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Facing Hard Truths and Finding Freedom

The first duty of a Christian in a crisis is to face up to the truth. It is to look evil square in the eye. The Christian doesn’t bury her head in the sand and call it “being spiritual”. The disciple of Jesus isn’t a false optimist. Our salvation isn’t in the power of positive thinking. We are not going to get through this by tapping into the good energy in the universe. That’s about as good as blowing hot air up your nose with a hair dryer to prevent contracting the virus. People are mistakenly recommending this because heat supposedly kills the virus. It boggles the mind.

One thing’s for sure, blissful ignorance doesn’t kill the virus or the fear. Blind optimism doesn’t kill the virus or the fear. It just magnifies the power of both. So let’s rather be Christian and press deeper into the truth.

Facing Hard Truths

Where did this all start? COVID-19 started three months ago, in China, in a province called Hubei, in a city called Wuhan, with the interaction of human beings and bats or pangolins, or both. Simple enough. But Christians won’t settle for simple – that’s just too superficial. We know we have to go deeper.

We know that this started much earlier, thousands of years ago, in ancient Mesopotamia, in a temple garden called Eden, with the interaction of human beings and a snake (Genesis 3:1-6). When you walk out on God like Adam did, and you leave the garden of his loving presence,  what you encounter outside, east of Eden, is a world of deadly danger.

Coronavirus is just one symptom of an underlying condition: a disease called sin. The global infection rate of this disease is 100%. The global death rate of this disease is 100%

The Coronavirus is just one symptom of an underlying condition, a deeper disease. A disease called sin. The global infection rate of this disease is 100%. The global death rate of this disease is 100%. This a fundamentally human problem and it’s for all of us. We have no-one to blame but ourselves. Christians face up to that truth.

Counting our Blessings

Okay, but now what? Now that we’ve counted the possible toll of this evil, what next? Well I am going to ask that we spend the rest of our time counting our blessings. Not because the Sunday school song says that we should. Not because we want to be heavenly-minded when the world is falling apart. You know – ostriches go down into the sand, and Christians go up into the clouds!

Our blessings are not a distraction, they are the very thing that is going to get us through.

We don’t count our blessings because it’s a pious way of distracting us from real life and facing up to hard truths. Our blessings are not a distraction, they are the very thing that is going to get us through. They are the very means by which we overcome this evil and every evil.

Ephesians 1: 3-14 gives us 5 blessings from God to cling to, to mediate on, to pray through. 5 blessings to sustain us in the days and weeks and months and years ahead.

These are the blessings unpacked in the sermon:

  1. A full recovery
  2. A place in the family
  3. A purpose in life
  4. A hope for the future
  5. A rock on which to stand

Finding Freedom

My hope, is that as you’ve been reminded of these blessings, your fears have subsided, and your hope has risen. Just a little! Just enough to help you take the next step in following Jesus. That’s all we are called to. Taking the next step. We close with these three practical benefits of fixing your eyes on Jesus in this way: Freedom from panic and anxiety. Freedom to love others. Freedom to praise God.

For a full transcript of this sermon ‘Facing Hard Truths and Finding Freedom’ please click the toggle button above.

 

Text: Ephesians 1: 3-14

Date preached: 22 March 2020

Location: Christ Church Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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