Monday, August 31, 2015

The Gospel for the 21 century pt.2 (The Deceit).


The Deceit.

The deceit of the modern day is that the Bible has nothing to say in the 21 century. It is a premise that is entirely wrong. The Bible has more to say about the 21 century than it has had to say about any other century. It also is more credible. Yes you heard me right, more credible than at any other time, in the United States at the start of the 21 century. I believe atheism was designed by the Devil to leave a spiritual vacuum. One that he can fill with some form of religion that replicates Christianity but is not Biblical. Isn’t that the Spirit of this current age? Isn’t that where we are seeing the snowball going? How does a world view that denies that the universe has form and meaning sustain itself? It is beyond rationality to accept. Man can only accept evolutionary theory as a mechanism. How can He find a meaning for existence there? That is why it will not be the hallmark of thought in the 21 century. There is an overly apparent spiritual vacuum, in the United States, waiting to be filled by the Biblical church. It is currently being filled by eastern philosophy and the occult. Is this news for you? If it is, you have fallen for the first card trick up the Devils sleeve. He wants you to think that there are happy atheists. There are none. You cannot hold it as a rational structure because it can’t answer any of the deep questions of life. On the basis of atheism there is only an illusion of progress, and one that is void of meaning. There is a vacuum in the hearts of lost in the 21 century that cannot be rivaled because one has not existed in such size before. What will fill it?

 The second card trick is a clever one. It was one that I fell for over and over until I noticed the sleight of hand. I was told all along that the hand that I held was a bad draw; I thought cards given me were of poor value. I was convinced that I should keep drawing. I thought that what I held between my hands was of peasantry and not royalty. I kept trying to get rid of this hand but some divine providence kept telling me, keep the hand you have been dealt, keep it, that’s the one, that’s the ticket. And sure enough that is also the illusion that so many in our age have fallen for. They think that they have lost the fight, they think that they must fold when all along they have the winning hand. The Devil is bluffing with the most cleaver of lies. For it is he that sneaks in and tells the players that there are new rules and that this is a different game, he is only waiting for his turn to play your cards.

For around the last two decades we have sought the lost thinking that we must change the value of the truth for it to be relevant for the listener, when it is a fixed value. We think we have nothing to say to the culture because it is progressive. What we have failed to notice with any real understanding is that current culture is running itself into the ground. The church has missed what the lost have known for the past two decades. That it’s culture is the culture of death. That a train of progress with no destination is a train that will run out of track. It can only decompose as the culture replicates itself into oblivion. It is a pool of water with no outlet that can only trace back, reuse and confuse its where it’s been.  We have thought that we had to be just like this culture to win converts. But what we have given them is a gospel emptied of its power. One that tells its audience that we are just as irrational and hopeless as they are. We are not winning the card game but giving the Devil our good cards.

No society can sustain itself on meaningless absolutes. Do not murder, do not covet, do not commit adultery are laws that are in no way going to change over time, because they are not created by man. Like God, they are completely and utterly immutable. The Biblical standards exist because the God of the Bible exists. They have no more become irrelevant than air or water have become irrelevant. Peoples and societies that abandon the standards of God, come in conflict with the universe that God created. History will prove that to you. Western society is proving itself to blindly repeat the same histories that have preceded itself for generations. But at the peak of its foolishness, the church in the west has been hopping aboard a sinking ship, because they don’t want to be left out of the world’s communion. All the while the Devil has been taking the things of God and changing their inherent value to empty them of their power. He is giving the lost a formidable pain killer for their guilty conscience while they quickly approach the day of judgement. This pain killer has nothing to do with real Christianity but is such a close copy that it takes a trained eye to spot the counterfeit.  In the next blog I will give you some examples.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Gospel for the 21st Century - Intro

When I was in middle school I got a surprise gift from my aunt. It was a magic set. It came with a wand a bunch of trinkets, and a poorly made VHS instructional video. Within a week I was preforming all kinds of tricks. I could make a quarter disappear, I could tell you the role of the dice before they landed, and I could pull a scarf right out of the air. Every once in a while I would get caught mid trick, and that would be that with the person I was doing the trick for. If I tried to show them anymore, everything I did would lose its magical feel, I was no longer credible. Then there were people that also had magic sets like the one I had. They instantly knew every trick that I could do, or at least the principal behind them. There was no point in trying to find a new way to trick them because everything I did would lose its power.

 Like my magic tricks the Devil appears to have allot of power, most of it however lies and deception. We are also very foolish to think that this deception would be present only outside of the church. In my years of evangelism I have seen many things but none of them are more apparent than Satan’s ability to blind the eyes of people to what life is about and his activity in it.  In this blog series  "The Gospel for the 21st Century" I might say some things that may seem to you offensive or rub you the wrong way. If we are to reach people for the gospel in the 21st century then we can no longer be politically correct or say only things people want to hear.  I think if you follow this series you will agree with me.  

