Tag Archives: Jesus

“Do you believe that Jesus is worth abandoning everything for?”

What is Jesus Worth to You?

In his recently published book entitled: “Radical David Platt invites us to encounter what Jesus actually said about being his disciple, and then obey what we’ve heard. He challenges us to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated a God-centered gospel to fit our human-centered preferences. (ouch)

Platt calls into question a host of comfortable notions that are common among followers of Christ in modern culture, then he proposes a radical response, in that we live the gospel in ways that are true, filled with promise, and ultimately world changing.

I love the idea, but how achievable really is this? How many people do you know that are willing to Abandon Everything for Jesus?

What part of the Gospel is optional?

It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily… But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?

Do you understand the scripture to suggest that we should be ready to give everything up?
Would You?

COLOR BLIND

As you know, we launched this particular Blog series several months ago, entitled: “HOT TOPIX!” as an opportunity to address issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,

By the way: This information was compiled from the Pastor’s notes on the recently concluded Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra. See what you have been missing? Let’s begin with HOT TOPIX #7,

“COLOR BLIND”

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Cor 14:8)
Armies in the ancient world were trained to respond to trumpeted signals, If the trumpeter blew one sound, they would charge – if he blew a different sound, they would retreat, but, if his tune was garbled, or if he didn’t pipe it clearly, then the army would be thrown into confusion

Today, the church is God’s trumpet.
We’re responsible to set the moral tone, but on the issue of Racism, the church has failed – miserably.
If the church had been playing God’s music to our society for the 230 years of our nation’s existence, all the confusion on all the subjects we have discussed could have been avoided, instead the Trumpet of God – the church – has wimped out and failed to take a stand on each of these issues. And if the church isn’t blowing a clear signal, what will come of our world?

UNFORTUNATELY, NON-BELIEVERS HAVE LED THE WAY IN OVERCOMING RACISM
Conservative, Bible-believing churches have largely stayed out of the whole issue of racism. Sadly, I’ve never to my recollection, heard a sermon on the subject, but in keeping our head low (so we can stay out of the fight) we have become silent co-conspirators in the ugly things that have happened in our nation’s history. Even worse, some churches have used tradition, or convenience, or even misused the scripture to justify racism, oppression, and prejudice. Take our worship services for example, many, are still the most segregated public place in our nation.
But here’s the most disgusting thing of it all: In the matter of racism, the church was more like a car’s taillight – merely trailing behind America’s Supreme Court and other secular agencies, when we should have been a headlight, leading the way.
~ It took the Supreme Court to handle a problem that the church should have
straightened out 230 years ago!

Tony Compolo is Italian descent, but he loves to preach in black churches because they are so expressive in their worship.
It’s true! I got the chance to preach to a black church once and it was a blast!
They never asked me back, though.
When whites go to church, they just sit there with their arms crossed and body language says: “Go ahead, say something interesting.”

Getting back to Tony’s story: When you preach, they amen you – like saying “sick‘em to a dog.” But one time, Tony wasn’t getting any affirmation from the crowd. He could tell that he was laying an egg that day. The crowd got quieter, and body language was telling him that he wasn’t ringing their bell. It got even quieter. Finally, there was a pause, and a brother from the back stood up and said: “Help him, Jesus! Help him, Jesus!”

RACISM
A. RACISM – is the attitude that says one human being is superior to another because
of the color of his skin – or his national origin.
Great comment written by a black man in Texas
When I was born – I was black
When I grew up – I was black
When I go in the sun – I am black
When I am cold – I am black
When I am bruised – I am black
When I am sick – I am black
When I die – I am black

Now, you white folks….
When you were born – you were pink
When you grew up – you were white
When you went in the sun – you got red
When you are cold – you’re blue
When you are bruised – you’re purple
When you are sick – you are green
When you die – you are gray
• So, who you calling “colored”?

B. RACISISM IS A PROBLEM ALL OVER THE WORLD
1. Neo-Nazi’s – Skinheads
2. Apartheid
3. Africa’s ethnic cleansing Hutus killing Tutsis, or is it the other way around?
4. Croats, Serbs
5. Japanese and Koreans
6. In Iraq, we seek the Shiites killing the Sunnis, and they both want to kill
the Kurds

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UNDERLYING CAUSES OF RACISM?
I.e; Why does one person feel superior to another because of the color of his sin

A. PARENTAL INSTRUCTION
1. For many, our parents taught us to resent those who didn’t look just like us
Often prejudice is simply learned behavior.
a. Kids aren’t born prejudiced – They have to be taught to hate – very carefully taught
b. But, if you grew up with parents who had condescending attitudes toward blacks, or toward whites, or Orientals – whatever – then, you’ll probably carry those thoughts the rest of your life.
3. If you were carefully taught by statement or example to think that way, this is an area the Lord would have you reprogram your mind.

B. IGNORANCE
1. If we don’t know people from other races, we question their motives, or intelligence
We somehow diminish other races…find ways to think less of them as people
At a U.N. dinner, an Oriental fellow was seated next to a typical blowhard type. The blowhard, attempting to make conversation, leaned over and said: “You like soupee?”
The Oriental nodded
When the main course came, the guy said: “You like steakee?”
Oriental nodded
Then, they introduced the speaker for the evening, and it was the Oriental guy, who got up and gave an excellent speech, lasting 40 minutes — in perfect Oxford English.
When he came down and took his seat again, he looked at the blowhard and said: “You like speechee?”

C. FEAR
1. “They’re taking over. They’re taking our jobs.”
2. ‘They’re taking over our neighborhood – property values may suffer.”
3. “My daughter may marry one of them”
4. “There’s getting to be more of them than there is of us”
5. Cultural stereotyping. Prejudging = prejudice

D. OUR SINFUL NATURE
1. Because we have inherited the sinful nature, we have a desire to feel superior to other people. We want to exclude, demean, humiliate other people because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
2. We feel better about ourselves if we can look down on others
3. Racism is arrogance, and ignorance….but the bottom line: it is sinful

1My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show
favoritism. …..
8If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as
yourself, you are doing right. 9But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers (Jas 2:1, 8-9)

III. IS GOD A RACIST?
A. GOD TAUGHT MIRIAM A LESSON
1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.
9 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them.
10 When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam—leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy;
(Numbers 12:1, 9-10)
1. Moses’ wife was “Cushite” = Ethiopian
2. But, the interracial marriage was dividing the family, as they do to this very day
3. God’s response: The Lord’s anger…Miriam got leprous…Moses pleaded for her healing, which the Lord granted – after 7 days

B. GOD TAUGHT PETER A LESSON
1. Peter was the poster-boy for racism in the first century
2. But God sent visions to him about that – and insisted that he go to a Gentile’s
house, which he did – begrudgingly
3. Now, this former racist made a remarkable statement
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. (Acts 10:34-35)

C. GOD TAUGHT THE DISCIPLES A LESSON
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)

D. GOD TEACHES THE CHURCH A LESSON
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.” (Rev 7:9-10)
Shouldn’t the church on earth look the way it will look in heaven?

OUR RESPONSE TO RACISM MUST BE…..

#1 CONFESS OUR SIN
Tony Evans, a nationally known preacher says: “Racism is not a bad habit. It is not a mistake. It is sin. And therefore, the answer is not sociology – it is theology.”
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8-9)

Most of us don’t think of ourselves as racist, but sadly, most of us are racist – at some level, just as we all have some measure of pride, greed, etc. We can’t get away with justifying ourselves by saying: “That’s how my parents taught me,” or…. “I had bad experiences with people from this or that race.”

I was so disturbed by the racist, anti-Semitic comments Mel Gibson made recently when he was arrested for drunk driving. The terrible thing about this is that so many Jews were against his movie, “The Passion of the Christ” because they said it was anti-Semitic. The continual response was that it wasn’t at all anti-Semitic. But when Gibson had that meltdown at his arrest, and spewed anti-Semitic comments, he undercut the value of a great film!
Likewise, we undercut everything our Savior stands for when we are racist! So, we need to ask God to:
#1 Reveal to us our racist tendencies
#2 Work with His Spirit within us to transform our heart and mind.
#3 BE COMMITTED TO RECONCILIATION

Reconciliation is God’s will for us.
Now he had to go through Samaria. (John 4:4) Jesus was traveling north, between Judea and Galilee. All Jews would take the long way around, crossing the Jordan River and then coming back across again, once they were above Samaria. But Jesus HAD to go through Samaria because the Samaritans mattered to God.
Jesus came not only to reconcile man to God – but People to one another

Paul writes to the Ephesians: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility(Eph 2:13-14)

The Jews put up a 5’ high wall in the temple that Paul here calls the “dividing wall of hostility” On that very stone from that wall, found recently by archaeologists, it says that “no Gentile is to go beyond this point, for if he does, he will only have himself to blame for his death which will surely follow.”

Obviously, God intended the church to be a place of reconciliation.

Martin Luther King’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream” on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial, said:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

Well, I have a dream of our church being a model of reconciliation to everyone we can touch. Here, people of every tribe, and language, and nation are unified under the banner of Jesus’ cross.
Our church is not a yuppie church, a baby boomer church, a DINKs (double income-no kids) church, a generation X church, a retirees church, a black church, a white church – – – Our church is all of these things! We are a Christian church, where Black/White, Asian/Hispanics rich/poor, young/old experience welcome hearts, where they feel wanted, needed, and appreciated.

The world isn’t much impressed with beautiful church buildings – but what captures their eye is a group of people who treat each other with respect and grace – across the board …. Where genuine love flows like a river. Where they see people living in peace and acceptance where elsewhere, there is hostility.
– – – That’s where Jesus is praised!

#2 BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER RACES
Jesus didn’t just say “Hi” to the Samaritan woman – he deliberately struck up a conversation with her. She was so impressed she went to her village and brought out the whole town (also Samaritans) to meet him. He stayed there for two days, teaching them
The first thing that we can do to someone who has sucked up all the courage they can find and come to our church is to look them in the eye and warmly greet them.

