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Introducing Jesus: Week 32

Mosaic Boston

Religion & Spirituality

Audio Transcript: Good morning. Welcome to Mosaic Church. My name is Jan, one of the pastors here at Mosaic along with Pastor Shane and Pastor Andy. And if you're new or if you're visiting, we'd love to connect with you. We do that through the digital connection cart which you can find in the app, or on our website or if you're watching online in the comment section below. With that said, would you please pray with me over the preaching of God's holy word? Oh, holy God, I pray that you today open our eyes to the reality that is all around us, a reality of holy war, of spiritual warfare, the reality that there are two kingdoms with two kings both vying for the same throne, the throne of our hearts for now. And I pray today, Lord, that you show us that when we come to you, Jesus, when we ask for you to forgive us of our sins, to liberate us from sin, to liberate us from the shackles of sin that you also call us to submit our wills to yours for you are the great King of Kings. Lord, I pray that you give us discernment to discern truth from lies, to discern your voice from the enemies, to discern your will from that of Satan. And I pray, Lord, that you make us a people who are fearless as lions because we have the Lion of Judah with us. You are with us. And yes, Satan does come like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour, but when you are with us, you give us victory and in you, we are more than conquerors. I pray, give everyone listening now ears to hear and eyes to see this reality. And I pray, Lord, regenerate so many, transfer so many from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and Savior and King, and whose name we pray, amen. The title of the sermon today is Holy War. We're finishing our sermon series in Luke for now. We're starting a brand new series for eight weeks, next week through the Psalms, an incredible series, praying for the Lord to bless each one of us. The title of the sermon is Holy War. We are at war with an invisible enemy, an unseen enemy intent on destroying each one of us and destroying the human race. And you will never understand the events going on around you. You will never understand world history. You will never understand the world unless you understand that the world is at war, between God and Satan, good and evil, truth and error, faith and unbelief, life and death itself. It's not a physical war. Ephesians 6:12, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Do you believe in this? How can you not? We can prove that God exists by pointing to his creation, his good creation, his beautiful creation. It's pointing at love in the world and goodness, and kindness, and humanity, pointing to sacrifice and service, pointing to those who are generous in heart. We see goodness. Proof of the creator is visible in the creation. Satan is not a creator, he's a counterfeiter at best and he counterfeits in order to destroy. So, how do we prove the existence of the destroyer? We point to the destruction. It's all around us. It's all around us. We can start with world history. We can start with World War I and World War II and nuclear warfare. We can start with the Holocaust. We can do that. Or we can just look around and see the destruction around us. By the way, the tactics of the enemy of destruction have not changed. You read the Old Testament. Everyone who worshiped Baal, everyone who worshiped the idols, every single one of those societies had a pattern of child sacrifice. Why did God destroyed Jericho completely? Why did he call for the annihilation of Jericho? Because the walls of Jericho were built on the skeletons of babies. Let's point out the destruction around us, destruction of unborn humans, death-inducing destruction. The leading cause of death worldwide in 2019 that killed 42 million human beings was abortion. 8.2 million died from cancer, 13 million from other disease. How many people have died of COVID? We're told around 842,000, let's say a million. 42 million compared to 1 million. The invisible enemy is not COVID, it's Satan. And then if the baby isn't killed in the womb, he tries to destroy children as early as possible, and there's a pandemic of this. Just go to FBI's National Crime Information Center and just research how many children go missing in this country a year. Just this week, the US marshals found 39 missing children in Georgia under Operation Not Forgotten. Most likely, you haven't heard of that. There's a major police operation also this week in Western Australia about 140 underage victims with 11 arrests. Why are children going missing and what's happening to them? Demonic, it's demonic. We can all agree with that. And then if he doesn't destroy children there, he tries to destroy children with lies about food, lies about sexuality, with pornography, lies about marriage, lies about families, lies about sin in general which leads to generational sin and you get the families' destruction of churches, destruction of cities, destruction of society and ultimately, Satan's goal is the destruction of the human race. Study evil. Open your eyes to the evil around us, the evil that is not shown us, but it's there. And if you visited other countries, if you're from another country, you know it's there because it's more visible than it is here. Study evil and you will never be more sure that God exists. So, our only hope is Jesus Christ. 