Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque.
We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world. We do this with one another through worship, by the word, to the world.
Thank you. Thank you. I want to echo what Michael Pitts has said about us having a great privilege of being here. To be able to connect with your pastor, your staff-- what a wonderful ministry God has given you. And thank you so much for being out tonight on a Sunday evening.
Chicago gets cold. I don't know if it gets cold here or not, but in Chicago it gets mighty cold. One day last winter, according to the media-- and if it's in the media, you know that it's true-- apparently, it was so cold that some of our politicians were actually seeing with their hands in their own pockets. It gets cold in Chicago.
In Chicago, there was a couple that was out for their 40th wedding anniversary. Each was 60 years old. An angel appeared to them and said, what would you like for your 40th anniversary? The wife said, I've never traveled. The angel flashed his sword, and instantly in her hand were two tickets for a world cruise. It was the husband's turn. He took the angel aside and said, you know I'd really like to be married to somebody who's 30 years younger than I am. The angel flashed his sword, and instantly the man was 90 years old. Be careful what you ask for.
I want to say, also, regarding this church-- thank you so much for the music ministry. And those of you who are in music, Stephen and others, you'd have never known that one of my favorite hymns is "Just As I Am Without One Plea." And to have sung it that way blended with another song-- of course, you know. Many of you are old enough to associate it with a certain evangelist, weren't you? Remember Billy Graham, Just As I Am? How many of you remember that? Just As I Am. Look at that.
And you remember how Billy Graham used to give an invitation? In a moment, I'm going to ask you to come, hundreds of you. You simply get up out of your seats, and I want you to come. And for those of you who have joined us tonight by television, we'd like to send you some literature. We'd like to send you a book that has been a blessing to tens of thousands of people around the world, written by Pastor Lutzer. Just write to me, Billy Graham, Minneapolis, Minnesota. That's all the address you need. Just Billy Graham, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now until the same time next week, goodbye, and may the Lord bless you real good.
Well tonight, we're going to speak about a very serious subject. If you were here this morning or one of the sessions last night, you know I spoke on rescuing the gospel, 16th century reformation. And by the way, following this service, I'm going to be at the book table. Hopefully take out some time to greet you, to autograph some books, but tonight-- rescuing the gospel in America. You have your bulletin in front of you. And if you don't have one, I hope that you share it with someone else.
Helmut Thielicke was a German theologian. And he said that one time he was cycling through Europe as a college student. And he was so hungry in the morning-- he had skipped breakfast-- and he saw a sign on what he thought was a bakery or a coffee shop that said hot rolls. He said that as he got off of his bicycle, he was so excited to eat the saliva already began to come into his mouth. You have had that experience. He went in and discovered that it was not a coffee shop at all. It was actually a print shop. They had put that out there just to show the kind of printing they are able to do.
And you know, I think that many of our churches are that way. People anticipate this is the place where I'm going to come to know God, and they get into the church, and they discover that it's really something else, and it might actually be junk food. If your bulletin is open tonight, your insert that we prepared for you, you'll notice that the Book of Jude-- and you have Jude on one side, my outline on the other-- he says, "I'm a servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James."
Let's pause there for a moment. Jude was actually the half brother of Jesus. But you notice that he doesn't say that. He doesn't say, now I just want you to know that we grew up with him-- though he did. He came to the conclusion that his other brothers also came to, that their half brother was indeed the Messiah, the King, the Lord of Lords. And so he humbly says, a servant of Jesus Christ. And he is a brother of James, which was another brother of Jesus. And that's the way he begins.
What Jude wants to do is to begin writing a very positive letter regarding our common gospel. But there is something even more urgent. And that is that false teachers have come into the church. You'll notice it says in verse 3, it says, "Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write, appealing to you to contend for the faith once for all delivered for the saints."
By the way, as you go through this, I want you to know that the yellow underlining might not always be exact as to where I'm going to be coming from, so keep this open before you. And if you can find the verses that I allude to-- because much of what I'm going to share today comes from this book. The Book of Jude is a very difficult book, because he makes two appeals to books that were not a part of the canon. One was the book regarding Moses, the testimony of Moses. And the other was the book of Enoch, which are not part of the New Testament.
