Frame of Reference
Posted on 04/11/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
Public Prayer Requests:
I ask you to pray for my father so that he would let Jesus into his heart and start coming to church with the whole family.
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
I WILL ENTER YOUR GATES
I will enter your gates
with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter your courts
I will say this is the day
that the Lord has made
I will rejoice for
you have made me glad!
You have made me glad,
you have made me glad
I will rejoice for
you have made me glad
NOBODY LIKE YOU
(There's) Nobody like you Lord
Nobody like you
Nobody like you Lord
You are worthy
You alone are King of Kings
You alone are Lord of Lords
You alone are worthy there is
No one else like you
Every knee on earth will bow
Every tongue confess that you are
Lord above the heavens,
There is no one else like you!
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
Your mercy flows like a river wide
and healing comes from your hands
Suffering children are safe in your arms
There is none like you
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
Today, for just a few minutes, I'd like for us to take a look at something we probably haven't really thought about that much. And it's something that steers our beliefs, our conclusions, and the way we interpret the Scriptures.
It's also something the enemy has used for millenia to deceive entire nations, and even the whole world.
And that one thing is something we call, "Frame of Reference."
Here's an example. Let's call him Bob. He was raised in a public school, being taught as fact that we evolved from monkeys who used to be a primordial ooze which became a fish, which grew legs and crawled onto land, and kept changing until, finally, here we are.
His parents didn't really believe that story, but they never did anything that would make their beliefs credible in Bob's eyes. So he simply thought, like most of us have thought at some time in our lives, that his parents were old fashioned, superstitious, and ignorant of the facts.
When people tell Bob about Jesus, what do you think his reaction will be? Well, aside from the work of the Holy Spirit, his reaction can only come from his frame of reference.
In Bob's mind, the Bible cannot be true, at least not ALL of it, because it seems to disagree with what he has always believed is true.
When he looks out into space, he sees an ever-expanding universe, meaningless matter that is still retreating from a massive explosion billions of years ago, an explosion that came from nothing.
Since he believes this is so, and that we are here by chance, why would he waste any time with fairy tales about some God coming to earth in the current evolutionary form of humanity?
Let's imagine that Bob becomes a scientist. When he sees evidence that the earth is millions of years old, he believes it is so. When he contemplates the fact that we can see stars that are billions of light years away, he believes that must mean they have been there for billions of years.
If he sees an archeological discovery of a biped creature which appears human, but is bent over like an ape, he concludes that this must be the missing link.
But how about Amy? She was taught very different things growing up. If the Department of Education could outlaw her Sunday school curriculum, they most certainly would. She was taught that God created the universe and all it contains.
Not only that, but there was a time in her life in which the Holy Spirit was tugging at her heart. You see, her parents had been praying for her salvation every day. And while they were imperfect just like the rest of us, they really did live by the Bible, spending time alone with God and as a family every day, and striving to obey what the Bible and the voice of God said.
And she finally surrendered. She came running to the cross. She surrendered all her doubts, her fears, her ambitions, and even her hopes and dreams, in exchange for a life of obedience and intimate fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.
Years later, she too becomes a scientist. But when she sees the same things as Bob sees, she comes to very different conclusions. And this really bothers Bob.
"How can you say God created the stars 8,000 years ago when that would mean we wouldn't be able to see most of them for millions or even billions of years from now?"
But Amy has a personal relationship with Jesus. She talks with him every day. She reads the Bible and meditates on what it says every single morning, and through the Scriptures, her faith continues to grow.
"Could not God," she might reply, "the same God who created time and is therefore not confined thereby, could he not have created a history just as easily as he created the universe, all it contains, and all the endless powers and perfect laws by which it continues to operate? When God said, 'Let there be light,' it was there. When he created the stars, he did so for 'signs and for season...' he created them for us to see. It doesn't seem that much more difficult for him to deliver their light to us in an instant, over the space that would normally take billions of years; for he is the God of time and space just as much as he is the God of matter."
Of course that's just one example. Perhaps Bob loses sleep and has developed high blood pressure thinking about the year 2012, when Planet X, as they call it, appears to be traveling from the outer reaches of our Solar System, and could cause world-wide devastation just two and a half years from today.
But Amy isn't worried. She knows that God is in control. She also is reminded of prophecies written in the book of Revelation concerning the end times, and acknowledges that many of the terrible things written in it could very well be caused by a phenomenon such as Planet X. And so she rejoices! Because if December of 2012 really does mark the beginning of the things written in the Bible about the end times, then that means Jesus could return any day now to take his Bride away!
