But Everyone's Doing It!

Posted on 05/20/2018 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

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

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A REASON TO REJOICE
by Benjamin R. Faust

I have a reason to rejoice
I have a reason to clap my hands
I have a reason to lift my voice
and sing praises to the great I Am

I have a reason to move my feet
and take the Gospel into the street
I have a reason to lose my will
and let Jesus take full control

For you have set my feet to dancin'
You have filled my heart with joy
You have freed me from my passions
and filled me with the Holy Ghost

You have set my heart on fire
Fill my soul with your desire
and Melt me Lord 'til
only you remain!


REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS
by Anonymous
addition lyrics by Benjamin Faust

Rejoice in the Lord always
and again I say rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord always
and again I say rejoice!

Rejoice, rejoice
and again I say rejoice!
Rejoice, rejoice
and again I say rejoice!

This is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice and be glad today
In His Presence is the fullness of His Joy complete
so I come and I lay my troubles and cares at the Master's feet

Not height, not depth, not the shadow of death
can ever separate me from how He Loves me with
His Joy that's overflowing as it's bubbling up
Rejoicing is the wine of God that's filling my cup


I SURRENDER ALL
by Judson W. Van DeVenter

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.


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I’m sure you’ve heard of the cliche argument made by children, “But everyone’s doing it!” or “But all the other kids’ parents let them do it.”

And we tend to think this is an easily overcome argument. After all, it doesn’t MATTER if “everyone ELSE is doing it,” it only matters if it’s the RIGHT THING for YOU.

Right?

Well today, I’d like to point out how similar to these children WE just might be, as we consider the childish antics through which OUR OWN minds go to justify what we do.

Here’s a very common example: TRAFFIC LAWS.

Have you ever been driving in a 25 MPH zone? Probably so. And if so, how fast were you driving?

Most people routinely drive at least 5 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. And it doesn’t take an anarchist or heathen to justify this by pointing out that EVERYONE drives 5 MPH over the limit, so it’s no big deal.

And you probably won’t get pulled over for 5 MPH, so the police are okay with it.

And if those whose job it is to enforce the law not only don’t penalize you for breaking it, but also break it themselves, then you’re doing nothing wrong.

But what does Romans 13:1-2 (NASB) say?

1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

But aren’t the police part of that governing authority? Absolutely. But what happens when they break OTHER laws, laws that we feel a desire to keep?

“President so-and-so lied under oath, so it’s okay for me to do the same.”

“Such-and-such a member of government raped someone, so it’s okay for me to do the same.”

The fact is, the law is the law. And how we treat the law of the land is how we treat the Laws of God.

By breaking the law, we are rebelling against the authorities who put that law in place and the authorities whose job it is to enforce that law, regardless of whether they obey it themselves or punish you for breaking it.

And no, today’s message is NOT about speeding. That’s just a great example that should hit home for most of us.

Here’s a little trivia about speed laws: in most U.S. states, the speed laws are absolute, meaning they apply even when it might be safe to break them. So it doesn’t matter if you can see no reason to not drive more quickly, or if you’re running late and think you MUST speed. The law doesn’t change just because you’re in a hurry.

But Everyone’s Doing It.

Well between the years 2007 and 2014, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 112,580 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.

According to a report by National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, drunk driving and speeding have a lot in common. Like someone driving under the influence, a driver who is speeding increases both the likelihood of being in a crash and also the likelihood that someone in or near that person’s car will be killed or seriously injured.

At a NTSB board meeting the chairman said this: “People don’t think of speeding the way that they think about some other hazardous driving behaviors. Unlike other crash factors such as alcohol impairment or unbelted occupants, speeding has few negative social consequences associated with it, and does not have a leader campaigning to increase public awareness about the issue at the national level.”

In other words, Everyone’s Doing It. It’s no big deal. Sure it’s the law, but even law enforcement doesn’t obey it, so I don’t have to either.

Not convinced? Just try obeying that law even in 25 MPH zones. And see how long it takes for someone to break another traffic law by tailgating you, or even by passing in a non-passing zone. Talk about peer pressure! You’re likely to be treated by others as a menace who is doing something wrong by doing what’s right.

And driving too closely is another one. Twenty-three percent of motor vehicle crashes are rear-end type accidents, many of which are caused by tailgating according to research compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These rear-ending accidents cause an estimated 950,000 injuries and up to 2,000 fatalities every single year.

And it doesn’t take very long on the road to realize that just about Everyone’s Doing It.

I recently was illegally passed by someone because I was driving the speed limit, and as they passed, they laid on their horn. That’s a bit extreme, but the sentiment is bubbling below the surface with just about anyone who gets behind a vehicle driving the limit.

Years ago, I heard a sermon by a popular television evangelist, Creflo Dollar, in which he was telling a story about his driver, who was taking him to an event for which he was running late.

The driver refused to break the speed limit, which is something any man or woman of God should have praised.

But instead, he dealt quite harshly with the driver, berating him for his supposedly ridiculous actions, and insisted he had BETTER break the law!

Now, most of us would agree that we should keep the law. We know the Biblical writings tell us that breaking the law of the land is rebelling against God. And we would come out strongly opposed to breaking the laws that we personally don’t break. Not only are we opposed to those particular illegal actions, but it’s also true that opposing certain sins makes us feel right, and superior to those who transgress.

