William Wilberforce grew up in a wealthy family in the late 18th century England. He had everything a young man could ask for- wealth, privilege, he was wildly popular among his peers and respected for his prodigious ability to persuade. He could captivate an audience for hours on end… in the rain. In 1780, as a 21 year-old, he was elected to serve as a member of British Parliament.The day Wilberforce lived in was one severely lacking in morality. According to author Eric Metaxas, 25% of all unmarried women in London were prostitutes. Think about that- one in four women were selling their bodies for food to corrupt wealthy men who saw them as nothing more than a moments pleasure. The slavery business was also booming. Businessmen in England were willing to barter for or capture men, women, and children in Africa, transport them in unthinkable, grotesque, and often lethal conditions across the Atlantic, and sell them for sugar, tobacco, cotton, and other riches. Such was the world of William Wilberforce.After a few years of empty fame, fortune, and friendships, Wilberforce turned to Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins. God changed his life to live for purpose- aided by John Newton, the famous preacher and former slave trader who penned the well-known hymn “Amazing Grace”. Confronted by the dissonance between the love of God and the cruelty of man, he committed his life to two primary aims- the reformation of morals, and the ending of slavery. Listen to the determination in one of his famous quotes: “So enormous, so dreadful, so irremediable did the [slave] trade’s wickedness appear that my own mind was completely made up for abolition. Let the consequences be what they would: I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.”In effect, he was willing to take on the world to change the world- no easy task. He immediately started putting forth anti-slave trade bills in parliament. However, convincing this collection of rich and powerful men to put their comfort and fortunes at risk in exchange for the freedom of their fellow man- this was something not easily done. Wilberforce pushed forward – bringing innumerable bills to the floor, all of which were defeated in one way or another over a period of about 20 years. It wasn’t until 1807 that finally slave trade in the English Empire was outlawed.Not satisfied with the near-miraculous accomplishment of ending the slave trade, he continued to fight for the complete abolition of slavery until his deathbed. True to his word, he never gave up on fighting for abolition. As he was lying in bed in 1833, three days before he died, the English parliament moved to abolish slavery in the British empire. Wilberforce was a massive force of his day, used by God to revolutionize Western culture through the love and power of God. He never gave up despite decades of fierce opposition.But how can we make a difference with our lives? And how could we possibly stand up to a culture that is increasingly hostile to the name of Jesus Christ, and the sacrificial living that he calls us to?This Sunday we will explore the story of another man of God, Noah, and how he was faithful to God in His time. As we learn from his story, we will see some keys emerge regarding how God can use us today.We welcome you to join with us either in person, or online, 10:15am this Sunday at Christ Community Church. In an exciting bit of news- we just installed a new camera system that will debut this weekend- so please pray for that to go well, give us feedback on how we can improve it, and be patient with us as we enter into an exciting new phase of ministry at CCC.God bless you, have a great weekend, and I hope to see you soon.
-Pastor Nathan Rice