Dangers Facing the church in the Twenty First Century Part Two
MAN’S REFUSAL TO UNDERSTAND GOD.
A couple of weeks ago I began telling you about some of the dangers facing the church in the 21st Century. I only talked about one: ignorance. Tonight, I’m going to talk about another one.
I’m going to talk about the Genesis Factor first, and then about modern man. What is the Genesis Factor? It is a factor that tells how it all got started, and how it factors into everything today.
Proverbs 1:7 says The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and understanding. Adam and Eve feared God when they were first made, to be sure. But somewhere something happened. Sin entered the picture. And man has been trying to justify sin ever since. Denominationalists love to say that man can=t help it when they sin. They are born in sin.
Did not God say after each day of creation that it was Good? Not only that, but after God made Man, he said it was VERY GOOD. How can the heavenly Father, who cannot sin, make a sinful man, and say that it was very good.
One of the great dangers of the church in the 21st century is MAN’S REFUSAL TO UNDERSTAND GOD.
I. Hereditary Total Depravity. Ecc. 3:11 put it this way: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; Yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
To justify the sins of man, Denominationalists came up with a fancy word: Total Hereditary Depravity, and blamed Adam for every sin that every man on the face of the earth commits. This doctrine says that we are born in sin. Somehow we inherited sin from Adam. This is not fair. Adam didn’t commit every sin in the world. He committed one sin. Only one. But then what was Adam=s second sin? He blamed what he did on the woman. What did the woman do? She blamed her sin on the serpent. Man doesn’t want to take the blame for the sin he commits. Everyone wants to blame someone else for the sin they commit. The result of that sin was that man was kicked out of the garden. We are under the RESULT of Adam’ sin. We don’t bear his sin. If I picked a fruit off that tree, I don’t remember it.
If Total Hereditary Depravity is true, then God creates evil. John 8:44 says AYou are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Does this passage mean that the Devil created anybody? No! Or consider this passage THE wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth. Ps 58:3-4. Can babies speak? NO! But they use passages like this to support their depraved doctrine. Hereditary Total Depravity. The only depravity is the one that says such a thing exists. Why mention this doctrine? Because it is one of the greatest dangers facing the Earth in the 21st Century. It’s not that so man members of the church believe it., but that the rest of the religious world does.
II. Evolution. In modern times there has been another try to justify the sins of man. They call this Darwinism, or Evolution. In Gen. 1:20 where the Bible says “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. This is not a proof for evolution. “Bring forth” does not mean to come out of. How could man have come from a fish if the fish were created the fifth day and man came along two days later?
A. If Evolution were true, they would have to explain which fish we are supposed to come from B a snail or a whale. Then they leave out a link. They say there=s a missing link. Yes, there is. The Dinosaur. So here we have a snail coming out of the ocean, turning into an alligator, then turning into a Tyrannosaurus Rex, then turning into a monkey, then turning into a man. If man came from the fishes, there is just as much proof that man came from the Fowls of the air@. The beasts were created the sixth day. Why not have man coming from the beasts? Why not a cow? What about every creeping thing. At least >every creeping thing was created the say day man was. Gen. 1:25-26
If Evolution were true, why couldn’t man have come from a tree? Or anything else in the plant kingdom? There is not an evolutionist anywhere who would attempt to claim this kind of evolution. But the theory remains consistent. It all started in the ocean with just one cell. Can you believe that? Where in the world did the one cell come from? Survival of the fittest. If Evolution were true, Man would have no reason to exist!!
The decision to make man was no afterthought. It was no cover-up for a mistake God already made. It was no accident necessitated by developing conditions. God did not plan one thing and come up with another!! Gen 1:26-2:1 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
We see from the Bible that man had five roles: 1) be fruitful 2) multiply 3) replentish 4) subdue 5) rule
Man’s job from the beginning was to bear fruit. What is that fruit? What is our job now? The same job!! To bear fruit. We are to multiply. How? By marrying and having babies! Now I want you to get a point. We are to replentish. That word means to give back. That means something was already there! Man’s fourth job was to subdue the earth and everything in it. Man’s fifth job was to rule over all the earth and over every thing in it B the fish, the birds, and all the beasts. There is not one beast, bird, or fish, that man hasn’t subdued and ruled. And this has nothing to do with Evolution! It’s not that the members of the church believe pure Evolution, but the rest of the world does. And a lot of the members of the church believe a thing called Theistic Evolution.. This is like saying “I only believe in Evolution in that God helped it along. This is one of the great challenges the church faces in the 21st Century. And a lot of people who call themselves Christians are falling for it!
