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God’s Parallel Universe

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God’s Parallel Universe

Ephesians 2:10

Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

I don’t know about you all but I still don’t know why the lady got sick behind us in the Theatre, but I wouldn’t have blamed her because you felt, I’m sure, some of the atmosphere that I felt because it really presented the idea of parallel universes as a threat in a sense rather than a hopeful thing. It seemed the whole relationship between the two dear hearts on the stage was itself dysfunctional, but was certainly filled with a sense of fear and loneliness and desolation. Not only because she was apparently dying of a brain tumor or cancer, but because there was a general atmosphere of impersonality which was purposeful, I believe. and I believe sets forth the life that many people were going home to from that theatre.

I don’t think their own minds are filled with anything much warmer than the atmosphere we felt there. I suppose you could say it was a very clever presentation that parallel worlds meant that there were many choices that you could make about a relationship such as theirs and different ways for it to go, but of course they were presented in such a way that you had no feeling that there was a direction in them. There was no feeling that there was anyone making it go in a certain way. You felt this was a desolate desert of many possibilities that can produce all kinds of outcomes that nobody has any control of, least of all the people involved.

So it was in that way a good presentation of one of the sides of the idea the quantum physicists have given us of the parallel universes; that if you make this decision, that’s the scenario. If you make another decision, then that’s the scenario. But of course there was not even hint that there was a possible resolution to that,and most people would go home to that mental atmosphere in their own lives and in their own homes. So in that way it’s a fair picture of modern society; it’s a society where anything goes, and there are no laws to guide you and no laws that you have to obey, yet you’re determining the life that you’re going to live almost every moment by the choices you make.

So I think many people would go home with that feeling and undoubtedly that’s what you’ve got if all you have is parallel universes that are out there somehow flying around and you don’t know where they came from and you don’t know where they’re going. All you know is that they apparently have a great effect on your present experience. So in a way I felt for the person whether they were affected by the strobe lights and had some kind of brain crisis, or whether it was a seizure they had because of some sickness. I certainly could sympathize with them because I thought if she hadn’t done it, I almost would have done it myself because there were moments during that presentation that seemed to be what the poet said, “Like a tale told by an idiot.”

I don’t think we realize at all how close that is to the life that most people have. Most people live in that chaos and hopelessness and they have no idea of anything being under control in any way. They just see space as continually bewildering, scary, fearful, and unmanageable; not knowing where it will go and not knowing how it will end up, and their lives mirror that as you saw in the characters, or as you might say characterlessness of each of the two of them. Your heart goes out not only to them but to all the people that would go home, as we have often gone home from London’s

dramatic presentations, feeling there is no hope, there is no way out. That’s the people we are speaking to. And of course our grasp of parallel universes is entirely different.

It started early on, though we never realized it, we just thought the grammar was bad when Jesus said “Before Abraham was I AM.” We thought it should be “Before Abraham was I WAS.” But of course it’s Jesus repeating the meaning of the “Yahweh” term which is the person who is “I am I am in fact, part of the dear person that has made this universe.” So our glimpse of the idea of eternity and something that goes infinitely on is something that is very different from theirs. They have no loving Nazarene. They have no kindly Savior who said “Does anybody condemn you? Neither do I condemn you.”

They have no feeling of that. They have no feeling of anyone saying, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.” They have no feeling of that. Their idea is of an eternity, an infinity that has no meaning in it, no sense in it but to which they are somehow subjected. And they have no glimpse of anything else.

They really do see themselves as little molecules battered this way and that by these parallel universes. Even the very idea of a parallel universe is threatening to them because there could be all kinds of strange creatures there, all kinds of strange life that might not understand us at all. No idea of anything that is behind it all that they can relate to themselves.

They feel increasingly that whether it’s our own agnostics in America, that they’re chance productions thrown up by an impersonal power that is beyond any control and they are the chance result of that. They are little molecules that batter around these parallel universes and they might almost say “It doesn’t matter to me whether they’re parallel universes or not because the whole thing is scary,it’s beyond me; I’m a little thing that has no meaning in the midst of it all.” They have no idea of a person who says “Before Abraham was I am.”

