Saving the Planet

Posted on 08/23/2009 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***

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I will enter his gates
    with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter his courts
    with praise
I will say this is the day
    that the Lord has made
I will rejoice for
    he has made me glad

He has made me glad
    he has made me glad
I will rejoice for
    he has me me glad!


Jehovah Jireh, my provider
    His grace is sufficient for me

My God shall supply all my needs
    according to His riches in glory
He gives his angels charge over me
    Jehovah Jireh cares for me,
        Jehovah Jireh cares for me


Sing unto Lord a new song
    sing unto the Lord all the earth

For God is great,
    and greatly to be praised!


I worship you, Almighty God
    there is none like you
I worship you, O Prince of Peace
    that is all I want to do

I give you praise
    for you are my righteousness
I worship you, Almighty God
    there is none like you


There is none like you
    no one else can
    touch my heart like you do
I could search
    for all eternity long and find
There is none like you

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

(Jesus is coming soon!)

The title of today's message is "Saving the Planet." Those of you who are new here probably think this is going to be an eco-friendly message, while those of you who have been coming here for awhile probably think I'm going to talk against the global warming extremists. But hopefully I will be able to surprise you both.

Either way, I'm pretty certain everyone here has heard of global warming, and is aware that people are pushing very hard to convince the human race to take steps against various types of polution and consumption of natural resources.

Maybe you're the exception; but as for me, I can't even turn on conservative talk radio without hearing about how we're causing droughts, flooding, deadly heat waves, hurricanes, and every other such thing. These things used to be called "acts of God," but now they are considered "acts of man." Either man has been promoted, or God has been demoted. Or both.

But my point is that it's everywhere. People are convinced that, unhindered, we humans will destroy planet earth. And their fear creates all sorts of things, from commercials to endless laws and government regulations.

And as much as I'd like to spend time addressing these things, they are not the focus of today's message.

Instead, we pray Lord God that, by your Holy Spirit, you would change our perception so that we will be able to see whatever you want to show us today. Speak to us, and bring your Word to life within us.

To get to where we're going today, let's take just a few moments to think about why those warning about global warming are so convinced and so motivated.

To do this, we need to understand their point of view, or more appropriately, their world view. We, on one hand, know the Bible is the Word of God and that it is completely true. We know the end of time will unfold exactly as it is foretold in Scripture, and we know what that end will be.

We know that God promised Noah in Genesis 8:22, "As long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease." And since we know God cannot lie and is never wrong, we have no fear that mankind could possibly do anything that would cause the cold winters to melt away.

It wasn't even 20 years ago that the environmentalists were warning that our polution was plunging us into an ice age. That was when we were in one of the earth's natural cycles of cooling. A few years ago, we saw the end of one of the earth's natural cycles of heating. And guess what? It will happen again, and again, and again, until Jesus returns.

But those who reject God's Word don't have this assurance. In fact, according to their view of reality, they have great reason to fear.

And fear is irrational. Never mind that cattle gives off more greenhouse gasses than we do. Those blasted gassy cows! They are going to destroy our planet!

But, then, if the Bible is not true, then perhaps we are immoral and barbaric for eating cows and forcing them to give us their milk. Personally, I think if we can murder an innocent baby in the safety of our womb, then we don't have much room to point the finger at those who kill a stinky bull in the safety of our electric fence. But hey, I'm just one of those Bible-thumping Jesus freaks.

The point of all this is to point out the incredible gulf between the thinking of the Believer and the mindset of the world. So just hang in there with me, you'll see where all this is going soon enough.

Carbon dioxide. That horrible greenhouse gas that should be outlawed. Actually, we've done the next best thing, and will be taxed if we produce too much of it. Watch out you lovers of Mexican food, your bean burritos may cause you to emit gasses into the air that exceed government-mandated standards!

Carbon dioxide is what we exhale. Plants inhale it and turn it back into oxygen. It also filters out radiation from the sun. And apparently, it reproduces itself on other planets. Did you know that, while the earth was warming in recent years, the exact same percentage of warming happened on Pluto, Jupiter, and Mars?

