07 December 2006

The world is wrong about...

Are ya glad to know God? And aren't you glad you know Him the way you know Him? You know, it's a shame the world doesn't know who God is. The world thinks God is this angry, bitter old king sitting on his throne about a million miles away. It kinda reminds me of a story I read a while back. I don't remember it word for word, but I'll do the best I can

A woman was driving home late at night, when her car began sputtering. She drove as far as she could, hoping and praying to get as close to her house as possible. She hadn't gotten too far, when her car completely died. She called for a tow truck from her cell phone, rolled up her windows, locked her doors, and waited. Then, she noticed a large man walk up and knock on her driver's side window. Not paying attention to what he was saying, she motioned, "It's OK, a tow truck's coming". But the man didn't go away. He was even more insistent. "Lady, get out of the car". He pounded again on the window. "Go away!!!" she shouted, growing fearful. By now, the man was past agitated, and he reared back, busted out her window, undid her seat belt, and pulled her out of her car, and into the weeds nearby...just seconds before her car was demolished by an oncoming train.

She had the wrong idea about the man pounding on her window. And the world has some wrong ideas about a lot of things. Today, I'd kinda like to do a true-and-false about the world's ideas versus the truth.

they think GOD is some crotchety old dictator just waiting to send people to hell. Well, if that's who GOD is--and it isn't--then there are some parts of the Bible that just don't make sense. In Genesis, Abraham says "He is our Provider". In Exodus, GOD Himself says "I AM the LORD that heals thee." In 2nd Samuel 22, David calls Him his rock, his fortress, and his deliverer. In Psalm 23 GOD is our Shepherd, who leads us by green pastures and still waters. And Psalm 136, there are 26 verses, and each one ends by saying this about the LORD: His mercy endures forever. Doesn't sound like the crotchety old dictator the world makes Him out to be does it?

The way many people think about God, they think that He is just out to get 'em. That He is there to get in the way of their good time. And so many people don't--or won't--stop and think for just one moment that all the times He is knocking on the window of our lives, He is trying to save us from an eternity in hell. I hear people say "well, God's got more important things to do than worry about little old me." Wrong. You see, we human beings were the last things God created. And He knows each one of us, He loves each one of us, and when one of us hurts, He is there waiting to heal that pain. When one of us rejoices in life, or in our salvation, then He rejoices with us.

Hebrews 2:6--How poor a creature is man, yet thou dost remember him! He knows how many hairs are on our head. in my case that might not be too difficult. 1st Peter 3:12--The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous and His ears are open unto their prayers. He sees us!! He hears us!! Don't ever let anyone tell you He doesn't!!!

I've read and heard about people who say "Well, I think He was a good man, a wise teacher. But I don't believe He was the Son of GOD". What kind of nonsense is that? If our Lord Jesus Christ wasn't the Son of GOD, then not only is Jesus a liar, but GOD is a liar. And make no mistake about it, GOD is not a liar. And neither is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 17:1--"Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may also glorify Thee." That's pretty hard to misinterpret. But as we all know, Satan sure knows how to twist the Scriptures around. GOD Himself said in Luke 3:22--This is MY beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Period!! End of conversation!! Case closed!! Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of GOD!! Peter in Matthew 16 said that Jesus was "...the Christ, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD." Now, to say that Jesus was not the Son of GOD is just plain ridiculous!! In fact, just to show you how ridiculous that is, in Matthew 8:29, even the demons admit that Christ is the Son of GOD. And, behold, they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?"

Another lie about Christ is He was just this kinda....you know....laid back... go with the flow.....don't make waves.....wrong. I'm not going to give you the speech, but He let loose against the scribes and Pharisees in the 23rd chapter of Matthew with a scolding that would almost make ya feel sorry for the poor guys. 8 times He calls out "woe to you scribes and Pharisees! hypocrites!" He calls them blind, serpents, a family of snakes, whitewashed tombs. How'd you like someone calling you a whitewashed tomb? "Hey, looking good these days! Too bad you're rotting on the inside!" Let me tell y'all a little something. Jesus was not a wimp. And He didn't turn a blind eye to sin. That's another lie we hear. That Jesus was all about "love thy neighbor". Well, if you love your neighbor, you're gonna bust out their window and pull them out of the car before the train plows through them, Amen?

