Exploring the scriptures, we find this question of security and faith is a running theme from beginning to end. God's people don't often seem to make the right choices.
Paul's Letter to the Ephesians comes to a close on this question of security. He is trying to teach his toddling Christians that the ways of the world are not the ways of the faithful in the Kingdom. Using the example of an ever present figure in their lives - the Roman centurion - Paul describes what the follower of Jesus wears in comparable garb. Sadly, the imagery presented as the "full armor of God" is typically a fully equipped Roman centurion, not at all what Paul was talking about. Go ahead and try it - click here and you'll see what I mean. It shows how Christians have either missed the message entirely or corrupted it fully.
Folks in today's church imagine that their beliefs are not that different from the earliest Christians of, say, Paul's time. Most are stunned to learn that the earliest Christians were pacifists who insisted on soldiers renouncing not only violence but Caesar as they accepted Christ as their one, true Lord and Savior. Today, that's considered extremist. In fact, we wed militaristic patriotism with Christian faithfulness all the time.
Where the earliest Christians stood as citizens of the Kingdom of God, they also stood against the authority of Caesar and the Roman Empire. Things changed in the early 4th century when Emperor Constantine brought together the Roman Empire and the Christian Kingdom in a tragic marriage that has left its indelible mark on the church even today, and not in a good way. Today's church-state controversies are in part a continuation of the struggle for an Empire religion versus a Kingdom faith.
This gets reflected in how we approach security, whether from a stance of faithfulness or from a devotion to worldly standards. The Kingdom path always draws a sharp distinction.
In Psalm 73, we're taken on the psalmist's personal journey, an expression of dismay that God allows the rich and arrogant to exploit, oppress, and yet be blessed with prosperity! Where is God? The faith of the people in their God is eroding, not only the psalmist's personal convictions. As one who has suffered in different ways, the psalmist seems ready to give up until it all becomes clear to him one day in worship.
Like one whose faith has been re-discovered and revolutionized, the psalmist comes to profess that his true strength is in God.
There is more in the sermon about security and faith, particularly how the authorities and spirits of the world capture our attention and devotion. So check out the video below and note the downloads below the video panel. Note: there is an extra download that explains the Fairfielder picture.