1 John 3:8, "Whoever makes the practice of sinning is of the devil for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil," to destroy the destroyer. That's why Christ came and that's why it's so important to understand in Christ ministry, how he fought with Satan and demons and how that applies to our life today. I want to look at Luke 11:14. We'll begin with 14 through 23. Luke 11:14, "Now he, Jesus, was casting out a demon that was mute. And when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, 'He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,' while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven.'" "But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? And if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.'" This is the reading of God's holy, inherent, infallible, authoritative word. May he write these eternal truths upon our hearts. Three points, first we look at Jesus versus Satan, then we look at Satan versus people, and then three, hearing keep the word, those are weapons. First of all, Jesus versus Satan, we see in verse 14 that Jesus cast out a demon that was mute. So, this demon was causing physical pain, physical ailment to the person, to this man and the person couldn't speak and the people marveled. So, Jesus is the Son of God. That's clear from the gospels and he was sent to deliver us from Satan. And the battle with the demon exposes another battle, a battle between truth and lies, between the religious authorities and Jesus. The demon submits to Jesus Christ, the religious authorities do not, because they understand if one greater than them has come, if one who has power over the demonic has come, they need to relinquish their authority and submit to him. They do not, so they begin to question him. They don't have teachable open minds. They're closed, they're accusatory. They don't question the fact of the casting out of the exorcism. That's undeniable. They question the source of his power. They just got a sign but they want another sign. They're asking for more evidence and there's never enough evidence for the rebellious heart, not even enough evidence for them that he's reading their minds. Even that's not enough. Verse 17, "But he knowing their thoughts said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls.'" That's the famous line that Abraham Lincoln used in a speech before the Civil War. It was from scripture. Verse 18, "'And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they will be your judges.'" Incredible logic. Jesus cast out demon, and then his enemies, the authorities say, "He's doing it by the power of Satan," that's Beelzebul. And Jesus just says, "If Satan goes to war with Satan, how can his kingdom stand?" And he says, "Your sons, by whose authority do your sons cast out demons?" He's talking about the 72 disciples in chapter 10 where Jesus gives them authority to cast out demons and they come back and they said, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name." And Jesus says, "Don't rejoice that the demons obey you, but rejoice instead that your names are written in the book of life." And Jesus sees through the stratagem, he sees through the Pharisees or the religious authorities and he sees Satan's strategy. So Satan, sometimes he goes to war by possessing people. Sometimes Jesus goes to war by possessing ideologies and he sees with the Pharisees, though they're not possessed by Satan, they are being influenced by Satan through a demonic idea and he sees the third temptation of Satan in the desert. Remember in the desert, Jesus goes, he's tempted after fasting for 40 days. And the third temptation was, "Jesus, go to the pinnacle of the temple and jump down." Jump down. Reveal your power for show. And Jesus doesn't. They've already seen a miracle. The question is will they continue to rebel or submit. And the reprobate mind is perpetually stuck in this debate mode. I need a little more evidence. I need to study this a little more. I need to read a few more books. I need to ask a few more questions and you're always stuck in this limbo of debating and you never pick a side. And that's why Jesus, this text, he lands it with verse 23, "Whoever is not with me is against me, whoever does not gather with me scatters." What he's saying is there's only two sides, there's only two kingdoms. It's the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of Satan. Satan is a real spiritual being, not just some impersonal force for evil. He was an angel created by God who rebelled against God and he commands a host of evil spirits. Those are called demons, and here Satan is called Beelzebul. Beelzebul was a derivation that goes back to Baal worship. We see this in 2 Kings 1 where King Ahaziah, he falls. He's hurt and he wants to know what's going to happen with him. Is he going to die? Instead of going and asking the prophets or asking God himself, he sends people to inquire of Beelzebub, the god of Ekron, the lord of the flies. Why was Beelzebub called the lord of the flies because this was a Hebrew idiom that was derogatory to show that if you worship this lord of the flies, if you worship this false idol, everything in your life will be turned to destruction where the lord of the flies, what does that mean? What are flies attracted to? They're attracted to dung in the King James version, D-U-N-G. If you worship this person, if you worship this idol, if you worship Satan who is actually behind this idol, he will make everything in your life go to that. That's the name of Beelzebul. Jesus talks about the fact that Satan's agenda is to come to steal, kill and destroy when Jesus' plan