Friday, June 24, 2011 at 1:13PM
Jeff Smith in Judgment

Note: This lesson is intended for use on September 11, 2011.

Today marks exactly ten years since Muslim terrorists crashed four American jetliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, killed more than three thousand people and changing the course of history. Most of you remember that day like it was yesterday, while some of you were not even born yet, or were too young to comprehend why an entire nation was weeping and angry. We pledged that day as a nation never to forget, and we have kept that pledge to some degree, although we have abandoned it where it mattered most. The spiritual revival that followed 9/11 saw people dropping to their knees in prayer and returning to places of worship; even God was welcome in our public discourse again. It was all too temporary, however, as the wounds healed and the threat seemed as distant as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is debatable that we learned anything of lasting spiritual import from 9/11, at least on a broad scale. That “Lamentation in America” as I called it while preaching on it five days later should still be sufficient to teach an enduring lesson about always being prepared to face an eternity that often arrives sooner than expected.

I. Why Does Evil Happen?

A. God is Not To Blame

1. God has no dark side (First John 1:1-5)

2. his goodness toward creation never changes (James 1:12-18)

3. recall that evil did not enter the world until the serpent turned wicked and tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God

a. through one man, sin entered the world and through sin, death (see Romans 5), but it was never God’s intention to corrupt his planet with such things

b. sin is like a plague and it spreads through natural means, by choice and influence

c. as soon as Cain slew Abel, it became abundantly clear to mankind that rivals, opponents and even the innocent could be disposed of with comparative ease

4. God’s response to sin was ready before it happened; while Jesus waiting in heaven, a scheme of salvation was gradually rolled out

a. God could not force humanity to love him, for he created man with free will and worship that is done under compulsion is worse than a fraud for it mocks its object through clenched teeth

b. the tempter was permitted to work in the world, for he too played an unwitting role in the scheme of salvation

c. God tempts no one, not even Pharaoh or Job

1. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart simply by giving a sinful man the option of being righteous through submission

2. God did not personally try Job, but allowed his faith to be tested as he is now allowing ours (Job 1:1-22)


B. Habakkuk Wondered Too

1. the prophet Habakkuk wondered also why such horrible things could happen to seemingly better people than their assailants (Habakkuk 1:1-2:4)

2. God used the Chaldeans but he did not make them do what they did; he simply took advantage of their proclivity toward evil and expansion

a. is God using the evil and expansion of radical Islamics to teach the Christians of America a lesson?

b. I shall refrain from answering directly, for I do not bear the prophetic burden of Habakkuk, but I will say that there are lessons to be learned from all this and we had better gain them and keep them


  C. Lamentation

1. when Jeremiah wrote his lamentation, he was sitting among the ashes of his beloved, fallen city

2. today, every newspaper and television image contains similar scenes of woe, of ash and debris and human remains that represent the conquest of a cowardly sinners (Lamentations 1:1-2)

3. there is a lesson to learn from this woe

a. we are only patriotic when threatened

b. we are only prayerful when brought low

c. we are only faithful when all else fails

d. we no longer have the luxury of abiding atheism, immorality in our entertainment and in our lives and assaults on our right to pray and worship as God demands (Lamentations 5:15-22)


 II. Be Ready Every Moment

A. Divine Justice

1. some argue that there can be no hell or eternal punishment because that would make God evil, but in fact, it would be unjust of him to overthrow his promises in the last day and judge mankind according to a different standard than he gave in the Bible

2. everyone of us has a date with destiny and some met it on 9/11 and this past week sooner than they expected

a. some of us will meet it sooner than expected as well and perhaps some or all of us will go to judgment only when Jesus returns (Second Corinthians 5:10-11)

b. none of us has to face terror in that day no matter what man puts us through now; grace affords us the opportunity for something better (Romans 5:12-21)


B. Be Ready

1. like random, life-altering or ending accidents and unthinkable acts of terror, the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:37-44)

2. the only solution is be prepared every time the sun goes down and at every moment of the day (Matthew 25:1-13)

3. the regeneration of faith we are witnesses in America is likely only temporary; lesser men, women and children than you will one day let down their guard and forget the commitments they are making today and the renewed devotion to ancient principles of life they are feeling now

a. you have learned again to submit to God and that is the whole duty of man before him; never let up

b. you have learned again to pray every day; never let another day go by without opening a line into the clouds

c. you have learned again to lean on God and that trust in self, in things, in tomorrow are futile; don’t return to complacency every again



Everyday we are making a world for our children, just in case Jesus tarries a little longer. Although many of them here are thankfully too young to understand, the world of the future and of the present grew a little darker on Tuesday. Perhaps, however, it grew a little brighter on Wednesday when every voice in America trembled with pleading toward God.

Questions for Review

  1. What were you doing when you learned of the events of 9/11?
  2. What was your initial spiritual response? How long did it last?
  3. How had God used similar events to chastise Israel?
  4. How does the United States of America compare to ancient Israel?
  5. How did Jeremiah respond to the sight of his nation in ashes?
  6. What should have been the enduring spiritual lesson of 9/11?
  7. What should Christians be doing in light of 9/11?
Update on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 7:57AM by Registered CommenterJeff Smith

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Article originally appeared on ElectronicGospel (http://electronicgospel.com/).
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