#3 FORGIVE PAST OFFENSES
Don’t get caught up in bitterness, holding grudges is like mixing poison for someone else and then drinking it yourself.
Everyone is bitter! Whites are bitter about affirmative action and reverse discrimination, Blacks are bitter when slighted by whites, or treated unfairly, etc. But we are supposed to respond differently than the world! Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph 4:31-32)

Keith Richburg is a Washington Post reporter who spent three and a half years in Africa as a reporter. After this, he wrote a book “Out of America,” in which he talks about the negative view of Africa that he developed in his time spent there; “I am not a hyphenated American. Though slavery was a terrible sin, I’m thankful to be living in America and not Africa today. Is there anything left of Africa in those slaves who made that torturous journey across the Atlantic. Is there anything left of Europe in the white Americans who sailed that same ocean – English Americans, or Dutch Americans?
I see the flaws in America, I curse the intolerance, but even with all that, I recognize that it is the only place I truly belong. It is home. And, I feel for Africa’s suffering and empathize with its pain, but most of all I thank God my ancestors got out. I thank God I’m an American.”

Reminds me of Joseph, in the O.T., sold as a slave into Egypt. When he had the chance to return vengeance on his brothers, he refused, saying he’s not bitter. “You meant it for evil, but God has used it for good.”

So, none of us should play the race card – we must play the grace card because the Bible says: “Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

CONCLUSION: THE STORY OF JOHNNY LEE CLARY
Johnny Lee Clary was raised by a racist father who taught him to stick his head out the car window and shout racial slurs as they passed by blacks. Dad would pat him on the back and say: “That’s my boy!”
His mother was an alcoholic, who didn’t pay him any attention. His grandmother was a Christian who took him to Sunday School every week until one time he came home singing:
“Jesus loves the little children – All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
From that day on he wasn’t allowed to go to church.

When he was 11, he was in the room when his father put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. His mother couldn’t take care of him, so he was sent to California to live with his older sister and her ex-con boyfriend, whose only interest in him was the government check she got each month.

One day while watching TV, he saw a guy talk about the Ku Klux Klan, and found out how to join. In essence, they adopted him and he counted the KKK as his only family. He rose rapidly through the ranks and ultimately became the Imperial Wizard of the KKK, then, one day, Johnny got the chance to do a radio debate with a state leader of the NAACP – a preacher named Wade Watts.

Preacher Watts completely shook up Johnny Clary. Instead of coming in with an angry spirit, preacher met him in the hallway, and put out his hand and said: “Hello there, Mr. Clary. I’m Wade Watts. I just want to tell you I love you and Jesus loves you.” Clary was so stunned he shook Wade Watts’ hand. Suddenly he realized he broke a major KKK rule, and Watts saw him looking at his hand with a stunned expression on his face. Watts laughed and said: “Don’t worry, Johnny. It don’t come off.”

Johnny started calling him names, and Preacher said: “God bless you, Johnny. You can’t do enough to me to make me hate you. I’m gonna love you and I’m gonna pray for you, whether you like it or not.” Clary says he didn’t know how to deal with that. He had never had that happen to me before.

After the radio debate, Wade Watts came running up to Clary, holding his baby. “Mr. Clary, this is my daughter Tia.” He held her out with her shining dark eyes looking straight at Clary and he said: “You say you hate all black people, Mr. Clary. Just tell me – how can you hate this child?”

As a result of this, the KKK set fire to Watts’ church, drove by his house calling him names, threw trash all over his lawn. Then they showed up wearing their sheets and hoods, and called out to him: “Get on out here, boy, we got something for you.” And he comes outside and he says, “Boys, Halloween’s four more months away. I got no trick or treat in here for you. Come back in October.” And he went back in the house.

They were running out of ideas, but one day they burned a cross across the street from his house. He came outside and asked us if they needed hotdogs or marshmallows for their barbeque. One day Clary called him up and disguised his voice and said, “Hey, boy, you’d better be afraid. We’re coming to get you, boy. You don’t know who we are but we know who you are.” Watts: “Hello, Johnny. Let me do something for you, and he began to pray: ‘Dear Lord, please forgive Johnny for being so stupid. He doesn’t mean to be so ornery, he has a good boy trying to get out somewhere in there.’”

One day they were watching Preacher Watts, when he went into a restaurant, so they gathered about 30 KKK member’s, went into the restaurant, surrounded his table and Clary said: “I’m gonna make you a promise,,, I promise we’re gonna do the same thing to you that you do to that chicken. So you think real hard before you touch that chicken.” So he looked at me and looked at the Klan, then he picked up the chicken and he kissed it. And when he kissed the chicken, the whole restaurant exploded in laughter. Even Johnny’s KKK buddies started laughing, so he got mad at them and told them they couldn’t wear their hood and sheets for 2 weeks.

Johnny Clary concludes this story by saying: “And that’s how one old black man defeated the entire Ku Klux Klan.”

Eventually Johnny left the KKK, drank himself half to death, put a gun to his head and said: “Well daddy, I’m following in your footsteps….”
Strangely though, the light coming through the grimy window of his apartment fell on an old Bible, gathering dust in the corner. Hoping for another way, he put down the gun, picked up the Bible and it fell open to Luke 15, the Prodigal Son. And that night another prodigal decided to come home

Johnny joined a multi-racial church, studied, and grew in his relationship with Christ. 2 years later, he picked up the phone and called Mr. Watts. When he came to the phone, Watts said: “Is this that Ku Klux Klansman? Hello, Johnny Lee.”

Johnny told of his conversion, and the interracial church he’s attending. Watts could hardly contain himself and insisted he come and preach at his pulpit, which he gladly did.

Now, Clary finds himself preaching to a mostly black church, where he tells his story. He told them that racism is a learned characteristic – but that love can be learned as well. When he was finished, a teenage girl got to her feet and ran down the aisle, threw her arms around him and hugged him. A weeping Preacher Watts leaned over and told Johnny: “That’s Tia, my baby.”

THE GROUND IS TRULY LEVEL AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

“AVOIDING sATAN’S TURF”

DID YOU HEAR?:
Newspapers reported on the story of a 5 ft tall, 90 lb fortune teller who had escaped from jail. The headline of the article was:
“SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE” Get it?… LOL

At a recent meeting of the International Association of Fortune Tellers, we’ve heard they began the meeting by reading the minutes of next year’s meeting. :o)

As you know, we launched this particular Blog series, entitled: “HOT TOPIX!” several months ago, as an opportunity to address issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,

By the way: This information was compiled from the Pastor’s notes on the recently concluded Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra. See what you have been missing? Let’s begin with HOT TOPIX #6,

“AVOIDING SATAN’S TURF!”

SATAN WILL DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES TO ENTICE YOU.

It’s true, he has a vast arsenal of attractions to draw you into his grasp. In addition to the whole range of sinful opportunities he places before us every day, there is the world of temptation called the “occult.”
The word “occult” comes from the Latin word “occultus” which means “hidden.” So, it’s all about seeking to know things that haven’t been revealed yet.
Initially, occult activities seem to be harmless, and even many Christians often see no wrong with them, yet, one thing leads to another and people become addicted to seeking knowledge by godless means, not to mention, occult activities are forbidden by God, and are therefore, sin, and must be purged from the Christian’s life.

CURIOSITIES

The danger of even talking about this stuff is that it may awaken the curiosity of some, and may intrigue people into seeking out more on the occult. Still, it is vital for the Christian to be informed about these things because satanic practices are common in our society, and we need to know the approaches that satan will use to destroy us and those around us.

Paul wants Christians to be alert to satan’s methods and deceptions: “In order that satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (II Cor 2:11) Paul is emphasizing that we are being stalked by a wise adversary, who schemes against us.

SOME OF sATAN’S SCHEMES:

Billy Sunday, an exuberant revival preacher from the early 1900’s used to say: “I know there is a devil for 2 reasons:
#1 The Bible says so
#2 I’ve done business with Him

I’ll bet that 99% of us have done business with him. Let’s see…..
HERE’S A LIST OF SOME OF THE OCCULT ACTIVITIES:

  • Séances
  • Table tilting, or levitation
  • Necromancy – (consulting the dead)
  • Ouija Boards
  • Consulting Mediums, palm readers, fortune tellers, or crystal balls
  • Reading Tarot cards
  • Psychic Hotline
  • Astrology, horoscopes
  • Psychics and prophets
  • Clairvoyance, and E. S. P.
  • White and black witchcraft

…..And a host of other things!

Christians must approach occult practices with the same dread as we would approach satan, himself, for in practicing these things, we are shaking the devil’s hand!
• Yet, most of these things seem so innocent…..and this is what makes the devil’s trap so effective.
• Will any trap be effective if it looks dangerous to the prey?
• satan’s success at entrapping people with these temptations is shown by the millions who read their horoscopes faithfully every morning, or consult their psychics through the numerous “psychic hotlines.”

satan can be very clever,,, he lures people through gradual methods, because he knows that if he pushes people too fast into the occult, he’ll only scare them away. So, he “gradualizes” people into the occult by starting them out with seemingly innocent activities that only serve to whet their appetite.
Sadly, those who have become accustomed to these practices move deeper and deeper into the activities which once would have frightened them off. They become attracted to an imaginary sense of knowledge and power that are now available to them.

OUIJA BOARDS – A GATEWAY TO THE OCCULT

A survey was done of 1,700 high school kids…

  1. 416 admitted to having involvement with Ouija boards. This is a slippery slide that could easily plunge a person into the realm of the underworld!
  2. 321 admitted to having some involvement with astrology/horoscopes, which was part of the Tower of Babel disaster
  3. 192 of them admitted to involvement with palm readers or psychics to tell future events…the ultimate insult to our God Whom we are supposed to trust with our future
  4. What’s more disconcerting about these figures is that this survey was done in a Christian School!

A few years back, Ben Alexander was at a CIY rally in Oklahoma, and he asked how many of the 2,500 kids had played with an Ouija board. 2,000 of them raised their hand.