for us is to give us life and give us life to the fullest. Then here we see the religious authorities, they're slandering the son of God. Instead of submitting to the evidence and following the evidence, they find self-justifying explanations and they're slandering, blaspheming the son of God. What's Satan's agenda? It's to harm us. Satan hates God. So when he sees human beings created in the image of God, he wants to destroy them as much as he can in order to recreate them in his own image, in his own defiled, degraded, perverted image. Since the fall of the human race into sin, every person's born under Satan's dominion, Jesus called him the ruler of this world. Paul called him the God of this world who has blinded the minds of the unbelieving. In this case, the demon causes the man to be unable to speak, unable to speak to God, unable to worship God, to praise God. He causes him to be mute. He mutes him. Other cases, he blinds people. You can study the legion and the thousand demons and the psychological physical effects that they bring. He harms. He mutes. He blinds. He's sneaky. He doesn't do that in the west as much because he does just enough to keep you asleep. If he does too much, you're going to wake up to it. He doesn't want to jolt you awake to just how awful, just how egregious the evil is. He's sneaky, and how do we wage war? We wage war in the same way that Jesus wage war. How is Jesus waging war here? He speaks to the demons, speaks the word of God. Be gone in the name of Jesus Christ. He speaks to the Pharisees. He's doing spiritual warfare. He's speaking the word of God. The truth of God, the word of God, that is our weapon, trust about us, humanity. Truth about sin, truth about reality, salvation, the gospel. And by speaking truth, that's why it's so important to speak the faith, speak the word of God, speak the gospel to those around us. We're liberating captives. We, the church of Jesus Christ, we are charging the gates of hell with the flaming sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. That's why Satan wants to mute us. That's why Satan wants us to be bashful about our faith, to be embarrassed to say, "This is good, and this is evil. This is diabolical. This is demonic. That's from the pit of hell." Why is it so uncomfortable in here now? Why? Why are we so afraid to speak the word of God? Because we've been muted. The volume is down on us in the church of Jesus Christ, and Satan continues to spew his BS, the lord of the flies. Luke 11:20-22, Jesus says, "But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." If I do this by the power of God, by the finger of God, and this is an allusion to Exodus 8:19, where the Egyptians understood that they had sorcery, they had power. When Moses came, he had the finger of God with him. If I'm doing this by the finger of God, if I'm casting out these demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. If the kingdom of God has come upon you, then the king is here. "And when a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace," he's talking about Satan here, "his goods are safe. But when one stronger than he," if someone is stronger than Satan comes, "it overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil." The kingdom of God is upon us. It's the initial face of the kingdom manifested in the presence of the king who rules in our lives, who rules on the thrones of our hearts and also anticipates the day when Jesus will reign not only in our hearts, but on the throne of King David. Satan will be bound from his powerful influence on earth, and Jesus will put his feet on the necks of his enemy. His enemies will be a footstool for his feet. Satan will be bound because Jesus is stronger, Jesus is fully armed, Jesus attacks, Jesus overcomes and he takes away the armor and takes away the spoil that's been stolen by the enemy. That's Jesus versus Satan. Jesus wins. He wins every time. But we need to decide, are we going to allow the fullness of Jesus Christ to fill our hearts? And that's point two, Satan versus people. And here are the objection that's raised in the west is, I don't hate God. I don't hate the idea of God. I just don't want to be fanatic for God. I don't want to be an extremist. I don't want to be a fundamentalist for God. Do I love God? I wouldn't go that far. Let's just say I don't hate him. Or I don't hate the idea of him in general. Is he my king? No. But Satan isn't my king either. Satan isn't my master either. And that's how we want to just remain neutral. Yeah, a kind of Jesus. Yeah, I don't want to go all the way. And this is how Satan blinds us in the west. I'm not your master. You don't need God to be your master. You are your own master. Do as you please. You define morality as long as you're not hurting anybody publicly. That's how he lulls us to sleep. And how he blinds our minds and our eyes. And then we don't see reality from what it is. We just say everything just exists. Everything around us, it just happened. Morality, yeah, not that big of a deal although it's written in our hearts. Then, we still feel shame, we still feel guilt, we still feel regret even though we've transgressed laws that we don't even believe in and then we go down the cycle of anxiety and depression and shame and destruction, and then we numb ourselves with substances to get rid of that. And then little by little by little by little, the Satan says, "You are your own master," and little by little, he enslaves us. And here, Jesus illustrates what happens when we try to play the neutral card. It never works