HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM?
APOLLO 13 MISSION 1970 used a phrase “Houston we’ve had a problem.” A phrase uttered by astronaut Jack Swigert during the eventful journey of Apollo 13, just after observing a warning light accompanied by an explosion, at 21:08 of April 13, 1970. For decades this original phrase has been used inaccurately to “Houston, we have a problem “which is a popular but inaccurate. This phrase was popularized by the film Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks “Houston we have a problem.” But none the less! If you heard the phrase “Houston we have a problem” you knew one thing….we had a problem and we still have a problem. It’s a phrase of great concern of the emergence of an unforeseen problem. That same phrase could be said by each and every one of us when we wake up every day! Everywhere we turn you will find a lost sinner who on the road that leads to eternal torment and destruction. It doesn’t matter if you go to Barry’s Bay, Pembroke, Ottawa or you go out your front door! The lost are right in front of you! Their everywhere. THE QUESTION I ASK MYSELF AND I WANT TO ASK YOU? Do we care at all about their eternal state?
CHARLES SPURGEON SAID THESE WORDS "I remember, when I have preached at different times in the country, and sometimes here, that my whole soul has agonized over men, every nerve of my body has been strained and I could have wept my very being out of my eyes and carried my whole frame away in a flood of tears, if I could but win souls."
Think about that statement for one moment! When was the last you wept for the lost?
THERE WAS ANOTHER TIME SPURGEON CALLED UNTO HIS STUDENTS TO NEVER GROW COLD TOWARDS THE UNSAVED WORLD BECAUSE THE GOSPEL WAS TOO IMPORTANT! “If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for. Every true Christian should be exceedingly earnest in prayer concerning the souls of the ungodly, and when they are so, how abundantly God blesses them, and how much the church prospers. But beloved, souls may be damned, yet how few of you care about them! Sinners may sink into perdition, yet how few tears are shed over them! The whole world may be swept away by a torrent down the rock face of woe, yet how few really cry to God on its behalf. How few men say, ‘Oh that my head were waters and mine eyes a fountain of tears that I may weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people?’ We do not lament before God the loss of men’s souls, as it well becomes Christians to do.”
Paul wrote in his letter to the Roman’s church “I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,” Rom 9:1-3. Can you say that with Paul this morning? Why do I ask? We come to one simple verse in a longest chapter and the longest Psalm ever written, that describes the heart of the writer who is concerned just as much as Paul was. A heart breaking verse that made this Psalmist, The Apostle Paul, Spurgeon, Edwards, Calvin, Luther, Piper, MacArthur, My friends the Hubick’s and I weep over. The lack or the disinterest in the word of God and the precious gospel message! The very words that lead us to the Gospel that saves to the uttermost parts and beyond this universe where He is sitting on the throne in all His awesome glory.
Jesus said these words as he was on the Mount of Olives….“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41-42. Do you know that it breaks God heart to see His children, His creation that disobeys His commands once again? (Look at v136). Even after the worldwide flood, people still continue to disobey His word and His plan of salvation!
NOAH PREACHED FOR YEARS AS HE PREPARED THE ARK FOR THE MASSIVE FLOOD. I’m sure every day for 120 years he pleaded with the people to come inside because he knew the pending doom for the wages of sin is DEATH. If you don’t believe me or care! Your ignorance and disobedience have hidden these truths from your heart because you truly don’t love Him the way he ought to be loved! This scares me! Truthfully.........there is a great majority of people who are going to face the Almighty wrath of God for all eternity. Why? Because they chose not to obey and follow after the only who can save them from themselves.
SO I ASK THE QUESTION AGAIN! Do your eyes flow like rivers over the sin of this world who wants nothing to do with Christ? Does your heart ache when people in the church deliberately disobey the Word of God? Does your heart ache when you disobey the Word of God? IS THIS YOU THIS MORNING? Do you feel like this Psalmist when you are? At work listening to how others speak and treat one another. In your car as you look around and see what’s going outside our church walls. At the store where people are in a hurry to go nowhere and don’t care about what they’re about to face around the corner [the wrath of Almighty God] At church were people put on their Sunday cloths and faces and leave this place the same way they came in.........dead!
DO YOU THINK THIS ISN’T SUCH A BIG DEAL? It’s nothing new under sun Mike! You say......
I know the world is corrupted and needs Christ.
I know the world is sinful and is on their way to HELL.
I know people will always debate the truth and validity of the bible.
I know the world hates God and loves self.
SO MY QUESTION TO YOU IS, DOESN’T THIS CONCERN YOU? What does your heart tell you right now after reading this verse? What does your heart tell you when you read the newspaper or watch the news or have a cup of coffee on your porch as people walk by [lost people] Over hearing people talking in the checkout counter IF PEOPLE [our community, this present world] WOULD STOP AND READ THIS PSALM THEY WOULD FIND HOPE, REST, GODS PROVIDENCE, HIS GRACE, MERCY AND SALVATION BY OBEYING HIS WORDS.
