“Why are we sitting here until we die?…We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” – 2 Kings 7:3-4,9-10
The above text was the first passage of Scripture I ever publicly preached. It was January 2, 1995 on a Sunday evening at Meadow Baptist Church and about one hundred brave souls dragged in from the New Year’s weekend to watch the train wreck. For me, personally, it was a blast, and I can only assume that there were a handful of clarified truths spoken by me that might have helped the audience that night. That first message was almost twenty-three years ago, and I can honestly say that I love sharing God’s Word now more than ever.
The words above from 2nd Kings were spoken by a group of dying lepers. They had been transported from the realm of impending death to a miraculously, lavishly supplied life. In a moment of assertion they decided not to perish as starving men outside Jerusalem’s gate. They approached the opposing army encamped outside, fully expecting to be immediately executed by them. Upon arriving at the enemy’s campsite they discovered that God unexplainably frightened the army away, leaving all of their valuable provision and treasures behind. Not only did these starving lepers find food and water, these hopeless men had just become instant millionaires. Upon rejoicing over the stockpile of food and clothing and gold, the previously dying lepers recognized that this was news that was far too good to keep to themselves. Within the city gates, all of Israel was starving to death also. They could take this saving message to all of their fellow sufferers on the inside. They quickly shared the good news with the people, and the end result was awestriking.
“Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians.” – 2 Kings 7:16
Christians, you and I have much in common with once-dying-lepers-now-rescued. No longer doomed in by our spiritual starvation, we have been blessed with more than we need for this life, and for the life to come. Let none of us err as the lepers almost did, by enjoying the spoils of victory while keeping silent to others who are dying behind the wall. We are the children of God, the redeemed of Jesus Christ, the forgiven! The church of Jesus Christ has a sound-problem, and it is that fear has mashed the mute button so powerfully that it is as if we no longer have a message to share. Of course, when we gather in so tightly on Sundays into our worship-huddles we hear just fine. Yes, those who are already among us need not despair, as we go over and over the victory that God has provided by defeating our enemy. But what of those who are still perishing? They are students in our city’s schools. They are prisoners in our jails and patients in our hospitals. Financial officers in major corporations are dying behind the wall, along with homemakers trapped in endless routine. The Church pounds on the LGBT movement, yet can we not recognize that they are inwardly starving, and that their loud mantra is nothing more than the groans of their unfulfilled spiritual hungers? Astoundingly, there are entire people groups all over the planet who have never heard the name which is so precious to you and me. Yes, Church, there is a problem with our sound system. Someone keeps pressing the mute button.
We will be meeting at New Bridge Church tonight at 7 PM for worship and prayer. We will enjoy tonight’s gathering, and we will make no apologies for the excitement, hope, love and power that we will press into tonight in that church building. We will be moved by the music. We will listen closely to the prayers that are offered. We intend to obey the spoken word, as long as it aligns with God’s book. Yet, in the midst of all that we are used to hearing, we must also listen for a sound that can (has?) grown less familiar to us. We will listen for Father’s permission to stand and speak on His behalf outside of that building. We will listen for the heartbeat of God Himself, which may drown out the music of worship and replace it with the cries of the lost, sick, disabled, depressed, dying and rejected in our city. Father certainly wants and deserves our unfiltered worship, but He also calls for our unfiltered witness. Whom shall He send? Who will hear Him? There is so much noise in our world today. Add your own sound to this world’s soundtrack. Ordain your own voice to speak of this glorious Jesus to those around you, and trust the God who plays you as His own trumpet to sound the tune of victory.
Time is short. The Church must fix the problem with her sound.