because you can't control you. You can't master your own desires. You can't master your own heart. How often have you done something and you say, "How in the world could I have gone so far? I don't even recognize myself." He takes our sin and uses it as a foothold to exacerbate it, to create further destruction in our lives. And Jesus illustrates it with a story. Verse 24, "When the unclean spirit," or just cast out of demon and he's speaking to this person. "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest. And finding none it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. And then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first." So perhaps, you have had a demon that you were battling and you overcome it. You overcome this one thing that had been enslaving you. Perhaps you did it with moral reformation, willpower, determination and Satan at that moment, he tells his troops to retreat temporarily to give you reprieve so that you start thinking that you defeated this thing by yourself. You clean your heart for a little bit. You swept your heart. You put your heart, your life in order, perhaps to show you Satan retreats, perhaps to show you, "Hey, I don't exist. Hey, you can overcome this." Perhaps to show you that you can be saved without Jesus and he does this all the time with therapy, with rehab, with Alcoholic Anonymous or other religions. And the end goal ... This is what Jesus is saying. "I've cast out this demon but the end goal is for you to welcome God the fullness of the Holy Spirit into your life. You either have one spirit or you have the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit fully indwell the presence of Christ in your heart." If not, Satan doesn't rest. He will send more demons. This demon, he's restless. He doesn't like being in the desert. He wants a home. And the spiritual world, like the natural world, abhors a vacuum. So you see that seven more evil. Here, we see that there are different degrees in evil of the demonic. Seven more evil move in, eight demonic roommates in this person's heart. Scripture talks about don't let the sun set on your anger, lest you give Satan a foothold in your heart. Sometimes through our own sin that we have not mortified. We give Satan a foothold. Once he gets his foot in the door, he wants to knock it down. I wonder if there's a foothold in your ... We all have it. We all have these footholds. The question is to what degree. To what degree have you not repented of clear sin? To what degree has this sin been pulling you away from the presence of God, from the holiness of God, from the purposes of God for you? Jesus is saying it's all of Jesus or none of Jesus. You can't just have a little Jesus. It's all or nothing. And this principle, it applies individually but also applies collectively to churches and applies collectively to communities and applies collectively to nations. Jesus was applying this principle here to this one person but also to Israel. The worship of idols had been exorcized from Israel when they were freed from Babylonian captivity. That demon was gone. But now there are new demons, the worship of the letter of the law, legalism, formalism, covetousness, pride, greed. Public religious life was worse than ever, so much worse they were on the brink of crucifying the son of God, and they didn't see it. How could they be so blind? Because they see the evidence of the work of God and they attribute it to Satan. They're literally pawns of the evil one because they have not allowed Jesus Christ to cast out the demons of sin and pride and selfishness and folly and gluttony and the rest of them. So, how do we battle the demonic? How do we battle the influence of Satan in our lives? How do we wage holy warfare? Jesus ends this text with a really curious passage, Luke 11:27-28. "And as he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, 'Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!' But he said, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!'" Why is this text added right after a text about the demonic and exorcism? Why? And this woman is well-meaning though little misguided, so Jesus just corrects her thinking a little. She said, "Your mother must be so proud for raising a son like you." And of course, this is true. Mary certainly was blessed. We've got The Magnificat and Jesus doesn't deny that Mary is blessed though he does correct the direction of this lady's thoughts. This lady thought just being connected to Jesus physically, relationally, just being connected to him was enough to be saved. She thought, "Oh, you're so ... You're the messiah. And just by virtue of your mom, her connection with you, you're saved." And Jesus says, "That's not what saves." Familiarity with Jesus Christ is not what saves. That's not the way to blessing. The way to blessing is faith in Jesus Christ. And the work on the cross that Jesus Christ took the penalty for our sin, that Jesus Christ on the cross died because of our sin. Jesus Christ on the cross was ... He was putting his heel into the head of Satan, into the head of the serpent, giving him the deathblow. That's what Jesus was doing on the cross as he absorbed our curse for us in order to give us this blessing. And what's the blessing? Once we become a Christian, once we're saved by grace through faith, once we repent of our sins, that's all you need to do. All you need to do to be transferred from the domain of darkness to the domain of light no matter how dark your darkness has been is to say, "God, I repent of my sins. I repent of my evil. I