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Where Have All the Christians Gone?

A Sermon for the
Compassion Internet Church Ministry

11 November 2007

Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Matthew 5:9
Romans 8:18-25
Galatians 5:22-25

Last week, we published a poem on our web site by Lance Landall entitled "Longing".  The poem begins:

Im longing for a Christian, Lord,
    whos more than one by name,
Yes, one who truly is one,
    not just one who makes that claim.
Im longing for a Christian,
    whos a Christian through and through,
Not just one who thinks they are,
    but one, who truly knows You.

This poem spoke to our hearts about all the people who write to us with similar feelings and concerns.

At the same time, the haunting music of a 1961 Pete Seeger song, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?", kept flowing through my mind.

Pete Seeger wrote these words and music as a protest against the Vietnam War, and it was sung by Joan Baez at an anti-Iraq War protest in Washington DC in 2005, but it wasn't just the anti-war aspect that kept going around in my mind; it was one of Jesus' Beatitude blessings (Matthew 5:9):

9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons [and daughters] of God.

There's a lot more to this verse than making peace with our fellow human beings; for the true children of God seek to make peace with the whole of God's creation (humans, other animals, and the world in which we all live).

I kept thinking of the words to Pete Seeger's song in a different way:

Where have all the Christians gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the Christians gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the Christians gone?
Satan's plucked them every one
When will they ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

So many people claim to be Christians, and so many claim to be born again; but when with hope, we look, we find little fruit to testify to their claim.

Just so we don't make any mistakes about what this fruit looks like, let's look at how Paul described it in Galatians 5:22-25:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

And there's that word "peace" again!

Paul ties the true intent of what he and Jesus are saying in Romans 8:18-25:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons [and daughters] of God.

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope

21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons [and daughters], the redemption of our body.

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Most people look at this passage as some end time prophecy that we are to eagerly wait for, but it's not just that; it's for the here and now, too.

It is here that we keep asking, where have all the Christians gone?

Most of the people who claim to be Christians may be waiting, even eagerly, for this time to arrive, but they are not persevering.

For a person to have perseverance, they must be persistent in a course of action, and the vast majority of claiming Christians are not.

They are following the destructive nature of the devil, who seems to be empowered by the spilling of blood, whether from humans or from other animals.

Some people may try to justify war with our fellow human beings by saying, "but look at what they've done to us!"

But they cannot use this excuse with the war they are advocating and waging against billons of farmed animals and the environment.

And this is why we keep wondering, where have all the Christians gone?

True Christians would be so filled with the fruit of the Spirit that it would just overflow into everything they did and said.

Our only hope of freeing our precious Earth from its present corruption is to be loving peacemakers, who have the patience and perseverance to keep their hearts and souls focused on the problems, and work diligently to end them.

These true Christians have and show a kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that is totally reflective of Jesus.

So, if they don't exhibit these spiritual character traits, we know where all these Christians have gone; they're on the broad ways that lead to destruction; the same ways that have corrupted God's creation.

If we go back in time only six years to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the USA, and think of an appropriate Christian response, we would have spent only a small fraction of the warring money and probably no additional loss of life by securing our borders, and working diplomatically to end world terror.

Violence only produces more violence, and the proof of this is on our television sets every day.

So, where have all the Christians gone?

They definitely are not working on peaceful ways of solving our human problems.

And what about our environment and global warming?

Where have all the Christians gone?

One of the most destructive greenhouse gasses is methane, and according to the United Nations, 18% of all greenhouse gasses are in the form of methane coming from the animal agriculture industry.

There are more greenhouse gasses produced by animal agriculture than from all forms of transportation put together.

Why aren't these claiming Christians helping to end this problem by changing their diet?

It's because they want their pound of flesh, and are indifferent to the pain and suffering they are causing, which proves that they are not truly loving, they are not making peace with creation, they lack patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness, and the self-control not to continue in their destructive ways.

And the joy that they have comes from the suffering of others, which is definitely not a Christian fruit of the Spirit.

What happened to crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires?

It is not a part of the spirit of these claiming Christians.

This is where all the Christians have gone; when will they ever learn?

When will we ever learn?

Amen?

Amen.
 

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