CERRO GORDO CHURCH OF THE BRETHREN
May 22, 2022
Have We Moved the Boundary Stones?
As we ask the question, “Are we living in the end times?” We will look at how the Lord has dealt with his people in the past. In the verses we read this morning they tell of a time when Israel had wandered away from the Lord. Hosea is sounding the warning for the different groups of people that made up Israel at the time to get ready. Hosea is also acknowledging the people of Israel have brought the judgment of God upon themselves because of their difference and disobedience. In verse 10 Hosea is saying of Judah they are like those who move ancient boundary stones. When we ask ourselves the question, “Are we living in the end times?” we must be honest and look for the answer to why God would choose to say now is the time to end the world God created all those years ago. Is there anything happening in our world today, as well as in the church that is so much different from times past that could cause God to say, “Enough is enough”?
To set the tone for coming up with the answer to that question I would like to share once again what Jesus said to his disciples when they asked what the signs would be like at the end of the age.
So let us look again at Matthew 24:3-13, As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said. “When will this happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name claiming I am the Christ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise again nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase in wickedness the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Then to again read from 2 Timothy to see what some of the things that will be happening the last days. 2 Timothy 3:1-5, But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of Godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Quite a list, isn’t it? Do we see any of these things happening in our world today? For those of us that have been around longer than others here today, have we seen any changes in the attitudes and the understanding of what is right and wrong that has happened in our lifetime? If so, are those changes limited to society in general or are we seeing pressure to change the things we as Christians have traditionally believed? To refresh one more time what was said in 2 Timothy 4:3, see if anything said in the verse might be happening in the church today? Verse 3 says, “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.”
At this time, I am going to share some of the things I have seen change mainly during my lifetime. Many of these changes are not only in society and the world, in general, but are also being expected in many of the churches today. Last Sunday we saw how over the past 100 years the Church of the Brethren’s attitude about divorce has changed, but how about these? The sanctity of life, homosexuality, transgender issues, drug use, gambling, the way laws are viewed, the way those who break the laws are not held accountable, the lack of respect shown towards people, the way public schools are less concerned about reading, writing and arithmetic than they are about sex orientation. How more and more in our world seem to worship things that God created rather than respect and acknowledge the creator, God. The ways some seem to exploit racial and nationality differences for person gain rather than work to resolve those differences in meaningful ways. Of course, in America and much of the world, we have seen fewer people attending church and respecting Christianity. In fact, Christians are seen as out of touch and ridiculed if they have not accepted the new understanding of what is changing in society. Are we in today’s world moving these boundary stones almost on a daily basis? Are we as Christians also moving those boundary markers/stones?
Israel did that over 2,000 ears ago and paid a price as God’s protection was removed and they were overrun by people who clearly did not honor God. This happened to set the stage for Jesus coming and to get God’s people’s attention to acknowledge their sin against God. In the last days scripture says things will again happen because of society and the church being unfaithful to God.
I gave a list of some of the things I have seen happening in America, in the world, and in the church mostly in our lifetimes. There are many more variations of that list. I do not know how each of you think about the things I listed. As I shared my list of things to consider, you may have thought of many more changes that have happened that I did not mention. The question each of us must answer is, “Are these things that are changing in the world and in the church appropriate in the eyes of God?” Or are they sins that God does not condone. Is our world becoming more loving, patient and kind to one another? Do we believe it is appropriate to have certain standards to live by? Are the standards established in the Bible appropriate and worthy of our respect today? Did God give us, his people, standards that will make us all better if we follow them or were they appropriate long ago but are outdated today?
Your homework for the next couple of weeks is to look at what is talked about in the news. The attitudes that exist between the people in the news, as well as people you may encounter on a daily basis. Is God’s love, mercy and grace obvious in most of what you see? Is there a belief that a society needs laws and standards to live by? Is the church leading the way in honoring God by both living as examples of God’s mercy and grace and yet also lifting up his holiness and righteousness? Are we as Christians honoring God by at times being willing to speak the truth with genuine love as is stated in Ephesians 4:1?
If we are living in the end times, what is keeping God from ending things today? 2 Peter 3:8-9 says, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends with the Lord a day is like a thousand year, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with us, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
You and I must decide for ourselves what it is we see happening in America, the world and in the church. Are we getting closer to the end or not? Watch what is happening around us, see for yourself. Are the things happening honoring God or not?
Today 4:00 High School Baccalaureate at the Brethren Church
Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study
May 28 7:00 High School Graduation
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First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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Keep in Your Prayers
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 Rockford Community congregation and the National Young Adult Conference
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.