Wednesday, February 15, 2012
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Well, for many years, Penn State was just one college of many with a powerful football program. And then not too long ago, it suddenly became the epicenter of a whole lot of outrage.
Screaming students; angry that Joe Paterno, their iconic coach - the "winning-est" college coach ever - had been summarily fired. And then the parents, the politicians, the pundits, enraged as they should be, at allegations of young lives ruined by sexual abuse. Allegedly by a coach who used a locker room as a place to horribly exploit young boys.
All of which has caused me to ask this question, "So what is it that enrages you, Ron? Or should?"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Outrageous."
My friend Bob asks, "What are your 'things to die for'?" He confesses that his list has changed. It used to be a list of legalistic "don'ts" that he thought were the causes worth fighting for. Not anymore. God has broken his heart for people who are going to hell instead of people who are breaking the rules. And he's outraged over the devil enslaving and damning people God created and Jesus died for.
There's something about us that gets all uptight about things that matter a little and largely complacent about things that break and even enrage the heart of God. We can really get up a head of steam about worship music, or liberals, or Christians who are "different," or the way the culture's going downhill. But then we can be strangely unmoved by young girls who suddenly disappear into the snake pit of sexual slavery. Or children who cry every night for food that never comes. A woman living with a man she thought loved her, and tonight fearing again for her life. Innocent kids, unspeakably twisted and scarred by someone who abuses them for their own gratification.
Our word for today from the Word of God talks about these outrages in Romans 1:18 - outrages that provoke what the Bible calls the "wrath of God (which) is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men." He can't stand; He can't stand for the victimizing of any person He created in His holy image. Proverbs says, "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God" (Proverbs 14:31). God talks about defending the cause of the poor and the needy and then He asks probingly, "Is not what this means to know Me?" (Jeremiah 22:16).
Above all, the Bible says, "He is not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). And we're surrounded by people who are one heartbeat away from perishing forever and ever, because no one told them about the Savior who perished so they wouldn't have to. God accepts no excuse for failing to, as Proverbs says, "rescue those being led away to death...If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not He who weighs the heart perceive it...Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?" (Proverbs 24:11-12).
God is not deaf to the shattered lives; the anguished cries of a world that sin has devastated. God says today as He said to Moses in Exodus, "I have heard them crying out...I am concerned about their suffering...So I have come down to rescue them." Oh good! God's going to do something about all this hurt and lostness. Yes He is, and He has a plan. Listen to the next verse, "So, now, go. I am sending you" (Exodus 3:7-10).
So, are the things you'll "die for" the things Jesus died for?