Sermon Snippet: Spiritual Warfare and Stupid Thoughts

One minute of your time.

Advertisements

End Times Prophecy and Being Possessed

When Jesus discusses End Times prophecy with His disciples, He tells them not to get drunk. Perhaps the warning in the midst of discussion on coming Judgment is to keep us from blasting the world, when we may be eligible for judgment ourselves.

One of the joys of talking about End Times prophecy is that you can talk about how bad the world will get, are we that bad yet, will Merica survive til then? Which then leads into a discussion about how great Merica used to be and yet how the homos and drug pushers and left wing media ruined everything.

It leads to an inflated Us vs. Them mentality. In other words, obsessing on Bible prophecy tends to make people Pharisaical jerks.

It is amazing how everyone who talks about God’s coming judgment never assumes the judgment might be on them.

Jesus warns His disciples to not get drunk in the meanwhile. Earlier in His talk about End Times prophecy, He says,

In your patience possess ye your souls.”

While you are waiting for The End, don’t get drunk, instead, be patient and possess your souls.

John Wesley says of this verse

“Be calm and serene, masters of yourselves, and superior to all irrational and disquieting passions. By keeping the government of your spirits, you will both avoid much misery, and guard the better against all dangers.”

A person who truly is interested in The End coming, controls his passions, desires, appetites and will. You possess it. You win it. You own it.

The End is coming, it’s a sobering truth, literally.

You know you understand End Times prophecy when a patient, self-control takes you over, not when you are able to discern how Barack Obama facilitates the arrival of the Antichrist.

End Times Prophecy and Getting Drunk

Luke 21:34 uses a Greek word only used once in the New Testament. The KJV translates it as “surfeiting,” which totally clears up the meaning of this obscure word.

Luke is a doctor and this seems to be a medical word. The Greek word literally means “a headache!” It’s in the context of being drunk, therefore the implication is to indulge too excess in something that eventually makes your head hurt.

Wow.

Jesus, in the larger context, is talking to His disciples about the signs of The End. In the midst of this discussion about how we’ll know when The End is arriving, Jesus throws in a warning for His DISCIPLES–He’s not talking to a crowd of sinners, but to His disciples about the end of the age, and He says:

“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”

I am amazed how many people discuss the End Times and prophecy with a giddiness, an “ooo, I can’t wait for the bad guys to get it.” But note, in the midst of a discussion about The End, Jesus says, “Take heed to yourselves you don’t start getting headaches from indulging in alcohol.”

I find that fascinating and so out of place in our discussions of End Times Prophecy. Jesus knows He has to warn His disciples not to get drunk in the meanwhile.

Wow. I imagine that means something.

Sin and Love

There is much talk about private sin, that if your sin doesn’t hurt anyone then don’t worry about it.

This sounds nice, but it’s really bad advice.

Sin is selfishness. Sin, in whatever form, is putting your needs first. What makes sin bad is that you put your will ahead of God’s will, your desires above His.

The natural corollary to this is that if you put your will and desires ahead of God’s you are also putting it ahead of everyone else.

The first commandment is to love the Lord your God, the second is much like it, love your neighbor as yourself. If any one says he loves God and yet does not love his brother, he is a liar.

Sin is the killer of love.

“And because iniquity shall abound,
the love of many shall wax cold.”

Sin, whether you get caught or not, in fact, whether it’s just in your head or acted upon, kills love. When iniquity abounds; love shrivels and dies.

You may think that what you do behind closed doors, in the privacy of your own room, or even the privacy of your own head, doesn’t really matter cuz it doesn’t hurt anyone, but you are wrong.

Love is the ultimate NT virtue, the point of the Law, because love shows a lack of sin.

This is simple and yet profound. I wish I could deepen it further for you, but I can’t.

Two Questions I Have About Prayer

There are two questions about prayer I have long thought over. I am not interested in flippant responses that “answer” these questions. I think there is legitimate (but mostly ignored) tension that should cause us to think about how and what we pray.

1) Intercession. Praying for other people is supposed to be a major facet of prayer. However, most of the time when I intercede, or have heard others intercede, the prayer usually has more to do with me and my problem with that person. I get frustrated, angry, annoyed, irritated, or any number of other things, with people and pray that God grant them spiritual growth so they quit being so stinking irritating.

I doubt this is what intercession is supposed to be. Do we pause to consider whether our intercession is just anger? Is our concern for other people actually masked concern for our self? Or perhaps a little Pharisaical, “Lord thank you I don’t have the problems those jokers have. Lord help em. Amen.”

I think a lot of intercession is nothing more than proud gloating.

2) Worry. Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, to “take no thought for tomorrow.” The context shows that He is referring to worry, wondering where food will come from and so forth. Should I not pray about worries for tomorrow then?

Consider–Saturday night, I’m in my basement, getting ready for Sunday sermon. I pray for people in the church, I pray for the sermon to go well, I pray that people get off their dumb excuses and get to church (there’s some of that proud intercession), etc. My thoughts about Sunday that take place on Saturday can be described with no other word than “Worry.”

I know many people say that we should take our worries to God in prayer “leave em with Jesus, brother,” and this qualifies as not worrying. However, if I’m not supposed to worry, how is bringing my worries to Jesus not worrying? It would be like Adam bringing bushels of half-eaten forbidden fruit to God.

Faith is a trust that God will take care of you. Faith is best shown by lack of worry and fear. If our prayers are mostly worry and fear, is this even a legitimate prayer? Isn’t it just giving voice to our lack of faith, which pretty much destroys the whole concept of prayer? (“Ask, in prayer, believing.”) I know we “cast our cares upon Him,” but still, He tells us not to worry.

There have been many a Saturday where I said to God, “You know, I’m not even going to think about tomorrow. You can take care of that, help me get my sermon ready today.” Perhaps that is more honoring than two hours of consternation about how church might be a failure tomorrow.

_________________

Again, let me just say, I am not interested in flippant responses to these questions. Regardless of what is said about this, I will continue to think on them. If you have any thoughts that might further my thoughts, feel free to share, but don’t Job’s Friends me here!

Uganda, Christianity and Homophobia

“Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday signed a controversial law that will see homosexuals jailed for life, and dismissed warnings from key foreign allies and donors including the United States.”

According to the article, “Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian, earlier this month also signed into law anti-pornography and dress code legislation which outlaws “provocative” clothing, bans scantily clad performers from Ugandan television and closely monitors what individuals view on the Internet.”

Probably the top sentence from the article is this:

“Homophobia is widespread in Uganda, where American-style evangelical Christianity is on the rise.”

“Evangelical Christianity = homophobia” is the translation, in case you missed it.

The fact the Bible says homosexuality is a sin does not equal homophobia, just as saying you think we got here by the Big Bang does not equal theophobia.

Good for Uganda for taking a stand regardless of all the money they will lose from foreign aid because of it. Nice to see someone show some conviction that costs money.

At the same time, I would never in a million years, as a follower of Christ, run a country like this. Sounds more like legalistic Islam than following Christ. A Christian version of Sharia Law.

Jesus, the King of Kings, never once even hinted at taking political power, nor dictating to others what they should do. He presented the Father’s Way, railed on humanity’s way, but, in the end, left it up to voluntary adherence after people count the cost. I think that’s the Christian approach.

God’s Word–It’s Better Than Your Word

It amazes me how many voices within Christianity seek to discredit God’s Word.

From the clear passages about homosexuality being sin, to women not having spiritual authority over men, to not entangling ourselves with the affairs of the world, etc.

God’s commands are clear. When He wants us to do something, He doesn’t hide His point behind ambiguous phrases.

“Hey Adam, don’t eat from that tree!”

But then we get thinking. “Did God really say that? Well, yes, He did, but lets consider what He really meant. Let’s not forget to apply some other information, maybe even some other stuff God said, to confuse the issue.”

It’s stunning.

We bash the stupid Pharisees for their technique of elevating their traditions, thoughts, and philosophies over clear statements of God, yet we do the same.

This technique has blown away God over the years too, best illustrated by the frustration Christ has with people on this issue.

But, here we are, like Job’s friends, assuming we are the people and wisdom will die with us. We know better. We’re smarter than those hicks who wrote the Bible. We know what God really meant.

So, we justify our actions because we know Paul didn’t write Hebrews, and Daniel was written later than his prophecies, and there were, like, four people writing Isaiah, probably none of whom were name Isaiah, and on and on we go.

God’s Word means nothing while our little opinions rule the day.

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

Jesus said that, by the way, Jesus who is named “The Word.” The whole Bible is the Word of Jesus and that is what we are judged with and by. Get ready.