You know it’s really important for us to be discerning in the world we live in, because we live in a time of tolerance, we live in a time of acceptance, and most people are deceived and fooled. That cannot be true of us. One of the responsibilities we have in spiritual leadership is to protect the flock of God, to guard them. And I want to discharge that responsibility with you as well as to teach you the positive things. I want to warn you about things you need to be warned about.
This kind of came into a focus as I was watching the inauguration, and I knew it was going to come, I knew it was going to happen. But it was highly disturbing to me when Paula White was called to the podium at the inauguration of the President and she prayed. She is a representative of all that is uncomfortable, unacceptable, and even heretical in the name of Jesus Christ. She is a member of the prosperity gospel, word of faith, name it and claim it, health and wealth. I’m not saying that because of some personal animosity toward her. It is somewhat disturbing that she has had multiple husbands and things like that. But she represents the kingdom of darkness masquerading as the kingdom of light, and sandwiched in-between Samuel Rodriguez and Franklin Graham showed in what proximity the kingdom of darkness can place itself alongside the kingdom of light.
There is a new book that I would recommend to you if you really want to read the history of the movement she’s a part of. It’s called Blessed. It’s written by Professor of American Religion Kate Bowler who teaches at Duke University. She is a historian. It is not a theological book, it is a historical book, and it traces the history of the prosperity gospel movement. Oxford University Press has published this very important book. The reviews of this book are really off the charts as to the character of its quality. She is part of a movement that includes names like Norman Vincent Peale, Oral Roberts, Joel Osteen, T. D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar, other names that you hear and that you see if you ever are exposed to quote-unquote “Christian television.”
It behooves us to understand something of the subtlety of this kind of movement, because we want to make sure that we avoid any kind of association with those people. I was thinking about 2 Corinthians chapter 6 that there is no fellowship between light and darkness. There is no time, no place where we should be unequally yoked together with unbelievers in any kind of ministry, prayer being a ministry. People in that movement have an aberrant view of God and they have a defective view of God, they have a heretical view of God. And I just want to talk to you a little bit about that this morning.
And I was reading earlier in the week in the seventeenth chapter of Acts, how that Paul goes to Mars Hill, the Areopagus. I’ve been there a few times and actually preached Acts 17 on that mountain in Athens. This is a city full of idols. This is like the summit of all idolatry. There were so many deities in ancient Athens that they were uncountable.
About six hundred years before Paul had gone there, there was a plague that had literally killed tens of thousands of people in Athens. And the people believed in their superstition and their idolatry that the only way they could get rid of the plague would be to pacify the gods. Well, they had so many gods they weren’t sure who was ticked off. They weren’t sure which God it was that was so mad at them that he was wiping them out with a plague. So they came up with a plan that wherever there was a diseased person, wherever this plague fell on someone, they were to immediately worship the nearest god. And if there was no god in proximity they were to come up with a god they didn’t know, an unknown god. And so they proliferated gods and they proliferated unknown gods. And we see Paul at the summit of all that six hundred years later saying, “You worship all of these gods that you identify, and then you worship the unknown God. You have literally created gods out of nothing, as if they could deal with the realities of your world and your life.”
Misconceptions of God abound. They have abounded historically. That is why the Bible is so clear about defining the true God, the true God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Trinity, which, by the way, is a doctrine you rarely, if ever, hear explained, the doctrine of the Trinity which is the foundation of truth and Christianity for certain.
There are all kinds of views of God floating around in our world. Maybe the common term would be that men have created gods in their own image. Psalm 50:21 says, “You thought that I was just like you. You thought you could make Me into your image.” There are those who create gods and they are nothing more than a projection of their own humanity, their own wishes. Just some insight into that.
Here are some misconceptions about God, popular ones, that God lacks ultimate power, God lacks ultimate power. I used to have conversations with Larry King before and after we would do Larry King Live on CNN Network about the fact that God had to be lacking in power, because if God was good and the world was full of bad and God didn’t change the bad into good, then He didn’t have the power. “If you keep telling me,” he would say, “that God is loving, that God is loving, and all of this is going on in the world, if God is loving, then God is impotent, because a loving God wouldn’t let this happen.” That conversation started when 9/11 first time I was on Larry King, and he was asking me, “What is going on here? What kind of god allows that to happen and three thousand people to lose their lives in an instant?”
