This past February, my family and I drove down the highway that went through the normal, every day town of San Bernardino. It was very sobering to realize that this town was the place of the Terrorist attack where 14 people were killed by Islamic Terrorists. This past Sunday was even more shocking to hear of 49 killed right in my backyard city of Orlando. One of my dear friends in my church texted me Monday morning following the Orlando shootings asking me to pray for the family of a 26 year old co-worker that was killed in the shootings. I hear of attacks and tragedies everyday in the news, but when these tragedies happen right down the road, it causes me to think hard about how God wants me to live. Through the instances of being physically close to the scenes of these attacks, the Holy Spirit has impressed three truths heavily upon my heart that I ask all Christians to prayerfully consider with me.
Death Can Happen At Any Moment
James 4:13-14- “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
2 Peter 3:9-“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
We are not guaranteed our next breath, and we are never completely safe. We live in a fallen world where murder, sickness, terror, and tragedy are an every day reality. America does not guarantee us exemption from the problems that most of the world faces everyday. It is only God’s grace and mercy that we are alive today, and the reason that He has allowed us to live another day is to either live a life laid down in service to Him and others or to give us another chance to repent and turn to Christ.
The Gospel Must Be Shared
Ezekiel 3:17-18- “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. (emphasis added)“
Matthew 28:19-20-“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
I live in Clermont which is one of the major commute towns for Orlando workers. One of the victims in the shooting lived in my county. I must not ever forget how important evangelism is and that it is not an optional command. I am responsible as a steward of the gospel. I must be and am commanded by God to be intentional about sharing the gospel wherever I go. This was Christ’s last command before He ascended to heaven. I never know when the person I am talking to may be involved in an accident, die from sickness, or be killed by a gunman. Do I really believe that the gospel is the power of God to salvation? Do I live as if the realities of death and eternity are true? Do I truly love my neighbor?
Matthew 15:19-“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.”
2 Corinthians 10:4-5- “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Our culture wants to tell us that theology and religion do not matter and that what we believe about God is really not that important. Even though our media and leaders try to deny it, these attacks are driven by a theological and religious idea. These terrorists believe in what they are doing. What one believes and thinks in his heart affects how He lives and what He does. To clarify further, this same evil resides in all of our hearts regardless of religion or no religion. The war on terror and the war on evil thoughts, murder, adultery, etc. can only be won through the heart changing, mind renewing, life changing work of Jesus Christ.
I need Christ.Followers of Islam need Christ. My neighbor needs Christ. I must faithfully point others to Him.