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Power In Purity

Scripture: Matthew 5:8, Galatians 5:6, Romans 6:2
If we are genuine followers of Christ, we will seek to be pure and holy like Jesus.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Welcome once again, friends, to Here We Stand. It is my privilege to talk with you about some of the fundamental bible teachings that sometimes you don’t hear. There are a number of areas where the Christian Church has sort been diluted with the world in which we live. And that’s not God’s plan.

I’d like to begin with an Amazing Fact, as I sometimes do. Perhaps you’ve heard of a doctor by the name of Joseph Lister. He was not very popular for a good part of his life, but maybe you need to better understand why. Today when you think of hospitals, you think that they are fortresses of a sterile environment. Whether you’ve got the latex gloves and the face masks and the sanitary gowns and the air purifying systems, but it wasn’t always that way.

As a matter of fact, if you go back 150 years, hospitals were pretty filthy places. In fact, roughly 50 percent of patients of major surgery died. And it wasn’t necessarily because of the surgery. As a matter of fact, you’ve heard the expression before, the surgery was a success, but the patient died. Well, that’s the time it was coined. Because doctors would go sometimes from patient to patient wearing bloody aprons, using their bare hands with dirty instruments they had just used on another patient. In some cases, they would actually go from dissecting a cadaver and then use the same instruments on a living patient. I know you and I can’t comprehend that kind of lack of sanitation, but that was very common. Even through Europe in some of these supposedly sophisticated countries.

But a young physician by the name of Joseph Lister, he said, you know, reading the bible, and in the bible he was a dedicated Christian. It said whenever you came in contact with something unclean or the dead, you were to wash thoroughly. And then he became a friend of Louis Pasteur and his findings and he said the reason we’re losing so many people is because of sanitation.

They discovered 80 percent more people who gave birth in a hospital lost their children than those who had their babies at home, because of the doctors. They didn’t know what they were doing as far as the spreading of disease. Eventually Lister set up a hospital in Glasgow. A lot of ridicule and persecution just about drove the poor man crazy.

And they noticed that in his hospital, the deaths due to infection were cut by 80 to 90 percent. And they had been so common. Gradually it began to take ground, he was accepted, he was knighted after years of fighting uphill and persecution just for simple sanitary procedures. Medicine now even dates itself by the before and after Lister age. And you’ve probably gathered at this point that that’s where you get what you find in your medicine cabinet called Listerine. It did not begin in the restroom. It began in the operating room. It was an antiseptic. And Band-Aids, too.

Finally he was knighted and respected. Louis Pasteur said Joseph Lister may have been the most important man in modern time when it came to medicine. Just teaching the simple practices of purity, cleanliness and sanitation greatly reduced the deaths. They had said he had made his discoveries ten years earlier, one third of the deaths from the Civil War could have been prevented. Most of them died from gangrene, simple cuts and wounds and the infection had set in.

Purity. A lot of people still die from a lack of purity. The bible tells that God has called us to purity and our message tonight is dealing with the subject Power in Purity. First of all, Matthew 5:8, I want to live in the presence of God someday, don’t you, friends? Jesus said, ‘Blessed,’ -- happy -- ‘…are the pure in heart, for they will see God.’ See him face-to-face.

And again, speaking of 144,000, it says these are the ones who follow the lamb where he goes. Might I submit to you that if we want to follow the lamb there in heaven then, we must first follow the lamb here now. A Christian is not just a new label that we acquire when we get baptized. A Christian is a follower of Christ. That means we follow His example. We follow His teaching. We want to be like Him. And Jesus was pure. Jesus was sinless. The goal for every Christian is a goal of holiness.

What I’m sharing with you is not some new theology. It’s not some unrealistic ideal. God will never ask you to do anything that you cannot do with His help. All things are possible through Christ. Jesus did not come to save us in our sins. The angel told Mary, they will call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sin.

If Christ is living out His life, all things are possible and God is calling us to lives of holiness. And yet, I have seen and I’m sure you have, that worldliness is diluting the potency of the Christian message. God is calling us to a purity of life that is becoming more the exception than the rule. Now why do we want to live this new life? It’s got to be because we love Him.

Question No. 1 - What Jesus’ attitude towards the people of the earth? How does Jesus feel about the people in the world? You all know John 3:16. I can’t improve on it. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life. God so loves the world.

Question No. 2 - Why should we love Jesus? Why do we love Jesus? Do we love Him because He says, look dear, if you don’t love me, I’m going to throw you in hell, so shape up. Can you love anybody on those terms?

The bible tells us in 1 John 4:19, ‘We love Him because He first loved us.’ And where do we best see His love for us demonstrated? Isn’t it at the cross? It’s where we see His great love for us. It melts and breaks our hearts and we feel this natural reciprocal desire to love him in return.

