I remember a story I read recently where an oil and gas company had a float in a Holiday parade. The interesting thing was that the parade had to be stopped because the float ran out of gas. How interesting that an oil and gas company didn’t have the gas to power their float!
As I think about that I’m reminded of Isaiah Chapter 61 that tells us God will give us beauty for ashes and the oil of gladness for mourning. I believe Christians should be joyful and glad even in the midst of turmoil and chaos.
First, we look at the STATE of the WORLD. We see government and society as a whole walking away from the things of God. We see the celebration of abortion in some State governments, and the great falling away the Bible talks about is happening as more churches close than open every month. I remember getting out of bed and accidentally stepping on the Bible that was laying beside the bed. I jumped off of it and felt ashamed that I had stepped on the Bible, but I believe a lot of people step on the Bible each and every day by the way they live. Even with the world in a chaotic time of earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, upheaval and moral depravity, we still can find that oil of gladness in His presence daily.
Next, we look at the FATE of the WORLD. In 2nd Peter 3:10 we read “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”
What a reminder that the fate of this physical world will be one of destruction and restoration as we read in Revelation about a new Heaven and a new Earth that is to come. We can’t get wrapped up in the things of this world and material possessions when we read that this world and everything in it will be gone. The last time I checked I didn’t see a U-Haul behind a hearse; in other words we can’t take it with us when we die. The world will continue to get worse until the last days, so that’s all the more reason to be filled with the oil of gladness as we wait for his appearing.
Next, we have to look at the WEIGHT of the WORLD. Sometimes we feel like the weight of this world is all on our shoulders. We think we haven’t reached out enough to others, we condemn ourselves for not doing more, but I want to share something my 10 year old son Bryce told me last week. He said his New Year’s Resolution was to see 60,000 come to know the Lord. He said that if 1 person tells 1 person, that person tells another person that might have a platform to reach 60,000 for the Lord!
He gets the concept that each and everyone is important in reaching the world for Christ. I love the quote that says “At Bethlehem He became God with us, at Calvary He became God for us, and at Pentecost He became God in us!” What a reminder that the weight of the world and the sins of the world was taken upon him, and he tells us to cast our cares to Him and he will give us rest. Keep praying for that oil of gladness even when the weight of the world is heavy upon you, and you will see God lift it right off of you in Jesus name!
Finally, we have to close with the GATE of the WORLD. We had a New Year’s event at our church this year, and the day of the event two of the ministries scheduled that night called within 5 minutes of each other and canceled. Right after that, the phone rang and God provided the replacements needed right on time. He made a way where they seemed to be no way, and the same thing happened at Calvary.
There was no way for us to be made right in our sin, so God sent his only son to die on the cross as the last sacrifice for our sin! He is the gate of the world and the Bible says in John 14:6 that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except by him.
The Bible says broad is the way to destruction and many enter that way, but narrow is the way to eternal life and few find it. This is a reminder that he is the gate that we must enter through. Don’t let the cares of this world and the distractions cause you to miss entering through the narrow gate. All in all, even in the midst of the turmoil, we can still have the oil of gladness in our lives, and believe me, this world needs to see that more than ever before.
To hear this full message, please visit Botkinburg Foursquare on Facebook.
Rocky Thomas is pastor at Botkinburg Foursquare Church.