It runs through the Bible from beginning to end, the whole fact that there is someone who is in control.When you read that the wall of Jericho came down, you read that God said, “Behold I have given the city into your hands.” I learned as a Hebrew scholar that that is just the Hebrew way of saying it. It’s the past tense that Hebrew always uses when it really means the future. But of course, it was right; God had already given the city into their hands because God had already foreseen all of that and had seen it all happen because he sees everything as one eternal moment. So he had already seen in his plan that he had already given that city over; working into consideration all the wills of the individual people that would be involved and working all things according to the council of his will he knew that they would take the city. So throughout the Bible we have been living in that infinite world even though we did not recognize it as that and we did not talk about it much.

It’s really only since Einstein made the whole thing clear in the scientific world that we’ve all begun to see that this is right from the beginning in scripture: that there is a power that is in charge not only of the present and the past, but also of the future. But they have no idea of that. They think they are a chance production of atoms and molecules crashing into one another and that there is no sense to their life and that most of all nobody cares. They are absolutely clear on that even if they had a loving Mother or Father at some time they are convinced that no one really cares, partly because they don’t care very much for anyone, but they don’t think that there was any point in their creation.

I’d like you to look at Ephesians 2:10 because we think that’s normal and that that’s the view everybody has of life, but they have no idea of this and no one ever tells them in a way that they could ever believe. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” It’s full of everything! It’s full of how you were made, where you were made and what you’re future life is going to be: “we are his workmanship” the workmanship of the Creator of the universe. “We are his workmanship, created in …the midst of molecules – in the air, in space, in the earth – no – in his own dear Son, right in his only son, “created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand.”

So your life is prepared and all you have to do is walk in it. It’s been prepared by the great Creator of the universe because he’s made you part of his own son so that you could express that in your life. They have never heard that. I would say confidently that they have never heard it even spoken in jest, even spoken lightheartedly, they have never heard of that. And that’s the first part of the gospel; just believe it.

I’m with you that the shootings are wretched and are only the outward, visible, exceptional expressions, but that hides a whole society where human beings are promising to stay with each other for life and breaking it the next week. Human beings are having children that they love like mad until they find that it demands some patience and some forbearing to stay with the other person and then they divorce and leave the children to have no guidance or sense of love. So it’s a ridiculous society that we’re in and they are convinced that that is as much as you can expect. They have no sense of being created by a Maker.

You know what I have said before: why is everyone different? I don’t want to draw it out because I’ve already said it to you to several times, but why did he make us all different? I did think it was just that he was very inventive, but then you get down to the DNA and you find that in detail even identical twins are not the same, but in the DNA every one of us is made up of it seems millions of these little equations. And there is none of us that is made up with ALL of those equations. Every one of us has a different DNA. Every one of us is different in some way from each other: different in our mental outlook and even different in our experiences. Combined with our outlook and combined with our natural makeup, everyone is different.

I believe that they even can see that. Nobody says it to them of course, but I believe that they can see that. I believe that they can grasp that from the scientific point of view. They must think that it is strange, and not know why it is but it seems to be so. And you know what I’ve said to you, why do you think that everyone’s different and of course you’re driven back to what God said at the very beginning; he turned around to his son and said “Let us make man in our image.” And I think that’s it; our God is so many faceted, he is so infinite, that to express himself he has made all of us so that all of him in all his plurality can be expressed fully and can set forth his beauty and his glory. Then you know what follows: you mean he could find no way to show himself than just the way he shows himself in me or in you? Come on! But that’s it; that’s what follows from “let us make man in our image.” That’s what follows from God created you – you are his workmanship in Christ Jesus for good works that he has carefully prepared beforehand that you should walk in them.

So its’ not just that you are created inside the only son of the Maker of the universe, but you show him forth in a way that nobody else does and that’s why he sent you here. He’s sent you here to this planet to do something, as you bring the planet more under his will, and to be something that he can be only in you. They would laugh at you. They’d think “wouldn’t that be something.”

