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AFTER THE TERRORIST ATTACK – 3 Sept 2004

Mt 24:6-14   signs of the end of the age and the return of Jesus

This evening we have obeyed with faith the Lord Jesus Christ in the two ordinances which He left believers:  baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Faith and life go on in the face of evil and suffering.  Love is stronger than death, and so is the power of an endless life.  Jesus said, “I AM the LIFE”.  By participating in the baptisms, by participating together in the Lord’s Supper, we proclaim our hope and confidence in the good news of God:  Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. . .and He will come again, and we will live with God!

This week in Beer Sheva we suffered a terrorist attack similar to what many other major cities inIsraelhave already suffered.  I received phone calls and messages from Arab and Palestinian believers expressing their sorrow and anguish with us.  At least one believer, Olga Farsevich, was seriously injured in the bus bombings.  Neither our city nor the righteous are exempt from suffering or from evil in this present darkness.  These horrible things go on every day somewhere in the world.  We tend to notice them more when it happens close to us.  Yet even then, LIFE GOES ON because Yeshua is risen from among the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father!

What can we say to these things?  We often do not have a satisfying explanation for specific causes and their consequences.  In the big picture we can say honestly that there is evil in the world and evil-doers.  If we are speaking only relatively, those same workers of iniquity could – and do – claim to be justified in their deeds of lawlessness.  Olga had plans to leave Beer Sheva on Wednesday – the day after the attack – and move to Maalot in the north to begin work at a drug rehab center managed by believers.  Was it God’s will that she go?  She will not be there soon but, God willing, later.  And we are talking here about only one individual out of the more than 100, not to mention their families.

What we can know is that evil must serve the Sovereign YHVH God, for NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, and God works ALL THINGS TOGETHER for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!  The reality of our faith is tried and proven by such troubles.  Jesus promised us that we would have troubles in the world, but to be of good cheer. . .He has overcome the world. . .and so will we by our faith in Him.  Roman Sokolovsky heard the gospel many times, but as far as we know never believed it for himself.  We went to his funeral on Thursday without the joy of his destiny (destination).

Our preparation for the troubles and trials to faith to come are not so much supplies of water and food.  We do not know whether we will be secure in our homes or whether we will be fleeing from place to place from persecution.  Our preparation is primarily spiritual.  Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray, that they not enter into temptation.  Their spirits were willing but their flesh weak (Mt 26:41). 

Some things we can do to exercise our faith so that we will endure through to the end victoriously are:
–be filled with the Holy Spirit for power to overcome
–obey God and do what He says
–sanctify ourselves in the fear of God
–rejoice in the Lord at all times
–watch and pray, believing and trusting God
–abide in the true Vine, Jesus, so as to bring forth good and holy fruit
–forgive one another while it is still ‘today’
–visit the sick and the prisoners and help feed the poor and the needy
–be faithful to always give honor to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
–pray for the [true] peace ofJerusalem, because her peace is also Beer Sheva’s and every other place
–love one another.  If we do not, who have known the love of God in Messiah, then who will?  We are His witnesses and His children.
–preach the gospel, for it is the power of God to save both the Jew and the Arab and the Greek and the   Roman and any other national or people group

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