So God, in some people’s minds and in his mind, if He was going to allow for a god, he had to allow for a god who was, perhaps, good, but therefore had to be impotent, or there wouldn’t be so much bad in the world. God, they say, has good intentions, but He really struggles to see His intentions realized; and Satan gets in His way. God has all these good intentions, but Satan hinders God, and Satan causes things like crime and war and conflict and disaster and destruction. And so, God has these good desires and Satan is out there thwarting all these desires, and maybe we need to come with some kind of a strategy to kind of strip Satan of his power. Maybe we need to chase him away.
And then there is another misconception about God that the real problem isn’t that God doesn’t have power, it’s that God lacks information, that God doesn’t really have the knowledge necessary. He has desires for His kingdom, He has desires to accomplish His will, He has desires to bring about salvation, but He doesn’t know the future, so He doesn’t know what’s coming; and when it shows up with the same kind of surprising reality that it shows up to us, He sort of tries to adjust. But He doesn’t have any previous knowledge of the future because there is no future to know until it happens. God has no more control of the future than we do, they say.
This is a very popular theory about God taught in seminaries. He has no more control of the future than you have of the future, and He is reacting to everything exactly the way you are reacting. The future is unknown to Him because it can’t be known, because it hasn’t happened. So God’s just trying to figure out as He goes. And so, we get Him off the hook. He’s not really responsible for what just happened because He didn’t even know it was going to happen. So we save him from being accused of knowing something bad was coming and letting it happen, and still being a good God.
And there are others who say, “Well, actually, God lacks wisdom. He wants everybody to be saved, He wants the whole world to be saved, He wants everybody in heaven, but He really couldn’t figure out a plan to make it happen. So hell is kind of the default to God’s stupidity. He just wished everybody to be saved. He wished everybody to be healed. He wished everybody to be successful, everybody to be wealthy. He wishes everybody to be happy and fulfilled and satisfied. He has all of these grandiose and glorious and kind and generous plans, but doesn’t have what it takes to make them happen.”
And then there are those who say, “No, the real issue here is He just lacks holiness. He’s not holy. He fails to recognize that sin deserves punishment, and so in the end He’ll just take everybody to heaven. Yeah, He’s not as holy as you might think He is. He’s okay with sinners, He pities everybody. He,” you hear this, “He loves everybody unconditionally. Yeah, well let’s get Him off the hook. It doesn’t really matter that bad happens, evil happens, people do terrible things. In the end, we all go to heaven because God is so loving, His love trumps His holiness.”
And there are others who say, “Well, the problem is He’s not in charge, He’s not sovereign, doesn’t have full authority. He claims to have full authority, but He must not. If He’s a good God and a loving God and a saving God, and you take one look at the world and you realize what a disaster it is, He apparently doesn’t have full control. Whatever prerogatives He does exercise, whatever choices He makes, whatever rights He possesses are, in fact,” listen to this one, “subordinated to you and me. If He has any good intention for His creatures, if He has any good purposes and plans, He subjugates those to my choices and yours, like, ‘Hmm, I just wish that person would be saved.’ But it’s up to that person. God has far less freedom than man does, because man can choose and make it happen to receive salvation. But God can’t make it happen, so He’s not sovereign, as Pelagianism, Arminianism, and really a kind of paganism.”
Now none of those descriptions I’ve given you are the God of the Bible. The true God is perfect in power, perfect in knowledge, perfect in wisdom, perfect in holiness, and perfect in sovereign authority; and a kind of blasphemy exists at the level of every one of those redefinitions of God. This is remaking God in your own image.
Now there’s one other thing, and this is where we get to Paula White and those like her, and that is the idea that God is not unique. God is not unique. That is, He is not really a person transcendent and separate from us. He’s not really a person transcendent and separate from us. He shares our nature, He shares our power, He shares our presence. He’s sort of mingled in with us. And anyone with enough faith literally puts God into action. This is to say that God is not unique, He’s not transcendent, He’s not separate. He’s not above and outside of us, He’s in and around and through us. And we, we work God by our faith. We are the power of God, we are the power that activates Him.
Let me just give you a little bit of a background on that. There was a book that came out a few years ago called The Secret. Anybody see it, read it? Millions and millions of copies were sold, written by Rhonda Byrne. The book is based on pagan pantheism, but Christians read it. Basically it says all things are one with God. That’s pantheism: God is all and in all, and everything is God, and God is everything. This is pantheism. “We are light, we are the truth, we are the I am, we are God.”
