Faithlife Sermons

Unity Without Tragedy

September 11th  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Unity Without Tragedy
Sermon by Ken Baratta
Based on various passages
Inspired by 9/11 anniversary
Yesterday marked 20 years since one of the most horrific events in our nation’s history.
8:46 am - American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower
9:03 am - United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower
9:37 am - American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon
9:58 am - The South Tower Collapses
10:02 am - United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, PA
10:28 am - The North Tower Collapses
In the span of 1 hour and 42 minutes, 2,977 people died.
Among them, 71 Law Enforcement Officers and 343 Firefighters.
Clearly one of the most devastating events in our nation’s history.
However, what took place on 9/12/2001 was the greatest show of unity and support for one another that I have ever seen in my life.
We stood up together united, indivisible, and ready to fight evil no matter what it took
Countless men and women dropped everything in their lives to join the military to fight for this country
That was 20 years ago.
Today is a different story...
Mr. Chesley (Facebook, 9/11/21)
I read many posts today that say, “Never forget!” The sad thing is, we have forgotten. We have forgotten the unity that this terrible day brought and the then common desire, among leaders and citizenry alike, to preserve this great bulwark of freedom from any threat. But today we are a country divided and the loud voices are yelling that we should destroy this bulwark of freedom from the inside out. We can still choose to defend her, to choose unity rather than disunity. But I fear that, if we do not firmly choose unity again in spite of the loud voices, our time is short. For if the loud voices have their way, there will soon come a time when we will no longer be allowed to say, “Never forget!”
We label one another
False and factless information is spread in the news and online
Venomous hatred is spread and exhibited in our streets
Our most dangerous enemies are no longer overseas...our most dangerous enemies are ourselves
What happened? Why is it that this unity brought on by such tragedy can disappear so quickly?
Easy: because that unity was brought about through a means that is both imperfect and temporary… patriotism.
Our united front was established on the temporary strength of pride in one’s identity as an American
What has taken place over the past 20 years is an unprecedented attack from within on the moral fabric and framework of what it means to be American
Not only has there been blatant disrespect and disregard for the American flag, the Constitution, and individual liberties and freedoms; but we have seen actual violent demonstrations waged by Americans against Americans.
I read an article that made the statement: “we need a 9/12 without another 9/11”
Ladies and gentlemen, the fact of the matter is that our foundation was too fragile to build a lasting unity upon.
Let’s take a look at a few truths from the Bible to grasp a better understanding of true unity:
Proverbs 3:5-7
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Our understanding is finite and imperfect at best.
Look at the past 21 months as an example of that.
How often have masks been debated among the experts in their fields?
How frequently have they waffled in regard to the life cycle of the virus?
How many times have they changed their mind on proper protocol to those who are exposed?
The fact is this: even the experts are not perfect in their understanding of what they have studied and researched.
That is not intended to dismiss their contributions and conclusions on matters.
I am not saying that you should not listen to or follow the guidance of these experts
What I am saying is that we need to remember that the people we look to for guidance and answers in all areas are imperfect
Because of the imperfection of man, we must wholly lean on the infinite perfection of God.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 - what is the object of our boasting?
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
It is almost like Jeremiah was writing to the United States of America in these verses. Consider again the unity that came about on September 12, 2001.
It was based on our wisdom and understanding of what was going on and how to respond
It was based on what we believed about the might of the United States’ people, specifically the military
It was based on the United States’ riches and where we felt we belonged in the pecking order of nations
Our boasting was not in God… it was not in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus… it was in the finite, imperfect reality of mankind.
We were emboldened by patriotism and puffed up with pride
Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Remember, we cannot depend on our wisdom or in ourselves. Those are ingredients for epic failure and disappointment.
Ephesians 6:12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Where we failed as a nation was in the belief that our battle was against the Taliban. That our fight was against al-Qaeda. That if we took out Osama bin Laden, we would be victorious.
There goes our wisdom again
The reality is that the individuals who carried out the attack were fueled in their hostility by a book and belief system that is hell bent on destruction and death.
Their story is not in and of themselves. We are not just talking about people.
Their story is rooted in their false god, Allah, and their holy book, the Quran.
What took place on September 11, 2001 was an outward working of spiritual warfare that takes place in the heavenlies.
That is why on August 26, 2021, the Taliban re-emerged and re-took control of Afghanistan
Arguably, the most important truth as it relates to these matters comes from Paul’s words in Philippians 3:20, our citizenship is in heaven.
There has been tremendous American pride expressed through the years.
We ought to be thankful and have a sense of pride about living in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
But never should that ever supplant the boasting that we have in knowing Christ our Savior
Unfortunately, so many Christians have been kneeling at the idol of patriotism for so long that we have made patriotism and being a Christian synonymous in our minds.
But the reality is that our unity is not founded on a flag
It is not founded on the constitution of a nation
It certainly is not founded on the government that runs the country
John 17:20-21 - our unity is in Christ
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.
Folks, Jesus did not pray for the United States of America to be the leading nation in the world
He did not pray for Americans to be united under the flag of the United States
He did not pray for Americans to be united under the Constitution of the United States
The prayer of our Creator and Savior is that we would be united in Him and in the Father.
That we would have fellowship with Him and the Father
That we would represent Him to the world
John 17:14-19
As Christ’s followers, Christians are members of His kingdom, which is not of this world. We know that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). As a result, we cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12). We wage spiritual battle, but the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh (2 Corinthians 10:4). We seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). And we rest in the knowledge that our King gives us eternal life: the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:17).
Philippians 3:12 - 4:1
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