Excerpts from Dr. D. James Kennedy Message of|
"When Towers Fall"
You don't know and I don't know what will happen tomorrow and thus the Bible says, "prepare to meet your GOD."
Are you prepared to meet GOD?
Editors introductory comments:
Where were you when you first heard about the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. People will be asking that question for years. But, the more important question is the one that too few people will be asking is , "where were you Spiritually when that horror occured?" Oh yes, the terrorist are to blame and our host Dr. James Kennedy tells us today about the Biblical response to their cause. He will also address GOD's purpose in allowing these tragic events in today's Message, "When Towers Fall," and you can be assured that GOD's purposes are always for the good of His people no matter how impossible that looks.
*** Excerpts from Dr. Kennedy's Message ***
When we gathered together here last Lords day September 9th, none of us could have had the faintest inkling of the catastrophic events that would transpire before we gathered here again. Indeed, how true the Scripture is when it reminds us the we know not "what a day may bring forth"(Proverbs27:1). And today, we, as millions of others across the Nation, in spite of our differences-Americans All-we join together to share the grief and mourn the lost experienced by more than 5000 families who have had one that perhaps they loved more than life itself ripped from their bosoms and their grasp. Indeed, it is tragic beyond our ability to express. And, as we have seen played and replayed over and over again of those Jet Planes slicing like a knife through sticks of butter, those great Towers, our hearts as with all of the others have cried out, "Oh Lord, let it not be! Oh GOD, let it not be!"
But how can such things have happened to America? We are not at war - at least most of us didn't believe we were at war. I'm afraid that most have forgotten that exactly 5 years ago in August of 1996, Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States. And so, unbeknownst to most of us, we, indeed, have been at war for some time now and we are now experiencing some of the horrors that war always brings with it and they are truly beyond our description. Several year ago, two of our embassys in East Africa were destroyed and again, the evidence pointed to Osama Bin Laden as the man who inherited billions of dollars and is using it to carry out his own twisted ideas of justice and righteousness. This is indeed tragic.
Of course, he is decended from this Ishmael, who, we are told in Scripture, "will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand will be against him."(Genesis16:12) It is interesting that Bin Laden may have wanted to give the idea that this is the whole Islamic or Arabic World against America, but there were people in the World Trade Center from 50 other Nations. This one person has succeeded in turning almost the whole civilized World against him. There were people there from Australia, and they are very angry with him - people there from who knows how many other Countries and yes, there is going to be worldwide anger when the names of all of these victims finally come out.
Now, let me make it clear that though this man is a radical follower of Islam, his views are not held by all Muslims. I am sure that there are many Muslims in the Country who are very grieved about what has happened, and would not think about doing such a thing.
You are familiar, no doubt, with the "jihad," which is the declaration of a "holy war." Sudan, in the early 1990s, less than a decade ago, declared a jihad in that country. They have killed two million innocent people since then, a great many of whom were Christians.
Mohamnmed was once asked in the Hadith, which is a record of Mohammed's life and sayings second in authority to the Koran,
"What is the best deed?"
He replied, "To believe in Allah and his apostle"
(Mohammed was supposedly his apostle).
The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?"
He replied, "To participate in jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's cause" (Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 25). That was their second most important commandment.
Christ was asked what is the greatest commandment?
He answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And, the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"(Matthew22:37-39).
Dear friends, there is an infinite gulf between the teachings of Mohammed and the teachings of Jesus Christ that "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself!"
We read in Isaiah about the great slaughter when the Towers collapsed, "when the Towers fall." The Bible has a number of things to say about Towers. You remember that JESUS was talking about the 18 people who died when the Tower of Siloam fell. The Tower of Siloam was there in Jerusalem at the pool of Siloam where I have visited and so have many of you, and He said, "do you suppose that those upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell were worst than others?" I say unto you, "Nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish"(Luke13:4,5).
The scriptures make it very clear that many times in the Old Testament, God told His people that if they did not repent of their sins, He would bring in the foreigner, those people from far nations, and use them to chasten His own people. "If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings"(Jeremiah26:3).
And so, according to the scriptures, when such things as these happen, we should consider our own sins and the sins of our own nation; this is the first place that we should look. I don't know about you, but this has caused me to consider, confess, and repent of my own sins. Has it done the same for you? I hope that it will do so for every American. GOD used the Babylonians and the Assyrians and the Egyptians, and who knows what other group as "chastening rods" to punish His own people for their Sins.