This is Hinduism, this is Deepak Chopra. This is God and man are one, God and creation are one. God is the tree, God is the floor, God is the chair, God are the lights, God is everything. This is to appeal to the idea that we have in us divine power. We might not say God, but we have divine power to create our own life; and out of our choices and our desires we can literally create the world that we want to live in.
Oh, by the way, it says in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another.” Yet this is exactly what the book suggests, that God in some way is not unique or separate from us, but He is in and around and through us, and we literally activate the God power that is resident in us by our own desires and our own faith and our own words.
Following the book The Secret there is a book called The Shack written by William Young. This book sold in every Christian bookstore across the country. It presents God in the figure of a very large, overweight Black lady. This is God. And the idea is that God is available to you at all times, and goes into action based on the faith you have and the words you speak.
Creative power says The Shack is in your words. Supernatural energy is in your words to create the life that you want. It’s called the laws of attraction. And what it says is that your thoughts and your words attract reality. Your thoughts and your words attract reality. The sequence goes like this, here it comes: know what you want, believe you will get it, visualize the fulfillment, speak it out loud, and you will attract it like a magnet, because you have God power in you, God power to create what it is that you want.
Let me say it again: know what you want, believe you will get it, visualize the fulfillment, speak it out loud, and you will attract it. It works every time with every person. Just place your order and it’s yours. That, in a sense, is the whole prosperity gospel theology. Your thoughts, your words have creative power. Your life is the reality that you have created. What you think and what you believe and what you visualize and what you say becomes the reality that you live, because those things attract that reality. You literally have divine creative power. If you like what you get, keep saying the same thing. If you don’t like what you get, start saying something else.
So in the books The Secret and The Shack which popularized this kind of thinking, you just believe what you desire, and when you believe it and speak it you will literally cause the universe to start rearranging itself to make it happen for you. Statements like this, and I’m quoting, “You have the power and the energy of the universe to create your world You are the designer of your own destiny. You are the author of your own story; the outcome is what you choose and you speak.”
Now where does this stuff come from? Well apart from the fact that it comes from Satan the deceiver, you could trace it back to the 1800s to a really screwball guy who died in 1866 by the name of Phineas Quimby. In fact, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, he was, by his own confession – this is interesting – a mesmerist – there’s a lost career – a mesmerist, a mysticist, and magnetizer, and a clairvoyant, Phineas Quimby who at the same time was a medical doctor and a philosopher. He launched the idea that your mind has divine power to create your own world. He believed that he could see a patient with an illness, not hear a word from the patient, not have any diagnostic technique, but clairvoyantly by mesmerism go into that mind, and by tapping into that mind from his mind to the patient’s mind through the mind of the patient, heal the body, even though he didn’t know what the illness was. He was completely crazy. It was more than it; it was demonic, it was demonic.
He had no interest in God, no interest in religion. His major disciple was Mary Baker Eddy who promulgated Christian science. You know what Christian science is? Christian science is like Grape Nuts. Grape Nuts isn’t grapes or nuts, and Christian science isn’t Christian or scientific.
But the bottom line with Quimby is, “By your mind you can create whatever you want.” And Mary Baker Eddy took it to the next level and said, “Illness doesn’t really exist at all, it’s just a mental state and you can dismiss it as a reality all together.” So faith in what you believe becomes the powerful personal force of supernatural energy that can overcome all restriction, all restraint, and give you the world you want. Quimby went around supposedly healing people. But I read some of the records of this around 1860 and it was very interesting that people claimed to be healed, but no one ever knew what they were healed from, because his technique was that he wanted to heal them without knowing what was wrong with them. Pretty hard to verify that.
But the bottom line is you can have whatever you desire. And what do you think they desire? Wealth, health, prosperity, success, fulfillment, satisfaction? The wish list never is like this: humility, brokenness, holiness, sacrifice, unselfishness, love. Not so much, not so much. Not about virtue. It’s always health, wealth, success, all temporal, all material; that’s the prosperity gospel.