Blessed are those who walk in the law of the Lord (v1)
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies (His truth, witness) (v2)
Your word is hidden in my heart (v11)
I will meditate on your principles (v15)
I will not forget your word (v16)
Teach me O Lord the way of your statues (commandments, ordinances), and I shall keep it to the end. (perseverance) (v33)
Revive me in your word... (v37)
This is my comfort in my afflictions, for your word has given me life. (v50)
My soul faints for your salvation but I hope in your word (v81)
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. (v103)
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (v105)
Uphold me according to your word that I may live. (v116)
Direct my steps by your word (v133)
This is a Psalm of remembrance, reflection, devotion, and a command by the Almighty God Himself! This Psalm is a wonderful reminder about the awesomeness of God who gives us life....not just life but the hopes of eternal life through His grace found in SALVATION. Then you come to this one verse of psalm 119, and it hits home in my heart! It becomes a terrifying reality of the community in which we live in. The reality that we live in perverse generation that desperately needs the Saviour...but are desperately trying to tune Him out or remove Him forever! THIS VERSE WE SEE 2 CONCERNS FROM THE WRITER OF THIS PSALM AND THIS SHOULD BE A CONCERN FOR EVERYONE HERE IN THIS SANCTUARY.
A GREAT CONCERN MEANING..........
It is so great! The tears and the anguish of his heart come down like a flowing river! Matthew Poole says in his commentary of this verse “Rivers of waters; plentiful and perpetual tears, witnesses of my deep sorrow for God’s dishonour and displeasure, and for the miseries which sinners bring upon themselves and others. THE PROPHET JEREMIAH SAID ON TWO DIFFERENT OCCASIONS......
“Oh, that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people!” Jer 9:1
“My eyes overflow with rivers of water For the destruction of the daughter of my people.” Lam 3:48
To see the wilful disobedience to God and His perfect law.....the Word of God. To see people mock and make fun of the One who sent His Son to die for sinful man and woman. People who are don’t care and not ready to meet the Living God. This is a great concern for the church of Jesus Christ! Jesus said something about this with His parable of the 10 virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13. Five were ready and five really didn’t care until the day came but it was too late for them. This is a frightening reality that you might have a loved one in your home that isn’t ready.......maybe in this church! AND AT THE END OF THIS PARABLE JESUS SAYS THESE SOBERING WORDS...... “But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'"Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” Matt 25:12-13
This is a great concern for the church....a great concern for me! “Sins of sinners are the sorrows of saints. We must mourn for that which we cannot mend” Matthew Henry. Not only is this a great concern.....But! It’s a God concern
A GOD CONCERN MEANING..........
This is where we truly can relate......we know what’s at stake! “To disobey God at His word is suicide without the death” It holds eternal consequences according to the Bible....which are so terrible you would wish for all eternity that the Mountains would crush you. ALL BECAUSE OF WHAT THE PSALMIST WRITES “they keep not thy law” A person who denies the Bible is a person who denies God and His existence. WHICH MEANS: They are an offence to a holy God and the wrath of His sovereign judgement is their pending demise. They are going to be separated from and by a Holy God. They will spend an eternity of eternities experiencing the pain of torment by the hands of a loving and righteous God. Because the reality is that in the end every tribe and every tongue (language) will bow before Him and confess that He is Lord and many on that day will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
This is why it’s a God concern! They haven’t offended us personally, they’ve offend a Holy God. And because they deny God and His Holy Law they supress the truth that is before them. As Paul wrote “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Rom 1:18. “Suppress” means: “to keep back,” or “restrain” the truth. As darkness overspreads the mind, so ineffectualness takes possession of the heart, when the “still small voice” of conscience is first disregarded, next dissatisfied, and then systematically deadened.
What is it they suppress in the Psalmists day and in ours? There is a God. He is the Creator of all things and so not a god but the God. He is powerful — more powerful than all else, because he made all else. He is eternal because there was nothing outside him that could bring him into being. We must exist to display His glory and not to compete with Him for glory. We must exist in absolute dependence on him. We do not supply him, He supplies us. We are to live in constant gratitude for His grace and mercy founded in the gospel.
Are you beginning to see for yourself, that this as a huge problem? This is a God concern and it should concern each and everyone one of us. Because he went on to write “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Rom 1:20-25
So what can we do with this great and godly concern?
1. Evangelize the lost with the only gospel that saves. Act 1:8 Jesus said “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
2. Pray for those in your family and community that the Holy Spirit would grip their hearts with conviction over sin to see their greatest need for their soul is the gospel through the written Word. Heb 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
3.Display the love of Christ to a world that desperately needs the Saviour. Paul said “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Col 4:5-6
As David Platt said “The church is plan A, there is no plan B.”
How beautiful are those who bring the Gospel of peace? Priceless because you can’t stamp a price tag on the soul of lost person. May we do something about this great God concern as a church family in our community and surrounding areas with the only means and message of escape……..the beautiful gospel.