But "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land"
We need to remember that we are called upon by God in such times as this to consider our sins and the sins of our nation.
Dear friends, we have enough sin in this country to keep terrorists busy for the next hundred years, and we need to confess those. We need, as citizens of this nation, to confess our national sins and ask God to cleanse us and forgive us that we might be spared that which God says He has intended to do to His people. Judgement begins at the house of God, so we need to consider ourselves.
No doubt, we also need to consider the evil hearts of these people that have done this, and I would not in any way mitigate the horrendous evil of people that have no thought of human life and would willfully kill thousands of people out of some misguided view that they have been commanded to kill all of their enemies. The fact of the matter is, I don't know about you, but I have never personally done anything I know of against any Muslim. I have Prayed for them. I have sought to share the Good News of the Gospel with them but I have never in any way tried to hurt them. But they believe that we are the great Satan, that we are evil, and that we need to be destroyed. They have the teachings of their prophet Mohammed to encourage them to do just that, and this indeed is a tragic thing.
How should Christians view this? It seems to me that in listening to a number of Christians, they are very confused about what their attitude should be. We have people who have declared that they are indeed very angry with this man and they would kill him if they could get their hands on him and this is the way they feel about it. We have others who have said, "Now wait a minute. You're suppose to be Christians and Christians are suppose to love their enemies. They are suppose to turn the other cheek. How can you say those things?" So, that does indeed create something of a problem for a Christian. What should our attitude be?
Well, let me see if I can make something clear that I'm afraid a lot of Church members don't understand. JESUS CHRIST, in the Sermon on the Mount, (Matthew chapter 5 through 7), gave us the broad picture of Christian personal ethics. There have come to be, two different interpretations of that Sermon on the Mount. One which is known as "The Reformed view", which is the view that we hold and all Reformed Churches hold. The other is a view that is sometimes call "The Quaker View", which is held by those who hold to those beliefs. And there's quite a difference.
We believe that the ethics thought on "The Sermon on the Mount" are Christian personal ethics. They believe that those ethics apply to every phase of life, whether individual, corporate, or civic - all are bound by that particular set of ethics. We believe that that is not true, and that the Quaker belief causes many people to be very confused.
Are we to be angry with our enemies or are we to love them. Are we to attack them or are we to "turn the other cheek?" What is the Christian position?
As I said, we hold to the Reformed view which says that these Sermon on the Mount principles are personal Christian ethics. They're not corporate, civil or Government ethics that are envolved here, those are thought in Romans Chapter 13. I commend Romans Chapter 13 and the "Sermon on the Mount" to your careful study. That the "Sermon on the Mount" does not contain corporate or civil ethics is clearly understood by someone who would examine them carefully.
Let's say that I was President of a bank. You happen to deal with my Bank and come in to make a deposit. As your making out the certificates, you notice a man comes in off the street very poorly dressed and you hear him as he walks up to me and says, "your the President of the Bank aren't you?" And, I say, "yes I am." He says, "well I want a loan." "Oh you do, do you? How much would you like?" "Oh, $1000. Let's make it $10,000. Let's make it $1,000,000, because I understand sir, the word on the street is that you are a Christian." "Yes, I am." "Now, doesn't JESUS say, 'from thee that would borrow of thee, turn not thou away,' so I'll just take my $1,000,000 in $1000 bills!" OK, and I start passing out the money. You put your deposit slip in your pocket and leave the Bank.
What's wrong with my doing that? It's not very complicated. The problem is, IT'S NOT MY MONEY I'M GIVING AWAY, IT HAPPENS TO BE YOURS!
These are personal Christian Ethics, they're not Corporate or Civil Governmental ethics. You find those in Romans 13 where we read that the "Government does not bear the sword in vain", the sword is a sign of the power to take life. And so, here we see the power of the State. We are to act on the principles of love and mercy. The State operates on the principles of justice. So don't be confused if some talk show host tries to trip you up, and I noticed them doing it over and over again this week. And, it should remind us that the unbeliever in situations like this always has one purpose in mind: They want to condemn GOD and justify themselves. Remember that, you run into it all of the time. They want to find fault with GOD, find fault with CHRIST, find fault with His Word, find fault with you as a Christian and justify themselves. That's what they always try to do. I heard it several times this week on TV talk shows so don't let them pull the wool over your eyes, especially if it's somebody else's wool.