Now if all that sounds familiar, though you haven’t read The Shack and you haven’t read The Secret and you haven’t read Blessed, the history of this, it’s probably because you have a television and you’ve been exposed to this philosophy, which in reality isn’t nearly as philosophical as it is material. It’s a Ponzi scheme to make the person proclaiming it rich at the expense of everybody else who’s duped. It’s a scheme that people in the word faith movement, prosperity gospel name it and claim it movement use to get money, from Benny Hinn, to Marilyn Hickey, to Frederick Price, to Joyce Meyer, to Kenneth Copeland, to John Hagee, Robert Tilton, Coontz, Roberts, Hagin, all of them, all the way down to Paula White. They all claim that every so called Christian has the personal, divine power to recreate life’s realities into exactly what he or she wants. It’s all theirs. And you use the name of Jesus, the genie. You rub the magic lamp, and Jesus the genie pops out just waiting to be activated by the power of sovereign faith in a person to give that person what he or she wants by the power of attraction. All this in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s not just a lie, it’s a lie that basically preys on those who are desperate. It’s a predatory lie. It’s for predators who want to become rich at the expense of disappointed, troubled people.
I have to give you one more consideration. We hear all the time that the largest church in America is Joel Osteen’s church in Houston, Texas. His church meets in what was formerly the Houston Rocket’s Basketball Arena, seating tens of thousands of people. He is the newest version of this Phineas Quimby mind-creating kind of pantheistic heresy.
Michael Horton has written an interesting book called Christless Christianity. On page 68 he says, “Osteen has achieved the dubious success of making the name it and claim it teaching of Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn mainstream. He has brought it into the mainstream.”
You hear somebody like the largest selling Christian author in America Max Lucado say he has two favorite preachers: Joel Osteen and John MacArthur. What?
Let me be blunt. Joel Osteen is a pagan religionist. He is a legalist, he is a quasi-pantheist, and Jesus Christ is a footnote to satisfy the critics and to give him access to Christians. He believes that men save themselves by their inherent power. He has a definitive book called Your Best Life Now. He says that anyone can create all the dreams that he desires by faith and words. You want health, you want wealth, you want happiness, success; you want a new car, a new house, a new job, a new wife, whatever, whatever; you literally can speak it into existence.
Let me give you quotes from his book Your Best Life Now. And, oh, by the way, this is only your best life if you’re going to hell. If you’re going to heaven this is not your best life. So for those people who follow him, this may be their best life.
Let me quote: “If you develop an image of success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.” That’s the law of attraction.
Another quote: “All of us are born for earthly greatness. You were born to win. You were born to be a champion. God wants you to live in abundance. He wants to give you the desires of your heart. Before we were formed He prepared us to live abundant lives, to be happy, healthy, and whole. But when our thinking becomes contaminated it is no longer in line with God’s Word.”
Here’s another quote: “You’re thinking positive, and He will bring your desires to pass. He regards you as a strong, courageous, successful person. You are on your way to a new level of glory. God’s Word is not Scripture, God’s Word is the message you are hearing from God, and then you speak forth and you attract the reality that you speak.” Joel Osteen says, “Believe, visualize, speak out loud and your words release your power, giving life to what you want.”
Here’s some more quotes: “Friend, there’s a miracle in your mouth.” Here’s another one. Listen to this prayer, Joel Osteen’s prayer: “I thank You, Father, that I have Your favor.” Ooh, that sounds like Luke 18: “I thank You, Father, that I’m not like this poor publican.”
Here’s another: “I know these principles are true, because they have worked for me and my wife.” Well, that’s a good basis to determine whether something’s true. They work for you because you’re getting rich at the expense of people who are divesting themselves of what they have on false pretenses. You’re at the top of the Ponzi scheme.
He says, “We even speak into existence a perfect parking spot at the mall.” Here’s the theology behind the thinking, quote: “God has already done everything He’s going to do; the ball is in your court.” Really? “So God’s not sovereign. I’m sovereign; the ball’s in my court.” This is hyper-Pelagianism.
At this point we recognize the real source of Joel Osteen’s religion and all the rest of these people. He is a mouthpiece for Satan. So are all the rest of them. So when I watched the inauguration and I see Paula White in the middle, just terrifying. And then I hear the new President say that she’s his favorite preacher to whom he’s been listening since 2007? Frightening.
Why are all these false teachers so successful? Because they’re in line with Satan who’s the god of this world, prince of the power of the air, who rules in the sons of disobedience. This is going to be successful because the fallen world will embrace it. This is false Christianity from hell – no biblical understanding of God, no biblical understanding of man, no biblical understanding of sin, no recognition of total depravity, man’s universal inability to do anything in the flesh that pleases God, let alone think himself to be God who can speak into existence something that he desires.
Let me tell you something: God does not give the unregenerate man what he naturally longs for. God doesn’t fulfill the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. And when you say that it is God giving you what you in your natural fallen longings want, you are calling God Satan. That’s what you’re doing.