Romans 5:8, ‘While we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us.’ He loves us even in our unlovable condition. Now, you and I find it easier to love some people than others, right? And some people are very difficult to love. As a matter of fact, I’ve got this theory. One reason the Lord wants everybody to go to church is so we can learn to love. Because there are some people in every church that God places there that are sort of the exercise equipment for us to learn to develop our love muscles. And if everybody in your church was lovable, you’d never learn anything.

But we’ve got to learn to love. Now loving God is a little easier. But the Lord says, look, if you want to love me who you can’t see, you learn that by loving your brother who can see. I’m paraphrasing. And so whoever you meet somebody that’s challenging your love muscles, just say thank you, Lord. Help me be like Jesus. Help me love them the way you do. It doesn’t come naturally.

One thing that helps you love somebody more, if I hand you a book and, you know, a lot of books get printed these days, you might say thanks very much, can I keep it. I’ll say, yes, you can keep it. You might take it home and you might not even read it. But as you leave, if I said that book costs $50,000, it’s the only one left in the world, are you more inclined to take care of it and maybe even read it? Why? Because you realize how much it’s worth.

Don’t forget how much Jesus paid for you. The highest price that could be paid for anybody was the price of God’s own son. What can you give more than the creator of all things? And so when God gave His son, He paid the highest price that can be paid and that’s the price paid for everybody. That’s how He wants us to love people, because He does.

Question No. 3 - What is the best motive for obeying God? Why do we obey Jesus? John 14:15, Jesus said, ‘If you love me,’ -- do what, talk about my commandments, preach about my commandments? Keep them. They’re holy and He wants us to keep them. By the way, there’s one commandment that says remember the Sabbath Day to keep -- the very fact that Jesus uses the word keep there ought to tell you something, right? Keep it holy.

Galatians 5:6, ‘For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.’ What is it that motivates us to work? Faith, working through love. Are there good works in the Christian religion? Sure, the bible talks a lot about works. The issue is not that works are bad. Works are good. Works are important. We’re not saved by works, but the works should be there. If the works aren’t there, Jesus said you know them by their fruit. They might say they’re a blueberry, but if they don’t have the fruit, if it’s just thistles, then they’re lying. You’ll know them by their fruits.

And so if a person says I’m a Christian and they don’t have Christ-like actions and attitudes in their life, well, then it’s false advertising. We really are supposed to be like Christ. That’s the goal, that’s what we teach, that’s how we should encourage everybody. That’s not legalism. We do it because we’re doing it out of love for Him.

Question No. 4 - What does Jesus say are the results of obeying Him? John 15:11, ‘These things I’ve spoken of you so you,’ -- can all be miserable. Why does Jesus share truth with us? ‘These things I’ve spoken to you that my joy might remain in your and that your joy might be full.’ My cup runs over. He wants Christians to be full of joy. He wants us to have abundant life.

Some people have the idea that the requirements of Christianity are there to take away our happiness. In reality, the only true lasting peace and happiness is the peace and happiness that comes from knowing your sins are washed away and that you’ve got eternal life. Everything else is just a drug. It’s temporary. It’s an illusion.

The real joy that bubbles over, the real abundant happiness comes from knowing my sins are forgiven and I have eternal life. Nothing can pass that up. Sickness can’t take that way, financial reverses cannot take that away, persecution from others cannot take that away. It’s a peace that passes understanding.

John 13:17, Jesus said, ‘If you know these things, happy are ye,’ -- if you what? -- ‘…do them.’ Does the Lord want us to be hearers of his word or doers? Christians ought to be doing different things than everybody else.

Question No. 5 - Why does Jesus give us specific principles for Christian living? Again, is it to take away our happiness? Deuteronomy 6:24, ‘And the Lord commanded us to observe all of these statutes for our good always that He might preserve us alive.’ Why does any loving parent teach their children about traffic and crossing the street and red, green, and yellow lights, about electric outlets and sharp things, about chemicals underneath the sink? Why do parents teach them those things, to restrict their freedom? Or to keep them alive because you love them.

Statistically, the children that are more inclined to listen to those parents’ rules have a higher chance of survival. And that is also true of God’s children. If we are willing to cooperate with God’s rules, you’ve got a better chance of making it.

Now should a child obey its parents if they don’t always understand all the rationale behind the rules? Yes. I mean, sometimes you can’t explain to little children all of the dynamics of the electricity and the electrons and neutrons and how that all works. You just say you do not stick the fork in the outlet. Just take my word for it. And if they say, but why? Because I said so and I’m bigger than you are. That’s what I say. Sometimes that’s all you have to resort to. But you’re doing it because you love them, so you can’t always explain it.

In other words, should we obey God’s word even if we don’t always understand why He’s asking us to do what He’s asking? Yes. As you mature in Christianity, he will reveal things. And by the way, I found out that as you walk in the light that God has given you, He gives you more light and sometimes it’s not until the take the steps of obedience that you have that Ah-Ha experience and understand why He was telling you to do what He wants you to do. He wants to say, do you trust me? If we’ll step out and obey what He’s asking us to do, then we start to get the blessing, then the fog lifts and reasons often come later. But whether you understand it or not, we should obey God. Whenever you’re in doubt about what to do, do the safe thing. The safe thing is do what He says.