Ouija boards: “Ouija” = oui, (French) – ja (Dutch/german) words for “yes”
I can tell you from personal experience that the thing really works. In my younger, dumber days, I didn’t realize this was anything but a childish toy. When it worked, I knew this was not of God, and I dropped it like a hot potato.
Using the Ouija board is practicing a form of divination—it is an attempt to obtain secret information from spirit world.

THE MEDIA MAKES THE OCCULT LOOK SO HARMLESS, with movies like “The Wizard of Oz” with funky looking, harmless witches. The old “Bewitched” TV show makes it appear harmless, or better yet, good. Then there’s “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

The Pagan federation credits these shows with a rapidly growing interest in witchcraft among children. In response to the increased interest of kids, they appointed their first youth officer in September of 2000.

ALSO, I’M VERY CONCERED ABOUT THE HARRY POTTER SERIES that has made it into so many homes. It is obvious that the Harry Potter series is fun to read – but it is based on occult practices. This is a serious threat to our kids.

  • Author, J. K. Rowling admits that the potions, curses, and spells that she writes about are authentic, and that she obtained them by research from books that promote witchcraft
  • Harry Potter books promote witchcraft, Necromancy (talking with the dead), and reincarnation – all heathen, pagan concepts
  • Book six of her series earned The Guiness World Records award for being the fastest selling book ever, selling more copies in 24-hours than The Da Vinci Code sold in a year. 300 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide, and 4 have been made into movies
  • Now, Universal in Orlando has opened up a Harry Potter attraction and now we have children who are attracted to the occult – or at the very least, they believe that the occult is fun. That’s like saying Cocaine is fun – only cocaine only kills the body, not the soul

I know some are saying that this is a really good thing because it’s getting their kids to read. Do you see the fallacy in the thinking here??? With that kind of thinking is this? We may as well get our boys some smutty magazines, – I guarantee they’ll read that,,, every page! They’ll become great readers!

SO, WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION OF THE OCCULT?

* FOR SOME, IT’S POWER – We must not forget that for some, the power of Satan means voodoo, hexes, and all manner of “black magic.” And we should not assume that such people are fakes!
* FOR OTHERS, IT’S REBELLION – For them, it’s all about rebellion against God. There are people who, if God tells them to turn right will go left every time.
* BUT FOR MOST, IT’S ALL ABOUT FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE – We all eagerly desire to know the future. We feel that if we know the future, maybe there is some way we can control it.
But, it doesn’t work like that!
Like Jay Leno says: “If these psychics know so much, why aren’t we reading headlines like: “Psychic wins lottery!”

KNOWING THE FUTURE IS GOD’S TURF
He tells us as much of the future as He wants us to know, and expects us to trust Him for what has not been revealed. That is what “faith” is all about, and God expects nothing less from us. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (Deut 29:29)
Therefore, our passion to know our future is evidence of an absence of faith and without faith it is impossible to please him. (Hebrews 11:6)
If we really trusted His power, we wouldn’t feel such a great need to know the future.

WHAT DOES GOD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE OCCULT?

MOSES LISTS 8 OCCULT PRACTICES – Deuteronomy 18:9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deut 18:9-12)

GOD CALLS THOSE WHO DO THESE THINGS DETESTABLE – do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deut 18:9 & 12)

GOD FORBIDS THESE ACTIVITIES – Do not practice divination or sorcery. Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:26, 31)

OCCULT ACTIVITIES WERE PUNISHABLE BY DEATH
1. Do not allow a sorceress to live. (Deut 22:18)
2. Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of
the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, (I Chron 10:13)

Do you read your horoscope? If so, pay attention!
GOD MOCKS ASTROLOGERS

Horoscopes are very popular – they have become part of our everyday language

Disaster = dis (bad) aster (star, as in asteroid) = The sense is astrological, of a calamity blamed on an unfavorable position of a planet.

French King, Louis XI (11th) was a devout believer in astrology, but he had come to doubt his astrologer’s true skill. So he summoned the astrologer to his palace, and told his servants on a given signal to throw him out the window.

The King said to the royal astrologer: “You claim to understand astrology and to know the fate of others. So tell me what your fate will be and how long you have to live.”
Astrologer: “I shall die just 3 days before your Majesty.” The shaken king cancelled his plans to kill the astrologer, just in case the astrologer was right….

In Isa 47:11-14, God is telling the pagan city of Babylon that they shall fall; 11 Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you.
12 “Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror.
13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. 14 Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by. (Isa 47:11-14)

If People ask what “sign” you were born under, tell them it said: “Maternity Ward.” Say, “I was born under a maternity ward sign and born again under the sign of the cross – and I don’t need astrology.”

It’s important to remember that…. OCCULT PRACTICES WILL KEEP US OUT OF HEAVEN

In the O.T., it had spiritual consequences; “I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.” (Lev 20:6)
It has consequences for the N.T. age, too; “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev 21:8)

MANY TODAY THINK OF ASTROLOGERS AND PSYCHICS AS QUAINT, BUT GOD DOESN’T

How can we tell a real prophet? In contrast to the astrologers, palm readers, fortune tellers, etc…..
GOD’S STANDARD FOR PROPHECY IS PERFECTION!!! – (20) “But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” (21) You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” (22) If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.” (Deut 18:20-22)

PERFECTION
God’s not into making an occasional hit. His self-imposed standard: a home run every time up to bat! In fact, if a man claims to speak for God and makes inaccurate prophecies, he was to be stoned- – -for he claimed to represent God, and was lying. But, God’s prophecies are so accurate —and so specific— that the Bible’s critics used to claim that the prophecies were written AFTER the events actually took place!

WHAT SHOULD OUR RESPONSE TO THE OCCULT BE?
A. TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
satan’s prophets can only guess at the future, so they can sometimes look foolish, but there is power there, and it’s controlled by demons.
The worst part of this is…
Getting into these occult practices is like shaking hands with the devil, so we should approach the occult as though we were approaching satan himself… DON’T!
There is a ton of evidence to show that demon possession results from these
activities.

B. AVOID AN UNHOLY FASCINATION
People get curious about these things, start dabbling in them, and get hooked, it’s a curiosity killed the cat sort of thing. “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. (Deut 18:9) The proper attitude is to be repulsed by it….

C. REMOVE ALL OCCULT MATERIALS FROM YOUR LIFE AND YOUR HOME
Your family has a right to a clean house, in Acts 19, Occultists who became Christians burned their Occult books, worth a fortune because they knew that, allowing Satanic things into your home is parental malpractice. 2 Kings 23:24, “Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord.” Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction. (Deut 7:26)

D. Watch your kids
Closely monitor their friends – who they visit – what they’re doing
Watch for signs that indicate they may be dabbling in:
1. Séances 3. Movies
2. Ouija 4. Rock stars

E. WE MUST TRUST GOD FOR OUR FUTURE
Isaiah 8:19, “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa 8:19)

GOD CONSIDERS IT A BETRAYAL IF WE CONSULT THE ULTIMATE ENEMY ABOUT OUR FUTURE

The Perils of Pluralistic Platitudes

PEOPLE CAN BE SO CLEVER

In 1908,  “Pop” Warner took his football team (Carlisle Institute) to play at Syracuse where he used a pretty clever trick to defeat Syracuse.  “He had patches of material sewn on his players’ jerseys that were the same color, size, and shape as a football. So, when his boys handed off the ball, nobody could tell who really had the ball, and who was running a fake pattern.

They won that game.

“Pop’s” next game was a week later at Harvard. But when Harvard’s coach (Percy Haughton) found out about patches – he complained to Pop and Pop’s response was: “It’s not against the rules. I can put anything I like on my players’ jerseys.”

The next day was the game and at game time, just before the kickoff, Coach Haughton met on the field with Coach “Pop” Warner and when coach Haughton dropped the game ball out of a bag onto the grass, it was painted brilliant red, (the exact color of Harvard’s jerseys.)

Of course, Pop Warner was angry, but Haughton said: “Hey, it’s not against the rules,,, where does it say a football has to be brown?”

“Pop’s” team lost 17-0.

MANKIND MAY BE CLEVER, BUT WE’RE NOTHING COMPARED TO SATAN’S DECEPTIONS

1.            He has covered the world with his lies  —  very successfully

a.      If you were born in the Middle-East, there is a strong possibility that you would be a practicing                  Muslim, Tibetan, Buddhist, or Hindi, and you may even be practicing some form of Voodoo

b.      But, we were born here…and we’re so blessed, but in America, we did not have to go looking for                  Christianity – It was all around us

c.      The down-side of all this is that we’ve probably never really thought out the reasons for being a                  Christian

SO, HERE’S SATAN’S 21st CENTURY PLOY–

“ONE RELIGION IS JUST AS GOOD AS ANOTHER”

Satan says there’s nothing special about Christianity and here is where a discussion on SPIRITUAL PLURALISM comes into focus

A.     DEFINITION OF PLURALISM: ANY ROAD WILL GET YOU TO GOD

Sadly, “Pluralism” says that there is not just one way, but many ways to God, but beyond that, it means that every religion is true – none is better than another. Through Pluralism, No one has the right to say that his way is better, or truer than any other. Ie.  To say Christianity is superior would be politically incorrect. Saying something like that is considered rude and unacceptable behavior, but if we say everything is true….or if we say that even contradictory things are true at the same time….That’s fine these days!!!

Pluralism isn’t totally new….

B. ANCIENT PLURALISM

1.      The apostle Paul came from a monotheistic background (Judaism).   So, when he went to Athens, he saw that there were images to many, many gods.

While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.   17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.   18A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him.   Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.   (Acts 17:16-18)

2.      Isn’t it interesting that everywhere Paul looked he saw that they were very tolerant of a wide variety of Gods – but they were very intolerant when he spoke about the one true God, who was the source of absolute truth.   They were the first “pluralists” – so they began to argue with him

3.      Two Reasons for this attitude of intolerance towards Christianity, even today:

a.      Because Satan has darkened the heart of man toward God. “Any god but the true God” could be Satan’s motto.

b.      Because Paul was proclaiming exclusivity.