Of course this tells us that there really is intelligent life out there, and they are advanced enough to be destroying their planets as well. Naturally, it couldn't have anything to do with sun spots, solar flares, or whatever the sun does that heats up near-by planets.

No, fear is not rational. And if you don't believe the Bible, then every shadow that moves across the future horizon could be the grim reaper, bringing with him all his friends and family to bring your hollow life to a miserable end.

Have you read the statistics about how much water it takes to produce a gallon of milk? Or to raise a bull for slaughter? Supposedly, this is an argument for being a vegan. Strangely enough, I couldn't find any statistics on those same websites saying how much water it takes to produce a soybean, or why it even matters how much water an animal drinks in the first place.

I'm sure you've heard of Ethanol, which some modern cars can burn as fuel. Did you know that it generally takes more energy to produce ethanol than the ethanol provides? For example, 1-1/2 gallon of fossile fuel can be consumed producing one gallon of ethanol.

My point? Once again, the world's fear is blind to facts. To those who have rejected the Holy Scriptures and the One who gave them to us, reality looks quite different than it does to those who know the One who created the earth, and knows and is Lord over every moment of time from the very beginning to the very end.

One spins their wheels, running around screaming that the sky is falling and it's your fault, while the other knows the sky cannot fall, because the Bible says God will roll it back as a scroll when our Messiah returns to set up his eternal kingdom on earth.

So hopefully we can all see the great contrast between the worldview of the Believer and the worldview of the world. One thinks mankind can destroy the ancient and mysterious planet earth, while the other knows that God created it, wrote a time line showing its beginning and its end, and is waiting with baited breath for the glorious return of the One who created it all for his own good pleasure.

Now... Let's consider something I personally think is quite interesting. This planet IS in danger. Mankind IS destroying it. We ARE producing so much polution that the world as we know it is going to melt down, as catastrophy after catastrophy strikes us all like a plague from the pits of hell.

But the polution we're creating is not made with automobiles, or factories, or cows eating too many bean burritos. And the great heat that is coming isn't one that melts glaciers or disturbs the mating habbits of big foot.

No, we are not in any danger from carbon dioxide. We've been exhaling it for centuries, and volcanos have been belching it into our atmosphere in quantities that put our dirtiest factories to shame. Instead, there is an atmosphere we cannot see with our natural eyes, and there is a polution which we cannot measure with our CO2 meters.

Jesus described it like this, in Matthew chapter 15 and verse 11: "It is not that which goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but that which comes out of the mouth; this is what defiles a man."

We inhale smog. Doesn't that polute us? Only to the mind of the world. And before any wise guy suggests that Jesus is saying it's what comes out of our mouth, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gasses, that defiles us, let's take a look at verses 15 through 20:

Matthew 15:15-20 (KMV*)

15 Then Peter said to Him, "Explain this parable to us."  
16 And Jesus said, "Are you also still without understanding?
17 Do not you yet understand that whatever enters into the mouth goes into the belly, and is cast out of the body?  
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile the man.  
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, blasphemies;  
20 These are the things which defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

The disciples didn't get it either. If Jesus had said, "Peter, it's because you exhale greenhouse gasses and are destroying the earth," then Peter would have believed him. I think all too often we human beings are like Peter with a false Messiah. Science, which really is light bent by colored and bend lenses, tells us we're going to boil the sea turtles alive because we voted wrong, and some of us believe it.

But the only One who never makes a mistake and can not tell a lie has spoken. And the only polution which can destroy the earth and those in it is the polution which comes from the heart. It is a spiritual poison which fills the spiritual atmosphere with thick, black spiritual smoke that clouds minds, that clogs ears, and that hardens the skin until society becomes blind, deaf, mute, crippled, and desperately afraid of every sound and every passing shadow, even their own.

Just like trees renew the air and filter out physical polution, so the trees of righteousness, the true and living Bride of Christ, does the same. But our world is cutting down the spiritual forests, pushing them out of their way, while covering up their spiritual deeds by doing the exact opposite in the physical world, promoting a twisted version of what they should be doing in the spirit.

