CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
May 15, 2022
So What Do You Think?
This is part 2 of Are We Living in the End Times? We are going to spend a few minutes this morning looking at what you might think about that question. I do not know how many of you have thought about the main question about the end times. I really jumped ahead a little two weeks ago because for a Christian the first most fundamental question we must have an answer for us is all about Jesus. Do we believe Jesus actually lived on earth? Do we believe the first amazing part of His story that Jesus was born of a virgin? Depending on how we answer those questions will determine how much more we need to come to an understanding and belief of. If we said yes to those first two most fundamental questions of Christianity, then we go forward seeking out more understanding and answers.
The next question we must answer for ourselves is whether we believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins? The next question to answer then is did God the father raise Jesus (the son) from the dead? How do you, how do I, answer these questions? If we have come to the place of confidently and victoriously answering yes to these questions, I believe we can then begin answering the question at the center of what we are looking at now. For those who were either here or joined us on Facebook two Sundays ago, I shared a number of scriptures that point to the reality that the world as we know it will come to an end. Some of the verses were from Jesus’ own words, the others were things Paul had shared during his ministry that went along with what Jesus had said earlier.
To refresh your memories from what we read two weeks ago, Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1, but mark this. “There will be terrible times in the last days.” Then moving ahead to 2 Timothy 4:1-4 Paul challenged Timothy with these words. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge. Preach the word, be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
When we look at what we read this morning, we see the same theme in the 2nd chapter of Colossians in the 8th verse. So, we see there are clear warnings of what will happen in society and in the church in the last days. In the past 100 or so years we have seen more changes in the way our world views things than in the previous 2000 years combined. What each of us must do is sort through these changes and decide what it all means. Have these changes been appropriate, God ordained changes, or are these consistent with the warnings we see in scripture? We must always go back to the other most fundamental question a Christian must answer. Is the Bible the inspired, accurate word of God that can be trusted in 2022? Before we can answer the questions about society and our world today and all the changes occurring, we must answer that question. So, what do you think about the honesty, accuracy and integrity of the Bible? Can it be trusted today or is it outdated in many ways and not valid in our world today? This is the question we must answer for ourselves.
I recently ran across a Christian book that looks at the moral issues of the day. I would like to read the general list that is given in this book and then look a little deeper at one of the concerns listed, that affects much of our world. It states things this way.
“Let us pause and consider the great moral issues that affect our civilization—Peace, temperance, liberty. Simplicity of life, purity and sacredness of the home and the marriage relation.”
Do these headings cover most all the important areas facing the church first of all, and our world secondly? What makes talking and thinking about how things seem to be changing in our world so difficult is the fact more and more families see things happening that did not seem to happen 50 or 60 years ago. Virtually every family has seen things happen that were not that common not that many years ago. This is true both among those who do not claim to be Christians as well as in today’s church.
As we close our look at what is happening in the church today, verses when the Bible was written I would like to share concerns in this book about one specific area.
“A home to be happy and prosperous must have God in it, and the church holds that to maintain the permanence of the institution of marriage is the way to maintain the purity of society. The disclosures made in the courts of justice show a moral laxity which is a disgrace to our boasted civilization. Thank God, the church holds up a higher standard than than—one based on the preservation and integrity of the family institution as God originally made it. When the question of immorality in the church arose, the Apostles’ rule was that while it was no part of the church’s duty to judge those that are without, the church must purge itself of the member who was leading an impure life. What the world needs is the bright and consistent example of all Christian people, and to present an unbroken front against the flood of divorces which threatens to engulf our social civilization. Civilization to be morally right must have a standard, and that standard must be seen. All light, whether physical, moral or spiritual, has its origin in God. If the church is the light of the world, the church must be in the fore on every issue that stands for the uplift of the race.”
What do you think about the standards encouraged in this book and the concerns if they are not upheld? Divorce has affected virtually every family in America. I am not sharing this to embarrass anyone or pick on anyone. The Bible clearly talks of a number of things that can separate us from God if left undealt with. I will give a more specific list of things that have changed in our world and are challenging the church next week. If anyone has been made to feel uncomfortable, I do apologize for that. I shared that example for a specific reason. What book do you think I have been reading from? A very conservative Baptist book? Baptist, after all, is the fire and brimstone denomination. An evangelical book that is very conservative? Some extreme author? This book is written from the 1908 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. Shirley Krall a while back offered to let me read some Church of the Brethren books she had. The point of me sharing this with you today shows how attitudes have changed within the church. Things that 100 years ago were understood throughout most of Christianity have drastically changed. Are these positive changes that God has ordained or are they steps stated in scripture that is leading towards possibly the end of this age? I ask for your patience and indulgence at least one more Sunday as we continue to look for God’s answers to these questions.
On what we are looking at in regard to living in the end times, I have no plan to give my opinion. These messages are to encourage you to look into God’s word for yourself and find the answers about what you think is going on. Next Sunday I will give a more complete list of things that are seemingly challenging the church within the last year or so and definitely over the last 50 to 100 years. What God challenged me to try to do quite a few years ago is know what you believe and why you believe it. That is my hope and prayer for each of you as well.
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
May 16 6:00 Village Board Meeting
May 18 12:00 Women’s Fellowship Luncheon, a salad potluck
7:00 p.m. via Zoom—Stepping Out of Covid, sponsored by the District potluck committee
Women’s Fellowship is planning the return of the Strawberry Festival the first or second week of June. Sign up sheet for baked pie shells is in the back.
Offering plates are in the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!
Donation Box: VBS
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
Evelyn Eads and family; Eli Brunner; Susan Gentry; Nancy Fansler; Oren Wright; Devon Wright; Leah Flory; Joe Waltz; Doug Larrick; Anna Rose Larrick; Ron & Kathleen Petersen; Anna Gentry Thompson; Louis & Carol Sulwer; Maralyn Heckman; Debbie Leibrock; Dorthea Wood; Sonna Hall; Tina Wilhelm; Baby Tate; Bryce Ashenfelter; Mindy Sawyer; Marlene Schultz; Sarah Rudelick; Carl and Wilma Cable; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Doug Fansler; Candy Dobson; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of those who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church; Haitian Brethren; Ukraine; Hope Welty Library situation
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
District Prayer Calendar: Pray for the Franklin Grove congregation.
Church of the Brethren vision statement:
Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.