I was going to say it Sunday, but I forgot. I had thought of it while on a run last week, but I didn’t have a pen and paper handy at that moment, and then forgot to write it down later. So when I wrote last Sunday’s sermon, it didn’t get included. When we think about the needs of the world, the natural ending to the line, “What the world needs now…” is “love sweet love.” Several people reminded me of my missed opportunity — including my family!
What I had intended to say on Sunday is that while that line has been embedded into our minds through clever and persistent marketing, that jingle is both appropriate, and also so short of what the world needs and what we have to give.
Yes, the world needs to be a more loving, gentle, gracious, joyful, contented, restful, kind place. But those are all biblical qualities that the world is incapable of producing. History has repeatedly demonstrated that the world does not produce love naturally. Sure, there are isolated acts of kindness, but overall, people are self-centered, self-absorbed lovers of self far more than lovers of others (remember all the hoarding that was happening just two months ago?). Moreover, the kind of love advocated by that song is more akin to a superficial and sentimental infatuation than it is a robust self-giving regardless of the cost that biblical love entails. The kind of love mentioned in that song cannot and will not endure.
What the world needs now is the love and gospel of Christ. What the world needs now is the benevolent King (and dictatorial Master, 2 Pt. 2:1) Jesus to transform their hearts from those that hate to those who have a deep and abiding love for Him and others. What the world needs now is for Jesus to take His throne in His Kingdom and rule and reign on the earth and into Eternity. That’s what the world needs now and that’s what makes me hopeful for the future.
I am actually exceedingly hopeful for the future. I am not expecting our political parties to work together more effectively, or my health to improve, or divorce, abortion, homosexual marriage, immoral movies, murder, and hatred to go away. In fact, I fully expect all those things to get worse — much worse (see Rom. 1:28-32; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
But I am hopeful because Christ is King and He is coming back to earth and He will set up His throne and He will judge all men and He will make all wrong things right. Consider just a few passages:
- For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:20)
- Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2)
- For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Th. 4:16-18)
- For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Th. 5:9-11)
- There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Rev. 22:3-7)
In short, I’m hopeful because I read ahead in the Book and read the last chapter. I am hopeful because Christ is victorious and will be victorious and will remain victorious for all eternity. Circumstances may be troubled and pained at the moment, but they will not always remain that way. That’s what the world needs to know and believe right now. And by God’s grace, that’s the message that we have been granted to share with the world.