The God Factor
Posted on 04/25/2010 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:
*** there are no public prayer requests this week ***
Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee,
Op'ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav'n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow'ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o'er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.
SALVATION BELONGS TO OUR GOD
Salvation belongs to our God
Who sits upon the throne
And unto the lamb
Be praise and glory
Wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength
Be to our God
Forever and ever
Be to our God
Forever and ever
Be to our God
Forever and ever, amen
And we the redeemed shall be strong
In purpose, and unity
Praise and glory
Wisdom and thanks
Honor and power and strength
HOLY HOLY HOLY
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.
Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.
I LOVE YOU LORD
I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
Last week, we talked about "De-volution." We took a look at the types of churches Jesus addressed chapters two and three of the book of Revelation: the Loveless Church, the Persecuted Church, the Compromising Church, the Corrupt Church, the Dead Church, the Faithful Church, and the Lukewarm Church... and we considered whether we have evolved past the negatives, or whether we hav gotten worse.
Of course someone in the world might, and many have, say it's the Christians who are getting worse, while people free from their dilusions are actually getting better. Of course this isn't based solely on fact, but goes back to what we talked about week before last -- their frame of reference -- their worldview.
Today, I'd like for us to piggyback on last week's topic, except this week, let's take a look at the WORLD, whether mankind as a whole is evolving, and then let's throw in a very important factor, which is the title of today's message. And that one important missing piece is: "The God Factor."
Several years ago, I worked for a short time at a ski lodge cafeteria. In the kitchen, the radio was almost always playing a local station called "Kiss FM." They play some really offensive music which talks quite excessively and openly about various sexually-immoral things.
One day, I'd had more than I could stand, and I commented to a co-worker that, after hearing the words of these songs for awhile, I've come to the conclusion that we're not E-volving, but rather we're DE-volving. Of course he said he disagrees.
But as I listened to the words of the songs, I couldn't help noticing the animal nature that was being portrayed. They were unfaithful and controlled by their urges and instincts. The myth of evolution leads us to believe that as mankind evolves, we become more intelligent and logical, and less controlled by our less-evolved animal nature. And yet, we as a society seem to be more and more controlled by the animal nature past which we claim we are continuing to evolve.
Adultery is now commonplace, and thought by more and more people to be perfectly natural and okay. Homosexuality is promoted as something good and right, something to be celebrated, even in the Church. Sex before marriage is now seen as something that everyone does, unless they are backwards, stupid, or mentally challenged.
Our morals are going out the same window out of which we're throwing Jesus, and history tells us that when society loses their moral foundation, they are destroyed from the inside out.
Even those who claim to still hold on to intelligence and logic embrace things that are completely insane.
I'll give you an example. A few days ago, I had a short back-and-forth with someone on Facebook who claimed the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. I replied by quoting the Mayflower Compact and posting a couple of links to historical documents, including the first state constitution which was used as the foundation for all the others.
These documents very clearly declare the centrality of God and the Christian Faith to the operation and purpose of our government. The Mayflower Compact even gives the spreading of the Christian Faith as one of the reasons for founding this country. This, coupled with the fact that prayer was a very regular event in governmental affairs, makes it pretty plain that when the constitution talks about what we call the separation of Church and State, it is NOT saying God has no place in the state, but was saying the State must not make any religion mandatory, and it has no right to control religion.
Was was the person's response? Well, this self-proclaimed historian said that she doesn't have a history book written by God and translated by monks.
Have we evolved? Can we carry on a consistently intelligent conversation even when we have no answer for an opposing argument?
Throughout history, when people are confronted with something irrefutable which challenges their sacred beliefs, whether those beliefs are religious or secular, they respond with anger, ridicule, name-calling, and sometimes with violence.
And this is true both in the world and in the Church. Who killed most of the prophets? Who stirred up the mob to have Jesus crucified? Who stoned Stephen to death? It was people in the Church.
Of course those people were missing a very important element, which is why they reacted the way they did, and we'll talk about that missing piece here in just a few minutes.
How about non-religious people? Last night, my wife and I watched the documentary created by Ben Stein called "Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed." If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend you do. It will be worth the two or three bucks you'll pay to rent it, or if you have Netflix, you can watch it instantly for free.