Do any of us realize that just one baby murdered in an abortion produces more spiritual polution than the physical fumes produced by a million gas-guzzling SUVs? And while the SUVs can't destroy the earth, the sins against God most certainly can.

The Book of Revelation describes the judgement of God that will come upon the earth in the last days. A third of the trees and all gras are burned up. A third of the water becomes poluted and a third of the fish die. The sun and moon are darkned. Plagues sweep across the world attacking all those who follow the false savior of the world who is coming in the cloud of our spiritual polution. A third of the people on earth are killed.

And then Jesus returns. And what happens then? The Bible tells us that "when we see him, we will be like him." This is the only form of "going green" that will ever amount to anything worthwhile, to see Jesus and to be transformed into his image, so that no more spiritual polution comes from our hearts, but only life.

Are you ready to save the planet? Well, we know every prophecy in Scripture will come to pass. The earth as we know it will be destroyed because of spiritual polution. But there are people all around you who don't have to perish. Have you gone spiritually green? Or are you still driving around in the polution-belching flesh?

A moment ago I mentioned the righteous, like trees, who clean the spiritual atmosphere. But there are trees in the seeker-friendly church movement who strip off their leaves. They seem to think that having leaves might offend some of the people who love polution. And you know what? They're right. But you know something else? If you're not bearing fruit, if you're not cleaning the spiritual environment by having leaves that do not wither, then you are dead. And you need to surrender your ways to the Master, forsake the ways and ideas of the world, and be born again before you leave here today.

Psalm chapter 1, verses 1 through 3, says it this way:

Psalm 1:1-3 (KMV*)

1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, who brings forth fruit in season; his leaf also will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper.

The righteous man or woman is a living tree, they bear fruit and their leaves don't wither. They breathe clean air into the spiritual environment, and filter out the polution of the world. And yes, they are offensive to the politically correct and those who love the darkness, the spiritual polution of sin.

But just as Jesus wasn't worried about offending those who rejected the truth, so we're not about pleasing everyone and trying to not offend anyone or hurt their feelings. Instead, we refuse to abandon our greater responsibility of saving the planet by being lights, by cooperating with the Holy Spirit so our hearts are cleansed and we put forth the fragrance of life instead of deadly polution.

Holy Spirit, purify our hearts. Turn up the heat. Burn away the chaff, and remove anything that isn't of God. Convict us when we neglect our relationship with Jesus, and when we neglect his Word, and when we allow our life of worship to grow cold.

Did you know that you are putting SOMETHING into the spiritual environment? Either you are a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, and you're filtering polution and putting sweet life into the spiritual atmosphere instead, or you're blocking what God wants to do in and through you and are pouring out spiritual polution into the atmosphere and everyone around you.

Are you ready, in the spirit, to go green?

The idea of the destruction of the physical earth from polution is based upon faulty science, partial facts, speculation, and fear, while the idea of the destruction of the earth from sin is based upon the unchanging, unerring Word of God. And I don't know about you, but I choose to put my hope and faith in the solid rock of Christ Jesus, not in the shifting sands of the popular myths of the day.

And how do we "go green" in the spirit? Well, we read it from Scripture a few minutes ago, from Psalm chapter 1, verses 1 through 3:

Psalm 1:1-3 (KMV*)

1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 And he will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, who brings forth fruit in season; his leaf also will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper.

So if you want to "go green" in the spirit, if you want to filter out the polution around you and spread clean air into the spiritual atmosphere everywhere you go, the first thing to do is to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.

Sorry, Oprah. You and other popular spiritual leaders like you are among the biggest poluters on the planet, rejecting the truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father and all other ways lead to eternity in hell. You are a dead tree with no leaves and no true fruit, and you lead others to be the same.

She might have some good ideas, but don't make decisions in your life based upon the worldview of a new age teacher; don't follow someone who is on their way to eternal punishment for rejecting God's gift of atonement.

Sorry, Gore. You talk about saving the planet, but in addition to spreading more physical polution in a day than most of us do in a year, even one lie spews plumes of black spiritual smoke into our atmosphere, and he continues to add to the trail he's left of them.

