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Cypress Hall at The Cypress                                                                                                       
20 Lady Slipper Lane
Hilton Head Plantation
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

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843-290-0500 (cell)

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Sunday Services at 9:30 AM
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Sermon Archives
Pastoral Prayers

Has America Gone to Hell?

At the very beginning of this sermon, I want to assure you it will not be about what you might think it will be about. I preached on that subject a few weeks ago, and I’m not going to preach on it now. You can’t relax, exactly, because what I am going to talk about will not be very cheerful, but at least it won’t be that, so you can rest somewhat easily.

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God is not fair - thank God!

Why is Smith always sick, but Jones never is? Why does one family go sailing through life with favorable winds and never a storm, while another family has one stormy crisis after another? Why are Connecticut and New Jersey relatively so affluent, and South Carolina and Mississippi relatively so un-affluent? Why are rich countries so rich, and most of the countries of Africa and Asia are so poor? Why are the western states ablaze with so many fires, and the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest are currently free from serious natural disasters? It is those kinds of questions we think about when we think about the fairness of God.

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Is the Bible the Word of God?

From the outset, you need to understand that this sermon is going to be largely educational, and not inspirational. If there is any inspiration at all, it will come toward the end of the sermon. This morning I shall be much more of a rabbi, a teacher, than a pastor or preacher. Having forewarned you, however, I hope you will listen attentively anyway. It can’t hurt you, and it might even deepen your understanding of what the Bible is - - - and isn’t.

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Overcoming the World

Jesus and many of his followers believed that the apocalypse was just around the corner. God was going to end the world, and all the righteous would go to heaven to be with God, and all the unrighteous would be destroyed on the earth. That didn’t happen. Nonetheless there was much tribulation ahead for those who were the first followers of Jesus. Within forty years of Jesus’ death, the Romans, not God, destroyed the kingdom of Judea and scattered most of the Jews to the four winds. At the same time some of the Roman emperors began to persecute the Christians in Judea, Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. When the fourth Gospel was written, tribulation was widely experienced everywhere in the world where there were Christians and Jews. Jesus could not have spoken about that at the Last Supper, because the disciples could not understand what Jesus would have been saying. But tribulation came nonetheless, and the writer, who believed that Jesus was God, believed that God, by means of Jesus, would overcome the tribulation.

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Does God Play Favorites?

Throughout the Bible, there are numerous instances where God is reported to have chosen certain individuals or certain peoples for His own purposes. Almost always in those instances, God doesn’t give His reasons for doing what He does. He just does it. For example, God seemed to favor Abel over Cain, because God was more pleased with Abel’s offering than Cain’s. Cain was a shepherd, and he brought a sheep to God as a burnt offering. Abel was a farmer, and he brought some grain to God as a burnt offering. So does God prefer farmers to shepherds? In other words, does God like agriculture better than “agniculture”: the growth of grain more than the growth of sheep? Genesis 4 offers no explanation for God’s choice; it just states it.

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