“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8).
Every week we gather here because we believe this. We believe that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. The works of the devil are anything and everything that is not love, beginning with the seed of hatred culminating in the violence of murder. Now either that is true or it isn’t true. Either Jesus really is the Son of God who came into the world, who died on the cross to take away the sins of the world, and who rose from the dead to make all things new – or it isn’t true. Why do we believe it is true? Because for nearly two thousand years, the evidence continues piling up: men, women, and children continue to be changed, freed, and healed. How do cycles of violence, addiction, poverty, and brokenness change? Jesus. How do people reconcile? How do people make peace? How do people forgive – what seems unforgivable? Jesus. How are guilt and shame overcome? Jesus. The Church is not a gathering of good people. The Church is a gathering of people who know the power of evil, hatred, and violence, and we gather together because we believe that only Jesus, the Son of God, can destroy it.
So we are gathered here today and every Lord’s Day to stand against all hatred, all violence, all injustice, all bitterness, all shame, all evil, and all the works of the devil. There are protests and elections and rallies and petitions to sign, but for the last two thousand years, the Christian Church is the only international resistance movement to withstand all the changes of time. We still lift up the cross of Jesus as our sign of resistance, our sign of justice, our sign of certain victory. We stand here in solidarity with those who have no voice, with those crushed by the violence of evil men, with those cut down by lies and greed and envy. We kneel down and confess our complicity in the evil, and then we stand and sing our war songs and we listen to the story of mercy our God has told, and we offer our prayers as we sit down to eat and we drink in the presence of our enemies at the table of the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords, and then we leave here under His invincible blessing. This is our resistance movement. This is our protest, our petition, our rally. We entrust ourselves to the One who already suffered and died for all of it, who sends us into the world to announce His certain victory over all of it.