But in other areas, we tend to justify our own rebellious actions, either because we think the law is stupid, or because we think we can get away with it.

Which is why most people think it’s okay to drive 5 MPH over the speed limit. You probably won’t get a ticket, so it’s okay. Right?

And here’s where we can get away from the example of speeding, at least for a couple of minutes.

And here’s a question we should ponder: Do you suppose God wants us to make choices based upon what we can get away with? Or might He desire for us to partner with His Nature and seek to please Him in everything by pursuing total surrender?

You might never get a ticket for driving 40 in a 35, and you probably aren’t going to go to hell for it.

But does that make a good basis for our choices? You won’t get in trouble, and you won’t go to hell, so it’s okay.

If we are under Law instead of Grace, then the attitude behind that statement will suffice. You see, we tend to think that legalism is strict adherence to the letter of the law rather than the spirit. And that IS the dictionary definition of the word. But by viewing legalism by the letter of the definition instead of the spirit, we are being legalistic.

Saying “I can break small laws because I am living under Grace and not under Law,” is just as legalistic as the Pharisees who found loopholes in the law to justify their actions.

God wants us to live by the Spirit, not just the Letter. This means that we embrace His Nature and surrender to “what is” -- including the temporary structures of government and law.

In legalism, we analyze the laws and often overlook the spirit behind them.

In lawlessness, we dismiss the letter of the law when it does not agree with our own subjective interpretation.

In Grace, we do not depend upon our striving or our own ability to do everything perfectly, but instead we trust fully in God, as we embrace His Nature by surrendering to the laws given to us by the governing authorities, submitting to them as unto God.

And we realize that it is not our surrender and submission that make us right with God; rather, it is our communion with God that enables that surrender.


Okay. So what about today’s topic? But Everyone’s Doing It…

We are creatures of complicated simplicity. We have countless layers of mind and its thoughts and emotions, most of them below the surface where we cannot readily see.

We may say and truly believe that our choices are not significantly shaped by the masses.

But we just might be wrong.

How about the Crusades? Surely WE would have been publicly opposed to such ungodly brutality. Right? But when you strongly believe, for any number of reasons, something is right, you don’t oppose it.

What about slavery? WE would have fought against it, without a doubt. Right? Well, the mind’s ego finds it obvious that WE would have been on the right side of history, regardless of the issue. But without being there in the same environment and history of those who supported slavery, we cannot truly know where we would have taken our stand. Everyone was doing it, including our pastors, neighbors, family, and friends. We could easily have been one of them, despite our perspective where and when we are today.

Only a few thousand years ago, God brought plagues and destruction upon the enemies of His chosen people. He shook heaven and earth, and took the lives of innocent children, to win their freedom. And yet it wasn’t long before the masses were dancing around an idol having an orgy, all because their leader was spending too long having a face-to-face meeting with God.

Without a doubt, WE would not have joined them. WE would have remained true to God. WE would not have partaken of the sexual immorality. Right?

With all these things, OF COURSE we believe we would have done the right thing. And since there is no way to prove otherwise, we feel confident in our goodness confirmed by the lack of proof that we are not as good as our minds would have us believe.

But this “me” our minds defend so thoroughly is just a fictional character. It and its personality and its beliefs and its perspectives are the result of our history, our experiences, the influence of others, and even genetics. Strip all that away and replace it with the history, experiences, influences, upbringing, and genetic tendencies of someone in the past, and WE might have supported burning heretics at the stake, or owning slaves, or bowing down to an idol and joining in an orgy.

We are not, after all, different from anyone else apart from these things. At least not the “we” that we think we are -- our personality, beliefs, perspectives, and persuasions.

We cannot credit our views on slavery, slaughter, and idol worship to our own goodness, for any goodness your temporary person might have is from God, not from you. And you, too, are influenced by the actions and attitudes of the masses.

But if you take a step back…

If you become inwardly silent and still…

If you let go of the mind and its fictional self you’ve always thought you were…

You just might see that this mind-made person is not an island unto his or her self.

Not being controlled by the society around you begins with realizing that your person IS.

You see, we defend those close to us because they are a part of our mind’s identity, just as our own person is. And we have no problem condemning others because they are NOT part of that identity.

But when we release that identity, and realize that it is the MIND, NOT YOU, we just might be able to see it in the same light as every other person.

Our person’s attitudes and beliefs are the filter through which our mind sees reality. So don’t believe that mind or identify with it. Just observe it with unattached awareness.

You know, I can see areas in which this person called Benjamin Faust has improved... And you know what? The most rapid changes have taken place since I stopped identifying as Ben.

He’s just another character in The Play. And I don't feel the need to either attack or defend him, because he is not me… Rather, he is a temporary mind-made character that is quickly passing away.

And it is SO freeing to not take him so seriously.

He can be wrong, just as all minds and their persons very often are. And because I have no need to defend his rightness, I can see those flaws and effortlessly guide the change.

From THIS perspective, I have no problem recognizing when he is wrong, and don’t get lost in his shame any more than in his delight at being right.

I can see how he has often been swayed by the “everyone” with whom he has identified, and as I release it, he starts to release it too.

In this place of Presence, God and I are One. And in this place of Timeless Rest, I can direct my person as a loving parent might direct a child. And when he feels the effects of “But Everyone’s Doing It,” we can simply take a cleansing breath and do what is right.