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A Faith Response to Nine-Eleven

This morning I woke up to the news that Osama ben Laden was killed by special forces of the USA. I went through a series of emotions, just as I did on 9/11/2001. The emotion that finally settled on me was sadness – not especially because this evil man is dead, but because of the cycle of violence that continues. I remember that when then President Bush declared that he wanted this man “dead or alive,” I said that if we killed OBL, four more would arise to take his place. I still believe that.

This evening, I read this from John Mark Hicks, in which he asked if dancing in the streets is an appropriate response? He thinks not, but there were some interesting comments that pointed to some in the Scriptures who rejoiced over the such – and others who reminded us that God does not rejoice in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11) and of the proverb that charges us not to gloat when your enemy falls (Proverbs 24:17).

Even earlier today, I was thinking about a memorial service we had at the Northeast church near Detroit on the one-year anniversary of “Nine-Eleven.” At that time, I made some remarks. I located my fairly rough notes prepared for that occasion and share them with you below:



I. Nothing has happened in my memory that matches the shock we all felt a year ago.

  1. I can remember the Challenger explosion – and the dismay we all felt. But we knew space exploration was hazardous.
  2. I remember the deep sorrow we felt as a nation when John Kennedy was shot in Dallas. But presidents had been assassinated or died in office before.
  3. I remember some of the terror that accompanied those fearful October days in 1982 when nuclear war was in the balance during the days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  4. But none of these matches the shock, the anger, the fear experienced in America as a result of 9/11.

II. What caused the shock and the deep emotion over 9/11?

  1. Was it the scale of the destruction of life? We abort about that many babies every day in this nation.
  2. Was it the vividness of the live pictures of the buildings burning, the planes slamming into them, the buildings falling, bodies falling from the buildings as people jumped?
  3. Is it that so few could plan & execute a plan that is so evil?
  4. Or was it that someone dared to attack US, THE United States of America in our homeland? We have been “safe” for decades. The last invasion of our shores from abroad was in the War of 1812. Now, all of a sudden, we do not feel safe at home any longer. We realize that the end of the Cold War has not meant ‘Peace on Earth and Good Will among Men.’

III. How should we as American citizens who are believers in Jesus respond to these things in a way that is consistent with our faith?

Random Thoughts:

1. This is not a “sign of the end.Luke 21:8-13.

2. Our Citizenship is in heaven. Philippians 3:18-21.

    1. Paul loved his Jewish brethren – but he was a citizen of Heaven!
    2. Paul used his Roman citizenship to his advantage – but he was a citizen of Heaven!
    3. God’s Agenda is not set in Washington – and the Devil does not live in Afghanistan any more than he lives in any other country on earth.
    4. What happens to America does not determine our destiny.
    5. We love America – and can be blessed by it and in it.

3. While we are in the world, we are not “of the world.” – John 17:14-18.

  1. We do not share the world’s philosophy, goals, or passions. We have a different agenda! Just as Jesus, our will is to do the will of the father in heaven.
  2. Our war is not fought with earthly weapons. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
  3. Our enemy is not flesh & blood – but the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:11-12.

4. In the World We Have Trouble – John 16:33.

  1. Some troubles we have simply because we are still in the flesh: sickness, pain & death.
  2. Some troubles we have because we are Christian. Persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12.
  3. How should we react?
  4. 1 Peter 4:19 says we are to trust God and do good.
  5. Matthew 5:11-12 says we are to rejoice in persecution; vv. 44-45 adds that we are to love our enemies and do good to them.

5. Trouble brings Opportunity. Luke 21:13 says that persecution gives us opportunity to bear witness!

    1. Our witness is not first by word! Before we speak, we must act.
    2. But righteous action gives credence to oral testimony.
  1. Opportunity to demonstrate the difference between Mohammed and Christ – Between the Cross and the Sword.
  2. Opportunity to be a witness and to contrast the grace God gives with the “ungrace-ful” lives of the world.
  3. We Cannot Witness to Someone We Fear.
    1. Hence we must get rid of the fear!
    2. 2 Tim. 1:7. God does not give a spirit of timidity.
    3. 1 John 4:18. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
    4. Mark 4:40. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

7. Faith is the victory! 1 John 5:4-5.


Is fear as great when it is not our home that is violated?

  • Our Faith is in heaven.
  • Our Love is in heaven.
  • Our Hope is in heaven.
  • Our Home is in heaven

The response of faith is to trust God, love God, and put our hope in God.

God has not abandoned us. He is still with us in the storm saying, “Peace! Be still!”

Let’s learn to love God – and in loving God (whom we have not seen) let’s learn to love our neighbors – our Muslim neighbors – whom we have seen!

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