A few quick points about evolution before we leave.
Man was fashioned with deliberation and counsel. Gen. 1:26 says ALet US make man. They already knew what they were going to do. All three members of the Godhead were involved in the creation of man.
i) Plato’s definition of man was A two legged animal without feathers. Diogenes brought him a plucked chicken, threw it down, and said “Here’s you a man. Neither one were Christians, but it illustrates the point.
ii) Man’s brain is all out of proportion to the mental needs of the highest of any animal. The weight of the largest brain of a gorilla is less than half that of the average man.
iii) An Oxford Scientist, a Dr. Romanes, collected facts on the reasoning powers from every known species and found that all together, they did not surpass the intelligence of a 15 month old child.
iv) Man has been defined as a Atool using animal. No animal can use a tool intelligently, but only man can make the very tool he uses.
v) No animal is able to devise and enjoy sports and keep to the rules he has devised.
vi) No animal is able to produce fire except man, from the earliest recorded history.
vii) Some animals may mimic the human voice but they cannot create words, and have a decided, understood meaning behind those words.
viii) Only man has any Spiritual concept and the ability to worship God. What evolutionist would dare preach Christ to an ape? Religion has been shown to enhance peoples lives. It has stopped the spread of slavery within 50 years of Pentecost.
ix) Only man is master of his fate. Only man is master of the fate of animals.
x) It used to be argued that the blood of an ape and the blood of man were the same. Exhaustive tests showed that the blood of a monkey was far inferior. No man in his right mind could consent to a blood transfusion with a monkey or any other animal. In Gen 1, Moses tells us that there are three kinds of flesh: That of fish, that of birds, and that of the beasts of the field. Man=s flesh is different from all the others.
xi) If Evolution is true:
(1) At point does the irresponsible passion of an animal turn into moral obligations?
(2) At what point is this animal made into the image of God?
(3) At what point does the Spiritual nature appear?
(4) This is the killer point: How far back does the blood of Christ take effect? To the original cell in the ocean?
III. Another of the greatest dangers facing the church of the 21st Century is Man=s refusal to understand God. Last time we talked about what God requires and some places in the Bible where Christians are supposed to know certain things. I want to turn my attention now to some things we need to understand. The writer of Proverbs tells us AWith all thy getting, get understanding.@ Pr. 4:7 But mankind and the Denominationalists tell us that we can misunderstand 40,000 ways and still be all right. Sad to say, even those who claim to be the churches of Christ are numbered among them.
A. Itching Ears. 2 Tim 4:3-4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”
Brother Binion, what does this mean? It means that people want their gospel taught just they way they want it: The Burger King Way. Not only do the denominations want it their way. This is why there are denominations in the first place) But the churches of Christ have fallen into the same trap. Here’s some examples:
i) “All the church talks about is money, so I think I’ll leave” Does this mean that the church is singling you out demands money from you every time they see you? If you’re giving all you can give, you’re giving all you can give. We’ve had people leave this church because All they talk about is money. If that’s true, then I guess I’m guilty as well, because all I talk about is money, and anything else the Bible talks about. If it is a legitimate complaint, take it to others, and if there are two or three witnesses, there might or might not be a problem. The truth is, the Bible talks more about money than almost any other subject. Those that have itching ears on this point must have a problem with their own giving. They have a problem with God, not me.
2. I know someone who wants to hear a sermon on divorce and remarriage every time they go to church. If that subject isn’t talked about, they’re ready to leave the church, and go somewhere else. If that subject is talked about, it better be the way they want it said, or they’ll say AI CAN’T GO TO CHURCH THERE, THEY TEACH FALSE DOCTRINE.
ii) I once spoke at a church where said “Most Baptists believe “once saved, always saved”. I was chastized by an elder who said “My brother could have been in that audience and you would have offended him.. Don’t ever mention a denomination by name again. What I said was true. That Elder had itching ears. With all due respect, that elder needed to step down. Jesus offended a lot of people. I’m not Jesus, I’ve been told. But neither am I supposed to have the spirit of timidity. It’s my job to tell it like it is. We’ve got enough milque-toast preachers now. That’s why the church isn’t growing like it ought to.
iii) There are too many policemen and judges in the church. Some people are so proud of what they believe they want to make sure you believe the same way they do. If you don’t they’re just the ones who’s going to tell you, you’re going to hell. It’s true that there are among the churches of Christ some who are teaching false doctrine. If this is true, it needs to be dealt with. But first we need to determine if what is being taught is contrary to the gospel of Christ. If not, they need to quit being policeman. They get so caught up in the church argument that they destroy everyone around them. We are not policemen, and we are not judges. Our job is to preach the gospel, not murder it. It’s like Moses and the rock. He was to speak to the rock, not hit it to make sure the people know who is in control.
