OF HEROES AND HOBBITS
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Heroes and the Heroic:
- We are Cynical:
- Before 9/11 we despaired that there were any true heroes.
- We were too sophisticated for heroes. It is too romantic
- 9/11 changed that and we began to rethink the heroic. But now our faith in that which is heroic is fading again. The world just seems too complicated.
- We are Fascinated With Heroes:
- Best Movies are about Bigger-than-life heroes
- Heroes are great when they are someone else ...
- The Hobbit:
- Do not care for adventure
- Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things
- Make you late for dinner
- Hobbit society frowns on adventures and adventurers
- Adventurers do unexpected things and bring in trouble
- They inspire silly ideas in people
Perhaps we are more like Hobbits than we care to admit ...
- Even in the Church
- He/she who dares to spend him/herself in heroic efforts may suffer the rebuke or ridicule of fellow hobbits We dont want trouble makers coming around and stirring up adventure.
- So it can be tempting to give up or to at least sit back and do nothing
- The best way to avoid criticism and hard work is to become comfortably and peacefully meaningless
- Timothy was tempted to quit ...
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love and of self-discipline.
- An Encouraging Letter from His Mentor (Background to 2 Timothy)
- Timothy was Pauls troubleshooter and representative (1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10-11; Philippians 2:19-23; 1 Thessalonians 3:2)
- At work in Ephesus
- Paul is in prison, facing death.
- Members of the church are opposing him, he is disrespected.
- Rival teachers, who are teaching garbage, are having more success than he is.
- Timothy is strongly considering a career change.
- Thus, Pauls letter
- The Essence of the Message: This is no time for Wimps! (1:7)
- Paul Gives Examples Timothy would know:
- Phugelus and Hermogenes (1:15) deserters
- Humenaeus and Philetus (2:17-18) false teachers (for selfish reasons no doubt)
- Demas deserter, he loved the world
- The Timid are Deserters:
- This is Military Language, why?
- More is at stake than in any war ever fought.
- Deserters are not the enemy (4:16), but the contribute to his cause
- Paul charges Timothy to:
- Continue in what he knows is true (3:14)
- Get back in the fight! It is your calling!
- He gives three examples:
- Soldier (Courage) Fear says Be safe, neutral, run
- Athlete (Endurance) Comfort, avoid trouble and conflict. But there is no risk-free Christianity
- Farmer (Patience) Self-Gratification says what do I get from putting up with these people?
- A story that college freshmen have to agonize thru ... English Literature, etc.
- Beowulf rules the kingdom in peace and comfort for 50 winters
- Until the dragon:
- burns homes
- stirs up fear and despair
- makes threats
- The King leaves his comfortable throne, dons his armor, sharpens his sword to go and do battle with this arrogant serpent
- He risks his life, and though he kills the dragon, he is also killed.
- He could just as easily sent others, made a treaty, or deserted his duty
Can we have a Heroic Faith?
Back to Tolkien (Gandalfs remark):
I tried to find [a hero or a warrior]; but warriors are busy fighting one another in distant lands, and in this neighborhood heroes are scarce, or simply not to be found. Swords in these parts are blunt, and axes are used for trees, and shields as cradles or dish-covers; and dragons are comfortably far-off (and therefore legendary).
Gandalf is right and wrong
- Swords are blunt and warriors are often fighting one another
- But dragons are NOT comfortably far off even though we do think them legendary
There is a dragon loose and he is burning homes, stirring up fear and despair and anxiety, he is making threats.
He is a desperate foe. (Our King has wounded him, but he is not powerless yet.)
You either stand against the dragon, or give up. The Dragon does not respect innocent bystanders.
Are we hobbits, or heroes? God calls us into a grand adventure.
2 Timothy 2:11-13
If we died with him, we will also live with him (baptism)
If we endure, we will also reign with him (dedication)
If we disown him, he will also disown us (so dont)
If we are faithless, he will remain faithful ...(grace and repentance)
Give invitation, then Pause and have everyone stand and pay attention ...
Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus ...
Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you ...
for God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Dedicate your life to Him today and live heroically!
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 20 January 2008
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