July 16, 2020 Ashley Steelman

THE SKY IS FALLING

THE SKY IS FALLING

The Sky is falling. 


Once upon a time there was a little chicken, and everybody called him-- Chicken Little. And one day while he was out walking, up in the sky a bird flew over and it dropped an acorn, and the acorn fell down and-- bip-- bopped him on his head. Chicken Little said “AWK! ” and looked up, and didn’t see anything, and he looked down and didn’t see anything. So he said “Help, help the sky is falling! Help, help the sky is falling! I have to tell the King!” And he went running down the road, looking for the King. As he was running he met Henny Penny. And Henny Penny said, “Buk Buk Buk BUK! Hello Chicken LIttle. What’s wrong with you?” And Chicken Little said, “Oh Henny Penny! Haven’t you heard-- the sky is falling! I’m looking for the King.” And Henny Penny said, “Oh my, how exciting. Buk buk buk BUK! Can I go too?” And they went down the road together, shouting “Help, help the sky is falling! Help, help the sky is falling! We have to tell the King!” After a while they met Goosey Loosey. “Honk! Honk! Hello Chicken Little, Hello Henny Penny. What’s wrong with you?” “Oh, Goosey Loosey, haven’t you heard? The sky is falling! We have to tell the King!” “Honk Honk! That’s terrible! Honk honk. Can I go too?” And they all went down the road together shouting “Help, help the sky is falling! Help, help the sky is falling! We have to tell the King!”


The sky is indeed falling. Amidst political agitation and social disintegration, what are believers called to do? Do we just roll with the tide we all see flooding in? Do we buy up a bunch of guns and groceries and hunker down on our little piles of dirt? Or do we run to tell the king? 


What do we do? 


The truth is we only have the word of God as our guide and rule of faith. Scripture tells us that in the early church the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus were everything. When turmoil came, when they faced incipient persecution, they most definitely ran to tell the KING.


Acts 4:23-31 Peter and John left the meeting of Jewish leaders and went to their own group. They told the group everything that the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders had said to them. 24 When the believers heard this, they all prayed to God with one purpose. They said, “Master, you are the one who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything in the world. 25 Our ancestor David was your servant. With the help of the Holy Spirit he wrote these words:

‘Why are the nations shouting? Why are the people planning such useless things?‘The kings of the earth prepare themselves to fight, and the rulers all come together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ 27 That’s what actually happened when Herod, Pontius Pilate, the other nations, and the people of Israel all came together against Jesus here in Jerusalem. He is your holy Servant, the one you made to be the Messiah. 28 These people who came together against Jesus made your plan happen. It was done because of your power and your will. 29 And now, Lord, listen to what they are saying. They are trying to make us afraid. We are your servants. Help us to say what you want us to say without fear. 30 Help us to be brave by showing us your power. Make sick people well. Cause miraculous signs and wonders to happen by the authority of Jesus, your holy servant.” 31 After the believers prayed, the place where they were meeting shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak God’s message without fear.


The background to this verse is in Chapter 3. Peter and John heal a lame man right out in broad daylight. It falls to Peter to give an explanation of what the heck just happened and he gives an exceptional history lesson. 


Peter reminds God’s people of who God is. And then he shares the gospel in a nutshell,, “26 God has sent his special servant Jesus. He sent him to you first. He sent him to bless you by causing each of you to turn away from your evil ways.”


This is Peter! The same one that denied Jesus now speaking boldly and eloquently about the Gospel all under threat. And people are being healed. People are coming to Christ!. Don’t you think he is aware of the fact that what is happening here is that the promise of Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit has come to fulfillment?


Christianity ain’t philosophy. It’s not a pocket full of religious ideas. No, these people of the early church were propelled into the streets of Jerusalem not by fear, but in light of the fact that they knew that Jesus was alive. If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, why would Peter be out here preaching like this? It makes no sense. Peter gives the history lesson to remind God’s people of who he is and all He has done. Christianity is grounded in facts. It’s grounded in history. We can share the Gospel without fear because it is the TRUTH.