And Jesus loves us enough to warn us of the consequences of our sins. In the Book of John, chapter 5, He heals a man, and says, "Go, and sin no more, otherwise something worse will happen." He didn't say, "Go on, try to be good. But, if you wanna sin,ya old knucklehead, it's no biggie!!" Yet to hear the world tell it these days, that's what loving your neighbor means. NO!! Loving your neighbor means telling them, "You're doing something you shouldn't be doing, and if you don't quit, you're going to have to answer to God for it". In a kind and humble way. You don't go around beating them with a broomstick. You use the example of Christ. And you tell them in a loving, yet firm, way.

This one is a sermon all by itself. There are so many wrong ideas, even in churches. Let me make this real brief--the only, THE ONLY way to heaven is to have your sins forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ, you turn your back on your old sins, and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and giving the rest of your earthly years to GOD. Don't make the mistake many people do. "Well, Jesus just ain't for me right now. Maybe later." I've heard about so many young people who said that, and said, "I'm young, I'm having fun." and gone out and died in a car wreck. 2nd Corinthians 6:2 tells us that Today is the day of salvation.

Another lie we hear is , "Well, I don't want to be bound up in a bunch of rules". What they fail to realize is they are already a slave--to sin. 1st Corinthians 7:22--If you are called [to Christ] while you are a slave, you are the Lord's free man; if you are called [to Christ] while you are a free man, you are Christ's slave. It's all a matter of which master we want to serve--GOD, or sin. I'll tell ya, I'd rather be a slave of GOD, than to even think that I am free, and be serving Satan.

And don't fall for the lie that we "earn" our salvation, like it's a boy scout badge or something. You help enough little old ladies across the street, you get a free ride through the pearly gates. It ain't like that. Like I said, it's only through admitting you're a sinner, believing in Christ as your Savior, and living your life for Him. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. But, once we are saved, our works make our faith perfect. That's what is says in James chapter 2. And the verse that really puts the two together is Philippians. 2:12--Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Let your salvation show by the things you do. Salvation isn't something you work into your life, but it is something you work out from your life.

If you hear nothing else today, please pay attention to this. NUMBER ONE, THERE IS NO PURGATORY. Of all the lies given to us by the Catholic church, this is one of the worst. Because once you die, that's it. You are judged, and you either go to heaven or hell. You don't go off somewhere and suffer for a few hundred years, and have your sins "purged". You either knew Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and are with Him in Paradise, or you refused Him, and you are sent away. Let me tell you the bad stuff. Some people, when they think about hell, they say, "Well, you make your own hell here on earth". Wrong. Hell is a literal place, that really exists, and trust me, you don't wanna go there. Billy Joel did a song back in the '70's, called "Only the Good Die Young." Listen to what he sang:

They say there's a heaven for those who wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
The sinners are much more fun.

Yeah, there are sinners in hell, that's what it's for. But it ain't no party. Tell me if this sounds like a party: "wailing and gnashing of teeth", "fire is never quenched, their worm never dies", "the smoke of their torment rises forever", "utter darkness", the smell of burning sulfur, the smell of decay. SOME PARTY--actually sounds like some parties I used to go to when I was younger.

Now for the good news--HEAVEN. Our pastor likes to make the point that in heaven we're not just gonna sit on a cloud and pluck our harps. If you think that meeting athletes, and celebrities, and rock stars is something, wait till you see the people you'll meet in heaven. People like Moses, Solomon, Abraham. Not only that, but we will be face-to-face with the man who allowed Himself to be beaten, tortured, nailed to a cross. The One who shed His blood so you and I and you could have an eternity with Almighty God Himself!!! If you haven't heard the song "I can only imagine", listen to these word and imagine for a moment:

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing Hallelujah will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine,
Yeah, I can only imagine.

Well, I can only imagine why people listen to the lies that the world tells them about GOD. And about Jesus. And about salvation, and heaven, and hell. But I do KNOW this: that since I know the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior, one day, when I stand in His presence, and I thank Him personally for what He did for me, and I hear those words, "well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into thy rest," I'll be glad that I stopped listening to those lies. And that when GOD started knocking at my door, I stopped resisting, and let Him in. And for those of you have let Him in, let us all say "Amen"!!

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