Wayne Reynolds, Pastor
The death toll from the Tsunami, which resulted from the earthquake near Indonesia, continues to grow. I heard as many as 160,000 people died in that fatal wave. The United States is presently undergoing severe weather. California is being drenched in record-breaking rains and snow. When these things happen, people often ask, "If God is such a God of love and mercy, why does He let all this misery continue?"
Anyone who has visited a patient at Children’s Hospital or Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis has seen children with life threatening illnesses and the valiant efforts to save their lives. Some wonder why God allows such terrible misery to come upon children, who have done nothing to deserve their suffering.
Consider the untimely deaths of excellent people; people that have spent a good part of their lives helping others. As we stand by their graves, mourning our loss and trying to understand why God took them, we might find ourselves asking, "Why did God take this person, and allow the convicted, hardened criminal to live?"
Misery comes in many different forms in this sin-cursed earth. Not only is death ever present, there are all kinds sickness and suffering. Why, if God is on His throne?
If pornography is so evil and leads to so much wickedness, why does God allow it to continue? Why doesn’t he stop the people pushing pornography? He has the power to stop them. Why doesn’t he?
Why do natural disasters continue to wreak havoc on this earth? Why do earthquakes, fires, violent storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and famines continue?
The nightly news is full of murder, child abuse, sexual crimes of all descriptions, robberies, political misconduct and political crimes. Why these occurrences if God is a God of love, mercy and salvation?
There was no death or suffering in the beginning of the world
When God finished creating the world, he…saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day, Genesis 1:31. God did not say his creation was good, he said it was very good. There was no sin, no suffering and no death in the world as originally created by God.
The creation was very good as seen in the following statements. Genesis 2:7 reveals that …the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:8 states that …the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. God was so good to man as he planted a special garden in the newly formed earth, and there he placed the man. Genesis 2:15 relates that God …took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:19 teaches that …out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. God was very pleased with every name Adam gave the animals.
In Genesis 2:21-25 …the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 2 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 3 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 4 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 5 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. God supplied a wife for Adam, a very special woman, who was his perfect helpmeet. God supplied everything necessary for man to be happy, healthy and prosperous.
Genesis 1:26 records that God gave man dominion over all his creation. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. The dominion God gave man was a perfect dominion. There was no sin, no suffering and no death. Indeed! Everything God created was very good.
God gave man a perfect world, perfect in every way. It is man that has caused all these problems, not God. It is man and the sins that flow constantly from his being that have caused all this misery. God is still a God of love and mercy. If lost and saved sinners will come to Jesus Christ, confessing their sins, God will forgive their sins, and bless them. They probably will not have a life of ease, but their eternity will be worth it all!
God gave only one command – Do not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but Adam disobeyed that single command. When sin came into the world, suffering and death also came. Romans 5:12 states, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. We know Satan is the prince and power of the air as Ephesians 2:2 plainly states, Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
The truth is: all the wickedness, misery, hatred, wars, disease, suffering and death that is now in the world is caused by sin. Man is a sinner and sin has permeated the creation, until the entire creation now groans and travails in pain together, longing for the redemption that only God can give.
In John 12:31, Satan is called the …prince of the world… because he has been given authority over God’s creation, and he is continually causing havoc.
Further proof that Satan has authority over this world is seen in Luke 4:5-7. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. Satan offered Christ all the kingdoms of this world because they have been delivered to him, and Satan gives those kingdoms to whomsoever he will.
In Revelation 12:9, Satan is said to deceive the entire world. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Only God Can Make Things Right
John 12:31 records that the prince of this world will soon be cast out. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. According to Revelation 20:2,3 Satan will be cast into the bottomless pit, where he will remain for 1,000 years, during which time Christ will rule this world with a rod of iron. During the millennium, there will be peace from all of Satan’s attacks. Christ will control the weather, as he stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee. Pestilences will end, there will be no war, and nations shall beat their swords into plowshares, as stated in Isaiah 2:1-4.
What Can I Do Now?
This world is presently filled with sin under the dominion of Satan, but we do not have to follow Satan. If you are lost, you must admit to God that you are lost, repent of your sins, and trust Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, casting all your care upon him, and relying on him for everlasting life and refuge from this sin-cursed world.
Next, every saved person should be scripturally baptized by one of the Lord’s local Baptist churches. We invite you to Independence Baptist Church, where you can receive scriptural baptism.
Next, saved, scripturally baptized people must be faithful to God in the local Baptist church where their membership is.
Sin is still in this world, but sin shall not have dominion over the people of God, as revealed in Romans 6:14. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Men Still Do Want To Believe
Job 21:7-15 reveals that when the wicked prosper, they say they have no need of God, yet when things go wrong, they declare God should have stopped it from happening! It seems they want to have their cake and eat it too! Think of this: a storm causes millions of dollars in property damage, and it is called an "Act of God," but when we have a good day of weather, the weatherman gets the credit!
C. D. Cole, Definitions of Doctrines, Volume 1 page 29 tells the story of a man who bought a run-down farm in Virginia. For three years he worked hard and finally was able to produce the necessities of life. One day his pastor visited him. As he took him over the farm, pointing out here and there patches and fields of good crops, the pastor remarked several times that it looked as if he and the Lord were partners in farming. As the preacher took his leave, the old farmer said, "Reverend, I agrees with all you say about me and the Lord being in partnership. I agree with every word. But Reverend, I jest wishes you could a' seen this place when the Lord was running it by Hisself"!
This irreverent joke has no place in the pulpit as teaching that God had to depend upon the farmer for good crops. That worn-out land was not God's exhibit of what He was able to do. It was natural retribution for the abuse of what God had made. The thorns and briars and weeds that had grown on that run-down farm were a reminder of sin. They did not speak of what God could produce, but of what man deserves. God made the earth fruitful of good; sin caused it to abound in thorns and thistles. A run-down farm does not represent the best God can do, but the worst man has done. God used the farmer in producing good crops, but the farmer did not recognize the blessing God had bestowed.
Independence Baptist Church is a happy church, a friendly church, which has a great desire to share God’s happiness, God’s joy and God’s friendship with you. If you are looking for a church home, please consider Independence Baptist Church. You are welcome in all of our services.