Question No. 6 - How should Christians relate to the evil of the world and worldliness? There’s a number of versus we could look at. 1 John 2:15, ‘Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ And it goes on to say, ‘For all that’s in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God will abide forever.’

Now some people think that there’s a conflict here because it says ‘For God so loved the world,’ and then He’s telling us not to love the world. What is it? Well, when the Lord talks about the world, there’s a couple of ways the world is used. In one sense, He’s talking about God so loves the world, the people in the world, everybody on the planet. He gave His life for those people in this world. But when you and I are in the world, He’s referring to worldliness. Because generally speaking, even Christ called Satan of this world. Satan kind of kidnapped this planet when the original stewards, Adam and Eve, surrendered dominion by not trusting God. The devil set up headquarters here and claimed it as his own.

So we are not to love the worldliness of the world. We are really citizens of another kingdom, aren’t we? And so as ambassadors of another kingdom, we should represent the Kingdom of Christ differently.

But we’ve got a dilemma. We are in a world that operates under the government of selfishness, but we are citizens of a kingdom that operates under the government and the constitution of love. The primary motive of everything the devil does and those follow him is selfishness. The primary motive of what Christ does and those who follow Him is love. You’ve got this big divergence, big dichotomy of motives. Yet, we’re in the world and everything about the world is all coming, it springs from the wrong motive. And so everywhere you turn as a Christian, you’re going to be frustrated because the premise of so much of what happens in the world is sinful and it’s springing from the motives. And you need to be aware of that.

So how can you live in this world and love people and not love the world? James 4:4, ‘Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is an enemy of God.’ That doesn’t mean that we should not love the lost people of the world, but we should not be a friend of worldliness. Amen. Again, 2 Corinthian 6:17, ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not thee anything that is unclean and I will receive you.’

When God is calling us to come out and be separate -- I heard a pastor describe it this way one time. Christian is something like a ship out in the ocean. It is sort of normal for a ship to be out in the ocean, but you don’t want the ocean in the ship. If the ocean gets in the ship, then you have a crisis. Christians should get out in the world. Sometimes Christians sequester themselves in their churches and they don’t know how to reach the people in the world and they sort of isolate themselves like the children of Israel did and say we’re the chosen frozen and they’re all lost. And we forget that God sent us to reach the lost.

Go into all the world preaching the gospel. But you don’t want the world in the church, or it sinks. You don’t want the world in your heart and in your life, or you sink. And when you take your eyes off Jesus, like Peter walking on the Sea of Galilee, you’ll sink. If you want to do the miraculous, you’ve got to keep your eyes on Jesus.

Might I offer to you that living a holy Christian life is impossible without a miracle. It’s just as possible as it is for you to walk on water. The only way you can do that is to keep your eyes on Jesus. The calling of Christ to His people is the highest calling in the world. It is not just one of many. You think it’s tough to be a Marine or to be a Navy Seal with some of the training. The toughest training in the world is to be a real biblical Christian. It is the highest calling in the world. It is nearly impossible, unless you keep your eyes on Jesus. Because when Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he could walk on water. You take your eyes off Jesus, you’ll sink and the world will get in and you drown.

So you’ve got that balance. We’re surrounded by this sea of evil. For us to be holy in this sea of evil -- I understand that there is a spider that lives in different parts of the world. They have some in Europe and North America. It lives underwater, but it’s not a fish. It breathes air. It even builds its web underwater, it reproduces underwater, it hunts underwater. But it makes regular trips to the surface and it captures bubbles and brings them down to its nest. It makes its nest in a bubble down below. The only way you and I can survive as Christians in this hostile environment of evil is we’ve got to make regular trips for fresh air and bring it back down. You’ve got to be praying always in order to -- the spider has to keep doing that to refresh the air in his bubble and you and I have to do it if we’re going to survive down here. You’ve got to constantly surface and pray in that atmosphere of heaven.

Romans 12:2, ‘Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ What conversion really is, is God gives you a brain transplant. The mind of Christ becomes your mind. As you keep your eyes fixed on Him and you hang around with Him, you start to become like Him. And your mind is renewed. The Holy Spirit comes in and begins to guide and direct your thinking and helps to suppress the natural tendencies of evil that we have and you begin to do things you never knew you could do, through the power of the Spirit.

For me, it may seem strange to you, but for me one of the most dramatic examples of the power of the Spirit was when I accepted Christ and I became convicted that my foul mouth was inappropriate. And I came to Jesus and I still had bad language when I first accepted Jesus. I won’t go into it, but I knew all the words and knew how to use them and I did frequently in mixed company. It was really bad. My grandmother cursed. What do you expect when a kid grows up like that? My mother, my father, I just grew up with it in the home.

After becoming a Christian I thought, wow, this is kind of strange for me because it’s just such a natural part of my vocabulary, but I know it’s just not right. And I said, Lord, you’re going to have to help me with this. The amazing thing was, after I prayed for help, a miracle occurred. Every time while I was talking, even with my old friends, and I found one of those words was getting ready to come out, it was like this emergency brake would just lock up my jaw and my brain would all of a sudden go, not that word, not that word. And it was just doing a delete as I talked. Delete, delete, delete. That’s just one sentence. I still know all of those words, but by the grace of the Lord, I don’t say them anymore. That’s a miracle.

And so I really don’t have a lot of patience for those who are in the church that say, you know, don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re in the world and Jesus loves us the way we are. Well, He does love us, but He’s not accepting you the way you are. He loves you right now, but He wants you do change. The same way He can give me victory over cursing or stealing or drugs or any of those things, He can give us victory over everything.

We make too many excuses for the devil and for sin. We need to raise the standard higher, friends. Amen. James 4:7, how do we do it? ‘Therefore submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ You cannot resist the devil until you submit yourself to God. If you humble yourself before God, repent of your sins and say, Lord, I can’t do anything, Lord, save me, He can move into your life and then He can do for you the miraculous in helping you live a new life. But all things come by faith. You must believe. And you say, oh, but Pastor Doug, I want to believe, but I’ve fallen so many times. Don’t get discouraged, get back up. How many times do you think the apostles fell and made mistakes?

I always talk about the smoking issue because I struggled with smoking. That was one of the big addictions for me. Do you know how many times I quick smoking before I quit smoking? It’s like Mark Twain said. Quitting is easy, I’ve done it 100 times. But you know what? The last time I quit was nearly 30 years ago. I haven’t even had a cigarette in my mouth, not one since then. So what the Lord did for me with cigarettes, I’ve just tried to take that as Exhibit A and I superimposed that on the other areas of my life. I believe that He can give me victory. You’ve got to believe it. If you fall, don’t say well, I guess it didn’t work and give up. Get back up again and say, Lord, help me. He will. Submit yourself to God.

Romans 6:2, ‘God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?’ We must be dead to sin. You know, dead people don’t sin. So if you’re crucified with Christ -- Paul said, I die daily. Do you know what that means? Paul, that holy apostle Paul, who said I fought a good fight, I’m going to be in the Kingdom. He knew he had eternal life. He said I must die daily because I’ve got this old nature that’s constantly clamoring for the throne. And he said just don’t let sin reign over you. Don’t let it have dominion over you.

And so people whose lives are still controlled by life of sin and the habits and patterns of selfishness, you’re not converted. You need to humble yourself, submit to God, and pray. And don’t quit praying until you know that God has changed your heart. Sometimes we’re too shallow about the way that we repent.

I’m not even getting to my subject tonight, but I feel impressed right now and I need to talk about this. Repentance, it is thorough, it’s to be deep. You know, if you break a person’s heart and you take somebody’s life and you just say, oh, I’m sorry, that’s not appropriate. If I’m walking to the back door of the auditorium and I step on your toe on the way out, I’d probably say excuse me and you’d be satisfied, right? But if in my haste to go out, I knock you over and break your bones, if I said pardon me, that’s not appropriate. I should at least stop and help you up, right? The bigger the offense, the more you invest.

What did God do to provide forgiveness for you and me? You consider the sufferings of Jesus and His agony and the death and the sacrifice and how it ruptured the heart of God Almighty. And churches are now teaching repentance like we’ve got this little prayer we want you to say. You come up front and you repeat this little prayer. And you know, God meets us where we’re at. A lot of these people have been saved because of these simple prayers, but don’t stop there. Then tell them to go home and tell them how to really repent. Make a list of your sins. That’s right, be specific. Plow up the fallow ground. Say Lord, I’ve done a lot of things. Confess your sins. The bible says He’s faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. To the same extent you want cleansing, to that extent you ought to confess and repent.

And we’re so shallow these days. You know, everybody wants fast food in our culture. We’ve got drive-through church and drive-through everything. People want drive-through salvation. We just say give it to me quick. It isn’t quick. You’ve got to humble yourself, submit yourself before God. Repent of your sins.

You read in the bible where it talks about them weeping and fasting, rending their hearts and their garments and pleading before God. The people of Nineveh, when God spared them, they did not eat or drink for three days. Not even drinking. And God forgave them. Paul, when he realized what he had done to Jesus, Jesus said I am the one you are persecuting. Three days he did not eat, he did not drink, he fasted, he wept. David, when he sinned with Bathsheba, laid on his face for seven days. And the modern concept of repentance is, say this two-sentence prayer. And that’s all it takes.

I think we’ve really fallen a long way from the biblical teaching of repentance. And the reason we don’t see more victory and holiness in the church is because we’ve tried to take the gospel message and turn it into fast food.

Question No. 7 - Why do we need to guard our thoughts as Christians? Think about what you think about. Proverbs 23:7, ‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ You are the sum total of what you think. Jesus said all things are possible if you believe and you do that with your thinking. God wants to convert our hearts.

Again, Proverbs 4:23, ‘Keep your heart with diligence for out if it are the issues of life.’ We’ve got to guard what comes into our minds through the medium of our eyes and our ears and our mouth. 2 Corinthians 10:5, ‘Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.’

Being a Christians means being pure of heart. And being pure of heart means pure of thought. Oh, but Pastor Doug, I can’t control what I think and the devil sends these temptations. Well, not every temptation is necessarily a sin. The devil is going to always try and put crazy things and things you wouldn’t want anyone to know about in your mind.

I’ve flown a lot and sometimes on these overseas planes they’ve actually got TV screens on the back of every seat. And I remember one time standing up as I was stretching my legs and I looked over the whole fuselage of this plane. It was like a big jumbo jet. At night everyone was sleeping and I could see all these screens lit up. Every seat had a little screen and all these people were watching, they had multiple channels they could pick from. And I thought to myself, I wonder what you’d see if everybody had a little LED monitor on their forehead and all their thoughts were being broadcast all the time. It makes you shudder, doesn’t it?

Does the Lord know what we’re thinking? You need to pray sometimes -- and, you know, I’m ashamed. Sometimes I’m on knees and I’m praying and these thoughts come into my mind and I say, oh, Lord, and I’m on my knees praying. My mind is wandering of things I shouldn’t think of when I’m standing up. You know what I’m talking about. The devil puts these things in our minds.

We’ve got to learn to discipline our thinking to reject that and say, Lord, help me. And to seek after the Holy Spirit. He will change your thinking. Philippians 4:8, What should a Christian think about? ‘Whatsoever things are true,’ -- so much fiction and fantasy out there, -- ‘…whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,’ -- talking about purity, --‘…whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think about these things.’

I see that butterfly on the screen and I just remembered, I was up riding in the hills the other day and I went through this flock of butterflies. Every now and then as I was riding around on the ATV, this little flock blue, beautiful blue butterflies, would take off and I thought, boy, they’re beautiful. And I later noticed that day that there were cow pies on the road and whenever I’d go by a cow pie, the butterflies took off. They were feeding on cow pies. And I thought, boy, they’re pretty, but they’ve got disgusting habits. And it made me think, there’s a lot of Christians like that. You know, they come to church and they sing about Jesus and they look like little butterflies on the outside, but they’re feeding on manure at home. You know what I’m talking about.

Question No. 8 - What are some specific principals for holy Christian living? Okay, we’re going to start getting close to home. Are you still here? Do you want me to keep going? [Yes] ‘He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.’ Let’s talk a little bit about money and greed. You know, one of the Commandments, we’ve talked about the Sabbath, but one of them talks about covetousness.

In many ways, our culture is nearly bankrupt and it’s because everybody is suing everybody for just about anything and people are greedy. Everybody is wanting to get rich quick and everybody is selling -- you know, the people who are making the most money are the ones who are selling the seminars on how you can make money. And there’s just base love of money. I don’t remember what state it started in, but some state realized they found a windfall by selling lottery tickets and it’s sort of become nationalized gambling now. I meet Christians all the time that are buying lottery tickets. Don’t you know that’s gambling? Come on, you’re probably all buying them, you won’t give me an amen on that. Well, let me tell you, I’ve never bought a lottery ticket.

I’ve actually met Christians that would say, but Pastor Doug, if I win, I’m going to give my tithe and -- don’t go there. By the way, did you know your chances of winning, you’ve got a better chance of getting bitten by a shark on dry land? I’m talking about winning big. The reason that somebody is getting all that money is because they’re taking your money. You’ll lose. If you want to make money, take what you can spend on lotto tickets and put it in the bank and leave it there or invest it in the Kingdom of heaven. There’s a better idea.

1 Timothy 6:10, ‘For the love of money is the root of all evil.’ Money is not evil, but the love of money. ‘Which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.’ Many people in their striving after being rich have lost everything. They get involved in all kinds of schemes and multilevel marketing things so that -- well, I’d better be careful what I say.

2 Thessalonians 3:10, ‘This we command to you that if any would not work, neither shall he eat.’ If you want to prosper, work, be productive. Everybody should do something. There are really two kinds of people; you’ve got producers and consumers. God calls all of his people to be industrious. And I realize if you had some physical handicap then might have to be creative in what you can do to produce, but everybody who’s a Christian ought to have a productive life and not just a life that’s taking, but a life that’s giving.

I remember my father one time gave me a hard time because I was a Christian. My father is not a Christian. He’s a great philanthropist. He’s given million of dollars away to schools and to hospitals and different things and one time I was speaking positively about my church and he said, oh, I don’t believe in religion. I said, Dad, you’re giving to schools and hospitals these humanitarian things all the time. I said, who do you think is building them? Have you ever seen the First Atheist Hospital on the front? Sisters of Atheism? They don’t build hospitals. Christians lead productive lives going out and serving the community.

Another area where there should be holiness, we should be productive in our music. Psalm 40:3, ‘He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God.’ The songs that we sing, the music that we listen to ought to be praising God. Now wait a second, Pastor Doug. I can understand that once in a week in church, but you’re telling me all week long? My music ought to glorify God? Why would it suddenly be okay to listen to ungodly music once we leave the church or worldly music? Granted, there may some folk or patriotic songs that are in and of themselves, there may be some things like that that are innocent.

I don’t want to sound too fanatical. But I do want to sound a little fanatical, because you need it right now. The pendulum has swung so far the other way that I need to be a little fanatical just to bring you back to center. People are listening to all kinds of terrible stuff. The bible says that the music that we listen to, Ephesians 5:19, ‘Speaking to one another, talking about in our weekly communication in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody,’ -- What kind of melodies? Spiritual melodies. Would that be safe to deduce from this verse? -- ‘…in your heart to the Lord.’

It does make a difference what kind of music we listen to. Music is a very powerful medium. The people who make these commercials, they spend millions of dollars picking the music to go with the commercial. You know when you walk up and down the aisles of even a Wal-Mart, do you know how much money these stores have spent on the exact kind of music they’re playing that’ll have the right kind of psychological effect so that you’ll feel carefree about spending? Oh, I realize I’m $60,000 in debt, but for some reason I feel good today and I’m just going to spend that credit card one more time. And you’ll realize that music has a part to play and you’re surrounded with it.

You know, I go into a store and I’ve not always been a Christian, I know those old songs. I’ll be in a store and I’ll hop back in the car and all of a sudden I’m going, Yesterday, love was such a -- Karen goes, Doug? Oh, sorry, dear. He’s able, He’s able. Because you overcome evil with good, right?

But you get these things in your head, then they stick there. Some of them are kind of hypnotic tunes and the devil is a master of taking these powerful melodies and then he puts it together, what would normally be good, powerful melodies and he puts it together with wicked words. And then some people think you can take the wicked music and put good words on it and somehow it’s going to baptize the bad music. It doesn’t work that way.

Do you remember the story in the bible, King David was harassed by depression and evil spirits and they heard that David was skillful on the harp. It probably wasn’t an electric harp, either. I want you to note that. 1 Samuel 16:23, ‘And it came to pass that when the evil spirit from God was on Saul that David took a harp and he played with his hand,’ -- and I don’t think he played Grateful Dead or Led Zeppelin or anything like that. He probably played soothing melodies.

And the bible says -- ‘…so Saul was refreshed,’ -- just the music would be refreshing to him -- ‘…and the spirits would leave.’ Now, stay with me. If the right kind of music played by the servant of God can chase the evil spirits away, would it be safe to assume that there’s the other kind of music played by the servants of the devil that can bring the evil spirits in?

Let me suggest to you that a lot of that has found its way into God’s church and we think that music is a neutral medium and it’s not. I grew up in the world, my mother was a songwriter. Some of the great composers, Tony Winters, were in our home. They were friends. Creative powerful musicians. I understand something about music.

I was shocked coming from the world into the church, right about the time I was coming into the church I started noticing all of these, what I would call, worldly styles and standards and samples of music were starting to come into the church and it surprised me. And now it’s becoming the norm.

I don’t have time to do a whole seminar on that, but while I’m on the subject of music, 1 John 2:6, talk about dancing, ‘He said that sayeth he abide in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked.’ I get questions every now and then from young people when they go to the colleges. They say, Pastor Doug, what’s wrong with dancing? King David danced. I say, yes, King David danced before the Ark in a linen cloth, in a robe. If you’re going to do that, I have no problem with that. You don’t have men and women dancing together in the bible.

The seductive kind of dance that Salome danced for Herod, after she danced like that, John the Baptist lost his head. That’s the wrong kind of dancing. Most of the dancing in the world today that the young people are wanting to engage in is the worldly kind of dancing and it is very suggestive, very sexual.

And the bottom line is, what would Jesus do? Be honest, can you really picture Jesus down at whatever the local dance joint is doing the -- I won’t even attempt to illustrate because I have no rhythm, so this is no temptation for me. But the bible says, 1 Peter 1:15, ‘But he who has called you is holy, so be holy in all of your conduct.’

Question No. 9 - What clear guidelines does Jesus give us for watching television? Answer? Now first of all, you don’t have to have a TV. Psalm 101:3, ‘I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.’ We shouldn’t even be looking at something wicked. Isaiah 33:15, ‘He who walks righteously, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and he shuts his eyes from seeing evil.’

And our culture is just permeated with the influence of television. It used to be people had three channels. When I grew up, it was ABC, CBS, NBC. Can you all remember that? And you might only get one of those three and that was only if you moved the coat hanger, right? You all know what I’m talking about. Now people gets these dishes and things and they get hundreds of stations and they just sit there until they find one and in the process of surfing for something that is ostensibly good, they’ve got to look at a lot of filth.

By the age of 18, the average American, one study said, the American child will have seen 200,000 violent acts on television, including 40,000 murders, according to Thomas Radecki, research director from the National Coalition of Television Violence. The average two- to eleven-year-old watches TV 25 hours a week. That’s more time than they spend in school, so what has the greatest influence on them? This is actually not the newest study. I think it’s even more today.

And one of the problems with childhood obesity, do you know what contributes to that? If they’re not playing videogames, they’re watching TV and they’re just not getting out and running around like we did when we were kids. It’s not only bad for their mental health, it’s bad for their physical health. Romans 1:32, ‘Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.’

Let me explain what that means. You are probably thinking, some of you may be thinking, I’m a Christian. I know there’s a lot of nasty things on TV and occasionally I know I watch some things, but I feel bad about it, but I would never do those things. I would never murder, I would commit adultery, I would never steal or lie or curse. But if you’re doing these things for entertainment and enjoying it vicariously, what did that former verse say? Those that have pleasure in those that do them.

Are we culpable for supporting the industry by enjoying it? I’d never do it, but I’m entertained by it. So we sin by proxy by watching everybody else do it. Job 31:1, ‘I’ve made a covenant with eyes, why then should I look upon a young woman,’ especially once you know when it comes to thinking those thoughts, but he said, ‘I’ve made a covenant with my eyes.’

I’d like to invite you to make a covenant with your eyes during this series, not to behold that which is evil or said anything wicked thing before your eyes. You wonder why it’s hard to be pure for a Christian in this day and age? I’ll tell, TV is a powerful medium. TV in and of itself is not a bad thing. It is simply a tool for communicating audio/visual information.

These messages are going via television signal around the world right now and hoping people hear the truth. But let’s face it. Most of what’s on TV is not the gospel right now. And I’ll tell you, if you can’t control it, get rid of your TV, even if it means you can’t see this program anymore. What profit is it if you have all 99 stations and you lose your soul?

I’ll go one step further. Some people are addicted to the internet and the internet has a lot of really neat things, a lot of stuff that you can do to research, but if you’re having problems with it, unplug it. Just cancel it.

Question No. 10 - What solemn warning does Jesus give us about the example and influence in our lives? Matthew 18:6, ‘But who so shall offend one of the least of these which believes in me, it would be better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drown in the depths of the sea.’ So we’re not only wanting to live holy, Godly, pure lives because there’s power in purity, but we’re wanting to do it because we are an example for others.

Romans 14:13, ‘Let no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.’ Not only do our children watch us, and typically, the best way to teach children is example, example and then example, but others watch us. And some things that you might be able to handle by your example other people can’t handle it, let it go. Paul says I’m not going to do anything that’s going to make my brother stumble. Romans 14:7, ‘None of us lives unto himself.’ We’re not islands. Christianity is about loving each other and so we want to be Godly examples, not only for the witness for God, but for those who are around us.

Question No. 11 - What are Jesus’ principles of conduct regarding clothing and jewelry? Let me read this next verse to you. I just like to always introduce this subject with this verse. Galatians 4:16, ‘Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?’ I want to tell you the truth. Does it matter what we wear? The bible talks about the Godly apparel of his people, his priests, very simple apparel, everything had a meaning and a purpose.

In Revelation there are two churches; one is the counterfeit worldly church and the other is the pure. The way we know who they are is by what they wear. Neither of them ever utters a single word to say who they are. One is clothed with light. That’s God’s church. It makes a difference what we wear. 1 Timothy 2:9, ‘And like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, not with broidered hair or gold or pearls or costly array.’

The bible is telling us that Christians should be modest. I believe Christians should be clean in what they wear. Oh, my tie is crooked. This is a really useless piece of clothing, I’ll tell you that right now. We’ve already got enough troubles in life without a man having to wake up and put a noose around his neck to start his day. It’s considered respectful, so.

1 Peter 3:3 -- oh, wait, I started telling you something. Christians are supposed to be neat in their appearance. I became very self-conscious when I said that and I looked down and saw my tie was crooked. We ought to be modest. Christians should not be flamboyant and ostentatious trying to get people to look at us because Christ is humble. It’s the spirit of the devil that is proud. And you’re never more like the devil than when you’re proud and say at me, look at me. And yet, you’re constantly being bombarded with messages to attract attention to self.

1 Peter 3:3, ‘Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning. The plaiting of the hair, the wearing of gold or putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.’ It needs to be that inward adorning and not the outward adorning. This is what the Lord really wants.

The temple had a lot of gold. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, right? We’re the church. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. You read about that temple and the gold is on the inside and the outside was marble. It’s the inner gold that God is interested in. 1 Corinthian 6:19. ‘Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God.’

And today, every time I get to this message and I do this every time, it’s getting where I have more and more I need to say about it because in the world it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse. You just look at all of the body piercing. Do you mind if I talk about that for a second? It’s just gone hog wild. This is something is a pagan practice that you can find in the pagan religions all around the world. I’m going to quickly go through some examples because I’ve traveled all over the world and I’ve seen it.

For instance, in India, the Hindus, they pierce themselves as a way to appease the Gods and to make a statement for the Gods and it’s good luck for the Gods and it’s very pagan in its trappings. Nepal, you’ve got this here. In Africa, you’ve got another example of the body piercing and the mutilating of the body in order to accommodate the gold and the jewels. And Burma, that can’t be good for you. And then of course, California. Body piercing there as well. Oh, that’s the wrong slide. It’s the next slide. That’s California. Yeah, and you’re thinking well, Pastor Doug, I’d never do that.

Well, how much is too much? If we’re all children of God, I wonder what angels see when they look down to Earth and see humans mutilating their bodies and hanging minerals on their bodies. We’re supposed to be born again when we’re Christians. We’re the children of God. Does that bother you -- don’t worry, friends, that is special effects. Some of you mothers, your heart, oh, no. You’re going to call Child Protective Services. They did that in Photoshop.

But didn’t that bother you? Why would you want to see a baby like that? Well, God doesn’t want to see his babies like that either, let me tell you right now. When the Lord made you, He made you with the appropriate number of holes. He doesn’t want you to add to that. It is typical of devil worship in the bible, the prophets of Baal, they leapt on the alter and they cut themselves. And I understand a lot youth these day and people, their self-mutilation, it’s more common among girls, but even boys, where they’ve got this problem, almost like an obsession, they cut themselves and mutilate themselves.

When this man was demon-possessed in Mark 5, he took stones and he cut his flesh. This is not how you worship God, by mutilating your body. Oh, in case you were wondering, the devil does believe in body piercing. He practiced it on Jesus. Your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God is interested in the inward adorning, not the outward adorning, friends. Amen. Our bodies should be simple and pure and holy. These are the temples of God.

And again, you read Isaiah 3, all the jewelry becoming so prevalent in the church today. Verse 18, ‘In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments,’ -- He’s talking about the proud daughters of Zion in His church that began to do this, and God said a plague, a curse, was coming upon them. ‘The chains and the bracelets and the mufflers and the bonnets and the ornaments and the leg, jewels and the headbands and the tablets,’ -- and notice -- ‘…the earrings, the rings and the nose jewels.’

Again, Luke 16:15, ‘Jesus said, you are those whose who justify yourselves before me, but God knows your hearts, for that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’ Just because something is highly esteemed in the world and it seems to be wildly accepted in the church does not mean that God has accepted it. God is calling upon His bride and those who are part of His bride to be pure.

Babylon, the fallen church, is called the mother of what? [Harlots] And one of the typical things in a harlot’s attire, they’re usually advertised by what they wear, don’t they? Pastor Doug, does the bible really say that jewelry is inappropriate?

During the Exodus experience, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt and they had just made the covenant with the Lord, the Lord is about to bring them into the Promise Land and what do they do? They made a golden calf and they worshipped it. They talked Aaron into passing the plate and they took their earrings out of not only their daughters, their sons. When I grew up, there were no sons wearing the rings and the earrings and the nose jewels, but there are now. These are things they brought from the Egyptians. It was money they took from the Egyptians they were supposed to use for building the temple, but instead of putting it into the temple, they had it on themselves. They made a golden calf. Just a little calf because that’s all they could get, enough to make a calf. My concern is that if you pass the plate in churches today and collected the jewelry and melted it down, I think you could make a whole buffalo. Amen. I think I’ll take that stuff off. It’s all going to melt when Jesus comes, you don’t want to be wearing that.

Genesis 35:3, 4, When Jacob was preparing to come before the Lord, he said. ‘Let us arise and go up to Bethel and I’ll make there an alter unto God, and they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods that were in their hands,’ -- notice, strange gods, pagan gods, from the local nations -- ‘…and the earrings that were in their ears.’ Don’t miss that connection of the paganism.

There is so much worldliness that has come into the church and the only way it’s going to change is if individuals like you and like me say enough is enough. We’ve got to start taking it seriously and be like Jesus. There is power in purity. You want to see the gospel go around the world? Let Christians start living like Christ and it’ll spread like fire.

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Is It a Sin to Be Tempted? (PB) by Joe Crews

Is It a Sin to Be Tempted? (PB) by Joe Crews
God's Promises




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