1.      Paul’s God wasn’t “a god” –  He was “the God”

2.      Pluralist’s do not like the restrictions of just one God.  They want many gods

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens!   I see that in every way you are very religious.   23For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.   Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.      (Acts 17:22-23)

4.      Everywhere Paul looked, there was an idol to another god – including one to the unknown god – just in case they had missed one.

 

This is an altar, found in Rome. It was carved around 100 B.C. It’s inscription reads: “To the Unknown God.” Just like the altars at Athens

 

The Bible says that the people of Athens very philosophical,

and loved to discuss new ideas.   They were very religious,

but were totally ignorant about God.

MODERN PLURALISM

1.      Those philosophers at Athens were no different than the

Multiculturalists – or – Pluralists of America, today

2.      They believed that all gods are equally valid – that the

various lifestyles and beliefs all have worth

3.      The result of this philosophy is that there is no absolute

truth.   No absolute right or wrong

4.      The only real sin for them is criticizing someone else’s views, or choices they make

5.      So, we’re expected to agree with a wide variety of gods and religious philosophies

An English poet named Steve Turner wrote a multiculturalists’ creed: He says that multiculturalists believe that all religions are basically the same.   All religions believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.        (So, what’s left?)

He said:  “We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.   We believe there is no absolute truth, except the truth that there is no absolute truth.”

At about the same speed…..

