For this week’s gospel meditation – I want to dive deeper into the Noah story as Jesus retells it in Matthew 24:
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Here’s the same idea again in Luke 17:
28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
There’s two common themes – the promised, coming reality of God’s righteous judgement AND the multi-faceted unbelief of Noah and Lot’s neighbors. Their unbelief looks like apathy and ignorance. At best, they don’t care, living busy lives ignoring the God who gave them every good gift. At worst, they are openly hostile to those who believed God’s promises (Genesis 19). So here’s a spectrum of unbelief:
Atheism – there is no god
Agnosticism – God isn’t knowable.
Apatheism – a lack of motivation to engage the conversation
Why don’t our neighbor’s care? Here’s a suggestion from Rauch again:
September 11th convinced us that the problem with religion is that people care too much about it. So if everyone would just calm down and mind their own business and not invest in religion as much, the world will be a better place. Rauch, not a Christian, argues that religion is the most divisive and volatile of social forces.”
There’s been a conscious effort to catechize our culture into not caring about religion.
I hear him saying something like, “We are afraid of the power of religion.” What would you say?
Perhaps he needs to see people shaped by the gospel – where we care so much about the faith of others that we are willing to suffer to love our neighbors. In other words, the reality we care most about is Jesus dying for us while we were yet enemies. And the resurrected Jesus sends us out in the world and bids us love the same. (John 13; Matthew 5:43; 1 Peter 2:11-4:11)
Two questions to meditate on:
1 – How has our culture’s apathy or lack of care shaped our faith? In other words, do we believe that the Son of Man, Jesus is coming to the extent that we rearrange our lives to reflect that reality? Is the core of your Christian witness concerned with your goodness? Or are you obsessed like the angels with Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die for self-centered rebels like us?
2 – How do we pique the curiosity of our neighbors? That’s the question I want to keep meditating on with you after I’m back from vacation in August. If you have ideas, we are in this together as a community.
Interesting Article regarding Sodom and Gomorrah:
Scientists believe a meteor may have destroyed the city, which fits well with the Biblical story of God causing this event. New Science Suggests Biblical City Of Sodom Was Smote By An Exploding Meteor (forbes.com)
Sunday – 10:00am – 1 Peter 4:1-11 – Come and see how we are to live, armed with the mind of Christ. We do that for each other in the church community and out in the world.
Thompson’s Moving Plans: It looks like we are closing on our house Wednesday, July 21st. And we are hoping to move in on Saturday the 24th. Many have asked how they can help. So please keep an eye out for details in the coming week.
Pastor Jim will be in the pulpit July 25th and August 1st while my family is away on vacation.
May the gospel of grace continue to overcome our stubborn unbelief – Jesus is praying for you (Romans 8:31).
Grace and peace,