Anyway, it is an open-minded look at whether the idea of Intelligent Design is allowed to be considered in scientific circles and universities. There are many problems with pure Darwinianism, scientifically speaking, that the principles of Intelligent Design could address. But even mentioning it in non-negative terms (even neutrally) is a sure way to lose your job, whether you are a scientist or a teacher.
One of the people interviewed, when questioned about whether he would be willing to consider any evidence related to Intelligent Design, replied that perhaps a highly-evolved alien form of life came to earth and designed life here.
Isn't that amazing? He said he's pretty much certain there can't be a God, but he thinks it's quite possible that aliens evolved by Darwinian evolution and came to earth to design us.
Genius alians? Sure, why not. God? That's absurd.
Tell me, where is the intellectual honesty in that?
If you want to see a good example of how we're the same as we have been for thousands of years, just take a look at any rhetoric you choose.
When refering to pro-lifers, the mainstream media might refer to them as right-wing extreemists, religious fanatics, or, at best, anti-abortionists. The last one, anti-abortionists, is in stark contrast to how they refer to those who support abortion, which is with the label "Pro-Choice Advocates."
Personally, I prefer to call myself "Pro-Choice" as well. I mean, let's think about it... There are more choices to condider than the woman's. There is also the choice of the unborn baby who's about to be murdered. Does the baby want to be aborted? Of course not, no baby wants to die.
So you have the choice of the baby who wants to live, and the choice of the mother who wants the baby to die. If you take the age factor and relationship away, you could say there are two people: one wants to kill the other, and the other wants to live. The one who wants to live is completely innocent, while the one who wants to end their life is guilty of intent to kill. Which one's choice should a court of law, or any person with a conscience, support?
So yes, I am pro-choice, and I support the choice of the innocent unborn baby OVER the choice of those who want the baby dead. Which, of course, means I am anti-abortion, just like I am anti-murder, anti-rape, and anti-any other crime against another.
But this viewpoint is considered taboo. If you agree with the status quo, which is to support the woman's right to murder a baby... er, I mean the woman's right to "choose," then you are portrayed as intelligent and fair-minded. If you support the baby's right as a human being to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, you are seen as a right-winged religious fanatic who wants to take away the constitutional rights of women.
Have we evolved beyond close-mindedness? No. Nor have we evolved past calling other people names or branding them with negative labels if they disagree with us, no matter how valid their disagreement might be.
It was only a few years ago that Hitler came into power. He tortured and murdered millions of people. And most of us loath him and think of him as a lunatic. But let's consider that he did not act alone. No one person can take over a nation and kill millions of people all by themselves.
The truth is that Hitler had the support of men, women, and children. He had the support of judges, lawyers, doctors, therapists, and even pastors. Many so-called Christians were on his side.
Hitler would have had a problem with today's message, because he firmly believed that humanity had evolved from primordial ooze and was evolving still today. In fact, that's why he killed so many people, because he believed they were less than ideal.
Even Darwin, in one of his writings, made the point that no farmer allows his weakest animals to breed, but only the best. Hitler picked up on that and took it to its logical conclusion. If we are all an accident, if we just came about by chance, then there is no right and there is no wrong, there are only things that happen. If someone like Hitler kills millions of "inferior" people, then that's just a natural part of evolution, and if we try to stop him, then we are holding back evolution.
And it's not just Darwin and Hitler who have come up with such inhuman ideas. They abound. They are everywhere you look, all around us. And don't think for one moment that the days of leaders like Hitler are behind us. We haven't changed. Our natures are still evil, our hearts are still desperately wicked and deceitful. The fruit of sin has not gotten out of our systems.
In fact, there is only ONE way we can become better people.
Sure, there are lots of people who say they promote peace. But what does the Bible say? In 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (NKJV), we read this:
1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
Peace and safety. Do you know that promoting false peace has the same end result as siding with someone like Hitler? When we call something peace which isn't really peace, we are unknowingly promoting destruction.
Peace and safety. The goodness of man. The ever-evolving nature of little gods and goddesses walking around in human form.