In the Peanuts Cartoon Strip,  Linus was defending his faith in the “Great Pumpkin” by saying:    “It doesn’t matter what you believe so long as  you are sincere.”

~~~ Turner doesn’t have anything over Linus!

6.      The modern pluralist’s view is that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth – –

– – – And, the corollary to that is that:  Only bigots believe in absolute truth

7.      It is so vital that we are able to recognize this philosophy when it comes at us in the media, in education, in entertainment, and even in some of the churches out there.

THE DANGERS OF PLURALISM

ON THE SURFACE, IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE A BAD IDEA

1.      We certainly don’t want to mock the cultures of other people throughout the world

2.      There are definitely good things in other cultures

Two brothers had a bungee-jumping business in California.   They were doing alright, but there were some competitors coming into their area, so they figured they would go south of the border into Mexico.   There weren’t any bungee-jumping businesses out there.   So they took their high crane and set it up for jumpers to jump off of…but the problem was that they couldn’t speak the language

So, they just figured they would show the Mexicans what they were offering.

One of the brothers, Steve, got up on top of that thing and jumped off, but when the cord pulled him up again, the other brother, Peter, noticed Steve had a bloody nose.   He dropped down again, and this time Steve’s forehead was bloody, too.   One more time, and he looked even worse; his chin was bleeding.

Finally Peter said:   “Steve, was the cord too long?”

Steve, still dangling from the cord:   “No, the cord is fine.   But, what in the world is a piñata?”

a.            Certainly, it pays to know the culture of other people.

b.            Christians who want to bring the Gospel to other nations are wise to become fully versed in their language, customs, culture, etc.

c.            In fact Americans can learn many things from other cultures, and that’s fine ….But none of this is religious pluralism.…

RELIGIOUS PLURALISM GENERATES TWO HAZARDS FOR TODAY’S CHRISTIAN

(Spiritual pluralism is accepting all religions as equally valid)

HAZARD #1: PLURALISM REJECTS THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CHRISTIAN

FAITH

a.      It is a fundamental Christian doctrine that there is only one God and only one way to get to know Him.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,  (I Tim 2:5)

b.  Someone wrote to Dear Abby that they were frustrated that they couldn’t help

some family members who were part of a religious cult to see the errors in

their teaching.

Abby’s reply:    “In my view, the height of arrogance is to attempt to show others the errors of the religion of their choice.”

c.      Abby is simply reflecting the attitude of our culture today.

1.    That is, that it is wrong – rude – even bigoted to hold one religion above another

2.    After all, all religions are good – none is better than the other.

3.    The only real sin is trying to say one religion is better than another.

d.      This is how Satan enforces pluralism today:

1.    In our society, we are expected to be politically correct.

2.    If I claim to know the truth, I become rude, bigoted, narrow-minded, and exclusive because I’m saying you don’t know the truth….

3.    The only sin they know of is:    “The sin of religious certainty”

4.    The world considers the claims of Christ, and therefore the claims of His church to be                                            rude, because they claim to be the only God

a.   They’ve already decided:   all religious beliefs are equally valid, and fundamentally the                                            same

b.    One speaker was talking in a secular setting, but she was a believer and took an                                                       opportunity to mention her faith.    When she sat down, she said that the emcee got                                                 up, looked at her like she was a naughty kindergartner, and said:   “What our speaker was trying to say was that there are many wonderful spiritual paths, and all should be honored in the spirit of multiculturalism.”

– – – She thought to herself:  “Wow, I had no idea that was what I was trying to say!”

HAZARD #2:   RELIGIOUS PLURALISM UNDERMINES EVANGELISM

If pluralism is true – so is universal salvation, then, we should call back all the missionaries because everyone, even if they don’t know Christ, is saved! Right?

But the Bible says: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”   (Acts 4:12) This does come as a shock to many.

One of SATAN’S BIG LIES: CHRISTLESS SALVATION

– – – Satan has convinced us that we can be saved because we’re nice guys

– – – Convinced us that we can do it entirely without Jesus

Ask yourself:   “Am I a pluralist?”   Here are 3 symptoms of a pluralist:

#1 LOVABLE’ISM   Do you believe that someone’s glowing personality will save him?

a.  A friend of Jackie Gleason spoke up at Jackie’s funeral: “I believe that Jackie is in heaven because God has a sense of humor.   I’ll bet that Jackie is seated right next to God so he can put a smile on God’s face.” Now, that is just sentimental garbage…. I don’t know if Jackie Gleason was a Christian or not, but I can assure you that he won’t be in heaven if his only qualification is a great sense of humor.

This mentality of: “somebody loved him so he is saved” is seen in abundance at nearly every funeral.   Whether the deceased knew Christ or not, he’s always preached into heaven because the family loved him so.

#2 MORALISM   Our own goodness will save us

A lot of people expect to get into Glory because they are moral people. Of course I would not think of trying to demean their lives  …  They usually are good people, but if they aren’t Christians – they’re not saved.

Augustine called them Virtuous Pagans!

This is Satan’s myth.   Satan says that if you’re a nice guy – a good husband and father – you did your best –

then…you have nothing to worry about. This IS A LIE!

#3 POPULISM     We may not be great, but we’re no worse than anybody else

This is the theory that, everybody is doing pretty much the same things we’re doing, so,,, Certainly God’s not angry with the whole world… I think we’re pretty safe. But sometimes, when you’re in the majority,   all it means is that there are a whole lot of fools in one place! Think About It!

We need to stop this wishful thinking!

TWO HUGE 21ST CENTURY FABLES

A.            THERE ARE MANY GODS

1.             OUR CULTURE HAS RADICALLY CHANGED IN THE PAST DECADE

a.  Not long ago, the church was confronted by the ATHIEST, THE ATHIEST USED                                                      TO TEACH:  ALL RELIGIONS ARE FALSE – – – But, we don’t hear so much about                                                    atheists any more, do we?

b.  Today, the church is facing just the opposite,  the PLURALIST TODAY, THE                                                              PLURALIST TEACHES: “ALL RELIGIONS ARE TRUE ! ” I’m getting whiplash

2.             NOW, THESE PEOPLE BELIEVE THEMSELVES OPEN-MINDED, TOLERANT,                                                    PLURALISTIC…..BUT….

a.  They are seeking God on only their terms

b.  They have placed themselves in control, and pick whatever strikes their fancy God’s                                                thoughts on the subject are irrelevant, because they have already decided that this is                                                ok!

3.            BUT, GOD CLAIMS EXCLUSIVITY

So, what does God think?

We’ll start with the first of the 10 commandmentsExodus 20:3  “You shall have no other gods before me. He placed this at the front of the 10 commandments because it is the foundation of the other 9.

Now, the 10 commandments are the “ABC’s” of biblical understanding, we learn them in biblical kindergarten, yet, there are those who truly think of themselves as Christians who state with all confidence that all religions are the same, and they’ll all get you there.

I can Just hear God:  “excuse me….excuse me.   I said:  “You shall have no other gods before me”

Isa 44:6-8  “This is what the LORD says– Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. 7Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come– yes, let him foretell what will come.  8Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”

Clearly God wants out of this “one god is as good as another” philosophy and he is not the least bit confused or undecided on this subject. God expects His people to acknowledge that He alone is the Lord, and there are no other gods, He told Israel to clean out the promised land because the people there worshipped strange gods….because of their religion.

Not only is He the only God, we must acknowledge that He alone is God

Throughout the O.T. and N.T., both the Father and the Son continually make claims of exclusivity

B. THE SECOND 21ST CENTURY FABLE: “MANY ROADS” THE MYTH THAT THERE ARE MANY ROADS, ALL GOING TO THE SAME PLACE

~ ~ Many people… even Many Christians…firmly believe that Christianity is just one of many religions that will ultimately lead us to eternal life

They say it like this: “ALL RELIGIONS ARE LIKE SPOKES ON A BICYCLE WHEEL, Jesus,  and Mohammed,  and Buddha  —  Each of them are spiritual leaders, who like the spokes on a bicycle wheel, all lead inevitably to the hub, which is god. Jesus is just one possible spoke….but you can get there just as well by any of the other religions of the world.

What’s interesting is that if that “Spokes of the wheel” thing is true, then, Christianity is the only religion that cannot be true because our God claims that HE ALONE is God! That then means that God is bigoted, and narrow-minded on the subject!

But, if “they” tell me that all roads lead ultimately to heaven, then it is just as likely that all roads lead nowhere.   For all I can tell, maybe no roads lead to heaven, and all roads lead straight to hell.

Who are these people who speak with such assurance….and by what authority do they speak? Especially since Jesus didn’t say anything like that!

The God of the Bible, Jehovah, YHWH, “I AM THAT I AM”  didn’t say anything like that, so who are these people who are so self-assured???

“TRUTH” IN THE 21ST CENTURY

From what I’ve said, you may be realizing that there is a whole new concept of truth out there these days, Today, there are many people who just, don’t believe in absolute truth any more, they believe in many truths, which may be true at the same time and may be conflicting at the same time…

In fact, their view is that the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth.

– – – The corollary to that is that: Only bigots believe in absolute truth

Here’s how it works:

a.            Everybody is the expert on his or her own life

b.            Therefore, the truth for them may be different than the truth for you

c.            My truth is what meets my needs, and you can’t stand in judgment on that even if my truth seems false to you

So, in today’s society, it is politically correct for me to say that “Jesus is the savior of me.” They don’t have any problem with that. In fact, they’re happy for you… But again, it is bigoted to say that Jesus is the only Savior for the entire world – Because:    that would impose your truth on them!

All of this goes directly against the teachings of Christ who said: “John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.   No one comes to the Father except through me.”

“The Way?”

Notice He doesn’t say He’s   “a way”    or   “one of many ways,” Instead, He clearly states that He is “THE way” –  – and he stands like a great mountain against the storm 21st century myth, which claims that there are many paths to God. That’s not “P.C.”  for our society….but that’s who He claims to be and, for that reason….Christianity’s claims of exclusivity….the church will be unacceptable to many, many people in the coming generations.

“THE truth?”

Jesus isn’t “A” truth… like one of the many “truths” that vie for man’s attention, He is ALL TRUTH, wrapped up into ONE!

“THE life”

Ie.  There is no life outside Christ.

CONCLUSION

Imagine you are on a ship that’s sinking rapidly – only minutes left and no lifeboats are coming along.   The freezing water will kill in minutes.

As on the Titanic, they try to patch the holes, but it’s fruitless.   As on the Titanic, the guy who designed the ship has inspected the holes and says the water will continue to come in and will sink the ship in a short time – there is no hope,

But, let’s imagine – in those last desperate moments, unlike the Titanic, a ship comes out of nowhere and throws a plank across to serve as a bridge between the boats.   The Captain of this timely ship invites you on board.

What would you say? Would you say:  “No thanks, I don’t like your boat.   I’m going to wait for another ship”?

The captain:   “No more ships are anywhere near here  —  Mine is your only hope.”

Would you then say: “How arrogant of you to say you’re the only one. I’m not going on your ship. I’m going to wait for another to come.”?

Wouldn’t you be a fool to reject this offer of salvation?

Wouldn’t you gratefully accept his offer of salvation and not resist for a moment of time

WE’RE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT – AND NO ONE CAN FIX THE LEAK.  CAPTAIN JESUS IS OUR ONLY HOPE.

“WHEN THE VOW BREAKS”

I do not need to tell you that our society has embraced divorce,,, did you hear the one about the woman who was married 4 times? First, to a Millionaire, Then to an Actor, Then, to a Minister, Then, an Undertaker; “One for the money, Two for the show, Three to get ready, and Four to go”
(yeah, I thought this one was corny too)

But sadly, The effects springing from Divorce, are really huge! All kinds of problems result and let’s just face it, men aren’t designed to live by themselves because after just a few months, all the houseplants are dead –- but there’s something growing very successfully in the refrigerator.

STATISTICS: What are the RIPPLE effects of Divorce?
For the Divorcees:
#1. Divorce is the #2 greatest cause of stress,,, with the death of a spouse being #1. (This places it way above the normally recognized stressors, such as: loss of a job, financial failures, a prison sentence, etc.)