Many people believed because of this. It messed with the status quo and the agenda of the elite. And so this group of leaders decided the best thing to do was to shut them up and send them to jail. But the whole thing backfires and the number of believers increases from 3000 to 5000. This is what the Gospel does. This is why we run to tell the King. 


God is in control of all things including the events happening around us. 


You see, fam, unless we understand that God is a sovereign God, then it is almost inevitable that we will be buffeted and bowled over by the events which are clear evidence of opposition and coming persecution in relationship to the Gospel. Don’t misunderstand all that is unfolding these days as being explained in terms of race or gender, left or right, or any other thing. 


Man as man is set in opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and particularly when evidence of that gospel is undeniable.


That was what was up back then and I suggest to you, that is exactly what is happening now: that the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers set themselves, against the Lord and against his chosen. The sovereignty of God —a God who is unfolding his purpose from all of eternity—that stands over His word to see it performed- is at the very heart of it all.


That's why these early believers prayed the way they did. They prayed big. They prayed Biblically. They recognized this amazing tension between God, who is in control of all things, who has all the power, who created all things, and the responsibility that was there in the leaders of the day. 


28 These people who came together against Jesus made your plan happen. It was done because of your power and your will. 29 And now, Lord…


“And now Lord…”


How will we finish that statement? “Get us out of here, Lord?” “Lord, please keep us from persecution?” “Lord, please remove the threats?” “Lord please help me keep all my stuff?” 


No- The early church said “And now Lord…”They are trying to make us afraid. We are your servants. Help us to say what you want us to say without fear. Help us to be brave by showing us your power.


So back to my question. The sky is falling, what do we do? We run to tell the King. We pray. We pray this prayer. We pray for Spirit-filled, Christ-centered boldness. “Help us to say what you want us to say without fear.” 


Paul warns us in 2 Timothy: “Remember this: There are some terrible times coming in the last days. 


In Ephesians 6:12 he says “Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.” 


In 2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we use are not human ones. Our weapons have power from God and can destroy the enemy’s strong places. 


With that in mind, this is what I think: this is not just a time to fill our pantries and gun cabinets but a time to remind ourselves of what it is we’re doing as a church, small c and big C. To remind ourselves who the enemy is.


Who the enemy is. 


Paul makes these statements to encourage the people he is writing to. And then he calls for his readers to pray “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”


In other words, to pray big—and to pray, he says, “for me also.” Why? “So that I won’t be persecuted?" “So that I will not have to be beaten, or spend time in jail?" No: Ephesians 6:19 “ Also pray for me—that when I speak, God will give me words so that I can tell the secret truth about the Good News without fear.”  It’s the same prayer we see in Acts 4. 


The Fox


The story of Chicken Little really ends terribly. Chicken Little and his friends get led off their course by a sneaky old fox. They never make it to the King. 


 Do you realize what a great temptation it is to the church at this point in our country to deviate from course, chasing down all kinds of notions and ideas? Am I the only one who gets sucked into the anger and frustration surrounding the conversations about masks, and covid, riots, the presence of financial insecurities, the threat of a cashless society and so on? That’s why we need to pray. Because we’re living in a culture of an incoherent mix of opinions and tensions.


There are foxes everywhere trying to get us off track.


The whole gospel has been given to the whole church to reach the whole world. So whether you’re an engineer, a farmer, a lawyer, or a momma at home with her babies it doesn’t matter; the charge of God is to speak his word, the gospel, without fear. Our job is to go out and say, “ I am proud of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes—”

 

I’ll finish up with  Acts 4:31-35 After the believers prayed, the place where they were meeting shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak God’s message without fear.

 

What do we do? We pray. We pray and ask for boldness to share the gospel. We pray to be prepared to say, “This is Jesus. He died for our sins but is now alive. He is who you need.” We pray that the Lord would keep us from inaction, from a wrongful sense of anxiety over the future. Pray that we would have a childlike trust, taking God at His word and believing that what He has promised He will do. 

 

The sky is falling. We must run and tell the king.