repent of my dark works. And Jesus, thank you for bearing the penalty for my darkness on the cross. You're enshrouded in darkness in order to transfer me into the kingdom of light." That's all you need to do. And once you do, this is the emphasis here. You are in a kingdom where you are to submit to the king and that's why you need to hear the word of God and keep it. When Jesus becomes your savior, he also becomes your king. So, are you hearing the word of God? Not just listening to it but hearing it ... And are you keeping the word of God because we fight the good fight of faith with faithfulness, by worshiping God with our lips. That's why worship is so important. That's why if you're coming to a service, come on time. Come 10 minutes early, 15 minutes, because worship isn't just a warm-up for the sermon. And we have an incredible worship team. But worship is we are proclaiming with our being that God is holy and a savior, and that's what prepares us to hear the word of God. So, no more late people next week, or just watch online. Just watch online so I don't see you walking in late. That's why I stand in the back, by the way. I'm like ... Here's the other thing I'll say. When you're faithful to the Lord and you are public about your faithfulness to the Lord, people will hate you. When you are public about what you believe about God, the true God of Holy Scripture, when you're public about what he teaches, about the most private areas of life, when you proclaim that, you will be opposed today like never before. I've preached this before, and I've kind of like ... I haven't even noticed how the temperature has increased exponentially so fast. The hatred that's coming that's being directed at people who are faithful to the Lord, who stand on this truth. 1 Peter 5:8-11, "Be sober-minded. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." How does he do it in this context? "Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering ..." He wants to devour by suffering. "The same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world." Are Christians being persecuted for the faith around the world? Yeah, by the millions. "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." So Satan, prowling lion, wants to devour sometimes through temptation, sometimes through lies, sometimes through false theology. In this context, through suffering to get Christians to back down. And they don't stand for the truth because it's painful or it's costly. It's not starting physically yet, but we're beginning to see the financial costs. I'll just give one example from my ... It's kind of a silly example but it happened and kind of blindsided me. So, my brother and a few guys from the church had been working on a startup over the pandemic called ToolBelt home services pros with customers. Customers post a project and home service pros send their price. And I grew up painting with my dad. My dad, Vlad, he started a painting business. If your house looks bad, don't get mad, call Vlad. So, I did that every summer since I was eight. Every summer afternoons, weekends, I am a tremendous painter. Humbly, I will tell you I am probably the best painter you've ever met. The lines, come on. And so my brother and I, it was a Friday, and this gentleman posted "I need my shelves painted." And my brother and I ... I was preaching then on Thursday. So Friday, Saturday, that was my weekend. So, Saturday, I was like, "Yeah, let's go. Let's go paint some shelves." And I was like how much you want to make, how much if we did the thing, okay, 500 bucks. And I submitted the price and the guy said, "Okay, great. When can you come?" I said, "Tomorrow." He said, "You got the tools?" I was like, "I got everything. I got everything. I'll take care of you, Steven." He said, "Okay, great." I submit my bid. Two hours past and I was like, "Yeah, something is weird." And then he messages me. This is what he messaged me. He says, "Hi, Jan, sorry. I can't accept your bid. I found an article you posted through your church in which you labeled being gay as a sin titled 'Lust kills love. Love kills lust.' I will not hire someone who believes that to do work in the home I've built with my husband of 10 years and our two children," period. That did not feel good, and never feels good. So, I prayed. I want to going to come back with a link to that sermon. Did you even listen to it? Where I talk about grace, it begins with grace. We're all sinners. He didn't listen to it, I don't know. I said, "Hi, Steven, no problem. I was just trying to serve you as a Christian and pastor. I'm called to love and serve everyone, trying my best as a sinner myself. By God's grace, I wish you and your husband and your two children all the very best. All love good, sir," heart emoji. Stuff like this happens privately all the time. You don't want to know it because I'm not going to be like, "Oh, Steven, you weren't nice to me." Pray about Steven. We're called to love those who persecute us, but the persecution is only going to increase. And the more you look like Christ, the more your life reflects Christ, the more of this you will get. The more public you are with what you truly believe, the more of this you'll get, especially in this political climate. Matthew 6:10-12, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." So, I missed out on $500 but my spiritual Venmo went cha-ching. The gospel, they demanded a sign. People today demand a sign. The greatest sign that God has ever shown the world of his existence and of his character is the gospel of Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ conquered Satan and sin and death on the cross, came back on the third day. And when we believe in him, we are saved. Colossians 2:13-15, "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him." He did what no person could. He defeated Satan, and Satan now is a defeated foe, although he's allowed to reign until being finally bound at the second coming of Christ. Satan is on a leash. He's still here. He's still causing havoc, but Jesus alone has enough strength to save our soul from his demonic clutch. We're saved by grace through faith, that faith always leads to obedience. Saving faith leads to obedient faith. If Jesus Christ, if what he taught was false, he's the greatest blasphemer that ever lived. And if what he taught is true, then he is greatest king. So, you can't stay in the middle. There is no middle. Either you fully accept or you fully reject. Either you are in the army of Christ in his kingdom or you're in the army of Satan. You're being used by him. Here's what I found after 11 years in ministry in Boston. The number one things that gets in the way of people accepting this truth no matter how much evidence you give them, the number one thing that gets in the way is pride. Because it's painful to admit that you are have been wrong. As smart as you are, as educated as you are, as connected as you are, as successful as you are, you have been wrong about the most important issue in the universe. And to admit that, it's so, so painful. So, repentance is a form of suffering which does humble us. But if you don't submit to Jesus as king, you are not just in the wrong side. You're not just in the wrong side of history, you're on the wrong side of the greatest war being waged. So, join Christ. Join the army of the Lord. Stop grasping at straws to justify unbelief and sin. Seek the truth. And Jesus said if you seek the truth, you will find the truth and the truth will set you free. I'm going to close with Paul Harvey's ... He wrote a short little essay in 1965, which reading it now seems so prophetic. And I like to read it every single election cycle just so we see the work of the enemy in our culture and how it's progressing. He says this: If I were the devil, if I were the prince of darkness, I'd want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I'd have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn't be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, thee. So I'd set about however necessary to take over the United States. I'd subvert the churches first. I'd begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, "Do as you please." To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what's bad is good, what's good is square. And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, "Our father, which art in Washington ..." And then I'd get organized. I'd educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I'd threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I'd pedal narcotics to whom I could. I'd sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I'd tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I'd soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I'd have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. And if I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects but neglect to discipline emotions. Just let those run wild until before you knew it, you'd have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door. Within a decade, I'd have prisons overflowing. I'd have judges promoting pornography. Soon I would evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in his own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. And if I were the devil, I'd make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle. If I were the devil, I'd take from those who have and give to those who want until I'd kill the incentive of the ambitious. And what do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work in patriotism, in moral conduct. And I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, and that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus, I could undress you in public and I could lure you into bed with diseases from which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil, I'd just keep right on doing what he's doing. There is good and evil, there is God and Satan. Question is, are you with him or are you against him? Those are the only options that Jesus gives us in your life, and your whole eternity depends on it. The choice is clear as day. And then once you submit to Jesus Christ, take up the whole armor of God, especially the sword of the spirit which is the word of God and be praying at all times in the spirit for that is how we stand firm in the Lord. Let's pray. Lord, we thank you for your Holy Scripture. We thank you, Lord, that you are with us, that you are the ferocious lion who is by our side, the Holy Spirit that you are with. Lord, I pray that you fill us like never before. And whatever closets or little crevices in our souls, in our hearts, that we are keeping close from you because we're so enjoying that darkness in the inside, I pray today knock down those doors. Knock down those closets and fill, overwhelm us with your presence. Overwhelm us with your power and make us a people who unabashedly proclaim the whole counsel of God, who never shy away from the truth, no matter what the consequences are. And we thank you for that in advance and we pray all these in Christ's holy name, amen.


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