and so we wait for the light, Jesus Christ to return. But for the world it is the end, the lost hope for light. God knows. When I look around me in this world, and see the sin, see the evil, see the wickedness, the war, the famine, the oppression my heart does grow weary. I’m sure it does for God also. People wonder why it goes on. Why evil is allowed free reign. Some imagine God is testing us. Testing us to see whether we will choose right or wrong, give in to temptation, or delude ourselves into being self righteous snobs who think we have earned our way to heaven for being better than those sinners. God isn’t testing us. If he was you failed, and failed miserably. Who here has not sinned? Look at this cesspool we live in, it is your bed you made it. God is not testing us. That isn’t the point. He doesn’t let evil remain because he is testing you. That is not the point. No the reason He lets the world go on, is love. Because the day of the Lord is darkness not light. He loves this world. He loves it so much that He sent His own Son to die for the world, that who ever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Loves the world so much that He gave His life for it.
Let me tell you something, God has invested a lot in your unbelieving neighbor. God has invested a lot in this world. More than mere blood, sweat, and tears, Jesus has invested his life in this world. He gave his life for you, He gave his life for your children, He gave his life for your husband, for your wife, and He gave his life for your neighbors, all of them believing or unbelieving. He gave His life because He wants to see them live. He wants to see them spared the lake of fire. So He sustains this world, at least for now. We never know when the day of the Lord will come. But as long as this world remains, so does His love for this world. Everyday that passes is another day God gives the world to see another soul saved. It is another day he spares your unbelieving neighbor the pits of hell.
And if God has loved the world in such a manner that He has given his life for it. Then we who know His love, and live in His love, and walk in His love, just as we live in the light, and walk in that light, can find it to love this world too, and show that light the forgiveness of sins. We can find it to love our neighbors. We can find it to pray, come Lord Jesus, Come today, but not in judgment, for that is darkness and not light. Come Lord Jesus, come today as you have promised, come in grace and mercy and forgive us our trespasses, our sins. Come give us your love, that we might love our neighbor. Come give us your life, that we might share your life with our neighbor. And so He does come to us, never leaving us in this world, but sustaining us with His love. He comes and baptizes our children. He comes and speaks words of mercy to us through His word. And finally He comes and gives us that very body, and that very blood that He gave for this world that we might live, and there He gives us the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.

3 comments:

steve martin said...

Bror,

Every single person on the face of the earth should read that post.

Since that is not possible, we might then try as best we can, when we can, to relay it somehow to our neighbors and families.

When they are down is a good time. The law can really do it's job then. And the gospel will do it's job then also.

May the Lord continue to bless you and shine His face upon you!

Amillennialist said...

Wonderful.

Thank you for the post and to Steve for sharing.

Peace be with you,

Amillennialist

Bror Erickson said...

and also with you,
Amillennialist