So no, she doesn't lose any sleep, except in more earnest prayer for the lost.
Now, Bob and Amy could have had the exact same childhood, and yet they could be in the other one's shoes. You past controls your destiny only the the extent that you allow it to determine what you do right now.
And the same goes for what you believe -- your past controls your beliefs only to the extent you have already chosen.
"Wait a minute," someone might say, "I believe such and such because I have seen it with my own eyes." Okay then, you have already decided that you will believe what you think you see. Or you will believe the conclusions you come to from the scientific evidence you see, or even that you will believe the conclusions of other scientists. Lots of us often cannot tell the difference between conclusions, speculations, and fact. And that's because of how we have already decided to guage truth.
And the same goes for your frame of reference, that underlying, subtle mental framework by which you interpret and define that which you see, hear, and feel.
Not only does your frame of reference determine what you believe, it can also alter what is.
Various laboratory tests have suggested that what a person expects can have a very noticeable affect on the outcome of the test. Doubt is decidedly lethal.
For an example, let's take a look at Jesus, when he returned to his home town, in Mark chapter six, verses 1 through 6:
Mark 6:1-6 (NKJV)
1 Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.
2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!
3 Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" So they were offended at Him.
4 But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house."
5 Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
6 And He marveled because of their unbelief.
By this time, word of Jesus' miracles had undoubtedly spread far and wide. But notice what they said in verse three: "Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? We know his sisters." And they were offended by him. He was just an ordinary man with gigantic claims. And they didn't believe he could do what they heard he could do.
Now this was Jesus. The fullness of the Godhead was inside of him. He was the one through whom the whole universe was created. They wouldn't have even existed without Jesus.
But they didn't believe. Now, you'd think that wouldn't matter. Surely God himself couldn't be limited by a few doubters. Surely he would do some mighty work so they, too, would believe in him and be saved.
But verse five says, "Now He could do no might work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them." And it must have been a VERY few, perhaps sick with minor illnesses, because even when he healed those few, the mass of people still did not believe.
In walks the skeptic. In recent years, a very popular skeptic has offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove supernatural abilities. And the fact that no one has claimed that money would seem proof enough that everyone who claims non-physical reality is a fake or is dillusional.
But what would happen if Jesus were in his laboratory? What sign or wonder would he perform? Maybe something small that could be easily explained away.
Of course Jesus didn't perform miracles to prove anything. When people in the Bible asked him for a sign and wonder in Matthew 16:4 (NKJV), Jesus says this: "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah."
And what sign would that be? Well, Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days, and then was rescued by God, vomited up by the whale onto the shore of Ninevah, where God used him to deliver the city from destruction.
Jesus was in the belly of the earth for three days, and then he was resurrected by God, and God has been using him ever since to deliver sinners from their sins and from the wrath of God.
And yet, just as they didn't repent when they heard the story of Jonah and God's mercy toward Ninevah, so people don't repent today when they hear the story of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
They don't believe it. And many of us who DO believe it don't act like it. We don't act like Jesus could return for us any day now, maybe even today.
And we wonder why there are no miracles in our churches. Why aren't the dead raised? Why aren't the sick healed? Why aren't the drug addicts and the homosexuals delivered and transformed by the power of God?
Disbelief. The book of Hebrews uses the words "disbelief" and "disobedience" interchangeably. They did not enter in because of their disbelief. They did not enter in because of their disobedience. You see, disbelief causes disobedience, and where there is disobedience, you can know there is disbelief.
We disobey God because of doubt. And because of doubt, God's hands are tied when he comes to see us.
So no, the skeptic will not be convinced in most cases until it's too late. His or her frame of reference is wrong. The basis for judging truth is on the wrong foundation, and their whole worldview and system of belief is like a house built on sand.
24 "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
(Matthew 7:24-27) (NKJV)
So how do you change your frame of reference? I don't want to over-simplify things here; but it can be summed up in two words: "Hear and obey."
Hear and obey. For years, you've heard many voices, you've seen many thing, you've experienced many feelings. And some of them, you've obeyed -- you've surrendered to them; your beliefs, your actions, your lifestyle. They all come out of that to which you've surrendered.
You could surrender to logic. But it's fallible.
You could surrender to experience. But it quite unreliable.
You could surrender to fact. But it's only as good as its conclusions.
You could surrender to skepticism and doubt. But they reject the truth as much as they reject a lie.