#2. Men who are divorced suffer an increased rate of cancer equal to those who are smoking a pack of cigarettes per day
#3. Divorce is like death of a spouse, only it carries the increased stress associated with rejection
#4. 10 years after a divorce, only 10% of divorcee’s say that their life has improved!
#5. 80% of divorcee’s report that they regret their divorce!

RIPPLE effects…
For the Children:
#1. The children of divorce are most certainly the biggest losers
#2. Divorce is destroying the kids… According to Dr. Judith Wallerstein, Family law, author of “Second Chances;” Long-term psychological devastation results in the kids of divorce and there are greater incidences of injury, asthma, headaches, and learning disabilities.
#3. They are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse, and have higher rates of suicide.
#4. 70% more likely to be expelled from school
#5. 12 times more likely to be sentenced to jail
#6. Much more likely to have divorce in their own lives
#7. Fatherlessness is the #1 predictor of violent, antisocial behavior among children.

RIPPLE effects…
For the Finances:
#1. Divorce is a recipe for Poverty.
A. Time Mag. reported that in 2000 the average total household wealth of those Americans aged {decade} between 51 and 61 was $132,200 if married – If divorced, $33,700
B. Ohio State University researcher, Jay Zagorsky says that “divorce looks like one of the fastest ways to destroy your wealth. Getting married for a few years and then getting divorced is clearly not the path to financial independence.”

RIPPLE effects…
For Re-marriage:
#1. Re-marriage has its own set of dynamics and problems
• kids from the other marriage
• dealing with ex’s
Dr. Laura Schlessinger says that: “Of those who divorce in order to marry someone else, only 10% will actually marry that person, and 70% of them will divorce, i.e; only 3% of remarriages will experience a lasting marriage.

One poor husband in a re-marriage situation was doing his best. He really tried to do everything right – to be romantic with his second wife. He tried to remember all the right dates (birthday, anniversaries), but usually messed up.
One time he actually remembered – all by himself! He was so proud! He went out and bought a big spray of flowers and came into the house bellowing: “Happy 5th anniversary, dear! Bet you’re surprised I remembered!”
She was quick to respond: “You’re right! I am surprised, considering this is the anniversary of your first marriage.”

According to research, “the #1 factor in marital longevity is Endurance.”
1. Greater happiness was found by working through marital difficulty rather than running from it.
2. IN a Study conducted by Dr. Mavis Hethering, of the University of Virginia, “Out of 144 couples who had been divorced one year:
63% of the men, and 73% of the women confessed that they made a mistake by getting divorced. They stated that their marriages might have been saved if they had put in greater effort to just solve the problems instead of leaving them.
3. Another Study: After 10 years of divorce, only 10% of the divorcees said that their life had improved or that they had greater happiness since their divorce.

BUT, SADLY, PEOPLE JUST GIVE UP!
1. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980’s, the Iraqi air force was equipped with the Russian built MIG 29 one of the most technologically advanced planes of all time. Even though it was an excellent plane, they suffered a remarkably high loss rate. This was especially odd since Iran had inferior planes.
Here’s what happened. The Mig-29’s were equipped with an alarm that warned the pilot whenever a guided missile had locked on to their plane. The alarm was designed to allow the pilot to take evasive measures, which were often quite successful.
But, the Iraqi pilots would eject rather than fight whenever they heard the alarm. They bailed out rather than fight.
So the Key is: NEVER GIVE UP
Dr. Paul Meier, an experienced Christian counselor, says he has never yet seen any marital conflicts that were not solvable – if both partners were willing to work at it.

2. Researchers at the University of Chicago reviewed data on 5,232 marriages. They discovered that 2/3 of those who said they had been unhappily married, but chose to keep trying, reported 5 years later that they were happily married.

Translation: “Divorce is rarely ,a legitimate, or logical solution.

Which brings up the inevitable question of: ” Where does the Divorced person stand with God?”

FUNDAMENTAL TRUTHS:

TRUTH #1: God hates Divorce
A. Mal 2:16 “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel…..

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t’ hate it! Divorce is ALWAYS a terrible solution, much like Amputation is ALWAYS a terrible solution… but sometimes, that’s all that can be done.

TWO AMAZING FACTS:
#1 GOD INVENTED DIVORCE
He instructed Moses to write:
“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house” (Deut 24:1)
a. Hardhearted men were kicking their wives out of the home, without divorcing them, then marrying their next victim
b. Kicking them out w/o a divorce meant the wife was still married – SHE COULD NOT REMARRY!
c. This created tremendous suffering because women couldn’t survive in that culture without a husband because women weren’t allowed to get jobs in those days, but because her hubby hadn’t divorced her, she couldn’t remarry and they were stuck in abject poverty, and if no one took mercy on them, starvation — or prostitution — were the only options
d. So, in God’s mercy, He created divorce, even though it was against His will
So, if husband decided to kick her out, God’s Law required him to give her a “certificate of divorce” (Deut 24:2) “and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man…”
Notice, she became another man’s “wife” – God recognized her new marriage
e. Clearly, the certificate of divorce had the effect of freeing her to re-marry

Even though God hates divorce, he invented it to protect women from men who would abuse the covenant of marriage!

AMAZING FACT #2:
DID YOU KNOW THAT GOD, IS A DIVORCEE, HIMSELF?
1. God had entered a marriage covenant with Israel
2. God considered Israel to be His bride, and expected her to remain faithful to their marriage bond……just as in a human marriage
3. He didn’t want a divorce any more than any of us would want a divorce, but it happened — Don’t think that God loved Israel any less than you love your spouse
4. Israel was unfaithful to her Husband, and “prostituted” herself with idolatries
5. Jer 3:8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries.
6. So….God, Himself, has experienced the pain of being rejected by an adulterous spouse…..and the suffering of divorce.
7. He knows what it feels like to be divorced – he’s been there!!!

TRUTH #2: GOD SEES MARRIAGE AS A LIFE-LONG COMMITMENT

QUESTION #1: Mat 19:3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
a. Divorce was a hot issue in the first century, just like today
b. They all had their own interpretations of what Moses wrote:
c. “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of
divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house” (Deut 24:1)
1. The terms “displeasing” and “something indecent” are the basis of
their question i.e; What is “indecent” or “displeasing”?
2. There were two schools of thought among the Jews:
a. Shammai: Only adultery could bring about divorce
b. Hillel: Anything that displeases the husband, including a few new wrinkles, or talks too much,
3. Needless to say: Hillel’s teachings were by far the most popular!!!!
4. Under Hillel’s teaching, a man could divorce his wife if she burned dinner.

JESUS’ ANSWER TO QUESTION #1
(Matt 19:4-6) “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ (5) and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? (6) So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
a. Jesus looks back to creation of Adam and Eve
b. Jesus is saying that the creation shows God’s intention. Adam and Eve were God’s pattern for marriage
1 man
1 woman
For life
c. It’s not that hard to understand, but many government legislatures – and even churches can’t seem to pick it up!
—————————–

QUESTION #2
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” (Mt 19:7)
a. The Pharisees understood what Jesus was saying – – – That marriage
(according to God’s plan is “till death do us part.”
b. Now they ask: If that is so, why does Moses talk about a “certificate of divorce”? Are you saying Moses was wrong when he wrote Deut 24:1?

JESUS’ ANSWER TO QUESTION #2
“Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” (Mt 19:8)
A. Jesus Answer:
1. God’s standards are unchanged – – –
2. But because of the hardness of man’s heart, God permitted divorce
a. God permitted it to mitigate the disaster being caused by man’s hardness
b. He permitted divorce because men refused to come up to His standards, and God needed to protect the wives
B. “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital
unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (Mt 19:9)
– – – Just to make sure everyone understands, he says it bluntly,
“So, lets say that you were having struggles with your spouse, you’re
considering divorce, and you wanted to know what you should do. So, you came to COUNSELOR, JESUS, and asked Him what you should do, what would he tell you???

TRUTH #3: GOD STARTS WITH EVERY ONE OF US, WHERE WE ARE

Consider how things were among the Jews in the first century: 1. As noted earlier, Hillel’s teachings had swept Jewish culture
a. The Pharisees – ultra conservative religious leaders – obviously clung to the teachings of Hillel
b. The common people followed suit
– – – People seem to rise no higher than the lowest acceptable level

Two Shockers:
Shocker #1: 90% OF THE JEWISH POPULATION OF JESUS’ DAY HAD BEEN DIVORCED AND REMARRIED 5 TIMES OR MORE!
a. Remember the Woman at the well???? (John 4)
Q. How many husbands did she have?
A. She had 5 husbands and the man she was currently with was NOT her husband
b. Divorce was far more prevalent than what we see today

Shocker #2: EVEN THE DISCIPLES COULDN’T BELIEVE THAT GOD
INTENDED MARRIAGE TO BE FOR LIFE
a. Remember the passage in Mt 19 where Jesus said God created Adam and Eve, and that we were not to divorce except for adultery?????
b. Do you know what the disciples said in response to this????
“The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” (Mt 19:10)
1. That’s Peter, James, John, and the other guys
2. They figured: If it’s one woman for life, it is best to stay single!
3. They considered being stuck with your first wife for life would be like being sentenced to a lifetime in the jail. There’s no escape from that woman!!!
4. “Esposa” = Spanish word for “wife” – also means “Handcuffs”
5. They were still thinking like their culture…..a long way from Christ’s thinking
6. I would not be the least bit surprised if Peter James and John and the others had been divorced and remarried…….
………..especially Peter!
c. BUT WHEN WE COME TO JESUS, WE COME “JUST AS I AM”
1. We come to Him as we are….
2. We would think that in an environment of divorce like we see in 1st century Israel, Jesus would say something like: “All you who were divorced and remarried must Divorce your current spouse and go back to your first spouse and anyone who has been divorced should have no part of the church, and anyone who is married to a divorcee is living in adultery and bound to hell …because that’s what preachers are preaching today!

BUT JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD THE WOMAN AT THE WELL IS INSTRUCTIVE:

A. WHAT DID JESUS SAY TO THE WOMAN AT THE WELL?
John 4:16 “He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” (17) “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. (18) The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (Jn 4:16-18)
1. HE SPOKE OF HER 5 HUSBANDS, WHICH MEANS HE RECOGNIZED EACH OF HER SUCCEEDING MARRIAGES AS VALID
a. He did NOT say: “You had 1 husband and have been living in sin ever since”
b. He did NOT say: “You must divorce your current husband and go back to your first husband – or if that is not possible, live in celibacy all your life”
c. Since He referred to each succeeding man as her “husband” “…you have had 5 husbands….” He must have recognized her previous divorces and remarriages as real marriages
2. IN CONTRAST, JESUS DID NOT RECOGNIZE HER LIVING WITH A MAN AS BEING IN A MARRIED STATE – HE DIFFERENTIATED THAT FROM HER MARRIAGES.
3. MOST IMPORTANT: JESUS WAS NOT RUDE OR BITTER TOWARD HER. HE TREATED HER WITH DIGNITY AND LOVE
a. Even though she was living in an immoral relationship with her boyfriend, roommate, lover – whatever you want to call it
b. He still didn’t treat her with disdain as so many churches treat people today who are living in similar circumstances
c. Notice that Jesus did not ignore her past, but neither did He lock her into her past and allow it to limit her future
d. It’s good to stand for the sanctity of marriage – but we must balance our stand with a Christ-like spirit in accepting people from wherever they come
e. Jesus didn’t approve of her relationships, but He didn’t lock her into her past, either

WHAT SHOULD BE MY ATTITUDE TOWARD THE DIVORCED? SHOULD WE HAVE THE SAME ATTITUDE AS JESUS?
1. What a revolutionary concept!!!
2. Jesus upheld God’s plan of marriage for life…..
….He taught that plan plainly
3. But, at the same time, he loved those whose marriages had not lived up to that standard

CONCLUSION: Wherever you are at this moment, move towards the Cross.
A. God always starts with people where they are
1. If you’re divorced, you probably won’t be able to unscramble the results of your failed marriage
2. If you initiated a divorce for some illegitimate reason, what should you do? Move toward the cross
3. If you did your very best in your home, and your spouse cast you out of his/her life, what do you do? Move toward the cross
4. Jesus said: Jn 6:37b “…and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”

B. WHO ARE YOU – WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
1. Wherever you are right now – whatever we have done – move toward the cross.

HERE IS MCC’s POSITION PAPER ON DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
Mid-Lakes Christian Church

