Summary: This is the first message in a series that examines the parallels between well know Dr. Seuss stories and Biblical Truth.
This series is entitled “The Gospel by Dr. Seuss.” Who would have thought that weaved through out the pages of Dr. Seuss’ stories were nuggets of Biblical truth. As we go through this series we will draw parallels between Biblical truth and some of Dr. Seuss’ best known stories.
Perhaps we could say that the book of 1 Peter is written to all the Hortons in the world. This letter was written during the height of the persecution of Christians under Nero. Like most persecution this persecution was undoubtedly the result of hatred, misunderstanding and resistance to changing the status quo. The persecution was cruel and brutal and aimed at all those who refused to adhere to the beliefs and expectations of the Roman Empire. Christians stood against the culture and refused to participate in the decaying morality that prevailed. As we know it is never easy to stand against the majority but the first century believers hung in there even though it could have meant their life. Like Horton, these believers remained faithful in the face of challenges, persecution and ridicule. Where did these early Christians find the strength to be so faithful? The answer is simple: there hope was rooted in the hope they had in Jesus Christ. While we may never have to lay our life down for our faith, we do face other challenges. The question before us is, “Can we remain faithful regardless of what it may cost us?” The letter of 1 Peter should be good news for us today like it was for the believers in the first century. The words that Peter pens are words of encouragement when it seems like the whole world is against us. So let’s connect the dots between Horton’s example and the lives we are called to live as Christians.
I. Challenges to our faith often come in subtle and unexpected ways.
A. Horton’s faithfulness will be challenged simply by keeping his word to a friend.
1. Horton is an extremely kind hearted elephant that wants to provide a helping hand to someone.
2. The recipient of Horton’s help was a lazy bird named Mayzie, who is sick and tired of being confined to her nest waiting for her egg to hatch.
3. The problem is that the short break for Mayzie will turn into an extended vacation.
4. The challenges will begin to surface for Horton as he refuses to be anything but true to his word.
B. The early believers never could have imagined the challenges that would result from their new life in Christ.
1. When many of these believers that Peter writes to first became Christians, persecution was more of an inconvenience than a mortal threat.
2. As Nero rises to power in Rome, his twisted mind will literally change these believers’ entire world.
3. As Peter pens this letter becoming a Christian meant facing unpleasant and uncertain circumstances.
4. This is the exact reason that Peter chooses to encourage and remind his readers of the living hope that they have in Jesus Christ.
5. Peter wants to convey a simple message: eternal salvation is not simply wishful thinking, it is a reality that can be counted on.
C. Our faith is often attacked in ways that we never saw coming.
1. Our greatest challenge is to remain faithful to our commitment and convictions regardless of what it costs us.
2. Complacency can sneak up on us and slowly erode our faith to the point where we simply are going through the motions.
3. Today there many things that we view as acceptable and normal that we would have never tolerated in years gone by.
4. Instead of conforming the culture to the church, we are guilty of conforming the church to the culture and maintaining tradition for the sake of keeping traditions alive.
5. TS Eliot sounded this warning, “The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.”
II. The road of genuine faithfulness is often rugged and lonely.
A. As time passed it became obvious that Horton never realized what he had signed up for.
1. The hours turned into days, the days into weeks and the weeks into months. It became painfully obvious to Horton that Mayzie might never return.
2. Horton finds himself forced to stay out in all types of unpleasant weather in order to remain faithful to his word.
3. The loneliness set in as instead of giving Horton some relief, his friends began to poke fun at him and ridicule him.
4. Even at the prospect of losing his life Horton refused to be unfaithful.
5. Horton remains faithful even after being captured and put on display in a circus. He remains faithful 100%.
B. The early Christians undoubtedly struggled with the fact that they had gotten more than they bargained for.