In 1929, at the start of World War 2, a dark cloud of gloom and fear hung over Europe as Germany threatened attack and invade the entire continent. The British government tried to combat that feeling of despair by creating a series of motivational posters which were meant to raise the morale. One such poster that was made was only to be released in the event that Germany actually invaded the Great Britain. It was never actually publicly displayed, but in recent years, it has become a famous internet meme. It had a simple, yet solid encouragement for the trials they were about to endure – and its message was “Keep Calm, and Carry On”.
It was an inspiration to the people that, despite the suffering that was about to come, the war or threat of invasion would change nothing. They were to continue living their lives as strong, fearless, self-disciplined and calm men and women.
Whenever Christians approach the events that surround the second coming of Jesus Christ, it seems like a dark veil of gloom and fear clouds our understanding. Passages such as the one we are looking at this morning, almost invariably fill us with worry and fear about the things that will happen. For example, many of us cannot read the book of Revelation without attacked by wild and fearful imaginations that invoke panic and dread, instead of hope and faith and love. In particular, teaching concerning the “man of lawlessness” or the “Antichrist” inexplicably causes terror to grip our hearts.
But all these things are written to us, not so that we panic, but rather so that we keep calm and carry on living faithfully, and fearlessly. Therefore, as we read of the things that are happening and are yet to happen in these last days in which we live before Christ returns, Keep Calm and Do Not Fear, which is the first point of our message this morning.