The Bible says that the institution of marriage was created by God (Gen. 2:21-25). Therefore we believe God’s Word should be our source of authority for defining marriage and setting the boundaries for the marriage relationship. The Bible says that God intends for marriage to be a monogamous, life-long, loving relationship between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:6). Marriage is the highest of all human relationships, provided by God as the best environment for relational intimacy (Gen. 2:18, 25) and child rearing (Gen. 1:27-28). The love between a husband and a wife is to be an illustration of the love and faithfulness between God and his people (Mal. 2:13-16; Eph. 5:22-33).

God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), but because of the influence of sin in the world (Jesus called it “the hardness of your hearts” in Matt. 19:8), the Bible makes some concessions for divorce and remarriage. The Scriptures give two justifiable reasons for divorce: adultery (Matt. 19:9) and abandonment (1 Cor. 7:15). Divorce is allowable in the case of marital unfaithfulness because the marriage covenant has been broken, but this is a concession and not a command. God still hates divorce, and if at all possible, if the unfaithful spouse shows signs of repentance and a willingness to recommit, we encourage the innocent party to seek forgiveness and restoration.

The Mid-Lakes elders have identified five scenarios under which a person who has been previously married may marry again. Any Mid-Lakes member desiring to be remarried by one of our ministers or in our building must meet one of these five criteria:
The former spouse has passed away (1 Cor. 7:39).
The divorce occurred prior to salvation (2 Cor. 5:17).
The former spouse has remarried (Deut. 24:1-4).
Abandonment by the former spouse (1 Cor. 7:15).
Adultery broke the marriage covenant (Matt. 19:9). When the one desiring to remarry was the guilty party, there must first be signs of repentance and a desire to reconcile with his or her former spouse. If the former spouse is unable or unwilling to reconcile, then after prayer and godly counsel we may allow the person to remarry.

We recognize that these biblical parameters do not allow divorce under other circumstances where divorce might seem warranted. The Bible does make a distinction between physical separation and divorce (1 Cor. 7:5), so we would counsel people in certain difficult situations that physical separation may be warranted until a godly counselor advises otherwise.

We counsel those who recognize they were remarried outside of the biblical boundaries to repent of their pattern of divorcing and remain faithful to the one to whom they are currently married (Deut. 24:1-4). The grace of Christ can be extended to those who have been divorced for unbiblical reasons. Those who have made wrong decisions in the past cannot undo their mistakes, but must be faithful to Christ in the situation in which they currently find themselves.

Questions often arise as to whether a person who has been divorced is eligible for a leadership position at Mid-Lakes. Because the Scripture says that an elder must be “the husband of but one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2 – literally “a one-woman man”), some contend that a person desiring to be an elder or pastor in the church must not have been divorced. It is our position that a divorce in a person’s past does not automatically exclude him from future church leadership. The passage in 1 Timothy 3 also says that an elder must not be given to drunkenness or violence. Most Christians agree that if a man got drunk or was in a fight many years ago as a youngster, that event should not disqualify him from leadership. The nature and circumstances of the offense and the length of time of proven credibility are all taken into account in determining whether a person is qualified for a leadership position. The same should apply to a person’s past divorce. If murder didn’t disqualify Paul from becoming an apostle and missionary after a decade of proven credibility, a divorce in someone’s past shouldn’t automatically disqualify that person from serving as a church leader.

We have instituted several policies and practices to help protect the members of our church from the trauma of divorce and to hold high the ideals of biblical marriage and sexual purity. We frequently preach about marriage, and we provide frequent classes, to our church attendees. We confront and counsel those whom we know are unfaithful to their spouses. Unmarried couples who are cohabiting are asked to repent of their sexual impurity and separate before they may be married in the church or by one of our ministers. Cohabiting couples desiring to become members of the church must separate or get married before membership is granted.

According to Jesus Christ’s instructions in the Bible, Christians must live in a manner distinct from that of the world. Christians are commanded to hold to a higher standard of moral virtue and purity, guided by the principles of God’s Holy Word. We have instituted these guidelines and practices in an effort to help our members to reflect Christ’s love for the church in their marriages.

“WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY ABOUT….?

As we shared with you last week, we have re-launched a series from last year, entitled: “HOT TOPICS!” (Yup, more controversial stuff from Mid-Lakes)
The beauty in doing this though, is how we have a much larger blog family than last year and there are even a few who say they are anxious to re-visit the topic’s as well. Soooo, we’re diving back in and addressing issues that in many cases, have become very difficult for people to deal with and may even find embarrassing,
But the thing to remember, is as we strive to become more like Jesus,,, these issues must be addressed.
Are you ready?

BTW, this information was stolen from the Pastor’s notes, on the Message Series entitled: “Hot Topics” as it was taught by Mid Lakes Christian Church Senior Pastor; Doug Dykstra last year. (See what you missed?)

Let’s begin:

A very proud Dad is attending his son’s graduation from Marine basic training… Dad has some time to kill before the festivities, so he visits the base’s PX. There, he sees a tee shirt that was folded for display and he liked the color, so he bought it.

He put it on, and without realizing it, walked all around the base with a Tee shirt that read: “My boyfriend is a Marine” on the back of the shirt.

Our culture has changed drastically in the last couple of decades, homosexuality is a huge emotional football, evoking all kinds of emotions from fear, to anger, and even hatred. It is causing many parents to grieve, and many, who are caught in homosexuality have shame, sorrow, despair, and heartache, while others claim to have great joy.

Sadly, some pharisaic “Christians” are showing hatred and their attitudes show them to be out of touch with Jesus. On that note, homosexual hatred is being returned in kind, believe me.

CERTAIN CONTROVERSY

I don’t know any topic that creates more vehement reactions in people – even in the church! (Except perhaps the current MCC controversy over Hawaiian Shirts!) inside joke…

Oddly, there are many people who view homosexuality as harmless – they believe everyone should be tolerant of anything that goes on. Others are facing self-doubt about their own passions, while others, who are in same-sex relationships, have much to say about it, that’s for sure

Then there are the many Kids, who think homosexuality is cool and are considering experimenting with it. This has clearly become much more than just one of the more controversial and divisive topics in the church and even in society at large.

WE FULLY REALIZE THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL BE SATISFIED WITH THIS ARTICLE, But, when you are done, at least you’ll know what the Bible says on the subject in spite of the fact that there may be many who don’t care. I can’t control your response, or even how you feel about the subjects, but as a minister of the Gospel I have a responsibility to tell the truth, and that, I will endeavor to do.

MY GOAL….

To present this topic with truth, hope, and grace… When I’m done, you can get alone with God and sort out the issues with Him.

Now, let’s try to view objectively the Bible’s teaching on this controversial subject

HOMOSEXUALITY THROUGH HISTORY

1.      The Bible tells us that early in man’s history, a whole city, Sodom (and others, too) had a full-blown case of homosexuality and a variety of other sins, as well.    (Genesis 19)

2.      The Greeks were notoriously homosexual.   They had a school for girls on the Island of Lesbos, which is where we get our term for female homosexuality, “lesbian”

3.      Roman Empire was committed to homosexuality (14 of the first 15 emperors)

4.      In the early 1900’s, Freud and others declared homosexuality to be a result of environment of children as they are raised – They considered it a mental illness

5.      Then a few decades ago, other psychologists determined it was a genetic thing.

6.      Finally, homosexuality got “cured” overnight-by a simple vote.   They got the American Psychiatric Association to say that same-sex sex was “not a disorder.”   It became merely “a condition” – as neutral as left-handedness.

7.      They actually managed to normalize it

8.      But, today, after a huge effort by the homosexual activists, we see homosexuality is actually being pushed on the population

a.            A high number of gays are now all over the television, movies…

b.            Today, it’s being pushed in classrooms as young as middle-school through college with pro-homosexual diversity training

c.            There is a lot of social pressure to make sure that no one speaks out against homosexuality.   (That’s just not PC any more)

1.      The Christian football player, Reggi White lost a lucrative advertising endorsement because he publicly spoke out against homosexuality.   He’d have been more than safe if he had spoken out against Christianity, though.

2.      The Christian world-view and the world’s viewpoint will constantly be in conflict with each other.

3.      Those who don’t embrace the Bible are expecting the church to be tolerant of every wind of teaching that the world wants us to meekly accept.    They resent us when we remind them of sin

d.            If the church doesn’t accept their life-style, it is accused of being bigoted, self-righteous and homophobic

e.            But the truth is that the Bible does condemn this sin – along with all other sins – and nothing that they say will change that

f.            Unless the Bible recants it’s position, we cannot be budged from ours

g.            People tell us that we should be “tolerant” –  but, tolerance is the easy virtue of people for who don’t stand for anything….

TODAY, EVERYONE IS VERY AWARE OF THE ISSUE

1.      It’s all over the news

2.      It’s on everyone’s mind today

3.      Chuck Lee, assoc min at one of our churches went to airport to pick up his wife.   He was carrying a dozen red roses.   Three ladies walking past him on the sidewalk:   “Oooo, Lucky gal”

Chuck said:  “No!  Lucky guy!”

And the three women gasped….

  • He meant of course, that he was a lucky guy for having his wonderful wife

BUT WHAT REALLY SHOCKS ME IS THE CHURCHES OF TODAY

1.      If the church – the nation’s moral anchor – has lost its hold, where will the nation be?

2.      In an attempt to appear “relevant” to our world, many churches have compromised biblical standards

3.      Rather than becoming the salt of the earth – churches are trying to be sugar.

THE PICTURE THAT THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY IS TRYING TO PAINT

1.      Homosexuals try to convince us that they are committed to stable, monogamous relationships, but the Institute for Sex Research paints a different picture.

a.            Only 10% of the homosexual community could be even relatively considered monogamous.

b.            Therefore, 90% are promiscuous

3.      Certainly, heterosexuals aren’t all monogamous, either, but a much higher percentage than homosexuals are!

PHYSICAL CONSEQUENCES OF HOMOSEXUALITY

HOMOSEXUAL MEN:

1.      ARE 6 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO ATTEMPT SUICIDE than heterosexuals

2.      AVERAGE AGE IF HOMOSEXUAL DYING OF AGE IS 39.

3.      AVERAGE AGE OF DYING EXCLUDING AIDS IS 41

4.      THE AVERAGE HETEROSEXUAL MAN WILL LIVE TO 75

5.      ONLY 1% OF HOMOSEXUAL MEN DIE OF OLD AGE

WHY?

1.       43% OF HOMOSEXUAL MEN ADMIT TO 500 OR MORE DIFFERENT SEXUAL PARTNERS

2.      28% BOAST OF OVER 1000 SEXUAL PARTNERS (obviously they are nearly all strangers)

3.      AT ANY TIME, 78% OF HOMOSEXUAL MEN ARE CURRENTLY SUFFERING FROM AT LEAST ONE STD

THEIR PASSION AND RESTLESSNESS ARE FREIGHTING

1. It’s not a life-style —  it’s a death-style

2.      Most people thinking smoking is deadly

a.      But, the average smoking male dies at 66

b.      The average homosexual dies at 41.

c.      Meaning, a smoker will live 25 years longer than the homosexual even if he doesn’t contract AIDS.   And the non-smoker, hetero will live 34 years longer

3.      Homosexuality isn’t a life-style — it’s a death style!

GET THIS:    HOMOSEXUALS ARE ONLY 2% OF THE USA POPULATION, BUT THEY ARE INFECTED WITH 50% OF ALL STD’s

HOMOSEXUAL WOMEN

AVERAGE AGE AT DEATH IS 45, COMPARED TO 79 FOR NON-LESBIAN WOMEN

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

A.            NOTHING!  ….  AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT HOMOSEXUALS SAY.

1.      The truth is that, as homosexuals gleefully point out, Jesus didn’t say one word about it.   They believe this shows Jesus’ approval

2.      Actually, Jesus may have said something, but not recorded.   John tells us that;

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.    (Jn 21:25)

B.            BUT, WE MUST REMEMBER THAT JESUS SPENT HIS ENTIRE MINISTRY AMONG THE JEWS

1.      The Jews had a “zero tolerance policy” toward homosexuality. Homosexuality didn’t exist there. So, it was one of those topics that just didn’t come up

2.      But, beside that, making an argument from the Bible’s silence is not very compelling:

a.      To use their logic, we could say that Jesus approved of rape, wife beating, child molestation, incest, bestiality – because nothing He may have said about those things is recorded either.

b.      The truth is that every time Jesus discussed legitimate sexuality, it was always heterosexuality

