- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

This is an excerpt from a recent sermon by the Rev. Milt Matthews at From the Heart Back to Basics Church Ministries:

In 2 [Timothy] 3:1, it says perilous times shall come. But there is hope in perilous times. Some of us have allowed the times to cause some of us to lose hope. I don’t care how bad it seems to get or how many buildings people blow up, how many of your friends get shot in the streets, how many of your friends are in jail, how many of you are homeless or using drugs — I do not care what your situation is. There is hope in Jesus Christ.

I want to wake us up from an apathetic state. I do not care what ministry you’re in, it doesn’t count unless you’re bringing souls to Christ. We have a dying world out there.

Our purpose is to cause each one of us to take your part in the fight. You cannot expect people to keep fighting for you if you’re not fighting for yourself. That’s like trying to drag around a dead body. Those of you who come in the bus, you can’t expect us to keep on picking you up. You’ve got to be part of the fight yourselves. It’s your war also.

All of us have had some situations that have caused us to lose hope. Life is a struggle. Things were meant to be tough and rough in this world, especially for a Christian. We can’t get comfortable in this world; it will never be comfortable.

Homeless shelters are filled with folks who have lost hope. They’ve stopped struggling. There’s a lot of us who’ve lost hope and are waiting to die. Hope gives us a desire to keep on struggling. Hope is a confidence in the outcome. It’s like playing a game. As long as you’re not far behind, you’re still struggling. But when you get so far behind and look at the clock with a few minutes left, you stop struggling. But as long as you’ve got Jesus, the game is still on.

The game is still winnable, brother. But some of us have gone in the locker room and taken off our pads and helmet, and there’s a game still on, there’s a war back on. You need to go back and say, “Coach, let me back in. I can win this thing.” Put on your shoulder pads and get back in the game.

In order to have hope in perilous times, I must not faint. I must not get discouraged, or weary or exhausted. I will not get despondent. I will not get an I-don’t-care spirit. A brother told me crack cocaine makes him numb. But we’ve got to get out of the numb feelings and fight this war, church.

In 2 [Corinthians] 4:1, it says, “Therefore we have this ministry, as we receive mercy, we faint not.” If you are saved, you have a ministry: to bring souls into the kingdom. We cannot relax because we have a lost world out there. Only a few churches out here are really preaching about seeking and saving the lost. Most of the big megachurches have outreach ministries, but they’re not seeking or saving the lost. All you hear about is how to feel good about yourself.

Well, how long does it take to solve your problems? Some of us have been saved for years and years, but the Word of God still hasn’t caught on. We’ve gotten numb to the Word. Nothing shakes us.

But we can’t faint. We can’t let up, church. We owe it to God not to faint. God has brought you this far. You’ve got to allow Him to take it a bit further. You can’t give up on God.

You have got to say to yourself, “I was glad to be born in a time that desperately needs change.” Because then you can see God has given you some purpose. I can look around and see a lot of things that need changing and realize God has given me the opportunity to do so.

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