 I believe in a literal God and a literal Devil. If you chose to be bold about your faith and vocally share the gospel you also must believe in an actual God and an actual Satan. You can’t be bold without seeing the Devils influence to those you share with.  God and Satan will move from the realm of the principle and the ethereal to the actual.  However if you walk by faith with the God of the universe rather than intellectual ascent, you will also find Him showing up on a regular basis.  You will be in communion with Him and see Him working in more than an ethereal experience, or an intellectual framework meant to console your need for life’s answers. You will see that He was there all along but waiting for your obedience in faith to see Him in the realm of the miraculous. You will also be sure of the Devil in the same way. He will no longer be seen as a figurative reference for all the evil in the universe, but the actual Lord of it. You will also find that his primary trait is deception.
 
If you make a plan in your day some time to just vocally preach the gospel in an effort to reach the lost, you will find your mind clouded by fearful excuses. You will have a period of time when you will be swamped with obligations that you somehow inherited within the hour. You will be distracted in ways you didn’t think were possible by that show you can’t record on television or that Facebook conversion from a friend that is all of the sudden distressed. If you remain steadfast and get out of the house you might start second guessing whether or not God was leading you in the first place, and maybe you are just being crazy. You think, “Since God is responsible for who is in heaven and who isn’t, you should just call it a day and head back home.”

If you get past all of that, you might get in a conversation with someone about the gospel. At that point, you will start seeing the Devil in a real way. You are now showing the people, that they are the ones being deceived.  However in the Devils goal is to continue to hold the unrighteous under God’s wrath. You can expect a few things like, a spectator to a private conversation stepping in to shut you down.  Even though you are speaking logically and calmly to the person in front of you. Maybe you are talking with someone who has an addiction, someone else will ask them where they can get some drugs, and they will lose focus on what you are talking about. If you are talking with a young lady, some hunk is going to walk in the room and make eyes with her, even though she has never gotten that kind of attention before. If you are talking with someone who is already searching for meaning someone else will join your conversation to sway them toward new age belief or some other form of religious broad road.  And in all cases cell phones will ring, messages will alert, even your own which you have forgotten to silence will chime in. If all of that is not enough, sometimes out of nowhere you will be painted a villain. The person talking with you was all well and good right in front of you, and something triggers in there head. All of the sudden it’s like an eraser goes through their head and removes all the forty minutes of calm talk about the same things you were talking about until then. They look at you as if they suddenly found out that you have ulterior motives even though you have none. Things that they do to you, phrases they pin on you, history that does not belong to you, becomes your fault in their eyes.  Even though you emphasize God’s grace, hell is the focus in their mind. They will see you is bigoted even though you have truly considered everything they say to you and might actually look in to it. Others will come and support them, and will help them decide you are out of date, a relic of some archaic religious past.  This is not to mention death threats, the actual demonically possessed or being visited by evil spirits to help “scare” you out of continuing in Gods pursuit of the lost. All of which will help confirm to you the existence of a literal Devil rather than some horror movie boogie man, or a intellectual framework to help explain why people are generally sinful.

Press on further still and you will see the miracles that inexplicably shuts the mouth of lions so to speak. You will see people who have been hardened by years of bitterness inexplicably soften. You will be just rambling and mention specific things from there life that you weren’t intending to say. The Holy Spirit giving you credibility you didn’t know you had. You will have somehow just read the verses they used to talk about the Bibles contradictions in your morning devotions. You will follow an unexplained lead of the spirit to walk to the far side of the town and see someone who needs physical help, and make the gospel speak all the louder to them because you came to their rescue. You will offer prayers for the lost persons family members and see them healed. At times you will see your life miraculously preserved from harm, confirming that God has a purpose for you still in life.

All of this is beyond humbling, because it has so little to do with you. You just said yes. That’s it, that’s all you get, the decision. You get to your benefit simply saying, OK God, I’ll except what your word says and I will go tell others. God I don’t have much energy today, but I’ll walk over there. God OK, I trust you, X Box will still be here later, I’ll give you my Saturday. God is alive, and is near, but He reveals himself in our obedience through faith in what He has said in the scripture “go unto all the world” and “surly I am with you always.” You get to really meet with Him when you go help “the least of these brothers of mine.” That is where God is. Why would God show up and talk to you when you were too busy for Him burying yourself in the things of life that won’t last for an eternity. I promise you your time away from them will give them new meaning. You will not be a slave to the Sabbath but will truly need and enjoy that time.

Why would God validate someone who cares so much about their own skin? Why should God care about your reputation when His is on the line? Why should God care about your financial obligation and deadlines, when He has a store room that can’t be exhausted for His obligations and deadlines?  If you want to see the God of miracles and the Bible, you have to go to where He is. In salvation, we don’t get God, He gets us. We are moving towards the cross, we are not putting the cross inside of our pocket, or to add to the list of other worldly clubs, names and trinkets.  I promise you that when you give up the praise of men, the pressure of men will also fall away. Someday in the end God will say well done. His is the opinion that matters.