c.      And he spoke only of celibacy as the only alternative to marriage.

C.            SO, WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

1.      “ ‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.    (Lev 18:22) ~  In Lev 20:13, God says the penalty for such sin is death.

2.      In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.   (Jude vs 7)

~            Here Jude is reminding us of the terrible destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen 19:1-8.    God totally destroyed their city for a sin whose name continues to this day – sodomy.

3.      Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.   Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.    (Rom 1:26-27)

C.            WHAT IS JESUS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD THE HOMOSEXUAL?

1.      We all know the answer to that – He loves them

2.      He loves adulterers, liars, murderers, too

3.      But that doesn’t mean that He approves of their behavior

4.      But, love is different than salvation

III.        WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY….

A.           WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO STRAIGHT, OR HETEROSEXUAL INDIVIDUALS

1.            DO NOT EXPERIMENT

a.     This is sin – and all sin is contagious

b.      The reason people are enslaved to homosexuality is because it was fun at first for them. But sin starts out as fun…becomes enslavement…and ends in death

c.      There’s nothing glamorous about becoming a slave to sin

d.      There’s nothing glamorous about the diseases you will in all likelihood contract

2.            CLING TO THE TRUTH

a.       We must find the proper balance between : “love” and “truth”

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  (Eph 4:15)

b.      But, love doesn’t mean we’ll back off on truth – In fact, love demands the truth!

Especially with so much at stake

c.       Sometimes, in an effort to be “nice,” the church does not stand as strongly as it should against sin.

1.      I agree that we should be nice. We have a loving God; we should be loving people.

2.      But we need to understand that we do not love people, when we tolerate their sin. We are not doing them a favor when we say, “everything is fine,” when everything isn’t fine.

3.      That is not love; that is just cowardice. We are afraid to say the truth.

4.      Sometimes the church is afraid to say the truth, and that is sad because if there is one place in our society where we ought to speak plainly – not cruelly, not harshly – but plainly, it is in church.

5.      And homosexuals need to understand that it’s not “gay-bashing” to tell the truth

e.       Don’t allow our society’s standards to dictate your position on anything

f.        Even once conservative groups are caving in.

Recently, at Calvin College (CRC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, great turmoil was raised as an anti-homosexual rights speaker arrived on campus. More than one thousand students attended his speech, so the school’s administrators decided that they must also present the pro-homosexual view.

The problem is that homosexual activists (and our P.C. society in general) want the church to say that homosexual patterns of behavior are not sinful.  They want us to say that it is all right for them to live that sort of lifestyle.   And we cannot do that.

If a serial killer commits 25 murders, we will not say:  That’s all right, you are just living an alternative lifestyle, Right?

We won’t say to someone, like John Dillinger, that it’s ok to go around robbing banks and shooting cops, Right?

If someone is doing drugs, that is not all right – and we need to say that.

Homosexuals are the only group which demand that the church accept their sin without teaching them to repent.

3.      BE LOVING TO ALL– there is no difference

Remember:   Just because you’re not tempted in this area doesn’t make you one bit superior and loving people who are caught up in sin is not the same thing as compromising the truth. We aren’t abandoning Christ when we treat homosexuals with grace – we’re fulfilling His commands, giving acceptance is not the same thing as giving approval

In an interview Hugh Downs had with Billy Graham on the 20/20 program, the subject turned to homosexuality.   Downs asked Billy:   “If you had a homosexual child, would you love him?”

Graham answered:   “Why, I would love that one even more.”

The only difference is Jesus can’t love anyone more than He already does – He loves each of us as far as love can go.

4.      RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PREFERENCE AND PRACTICE

It’s not a sin to experience homosexual desires, being tempted is NOT sin!

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.  (Heb 4:15)

The term “high priest” refers to part of Jesus’ ministry towards us;

2.            Notice, He was:   “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was

without sin”

c.            Homosexuals / Heterosexuals – everyone has temptations:

  • Alcoholics,  compulsive gamblers,  Eating disorders
  • No one has bragging rights

Even Homosexuals who have come out of it still will struggle, as anyone with an addiction does….

1.    Their passions still surface?                                    Yes             That’s called Temptation

2.    Can they be overcome?                                               Yes            That’s called self-denial

3.    Can desire for the opposite sex be rekindled?       Yes            That’s called the transformation of                                                                                                                           the Holy Spirit

WHAT WOULD JESUS SAY TO THE “HOMOSEXUAL”?

1.        OPEN UP TO THE TRUTH

a.        The first step is to hear the word of the Lord

b.        Many homosexuals are in a state of denial

1.      First, they won’t even admit that they have a spiritual problem, or that the Bible even speaks on the problem

2.      Second, they say that it doesn’t matter if it is a sin – that’s how God made them and they cannot change.

Elizabeth Birch, former director of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender advocacy group in the nation says that: “Biblical teachings against homosexuality are the equivalent of prohibitions against eating shellfish.” She also objects to the idea that homosexuals can change. She believes that homosexuality is an immutable, natural characteristic, and can never be changed.

2.      UNDERSTAND THAT YOU MUST CHANGE

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

(I Cor 6:9-10)

Repentance is key

God doesn’t necessarily have a plan for the homosexual to turn around today, and then tomorrow get married, and have a family. Some, if not most, will fight this temptation all their days – every day.   Just as we all fight temptation – every day. But God is expecting that we all must develop self-control and not act on our lusts, like the rest of mankind

3.            UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN CHANGE

Homosexuals want to believe that their orientation is genetic, the logic being that if God made me this way, I’m not responsible – and I can’t change – besides, I don’t need to change because it’s not my fault. Therefore, only bigots would expect me to change my lifestyle.

9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were.   But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.   (I Cor 6:9-11)

Homosexuals must understand that they may have those same sex desires the rest of their lives… But they must also realize that everyone has their own problems and temptations to overcome.

CHANGE OR DIE!

Get in touch with Celebrate Recovery here at MCC!

Call:    EXODUS INTERNATIONAL www.exodusinternational.org/

IT’S TIME TO MAKE THE MOVE

a.            It’s time to take the risk and make the decision to change

b.            It’s time to trust the church to love you anyway

IN FACT, IT’S TIME FOR ALL OF US TO MAKE THE MOVE!

Below is a copy of MCC’s position paper on the subject of homosexuality.  We have this pamphlet available in the foyer in the booklet called:  “WHERE WE STAND ON THE HOT TOPICS”

HOMOSEXUALITY

Mid-Lakes Christian Church

Mid-Lakes Christian Church is an evangelical church, maintaining that the Bible is God’s Word and our final source of authority in doctrine and practice.  Therefore, it is the stance of our church that homosexuality is a sin against God but is not an unforgivable sin (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:18; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).  We believe that God calls those engaged in homosexual behavior to repent of their sin and commit to celibacy.  Christ said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you; go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11).  In the same way, Christ calls those engaged in homosexual sin to repent and accept Christ’s love and forgiveness.  Paul reminded the Corinthians that those engaged in certain behaviors, including “homosexual offenders,” who refused to repent, would not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But then he added, “such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).  The wonderful message to the person engaging in homosexual behavior is that through the power of Christ he or she can change.  The temptation may remain, but the Holy Spirit can give you the power to remain celibate and pure.

Christians should therefore reach out to those engaged in homosexual behavior with Christ’s message of love and forgiveness without endorsing the behavior.  If you discover that your child is addicted to drugs, the loving thing to do is to express compassion and understanding, and to help him overcome his addiction.  The same should be our attitude when we discover that a loved one is addicted to a sexual sin.  Mid-Lakes Christian Church recommends ministries that reach out to those struggling with homosexuality, including Crossover Ministries and Exodus International.

Those engaged in the homosexual lifestyle are encouraged to become part of the Mid Lakes Family, to attend services at Mid-Lakes Christian Church. If a person expresses a desire to commit to Christ or become a member of the church and is involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship, whether homosexuality, adultery, cohabiting without marriage, or other, he or she will be encouraged to commit to a life of sexual purity.  Any person willing to make such a commitment can be baptized and synchronously accepted into membership.

If a Mid-Lakes member is found to be engaged in sexual sin, he or she is asked to repent and commit to sexual purity. Those willing to repent are guided to counseling services and support groups that are available to help them overcome their temptations. Those unwilling to repent are not asked to leave, but are asked to withdraw their membership.

Just as a loving parent should extend mercy and truth to a child addicted to drugs, so we believe a loving church should extend both mercy and truth to those who have been engaged in homosexuality. Anyone struggling with this area of his or her life needs to know that Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and access to power through the Holy Spirit to live a life of freedom and sexual purity.

A Behind the Scenes Look at Scripture

As a student of scripture, I am constantly wondering what was going on, behind the lens that scripture is told from. For example: I can easily imagine having been on the boat with Peter and the rest of the Disciples in Mat. 14:22-33 when Peter and the other Disciples were told by Jesus to get into their boat and go to the other side of the Sea.

So,,, they did just that, but somewhere between 1:00 and 4:00 a.m., while the sea worked up a frenzy and tossed them around in their boat, they saw what appeared to be a ghost walking by on the water and they were totally freaked out until Jesus (knowing of their fear) yelled out and identified himself.

Bam! Just like that, Peter pop’s the question and suggests that Jesus ask Peter to come out to him. Now, with a show of hands,,, who would have been the person to do what Peter did? Seriously? Odds are, less than 1 in 1,000 have the type of personality that is so daring!

Keep in mind though, according to research, even those people would need some kind of confidence in the waters ability to support them, before they extended the dare.

Now imagine you are in the boat and you are taking this whole thing in, when suddenly, you see Peter throwing his leg over the side like he has something to stand on! But you know that it is dark! It’s deep! It’s tempestuous and it’s totally CRAZY! But your friend Pete is stepping out into what is almost certainly going to end completely wrong!

What are you saying to him at this point? Are you yelling? Are you raising your voice very calmly? Are you reaching out to grab his arm and hold him back? Are you suggesting he has gone INSANE? I can imagine you are not expecting him to stand up as though the water is supporting him once he has pushed himself off of the side of the boat! And you are most certainly not expecting him to walk on the water once he does… Right? Here’s how the story goes:

MATTHEW 14: 22-33

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Scripture does not tell us what is going on behind the scenes and I enjoy being able to imagine what his friends were thinking as Peter stepped out… What would you do? By what we see in scripture, Peter was not looking for a dare,,, he was not out to prove anything to his friends, he just wanted to be close to and doing the same things as Jesus!

Do we know anybody that has the same degree of passion about being close to, or like Jesus? Here’s a defining question, do we know anyone who has the kind of faith that is willing to step completely out of the logical place to be?

Think about it; The boat was intentionally designed to get them across the water, but what Peter was doing was by all accounts, illogical and just plain idiotic!

No wonder Jesus loved Pete’s attitude enough to build the entire New Testament Church off of his passion.

I want to find that place,,, do you? I want to know that level of pleasure in the eyes of God… How about you?

Unforgiving and tumultuous, deep dark seas

Would you have stepped out!