Or you could surrender to God, and to his Holy Word by which he created you and me, time and space, the universe and the powers and laws by which it continues to exist.
You have already surrendered your life, your mind, your beliefs, and your soul to something: Something ever-changing and subject to shifting perception and your own finite mind, or something that never changes and who has created all these other things we hear and obey.
You know, the first step is to simply acknowledge that you could be wrong. The next step is to fill yourself with the Word of God and start applying that to your life, your beliefs, your conclusions, and what you say and do.
The Roman Catholic Church condemned men and women who used to suggest the earth rotated around the sun. It seemed irreverent to even think that the earth is not the center of the universe.
In earlier days, people had the same reaction to the idea that the earth was round.
How about the discovery of magnetic rocks. They were believed to have had a spell put on them by a sorcerer.
Well, today we know the earth is round and it DOES rotate around the sun, and most of us have occult pieces of rock in our refridgerators keeping them shut, in in our compases, divining which way is North.
Just remember that next time you reject something as false just because you've always heard it was false, or because you've never been convinced otherwise.
What should our frame of reference be concerning things like that? Well, it should be the same as everything else in our life -- to hear and obey the Word of God.
The Bible tells us to "test the spirits" to see what is of God and what is not. I guess that would rule out a round earth and magnetic stones from being evil.
The point is that, while you might have been controlled in the past BY your past, today you can start breaking free!
In the days to come, we're going to see every frame of reference used for a common deception. Every one, that is, besides the RIGHT one.
Some through science, some through meditation, some through gut feelings, some through various experiences, some through just reading books, including those containing quotes from the Bible. But the day is quickly approaching on which we will think mankind is evolving -- past the hate, past the violence, past the war, past materialism, past spiritual ignorance.
We already have, carefully woven into our frame of reference, the ideas that positive is always good and negative is always bad. If you want good things in life, you must have a positive mental attitude. Thinking anything negative is thought to change not only your own life, but the atmosphere around you.
Actually, that's true. You are like a transmitter, and your mindset lights up the world around you. But judging what is positive and what is negative once again is subjective to the judge's frame of reference.
To the one who believes mankind is basically good and that evil and violence come from low self esteem, it would make sense that those who believe mankind is basically evil, incapable of true good, and in need of someone to save them from their sins, maybe those who think such things are holding back the evolution of the world with their "negative thinking."
2 Corinthians 2:15 and 16 (NKJV) says that "...we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life."
To those who are perishing, we who hold fast to the True Gospel and the Word of God smell like death. Like negativity. Like a force that is, through our negativity and doubt, holding back the human race from evolving to the next level.
Through the four years we've been ministering here through the virtual world, we've seen quite a few people come and go. They leave when we say something offensive. They just want to hear what they consider positive. Their frame of reference is not completely based upon the Word of God.
If it were, then hearing that we are all sinners condemned to eternal judgement, but Jesus shed his blood to pay the price for our sins, and be remaining in him, we are seen by God as righteous; hearing that would sound like something positive; the part about our sinfulness and depravity, because it is the truth; and the part about Jesus shedding his blood, because it means we can be made right with God despite how twisted and wicked we have become.
How you see and react to those statements depends upon your frame of reference. I urge you to make sure you are founded upon the truth, before you die or Jesus returns and there is no more time.
Yes, it won't be long before the Bible as we know it is banned, the preaching of the true Gospel is outlawed, and those who refuse to receive the mark of this new age of godhood will be put to death so as to remove their negative hinderances from the earth.
And if you are trusting what you experience during meditation, or what you hear from the scientific community, or what the facts and figures say, or what your gut feelings tell you, then no matter what you think now, you WILL be deceived. You will be on the wrong side. The Christians being killed will no longer look like martyrs to you, but will look like bitter haters who are holding back peace and love from sweeping through all of humanity.
And if you think you'd never do that because you FEEL as though you'd never do that, then you are trusting your feelings, and they can make a 360 degree change without your even knowing what happened.
But if your foundation is the Word of God, and you refuse to compromise what it says, water it down, rewrite it to sound more positive, or extract the parts you think support what you feel is right -- if you love it, live it, eat and breathe it, obey it, if your every belief is because of what it says, and if you trust IT, and NOT your understanding of it, then you have a foundation. And you can stand.
I'd like anyone here today who's part of the ministry team to come stand at the front now, as the rest of us stay in an attitude of surrender to God's Holy Spirit.
*** listen to the audio for wrap-up ***