But even though he quotes them, that does not mean he gives legitimacy to them as a book that should be in the New Testament. The book of Enoch particularly was known, but everybody has, throughout history, rejected it, because it is not scripture. But he does refer to something in it that is true. And when you read the Book of Jude, you'll come across that.
Now here's what we're going to do tonight. Since Jude talks about false teachers, we are going to talk about false teachers as well. And what I'd like to do is very quickly introduce you to five false gospels taking place in America today. Now I need to emphasize that there are more than five, actually. And as I sat down to write this, I thought of five, but yes, there are more than five. But let's look at five prominent false gospels, and then let's talk especially about what we have to do as individual Christians and as families to stand against the darkness. That's where we are going tonight-- false gospels.
Number one-- the gospel of perverted grace. Several of these gospels are referred to in Jude. I added some that are not specifically referred to, but you'll notice the gospel of perverted grace, verse 4-- "For certain people have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny the only master and Lord Jesus Christ."
Now my dear brothers and sisters, there is nothing as beautiful as the grace of God. In fact, the common salvation that Jude wants to speak to us about in the common faith is the fact that Jesus is God, he is God, a very God, that he came to die for our sins, that salvation is a free gift through Jesus Christ and can be received by anyone as we emphasized this morning. That is the grace of God. And we offer grace to the vilest of sinners. How wonderful it is that we can do that with authenticity.
As a pastor who has seen a lot of sin in his life, in members of the congregation as well as struggles in our own life, I love to be able to tell people, my dear friend, there is more grace in God's heart than there is sin in your past. Do I have an Amen tonight for that? Amen.
But there's also such a thing creeping into evangelical churches that I would call perverted grace. Perverted grace is the kind of grace that is offered to people before they even know they really need it. You see, it used to be we'd preach against sin, and when people couldn't handle it, because they were under conviction, we pointed them to grace. Today grace is offered to people even up front before they know they need it. Even such a phrase as God loves you unconditionally may be true, but it has a certain context. But if we offer that out there, somebody says, well, even though I'm sleeping with my girlfriend, God loves me unconditionally. God loves me just as I am. What's the big hassle about sin? And Jude says here, it is perverting the grace of God into sensuality.
Maybe I can put it this way. Biblical grace stands against sin. It fights against sin. Paul says that the grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Today there's a kind of grace that embraces sin, that in effect says, let us celebrate all of our sins. Because we're all sins and God's grace forgives us. Biblical grace leads us ultimately to fear God as the New Testament tells us we should. Just read 1 Peter, chapter 1.
But perverted grace says there is nothing to fear. It is safe to sin, because we are under grace. We're not under law. And then, in its extreme form-- a friend of mine asked somebody on a plane one time, what would you say to God if God were to say to you why should I let you into heaven? And he said, well I just expect him to forgive me because that's his job. That's perverted grace that embraces sensuality rather than fighting against it. And we see that today in the church oftentimes, especially in those churches that deny the accuracy of the word of God.
Let's go on to a second. And we don't have much time to go into all of these issues. But let's look at the second kind of gospel-- health and wealth. The health and wealth gospel-- you see this particularly on television. Not everybody on television is a heretic, but believe me, there are plenty of false teachers on television. And they generally lean into the camera and tell you this-- first of all, God showed me. God spoke to me, and this is what he said.
Do you know what Jude refers to people in verse 8 of people relying on their dreams? In fact, a few years ago, there was one of these false teachers who even said, you know, I'm having a revelation. There are actually nine members of the Trinity. They purport to have information about God that he tells them personally. And especially, God showed me that if you send me seed faith, if you send me money, you're going to be blessed.
I remember a man on television who actually said that if they sent him money-- if they sent him money, their mortgage would be miraculously paid. Wow, isn't that wonderful? About six months after I saw that, I flew into the city where he was from. And I said to a pastor, what happened? He said, all these people sent in money, and none of the mortgages were miraculously paid. But the false teacher got lots of money.
You'll notice what Jude says, for example, in verses 11, 12, and 13. He says, "Woe to them, for they have walked the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion. These are hidden reefs in your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear-- shepherds feeding themselves, waterless clouds." What's a waterless cloud? You think you're going to get rain, but you don't. All of these false promises.