iv) On the other hand, there are the milque-toast preachers and members that will put up with just about anything. These are the ones who wouldn’t know false doctrine if it slapped them in the face. This is the reason I could never be a member of a denomination, even if I could. Some worship on the wrong day. Some worship the wrong way. Some worship the wrong things. Some don’t have the Lord’s Supper, and thus don’t honor the Lord on His day. Some pray with music. Some sing with music. Some want to fall down in order to get up. Some want to foam at the mouth. Some want to honor Mary more than Jesus. And on and on.
But what is sadder than anything is the number of churches of Christ who believe there’s nothing wrong with any of this. They want to do things just because the denominations do it. They are not grounded in the faith because there is no faith to ground. If the elders are in sin, they can’t see it, because they don’t see the difference between a public sin and private sin.
5. Members of the churches of Chris get so caught up in what they’ve been taught, they forget that they’re responsible for what they believe, not the one who taught them. It has been the undeclared policy among churches of Christ for years to stay out of politics. This is true. CHURCHES HAVE NO PLACE PROMOTING POLITICS OF ANY KIND. But in doing so, churches of Christ have ignored a basic lesson. If Christians ignore the world, the world will make slaves of us. Look what happened in Russia. In 1907, the Red Army marched across the Land unopposed in their ungodliness because the population said “I don’t watch the news, and I’m proud of it.” Christians said “We need to stay out of politics.” And the people of Russia were slaves for 70 years because of ignorance and a lack of understanding. Even a casual reading of the Old Testament should convince anyone that we need to be interested in and participate in politics. Not as a church, but as Christians. But it is a shame for any church to use their pulpit to promote any politician or party. Christians all over the land want to know how we ever got someone like Bill Clinton. It’s because the church has said “We don’t belong in Politics. God tells us to obey those who have the rule over you. If you don’t want to obey someone like Bill Clinton, then see to it he doesn’t get in office in the first place.
IV Another One of the greatest dangers the church faces in the 21st Century is Lack of Understanding the Will of God.
b) Ps 14:1-4 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.
c) All of us like to think we understand God. We will never, ever be able to fully understand God. The more we meditate on God and His Word, the more we will understand. Ps 73:13-17 Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,”I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
Why is it that people do not understand? Isa 6:9-10 God said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”
In Isaiah we find these words: Isa 44:18 They do not know, nor do they understand, for He has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see and their hearts so that they cannot comprehend.
Denominationalists insist that we cannot understand the Bible unless the Holy Spirit guide us. Haven’t they ever read in Eph. 5:17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is NASU. Rather than not being able to understand the Bible, we are commanded to understand it.
Ps. 111:10 says “all who follow His precepts have understanding.” Think about that and then turn to Ps. 119:100-104 “I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.” NIV
How do we get understanding? Pr. 2 “My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones. Then you will discern righteousness and justice And equity and every good course. For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you”, NASU
We find that a man of understanding holds his tongue. Pr. 11:12; A patient man has great understanding Pr 14:9. We also find in Proverbs that a man who ignores discipline despises himself. Also in Proverbs we find that a fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in giving others his own opinion. Pr 18:2
We often wonder why everyone don’t see the Bible as we do. But then we know how to interpret the Bible, right? The truth is, all the other denominations think they know the truth also. Is it true that we can interpret the truth of the Bible our own way and still be all right? The Bible says “There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death”. Why does not everyone see the Bible as we do? Because Mark 4:11-12 “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN.” NASU
The difference is, they don’t want to see. They don’t want to understand. We have a warning from Paul. It goes like this: 1 Tim 6:3-6 “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” NASU
Wanna know the truth about this passage? To me it says more about the policemen, the judges, of the church of Christ than it does about denominationalism. The denominationalisms say “leave us alone. Take the general themes of the bible and dwell on that.”
There is a way back to God. It is waiting for you. Jesus said “come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden.”. Man has sins he never dreamed of. Do you want to be a person of understanding? You can you know. The person of the most understanding of all is the person who has come out of denominationalism. How do I know that? The bible tells me that too. In Jer 31:19 it says “After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast, I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’NIV
It’s O.K. though. As long as a person learns the ways of God. God is the judge, not us. Even Jesus was not sent to judge, but that is another lesson. If you need to come to Jesus, come to him now, for any reason, come now. The invitation is for you. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms. Come now, while we stand and sing.