They have no idea that’s the truth and yet it is. I remember an illustration that one old preacher made. He took Sir Malcolm Sargent who was the leading classical conductor in England when we were first in London in the 50’s and 60’s. The orchestra was blasting through something like the 1812 Overture and Sargent said “STOP, STOP” and he pointed to one instrument and said “you missed that note” and it was the guy with the triangle. That’s what it is.

But you can see what it would mean to those people in that theater last night if they even suspected that they were personally designed and created by the Maker of the universe so that his son could live in them and express a beauty of God through them that nobody in the whole universe could express. But they have no idea of that. Do you know how many complexes that would take care of? But most of all do you know how much joy that would give our Father.

One man said “God so loved the world that you should not perish, and perish is getting old, being wasted” and that person would not be wasted as he is being wasted now. I think it’s important to make it clear that the whole thing is possible because God has in fact reconciled the world to himself, that he saw that it would go this way and he determined to put up with it. He determined to bear it, and he did not want to bear it as somebody who sets up something apart from himself that goes wrong and then wants no part of it. He took the responsibility, he made it all inside his own son, so that all that reconciliation took place in his son Jesus and the death on Calvary is just an outward historical expression of that eternal work that occurred in God’s own heart when he said “My son I am going to make them in you so that they will not die, but you will therefore bear them inside you and you will bear the dying for them.

So it’s very important to see the importance of Jesus’ death in the whole plan. But not so that God could pay a ransom to the devil for our sin. It’s the best we were able to do in the past century, but it’s pretty meaningless. And it’s alright talking about their sins, and they are sinful, but you remember the Bible says “convict them of sin and of righteousness and of judgment. Of sin because they did not believe in you” and that’s sin; sin is living as if God is not real, as if God is not alive, as if he has not put us into his son, made us there and changed our life in him. That is sin. Yes, it produces sinful acts like immorality and stealing and robbing and anger and impatience. But those are symptoms of sin; the big thing about this is I, s-I-n. It’s “I” that count; it’s me living as if there’s no God. It’s me living as if “God’s only son is living a life in me that he has planned to live through me…forget it. Of course that isn’t true. This is My life. This is my life to live as I please.” That’s sin. But they will only see sin as they see it against what they were meant to be.

But they have no idea that they have a dear loving Father who created them in his son so that they could be part of him and so that he could come in our lives and live a life here on earth that he had planned from the beginning. That’s the gospel, that’s what we have to get over somehow in our websites. That’s what those dear hearts in the theatre need. Oh sure they need to be enlightened, they need to have their sins forgiven, but all that will follow. What they need is to know what reality isand it would transform their lives.

How do they do it? I think they see others who live that way. I think that’s where it really starts; they see others who live that way – happy people who live with a light heart and with an

open joy and seem to have exhilaration in their step. Who seem to be delightful, joyful people who aren’t all wrapped up in themselves, that’s what they need to see. They need to see the reality lived before them which means you and me living Jesus. As Paul said “Not I that live, but Christ lives within me” you and I not living our own lives but wrapped up with Jesus and what he would like to do today. And that’s where maybe we could stand a little improvement, but it seems to be that’s what the Holy Spirit is trying to do: enable us to live above ourselves and live in Christ. To enable us to let go of our old self and let that being that our Moms and Dads have observed for years, that our friends have seen for years, that, you could call it, that old self. To let that old self be done away with. To forget yourself that it ever existed and to say “Ok, Lord Jesus, let’s go” and go into a new life.

I think God has that for us and you can see how different that is and how much it contrasts with the lives that those dear hearts in the theater have. That’s the life that God has for us, it’s the life that changes and transforms and is the life that those dear hearts need to see and that we are here to express ourselves. So it is a great life and we are a lucky people. They are in darkness and lots of dear hearts would be transformed if they knew the Maker of the whole universe was their loving Father who had numbered all the hairs of their head and who had carefully made them inside his own Son so that his son Jesus, not the Duke of Edinburgh, not Queen Elizabeth, but his only son could live a life through them that he was not going to live through anybody else. That’s something.

Let us pray.