Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Conspiracy Theories
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:14 “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
Yesterday we in America celebrated the 40th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. At least that’s what I believe happened. Not so for author and conspiracy theorist Bill Kaysing. He claims, in a self-published book based on only hunches and what he thinks is photographic evidence, that the whole thing was a ruse of NASA to prevent international embarrassment over a failed space program. Kaysing also believes that astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took those first steps on the moon, has hired secret agents to follow his every move to make sure he doesn’t get too close to the truth.
Celebrities have now joined the crusade to convince the American public of the hoax. Yesterday, Whoopie Goldberg announced on ABC’s The View that she believes Kaysing’s theory.
The foundation of most conspiracy theories is this – FEAR! People who succumb to belief in conspiracies have already surrendered to a spirit of fear. For some reason they believe that the government is out to get us and dominate the world through the use of secret spy organizations. While many people may not fall prey to the fear that results in conspiracy theories, many of us love to read books and watch movies that speculate on such things. Why else would Jason Bourne and James Bond be so popular?
Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord had this to say – “Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary;” (Isaiah 8:11-14)
As we discovered yesterday, Peter is encouraging us to be do-gooders in our culture. We are to focus on how we can help people rather than what’s wrong with our country. Change enough people and the country changes. But those in power will resist such change, because they like the power they have. So in order to keep what they have come to love, they will threaten those whom they perceive as threats to themselves. Peter not only knew this based on his eye witness account of seeing them do it to Jesus, but he also knew that Jesus had prophesied that it would happen to him. (“When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. John 21:18-19).
Yet even though Peter knew he would suffer as a do-gooder, he quoted the prophet Isaiah and said, “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” The Lord is our sanctuary; of what do we have to be afraid?
Every day we are tempted to succumb to the fear-filled news of the world. We get all bent out of shape over health care reform, taxes, bailouts, and terrorists. We sit at the coffee tables of our local restaurants and spend uncountable moments theorizing over how to solve these issues. Yet every day we walk away from those conversations less hopeful than before. Why? Because not once during the conversation did we talk about our faith in Jesus Christ as the Sovereign Ruler of all and our sanctuary from fear. How many unsaved people have been left hopeless because we have chosen to share our fears rather than our faith?
My friends, we live in a day of fear, when what is needed is faith. We live in a day of hopelessness, and what people need is the God of hope. They should see Him in us. He may be your sanctuary in private, but you are not fulfilling your mission for Him until you make it public. I challenge you to make every conversation you have with anyone count for Jesus. Make sure people walk away from their time with you feeling some hope.
In fact, since we’re living in a day of conspiracy theories, let’s talk about this one – Jesus is coming and everyone who has been born again will be raptured out of this world and taken to glory. Meanwhile, the world will fall prey to an Anti-Christ who will end up leading them all to destruction. How’s that for a conversation starter?