I’ll say it again: God does not give the unregenerate person what in his natural longings he desires. That’s the love of the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. God is not in the business of fulfilling evil, selfish, self-indulgent desires. What the gospel does promise is salvation for the broken and the shattered and the heartsick and the guilty and the fearful and the threatened who have come to grips with their sin and the judgment of God, and desperately want deliverance. We have to know the true God.
Just such a grief to me. I remember the psalmist said, “The reproaches that fall on you fall on me.” What does that really mean? Well, Jesus when He went into the temple and He tore into everybody and threw them out, that must have been – there are a lot of scenes in the Gospels I would want to have seen. That’d probably be the favorite.
How does one person throw out tens of thousands of people? I mean, this is amazing. This is – yes. You say, “But He’s divine.” But He’s limited to a human expression. What in the world did He do? And when He threw them all out He said, “You’ve turned My Father’s house into a robber’s cave, a robber’s den.”
You know, you can tell when you really love God, when you feel the pain of Him being dishonored. I’m looking at the inauguration like other people, and I’m saying, “You know, this – I’m hoping for the best in the future. I’m hoping for the best. I want to see all the things that anybody would want to see happen in the world that would benefit life and make life better, and protect people who otherwise might be harmed and all of that. I want the best. I want to see common grace, I guess, appreciated in its fullness. But I’m realizing even as I watch this that Satan is in a high profile position right in between two evangelical leaders. People don’t see that.
You know, one of the things that Anabaptists really understood was that society is hybrid, society is hybrid, that there are two distinct realities in a society. One is the political entity itself of that society, and the other is the Christian church, the body of the redeemed. And one will never take over the other, they will exist in a kind of hybrid fashion. I think the Anabaptists understood something that many of the Reformers didn’t understand, because the Reformers came to the conclusion that, “Hey, what we need to do is what the Catholics did.” What did the Catholics do? They baptized everybody so that everybody in the entire nation was a Catholic. So they eliminated the hybrid concept and they said, “Well, we’ll baptize every baby.”
A little time after the Reformation you remember what happened. They started saying, “Well, you know, Catholics baptize everybody, so everybody’s a Catholic. We ought to be baptizing everybody so everybody’s a Protestant. So the Protestant countries, the Scandinavian countries, and Germany and places like that, they began to baptize everybody; infant baptism to baptize everybody, so that everybody was in the church. And in England everybody was in the church and they failed to understand the hybrid society. The two exist, coexist.
There is the society itself, and God has given instruction for how the society is to function and how we are to respond to the society. But there is also the church of Jesus Christ, the body of Christ; and we will never take over the society, we’ll never be absorbed into it. We are a unique and separated people.
I grieve when God is misrepresented. That is very difficult for me. I’m not comfortable with that. I don’t like to see Him dishonored. I understand Henry Martyn, missionary to India. In fact, somewhere I had a quote. He goes to India as a missionary and he goes into a Hindu temple, and he leaves the Hindu temple not long after he had gone to be a missionary there. And he goes back and he takes his journal, and this is what he wrote: “This excited more horror in me than I can well express. I was cut to the soul at this blasphemy.”
What is he talking about? He saw in that Hindu temple the exaltation of a false god. He even wrote about some depiction of Christ bowing down to Muhammad. He said, “I cannot endure existence if Jesus is not glorified. It would be hell to me if He were to be always thus dishonored.” When asked why, he replied, “If anyone pluck out your eyes, there’s no saying why there is pain. It is feeling. It is because I am one with Christ that I am so dreadfully wounded.”
We’ll look for a minute at Acts 17. And at this point we can kind of pick up with Paul. Verse 16, Acts 17. Paul is in Athens and he’s waiting for Silas and Timothy to catch up to him. But notice verse 16: “His spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.”
You know, a bricklayer in Athens would see the bricks. A street cleaner would see the dirty streets. A preacher sees the spiritual condition. Paul saw religion. His spirit was provoked, stirred up. The pain was so great it drove him, in verse 17, into open public discourse.
So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be present. He could not stand Christ to be so dishonored. The pain drove him into public discourse. He ran into the epicureans from Epicurus way back in 342 BC, famous philosopher of Athens. Believed everything happened by chance. Death was the absolute end of existence, no afterlife, no accountability, no judgment; just went out of existence. And so Epicureans lived it up because, hey, death is the end.
And then he ran into the Stoics launched by a man named Zeno, called Stoics, because they launched their philosophy standing on a stoa, which is a kind of porch.