Well just look at what these evolving mini-gods are doing. Are the crime rates going down, or up? Are there less murders, or more? Are there less rapes, or more? Are there less rip-offs, or more? Is there less lying, or more?
Is there less adultery? Is there less deceitfulness? Is there less of flesh, or is there more and more? And more?
Don't fool yourself by telling yourself that the human race is evolving. The farther we go from obedience from God, the more depraved we become.
And that brings us to the missing piece, and the topic of our message today, and that is the missing factor... More specifically, The God Factor.
The religious leaders who wanted Jesus killed didn't have it.
The synagog of the Freedman who wanted Stephen stoned didn't have it.
Hitler and those who were on his side didn't have it.
The hippies and progressives who protested just wars didn't have it.
The Muslims who masterminded 9-11 didn't have it.
Let's get real and honest with ourselves here...
The serial killers don't have it.
The abortion doctors don't have it.
The marxists in the White House don't have it.
(Come on, now!)
The new world order folks don't have it.
The priests mollesting children don't have it.
If the truth be known, most of the people on the earth don't have it.
It's the God factor.
Not "A" god, or knowledge about God...
Not a religion or a system of belief...
Not a bunch of teachings or a code of right and wrong...
But God. Jehovah God. A real, living relationship with God, through His Son Jesus Christ.
A real relationship.
A living relationship.
On His terms.
As His servant.
As His friend.
As His bride.
And who might He be?
He is our Master.
He is our Savior.
He is our Lord.
He is the Vine, and we are the branches.
We abide in Him, not in ourselves.
We obey Him, not our own desires.
We seek to please Him, not to please ourselves.
It's the God factor. And it's the only way you and I can really evolve. Without him, we are the same old unregenerated, unforgiven, rotten, deceitful, desperately wicked, and hopelessly lost sinners, becoming worse and worse the farther we stray from God, while being convinced that we are only getting better and better and better.
Let's face it people, brothers and sisters and friends: without God, we are the sorriest bunch of animals creation has ever seen.
But WITH God, we are royalty.
WITH God, we are kings and priests.
WITH God, we are sons and daughters of the King of the Universe.
WITH God, we are being changed from glory to glory into the perfect image of His Perfect Son.
Where are YOU? Are you all the way in, or are you fooling yourself? There is no compromising with God.
Why do you think He said in James 4:4 that whoever is a friend of the world is the enemy of God? You can't hold on to your favorite pet sins and expect to have the God Factor. If you're not actively seeking to sin no more, then you are a friend of the world.
Don't fuss at ME for that. I didn't write the Bible. It wouldn't beat me up so badly if I had. But it also wouldn't save me from death and keep me on the path of Life!
Where are you? Are you getting better or are you getting worse? Without the God Factor, it doesn't matter which one you choose to believe. You can only get better with God.
Without Him, you can get nothing but worse.
I'd like those on the ministry team to come stand at the front, and let's close this service with a time of ministry and prayer.
And if you have never come to Jesus, or if you have come on your own terms, or if you have given him only part of your life, or if you have gone your own way, then I'd like to echo the invitation of the Spirit: COME!
Revelation 22:17 (NKJV)
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Do you desire? Then come. Take the water of life. Take the water of life freely.
Just cry out to Jesus. Cry out to Him. In your own words, just speak to Him right now. "Jesus! Please forgive me for my sins! I am a sinner, and I am not getting better, but worse. I desperately need you! I cannot do it on my own! I accept your gift, your sacrifice, the price you paid for me on the cross. I surrender my sins, my lifestyles, and even my hopes and dreams to you. Come bring life to my dead spirit. Give me life, so that I am born again. And set me on the path you have for me to walk, as I fellowship daily with you. Thank you Jesus! Amen."
This altar is open, and I'd like to invite all of you to get out of your seats and come gather at the front for a time of prayer. If you'd like someone to pray or speak with you, feel free to instant message me or someone else on the ministry team.
Whenever you need to go, you're dismissed, and for those who can stay until after this time at the altar, you're all invited to make your way, when you're done here, to the room on your left for a bit of fellowship.
Come, and let's make sure we are all walking on the straight and narrow path, and that we are walking hand in hand with God.