So then, that means that I as a Christian am not to hate. I don't hate anyone. We shouldn't hate anyone. We are to love our enemies. And it also doesn't mean that the Government should say, "oh gee, we're a Christian Nation. Your forgiven, come back anytime when you get your hands on a few more commercial Jets." Of course not! I hope that the full brunt of justice falls upon those people!
Even though the kinds of things they are doing are beyond my comprehension, I just cannot conceive of anybody doing to innocent people, women and children as well as men, anything as ghastly and dastardly and as cowardly as they have done. And now they go hide out in the desert hoping that we won't find them.
WE WILL FIND THEM!
But we are reminded of what the scripture says, "For when they shall say peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape"(I Thessalonians5:3). My friends, "We know not what a day may bring forth." None of us knew what would happen on Sept 11th, 2001, and we don't know what will happen tomorrow and thus the Bible says: "Prepare to meet your GOD".
So I would ask you today: Are you prepared to meet GOD? If, indeed, you were on the 104th floor of one of those buildings as it began to sink and then plummet toward the earth, knowing that your last moments were now before you, do you know, do you have the assurance that you would be with God today, that you would meet him rejoicing and not with fear and terror?
That is something that only CHRIST can offer to the world. He says, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore"(Revelation1:18), and those of you that trust in Him shall live also. We can be assured that we are going to be with Him. For it is appointed unto man to stand before the almighty God at the Great Assize, the final Judgement Day, when the tomes of justice will be opened and the eternal destinies of men and women shall be read out. When they turn the page to your name, what will be the decision? In that glorious day, when you are confronted by God and He asks you, "What right do you have to enter into my Heaven," what will you tell Him? I think that such an event as we have had transpire on September 11th demands that each of us consider in our own hearts and minds that untimate question.
I remember when I was just a young man, 24 years of age, frivolous as unfortunately many are, flitting my life away on superficial things, not giving a thought to GOD or to CHRIST and yet supposing myself to be a Christian. And yet, CHRIST had no part of my life. From earliest morning to latest night, no part of my life. I never thought about Him, prayed to Him, read His Word, sought to obey Him or any such thing as that.
Then, I was confronted with the kind of question that I just mentioned to you. My alarm clock radio came on, it was the then famous Presbyterian Preacher from Philadelphia, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, a great scholar and a powerful Preacher and the first words that I heard when my alarm clock radio went on were these, "YOUNG MAN!" (that will wake you up in a hurry) I didn't know what had happened. I thought somebody was in my room. "Young man, if you were to die tonight and stand before almighty GOD and He were to say to you, 'what rights do you have to enter into my heaven,' what would you say?" I turned about four different shades of white and sat up on the edge of my bed and listened in utter astonishment to the ultimate question of life - of life and death and eternity. What would I say?
And I ask you this day, what would you say? What right do you have to enter into GOD's Heaven???? I'd like for you to answer that question, silently, right now. "God, your should let me into Heaven because..."
This was my answer. I said, "Because I tried to live a good life. I have tried to follow the Ten Commandments, live by the Golden Rule and do the best I could." It turns out he wasn't talking to me but he was narrating a discussion he had had with an Air Force Pilot and he told us the Pilot's answer which was, "I've tried to do the best I can, keep the Ten Commandments, follow the Golden Rule and live a good life - virtually the same thing I said, to which I responded, "Ah, I havn't been to Church in ten years and I got it right." If you not laughing, you've got a problem because that could not have possibly been more wrong!!!
Then he said on the Radio, but seemingly to me, what he said to the Pilot and he said to the pilot, "Lieutenant, if you had had the audacity to say such a thing as that to the all-Holy GOD that knows your every thought and deed, He would have instantly plunged you into the lake of fire!!!" He had my attention!!! And I listened as he explained the glorious Gospel of JESUS CHRIST and I learned for the first time in my life the most amazing thing I have ever, before or since, learned!!!