Of course, naming names is totally pointless, and I've probably made someone mad because of it. But let's ask ourselves this question: why do we put people on pedestal who dispute the Word of God directly or indirectly, who reject Jesus as the only way to God as he plainly said he is, and who have told lie after documented lie? And yet, at least most of this describes just about every popular person in the secular world today.

Truth be know, we shouldn't put ANYONE on a pedestal except for Jesus. But the point is, how in the world do we choose those we look up to? If we walk in the counsel of the ungodly, we will be a part of the problem instead of the solution.

Instead, carefully choose those to whose opinions you listen, even if you think you're just entertaining yourself by listening to them. What you put in yourself will come back out, and if it's corrupt, then your heart will share in its corruption.

Proverbs warns us to "dilligently guard your heart, for from it flow the springs of life."

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful."

Do we stand in the path of sinners? It's interesting this doesn't say "walk" in the path, but "stand" in the path. Do you realize that you can "stand" in a path by being sympathetic with it, or entertaining desires for it? Whatever else these words mean, stay far away from the ways of sin.

Do we sit in the seat of the scornful? The word translated there as "scornful" can also be translated as "arrogant." You want to get a good picture of the seat of the arrogant? Then take a look at most of the government leaders today, those who make fun of the idea that the Bible can be used to govern, or who insist that it should be a woman's right to murder her unborn baby, and then try to force us to pay for it with our hard-earned tax dollars.

Thinking we know better than the Word of God is the height of arrogance. And how often do we make a choice that deep down we know doesn't agree with Scripture simply because we think it will turn out better if we do it our way? Well, our leaf will wither, and we will add to the spiritual polution instead of cleaning the spiritual air.

Instead, here's what the righteous man or woman does. Verse 2 says, "But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night."

What is the law of God? It is his Word, his ways, that which pleases him. And it doesn't say, "But he listens to sermons about the law of the Lord every Sunday." Instead, it says, "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night."

Delight. Do you delight in the Word and the ways of God? If not, you need to draw closer to him, spend more time with him, and read more of his Word.

And it says that he meditates in it day and night. That almost sounds like an obsession, but I hardly think you can have an obsession with God's Word. It would be more like a Godly love affair.

The Bible says, "O taste and see that the Lord is Good." The closer you get to him, the more you taste of his incredible goodness, the more you see his breathtaking beauty, and the more you revel in his amazing love. Walk the walk even when, and especially when, you don't feel like it. And the seeds planted will start to grow in you.

What then? What if you do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful? What if your delight is in the law of the Lord, and you meditate in it day and night?

Well, verse three says this: "And (you) will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, who brings forth fruit in season; (your) leaf also will not wither, and whatever (you) do will prosper."

This is life. This is TRUE green. This is the only way you can save the planet, or at least those in it who will be saved.

Dedicate yourself today to being spiritually eco-friendly; not the popular thing of exhaling less and stocking up on gas-x to supposedly save a planet that we can't possibly destroy, but instead doing the unpopular thing of walking in the ways of the Lord, obeying his voice, his Word and his Spirit, and being a tree of righteousness whose leaf does not wither, and who bears fruit in season, and who prospers at whatever you do.

Anyone here who's on the ministry team can come to the front now. And as they come, I'd like to give three different invitations.

First, if you haven't surrendered your life to Jesus and asked him to forgive you for your sins and wash them all away, then you're invited to get out of your seat and come to the front now. Your coming to the front won't save you, but take that step toward God. Talk to him right now. Tell him you turn from your life of sin, and you surrender yourself to him to live life his way. Ask him to forgive you for your sins. And then rejoice, for he is making you brand new, and you have a brand new start!

Second, if you are born again but think you just might be the source of some spiritual polution, then you're invited to come to the front and spend some time with God, getting things right with him.

Third, if you just want to spend some time in prayer and worship, then you're all invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the front.

If you need to leave, you're free to do so. If you can stay through this time at the altar, please do so. You're also invited to gather in the room to your left afterwards for a time of fellowship, although I won't be there, since we're out of town today and I need to cut out early.

If you want someone to pray or talk with you, you can instant message me or someone else on the ministry team.

Come, and let's go green together!