And they believed in pantheism: everything was God and God was everything, and everybody was God and everybody was the master of his own destiny. This was William Henley’s famous “Invictus” came out of that kind of philosophy. And he’s just disturbed to the core. So he’s conversing with them, confronting them for the glory of God. And some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say, this idle babbler?” That actually is a term “seed picker.” Idol babbler, seed picker. It’s a term of derision. It came to refer – started really to refer to a poor person who would scour the streets and pick up garbage. Sort of a human parasite who lived at the lowest level of human wits.
So they derided him with the idea that he was just picking up seeds of ideas like scraps, an uneducated seed picker trying to converse with the philosophical elites of his day, and winding up doing nothing but proclaiming strange deities, strange because they never heard of the true God and they never heard of His true Son. And what was he preaching? I love it. He was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. For them it was something strange to their ears, something strange. But Paul was undaunted. And you know the rest of the story. He introduced them to the true God, didn’t he?
Who is the true God? Verse 24, “The God who made the world, all things in it.” The Lord of heaven, Lord of earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands. He is transcendent.
He is knowable, because I’m going to tell you about the unknown God. He is spirit. He is transcendent. He isn’t served by human hands, doesn’t need anything since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; He is the Creator. He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times in the boundaries of their habitation. He is the author of human nationality and human history.
And He’s, while being transcendent, also near. He’s not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist. He is transcendent, but near. He’s not in us, this isn’t pantheism; but He is not far away. Even your own poets have said, “We’re also His children.” You can find a couple of the ancient poets that said that in ancient Greece – one named Aratus. Being then the children of God we ought not to think that the divine name is like gold or silver or stone or an image formed by the art and thought of man. You can’t, you can’t worship a god that you’ve invented for your own purposes.
And, oh, by the way, you’re not going to get away with it. God has overlooked the times of ignorance. It doesn’t mean that God lets sin go by; we know better than that, read the Old Testament. But final judgment has been withheld. Final judgment has been withheld. God is declaring all people everywhere to repent. Repent of what? Repent of failure to worship the true God. “And He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” And He’s back to the resurrection of Christ, which is the divine authentication of His identity.
Mixed response: “When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, others said, ‘We’ll hear you again concerning this.’ So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed.”
It’s always going to be that way, isn’t it? You’re going to get the indifferent, “Uh, I don’t know, I’ll listen again maybe.” You’re going to get the rejectors. But there will be a Holy Seed there, and some will believe. You can meet them here: “Dionysius the Areopagite” – somebody attached to that very Areopagus – “and a woman named Damaris and others with them.”
So we go into the world and we preach the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the validation of Christ’s identity and work. That is why it says in Romans 10:9 and 10, “I you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, and confess Jesus as Lord, you shall be saved.”
So this is the world you live in. This is a world that feels comfortable if somebody talks about God or even if they use the word “Jesus.” And I have to say, in listening to that inauguration, I think I heard God identified more than any public event I’ve ever heard of; but I’m not sure that more than a few of those people had any idea who they were talking about. Now I understand it’s not many idols or many gods. They all think they’re speaking of the same God, but they’re not, they’re not. So false gods, whether purposely identified or not, are still false gods.
These are very challenging times for all of us, and we need to pray for leaders. We’re told to pray for the leaders of our country and for their true salvation. Pray that people in power, including the President, will listen to the people who genuinely know God, know Christ, affirm the resurrection, and be pulled away from damning deception.
We certainly as those who are given the privilege of being here at The Master’s University need to be on the cutting edge, don’t we, of helping the church and the world understand the truth. That’s why you’re here, that’s why you’re being taught, that’s why you’re being trained, so that you can go from this place and proclaim the truth. It’s part of our responsibility to know the truth and to know it well enough that we see the error for what it is, we expose it, and we confront with the truth. May God use us to do that.
Father, we thank You again this morning for Your Word, the entrance of which gives light. Thank You for these folks, precious young people, staff and faculty. And, Lord, we’re so grateful for all that You are doing here in our lives. And we know to whom much is given, much is required. This is a great, great privilege, but bears with it a great responsibility. May we be used to bring clarity to a world where things are so confused. And, Lord, we grieve in our hearts when You are dishonored, when You are misrepresented, when Satan somehow appears as an angel of light. Lord, may the truth prevail, written in Your Word, incarnate in Christ, for His glory. Amen.
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