In all the studies since that long ago day, I have never learned anything as important as this - a very simple statement, only three words long. I hope you'll carve it in the walls of your mind: Heaven is free! Heaven is FREE! The Bible puts it this way: "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of GOD is Eternal Life through JESUS CHRIST our Lord"(Romans6:23). The gift of GOD, Glory be, is Eternal Life through JESUS CHRIST our Lord! It's free! It's free to us, but it was paid for at infinite cost by JESUS CHRIST upon the cross. He paid for it with His own life, His own blood shed for us upon that tree, and He offers it freely to us.
Have you received that gift? Do you know beyond any peradventure of a doubt that it is yours, that you have it? Should you be involved in an automobile accident, in the moment when the windshield glass collapses in front of you and the impact is felt in your body, do you know that you will be taken immediately to be with Him in Paradise? There is nothing that I have learned in all the years that I spent in graduate school upon graduate school that even comes close to being as important as that.
Heaven is a free gift, paid for by CHRIST, and offered to all of us that will place our trust in Him.
You may not have noticed but I told you the name of my "saviour." I told Dr. Barnhouse, I told everyone here the name of my saviour that morning in my bedroom when I heard that Radio program. Did you notice the name of the saviour I gave? I'll say it again: "I've lived a good life. I've done the best I can. I've kept the Ten Commandments, and I followed the Golden Rule."
Well, I didn't exactly give you a noun, but I gave you a pronoun.
Did you notice what it was? "I," "I," "I," "I." I had a saviour whose name was "I". It was "Jim." Today, I have a Saviour whose name is JESUS. There is an infinite difference between the two!
Ah, dear friends, we need to be ready. I think that the suddenness, the unexpectedness of these events absolutely cry out for us to realize how important it is to be ready for that great appointment that is absolutely certain and yet uncertain as to when that will be. Are you ready to meet Him? PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD. We know not what a day will bring forth.
What was going on those 220 floors of those two towers? It was World Trade. There were hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper that contained all manner of business documents, that were of vital importance to all of the 50,000 people that were working there. Employees were bending over desks and they were examining the various reports. Their very existence was all wrapped up in those pieces of paper.
ONE MINUTE LATER, those documents were confetti, flittering down from the sky, being walked upon by the dirty shoes of men, totally meaningless. Those people, alas, in many cases, had never considered the really important things of life that begin with our relationship with the GOD who created us!
Has that relationship been established in your life? Is CHRIST yours?
I am hopeful that out of this, we will see a new surge of Patriotism in the Nation. I have seen more Flags in the last week that I think I have in the last ten years, and I hope that that number will grow. I'm sure it will because, you can't even get them! There's a long waiting list at the stores and I think that's very encouraging, especially, when we've been through a time in this Country when many people have shown few examples of Patriotism. I could not tell you how many times my wife has put out the 6 or 8 foot pole and Flag out in front of our house, yet when I've driven up and down our street, there was no other Flag to be seen. There are Flags flying down our street today, I'm happy to say!
But more than that, I hope that not only will there be a surge of Patriotism, I hope that this will be the beginning of a great Spiritual Revival - that GOD may once again have His place in our land!!! There are some of you who would not be here today, would not have heard the Gospel message today, had it not been for those Jet Planes crashing into those buildings.
While we certainly wish that such a thing had never happened, but GOD is able to bring good even out of the most horrid circumstances. That is the most wonderful promise that we claim - that out of all of this, He will be Glorified and the lives of millions of people will be enriched. And though more than 5,000 people lost their lives, I am hoping that out of this, 5,000,000 people or more in America will come to receive life everlasting as a result and that America once more will, in Truth, be "one Nation under GOD", will in Truth be that Country that our Founding Fathers loved and about which they sang so vehemently.
May we Pray:
FATHER, should there be anyone here who has not yet entered into that personal relationship with JESUS CHRIST, received Him as Saviour and Lord, may they right now say in the intimacy of their own souls, "Lord JESUS CHRIST, Son of GOD, Saviour of men, I am a sinner and I am sorry for my sins. Forgive me and cleanse me and make me 'whiter than snow.' I ask you to come into my heart, to forgive me and grant me the gift of Eternal Life. I accept you as Lord and Saviour of my heart and right now I receive the wondrous free gift of everlasting life." In thy most Blessed name. Amen.
Note: Dr. Kennedy and his Coral Ridge Ministry can be reached by:
Telephone at 1-800-229-WORD (9673).
and on the Internet, Click here: