Good Morning! I hope you are all doing well! I would start today with a question for you to consider: If you saw a bus load of people heading for certain disaster, and the only way you MIGHT stop them is to step out on the road so they MUST at least pause to hear of the danger, or run over you, would you step out? Okay. Recently, Patricia and I were discussing a work trip we took to Wyoming. Its been over 20 years ago now. I was to work at the power plant in Wheatland on a major overhaul. The millwrights were about the last of the trades to be called in. We only had a few days to pack stuff and get out there. Patricia got on the phone to find us a place to stay for the 6 weeks of work. But all the other trades were already there and far from finished so there just wasn’t anyplace to stay. The few hotels were full up, fewer people had rooms or houses to let to construction workers for the short term and were full up, so she started looking elsewhere. Now as you know, Wyoming is not densely populated. Its cattle country not farm land. There is not a town every 7 to 10 miles along the highway. But her efforts really paid off. She found a newly remodeled apartment, above the Post Office, in a town of 78 people, Hartville, Wyoming. Only thirty-five miles from Wheatland! We packed the car and took off. The owners were also the mayor and his wife. They wouldn’t even take our rent money until they were sure WE thought the place was suitable! Next morning I went to work!
No one locked their doors. They left their keys in their cars. The 4 year old of a neighbor, whose mother was working just up the street, came over to meet “the new lady!” No fear, and no worries. She told her mom where she was going and came over and introduced herself. Now Patricia didn’t have the car, I was driving it to work and I was working 7 days a week. So the landlord told Patricia that if she needed to go to town, even Cheyenne, (a hundred miles away) she could just use her car—the keys were in it. There is a LOT more to the story of our time there. Very pleasant memories. In Hartville, no one was a stranger, there was no fear no mistrust. They were NOT naive, they were just neighborly, in the BIBLICAL sense.
As we reminisced, we remembered how it was when we were children. No one locked their doors. Car keys were left in the ignition. Pickups had gun racks with guns in the back window and the doors weren’t locked! School boys carried pocket knives and did NOT threaten anyone with them. It was a time we MISS! It had nothing to do with music or hot cars or dating. It was about the MORAL COMPASS of the VAST majority of AMERICANS. It was about FREEDOM and the responsible use of it! We came of age in the sixties. Things changed. The Revolution took hold. It was no longer our parents and grandparents America. Now everything has to be insured, locked, secured, watched, protected. Its no longer boys and girls and men and women, I’m okay, you’re okay, its gender dysphoria, LGBTQ+, Critical Race Theory, the rainbow has been appropriated from being the sign of God’s promise to never again flood the earth with water, to being an insignia of the lifestyle God has said is an abomination to HIM! As we reminisced the question became: How could we get that moral compass back? How can we repair a conscience that seems like it has been seared with a hot iron? We see our nation in the grip of the Destroyer and feel HELPLESS to do ANYTHING to make it right again! We are wandering in the wilderness and just cannot seem to find our way! Well there IS GOOD NEWS; a light at the end of the tunnel. If you know your Old Testament History, Joseph, Jacob’s son, was sold into slavery by his brothers. By God’s providence, through trial and tribulation, He became the second most powerful man in Egypt. His father and brothers came to him during a famine. They were given the land of Goshen and over time became politically powerful and evidently a bothersome group. There came a time, after about 3 centuries, when the current Pharaoh no longer remembered Joseph and what he had done. The Israelites were enslaved and over time treated as the enemy. God sent Moses to lead His people OUT of Egypt. Egypt does not represent just a geographical location. It represents all the ungodly ways of man! It represents the works of the flesh! During the Exodus, Moses didn’t just receive the Ten Commandments. He wrote the first five books of our Holy Bible. Could these books of the Law be our road map BACK? I know, I know, it is shouted from the roof tops WE DON’T LIVE UNDER THE LAW ANYMORE! That’s LEGALISM! We live under GRACE! This is the NEW Testament church! Yes! BY GRACE we are saved, through FAITH, and THAT not of ourselves lest any man boast! But that has ALWAYS BEEN TRUE! Animal Sacrifice didn’t PAY the debt! Just the interest, so to speak. Chapter 11, Book of Hebrews, the faithful hall of fame! The thing about that is we are called to REPENTANCE. Repentance is turning AWAY from our SIN! If we do not accept something as sin, how will we ever repent of it? If something does not FEEL sinful to you, will you FEEL the need to REPENT? How do we come to a knowledge of what sin is? Paul tells us in Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? Far from it! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
Galatians 3:24 says, Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we MIGHT be justified by faith.
If we refuse to consider the schoolmaster that brings us to Christ, how can our faith justify us? What will our faith be founded upon? Remember the LAW Paul refers to here is NOT just rules, dos and don’ts! The LAW and the PROPHETS were the Word of God. Jesus said that there were 2 rules: Love God above all and love your neighbor as yourself UPON THESE ALL the LAW and the PROPHETS hang. By doing the works of the law shall NO FLESH be justified. We’re not saved by works. Our FAITH should call us to repentance and the SCHOOLMASTER teaches us just WHAT we need to REPENT OF!! In Matthew 5:18, Jesus says, For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or tittle, not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished! When He said that the New Testament had not even been written. And heaven and earth ARE still here! So much for dismissing the wisdom of the OLD Testament!
Thanks to cultural corrosion and an almost TOTAL lack of biblical literacy, American Christianity has fallen. WND recently published an article citing a Barna survey https://www.wnd.com/2021/05/barna-america-infected-moralistic-therapeutic-deism/. The article is titled: Shock: Americans ditch biblical worldview for ‘fake Christianity’ https://dailyangle.com/articles/shock-americans-ditch-biblical-worldview-for-fake-christianity. The article says, “ a new “fake Christianity” has raked the dry ground of the American church.” He calls this counterfeit religion MTD, moralistic therapeutic deism. He says its a worldview. Which, in point of fact, religion of whatever stripe, IS a worldview. But this one is particularly venal! It is one that Screwtape himself wishes he had thought of, or maybe he did!! MTD is a “watered-down, feel-good, fake Christianity”. Moralistic, therapeutic, deism! Sounds like something a truly unbelieving seminary graduate with a PhD in religious studies would come up with. Don’t be shocked that seminaries turn out unbelieving preachers and theologians! Just a few years ago Barna released another study that showed more than 75% of seminary graduates did NOT believe in the VIRGIN BIRTH or MOST of the OTHER miracles attributed to the Son of God our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! That’s more than 3 out of every 4 SEMINARY GRADUATES, let that sink in for a moment!
This counterfeit religion, this moralistic therapeutic deism, MTD, as a worldview, has given many Americans, church-goers, a theology that looks nothing like historic Christianity, despite what they claim.
Again from the article: Barna, director of research at Arizona Christian University, said MTD — or “watered-down, feel-good, fake Christianity” — is “the most popular worldview in the United States today,” according to Christianity Daily. A recent poll conducted by ACU found that 38 percent of adults hold this view. What’s more, three out of four people who hold to MTD still consider themselves Christians. “The fact that a greater percentage of people who call themselves Christian draw from [MTD] than from the Bible says a lot about the state of the Christian church in America, in all of its manifestations,” Barna said. “Simply and objectively stated, Christianity in this nation is rotting from the inside out.” “MTD is fake Christianity. It has some Christian elements but it’s not REALLY biblical, it’s not REALLY Christian!” Think long and hard about the path the leaderships of many denominational as WELL as independent churches are leading their congregations DOWN! Don’t look for MTD churches, look for MTD DOCTRINE being spoon fed from the pulpits of churches filled with naive Christians!
The moralistic part of it says that we’re here to be good people and to TRY to do good. That doing good is really what life is all about! That is a lie. We are sinners! And if we are saved, we are saved by grace UNTO GOOD WORKS; works that God Himself provides for sanctification during our Christian life. We cannot WORK our way to salvation and the road to HELL is PAVED with WHAT? Good Intentions! Good MORALS EARN nothing! Faith in the FINISHED work of Jesus Christ will help us with works toward SANCTIFICATION but makes us NO BETTER than the worst of sinners! What did Paul say? 1st Timothy 1:15 says, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. This is a FAITHFUL SAYING! It is wisdom not self-deprecation! He did NOT say ‘of whom I WAS chief’. He said AM chief. MORALISM does NOT make any of us a better Christian, merely a less reprehensible human being! He said its a ‘faithful saying’. That means we should apply it to OURSELVES just as he applied it to HIMSELF! It might help us to be a bit more HUMBLE!
This is where the therapeutic aspect takes up residence. Therapy is supposed to help us be content, accepting of the world and our place in it. If I believe moralism makes me a better person, I can feel better about myself. I can believe God just really wants me to be HAPPY! Where in Scripture does it say ANYTHING about the ultimate purpose of this life is to be HAPPY in it? ESPECIALLY as CHRISTIANS! We live in a world where every time something bad happens, a swarm of counselors descend so people can talk to them about their confusion and pain. The idea being that talking about it can bring ‘closure’ and ‘acceptance’ and eventually you can get on with your life, or not, you might have to have counseling forever! Just depends on how traumatized you are! Therapy is NOT the answer. Faith in the FACT that GOD will NOT give us more than we can handle, IS! The Example is JOB! He just had to admit that GOD’S plan trumped HIS comfort AND his understanding. He just had to suck it up, put his hand over his mouth, and move on, and as it turned out, back into the blessed life of the RIGHTEOUS man that he WAS. The last few chapters in the book of Job explains that to us in great detail. God is IN CHARGE! We. Are. NOT! Therapy is NOT God’s plan for us! Our reliance upon HIM is! Knowing HIM is the foundation stone for that reliance.
Back to the article: Deism is the idea that God created the world but has no direct involvement in it. Basically, according to MTD, there is a distant God who just wants everyone to be nice, and the purpose of life is to be happy.
American “Christians” who have adopted this philosophy have borrowed heavily from the modern secular world, which elevates personal definitions of right and wrong above ANY objective standard of truth — like the Bible. MTD distorts the God of the Bible in an attempt to make him bless all the dissipations and vanities of the modern world.
It makes sense that “Christians” who embrace MTD won’t criticize the culture. How can anyone pass judgment if everyone’s just trying to be happy? The only sin is failing to ACCEPT someone else’s personal “truth.”
Without a firm foundation in GOD’S Truth, Christians are NOT prepared to fight the moral battles being waged in our country OR WITHIN THEMSELVES. That’s why so many are siding with groups like BLM and the LGBT movement and planned parenthood. They’ll listen to anyone who happens to be the loudest or offers the easiest way out of a dilemma! Or soothes their itching ears! They are like a wave driven of the wind and tossed, they are unstable in ALL their ways! They can expect NOTHING in answer to their prayers. They have not and will not accept the Truth of GOD! Until they do things will just get worse. The woke mob fills the void where TRUTH should be.
Some of these so called “Christians” have tried to argue for secular trends using biblical language. And while it is true that the Bible condemns racism and hatred, secular humanist, progressive agendas DO NOT accept Christian values. They promote sin under the guise of “loving everyone.” We are loving people to HELL by helping them ignore HIS TRUTH!
Followers of Christ have forgotten that Jesus didn’t come to tell people to be nice. He came to testify to the TRUTH! His message has always been a stumbling block, and it’s especially hard for 21st-century Americans to accept. We have bought into the lie that people have their OWN ‘truths’ and yours are just as good as mine! We’ve forgotten that neither my truth NOR YOUR truth is GOD’S Truth unless we faithfully and humbly order our understanding and discernment according to IT! The FACT is that There is no such thing as “your truth” or “my truth”. There are your circumstances and my circumstances, to which we are called to apply GOD’S Truth. There truly is only His Truth and deception.
The church has largely FAILED to train up believers in the Truth, so most are floundering in a culture that desperately needs Christ. Christians need to return to a competent state of biblical literacy. Church leadership should focus on DISCIPLING their sheep instead of making it all about numbers and FUN for the children. And PROFESSING believers MUST take the initiative to read the Scriptures and learn WHO the Lord Jesus Christ IS, and THEN apply it to OUR daily lives. Barna said that conservative Christians were the least likely to talk to others about candidates and issues during the last election cycle. This was because they did not know what they believed or how to put it into words. We’ve bought the LIE that your truth might or might not be my truth! And PEACE is paramount! “Christians have to be clear about why they believe the Bible is trustworthy, why they would say it’s reliable for their own life, and then to be able to speak that CLEARLY to other people,” he said. Maybe that’s expecting too much. But if we do NOT set the bar UP, what do we gain? You do NOT have to be a public speaker! Just a TRUE friend!
Men and women who call themselves Christian, MUST BE willing to bring the Bible into the real world. To their FAMILIES, to their friends, into THEIR REAL WORLD. Two-thirds of conservative Christians are dying for their pastors NOT to tell them who to vote for, but how to THINK BIBLICALLY about the issues so that they could make up their own minds based on BIBLICAL principles. Two Thirds of conservative Christians are as morally lost as everyone else! These are folks who regularly attend church, know the preacher, take part in VBS, claim to Love the LORD! QUESTION: How can ANY professing Christian, in the EYES OF GOD, Love the LORD and at the same time and in the same mind be incapable of applying BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES in deciding who to vote for? Or in deciding which way to vote on ANY particular ballot measure that if adopted will become a LAW to which all must yield? Have they failed to pay any attention at ALL to what they have heard from the pulpit? OR, is what they hear from the pulpit in many cases, so watered-down and un-biblical that it is USELESS in fostering a GODLY discernment in how we make decisions in our daily LIVES? Is the wider church concept of LOVE even BIBLICAL? You must realize that those who would keep YOU, the congregation, ignorant of God’s Truth cannot, in the eyes of God, have your best eternal interests at heart! They can get away with it because YOUR hunger for TRUTH is NOT strong enough or LOUD enough demanding it to put OUR backs against the wall. Preachers who are friends of the world are enemies of God and God’s PEOPLE! Does that sound harsh?
Prior to the War for Independence, MANY preachers were preaching a BIBLICAL TRUTH that the Declaration of Independence plainly laid out. I would strongly encourage you to read the Declaration again as if for the FIRST TIME. In it are these words: But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. This applies to the church and its leadership today every bit as much as it did to the colonies and the king 245 years ago!
We, AMERICANS, we, Christians, have largely failed to respect what the Bible teaches. Christians CANNOT make ANY MEANINGFUL change in the ungodly direction the culture is going until we DO. We need to be prepared to give a defense of what God says WE are SUPPOSED to believe, because challenges to our faith are GUARANTEED! Our nation is PEOPLE. People give our nation its MEANING! That MEANING is defined by what people’s most deeply held beliefs are FOUNDED upon, beliefs that AFFECT OUR ACTIONS! When a people loses its way, the family, the community, the nation ALL lose their way! The Truth of God is the only foundation that will not be moved by the pounding and screaming of our sinful natures NOR by the culture that sin nature wants to make the NORM. America was founded upon an unwavering faith and trust in the TRUTH of our Lord Jesus Christ. BUT, for generations now, we have allowed ourselves to be deceived, our seminaries send wolves out to shepherd the flock because the flock has failed to demand REAL knowledge of our LORD and settled for feel-good ideas. We’ve let OTHERS define what a PERSONAL relationship with HIM IS and tell us obedience is irrelevant because of NEW TESTAMENT GRACE! We have ignored this counterfeit because its SO much easier and soothing to our itching ears! Atheists and satanists and OTHERS have no fear of GOD! In the name of peace we have refused to confront their LIES! Can’t talk about politics or religion! Your truth, my truth, must have peace, remember? That, friends, is the peace of the GRAVE! We have elected politicians who promise us prosperity ignoring that what they promise to us must be stolen from OTHERS! Believing the lies of TYRANTS who only want power over us and will promise anything to get it IS the DEATH of not just our nation, but our communities and our FAMILIES. The unelected bureaucrats have found out they have power without accountability. All they have to do is cover for the misdeeds of the tyrants and they’re good! Our goodness is in question! Our moral compass is spinning so fast our heads are spinning with it. WE, you and I, MUST take responsibility to govern OURSELVES, OBEY CHRIST! Do you think He was kidding when He said those who love Him WILL obey His commands? Believing the lies of those who claim to love the Lord but deny or weaken or make irrelevant His commands instead of OBEYING them, AND TEACHING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME?, is the repudiation of HIS Spirit IN US!
I will ask this question: If true Christians refuse to confront this unbelief, especially in those closest to us, who will? If not now, when? The journey starts with the first step. Read your Bible. Get to KNOW your LORD!
With eyes closed and heads bowed, If anyone here has not made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, I urge you, Come forward and PROFESS HIM before men and HE will profess YOU before the Father. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow. Hymn of Invitation.
Please bow your heads for closing prayer.
Our most Gracious and Merciful Lord, our nation has become what Canaan was like before Joshua. YOU brought Israel as judgment upon them. Please strengthen OUR hearts to stand for the Lion of Judah. It does not start somewhere else or with someone else. It starts here and now with US. America is an uncommon nation. We pray You will NOT allow this nation, founded in covenant to YOU, to be swept into the dustbin of history. Please furnish us with YOUR armor, the WHOLE armor of God that we may Stand as a witness for YOU Lord. This, ONLY with YOUR help, can we do! May Your blessing be on ALL here today who commit to seeking the NARROW gate, returning to Your sheepfold as Prodigals. May we REPENT and cast OFF the sin and deception that so easily and often has led us astray. Give us ears to hear that we WILL hear Your call. It is in Your Name and for Your glory we pray. Sola Deo Gloria; For Your Glory ALONE. Amen
Folks, If you or someone you know might like to get into a more in-depth, more self-directed Bible Study get with me afterwards. God has NO fear of questions and LOVES HIS children! Thanks again for having me here today and we hope to see you again soon.
Sermon references: Hebrews Chapter 11, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 7:7, Galatians 3:24, Matthew 22:40, Galatians 2:16, Matthew 5:18, 1st Timothy 1:15, Book of Job (Sunday school reference), 2nd Timothy 4:3, James 1:6, James 4:4, Matthew 7:25-27, Matthew 10:32, Ephesians 6:10-19