I often want to ask these false teachers a question. Why should I send my seed money to you? Why should I not give it to Calvary Church, for example? That might be one place to sow some seed money. Oh no, it has to be sent to them. And if you send it to them, you'll be blessed, and you'll be healed. And we have power to touch you and you are slain in the spirit.
One time I read a study that was done by one of their own number who said that he proved, after studying all the people slain in the spirit, that their experience did not help them at all in their walk with God. And lots of false promises-- "swept along by the wind, fruitless trees in the autumn, twice dead, uprooted, wild waves of the sea casting up the foam of their own shame, wandering stars for whom the gloom of darkness is reserved."
Wow, what condemnation of false teachers. I wish that some of those false teachers would lean into the camera and say, it's more important that you be holy than that you be healed. Wouldn't it be nice if one of them said that some time? But sin is not talked about unless it's the sin of not sending me money. Now that's a sin, because it's the sin of unbelief. So there is the health and wealth gospel-- no room for suffering in their theology, no room for persecution.
Third, I'm including here an ecumenical gospel-- an ecumenical gospel. People think, well, just because others believe in Jesus, we should unite with them in mission. And they don't realize something. Listen to me carefully. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 11, Paul said this. He said, "I fear that you were so soon moved away toward another Jesus. Which is not another," he says, "because there are those who pervert the gospel." Did you know that we don't know exactly what that other Jesus was? But listen carefully. It was so much like the real Jesus that Paul thought they might not be able to tell the difference.
Brothers and sisters, there are all kinds of Jesuses in the world that can save anybody. There's the Mormon Jesus. There is the Santa Claus Jesus that we talked about. There is the Islamic Jesus. And people say, well you know they believe in Jesus too. Yes, they believe in Jesus who is not divine. They believe in Jesus who is only a prophet.
I want to speak about Islam for a little bit. In 2009, Rebecca and I were in Turkey, which is the site of the Seven Churches of Revelation, and we visited all those cities. And there is no church in those cities that can be seen. Maybe a hidden church. Only mosques. Earlier I had been in Istanbul, and I had a very devout Muslim guide with whom I got along very well. He told me in effect that Islam's ability to crush the church is proof of its superiority as a religion. So if you want to know whether or not Islam is right, go to Egypt, where there are 2,000 to 3,000 churches that are mosques today.
This troubled me because it made Jesus look weak, and I asked God for wisdom as to what these nonexistent churches have to say to the American church. And just in a matter of about an hour, I wrote down seven or eight or nine lessons. And that became a small seed from which a book grew, entitled The Cross in the Shadow of the Crescent. I believe very deeply in the need for the American church for that particular book on Islam.
But you know what Islam does is it cuts out the heart of Christianity. It says that Jesus did not die on the cross. He was not buried. He didn't have to be raised again. He was taken directly into heaven. And yet you have people who claim to be evangelical who believe in Chrislam. Chrislam is the unity of the Quran and the Bible, the unity of Islam and Christianity. Did you know that there are churches in America that, in the pews, have both a Bible and a Quran?
I was in Martin Luther's church in Germany, which of course, as you know, has become a very liberal continent. And there, Martin Luther is buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg. And the pastor said, during a short service-- he read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Quran. He said, in this church, we honor all three of the world's great religions. What confusion.
And yet people are confused today. I saw a letter recently by a woman who said, I'm a Christian, but I also believe that all Muslims go to heaven as well. My dear friend, what we need to do is to defend and contend for the gospel just as Jude said they had to do in his day. The ecumenical gospel is dangerous. And we should not associate with any group, any religion, or any denomination that has left behind the uniqueness of Christ as the only way to the Father and salvation through Jesus Christ alone, through faith alone. That is the gospel, and we must hang on to it.
Now let me give you a fourth. I wrote down love wins. This past summer, I read the book by Rob Bell, entitled Love Wins, in which this very well written and influential book teaches [AUDIO OUT] What Rob Bell does is very interesting, and all false teachers do this. The health and wealth people do it, and others as well. They will pick and choose certain passages of scripture. They cherry-pick these passages. And then they build an argument to say, see, Jesus died for everybody, so everybody's going to be saved. And they cut out the heart of the doctrine of hell and eternal punishment. That's a false teacher. It is the doctrine of "love wins." Yes, love wins. But I'm here to tell you tonight that justice wins as well. And young people, truth and love are not enemies. We must hold on to both truth and love. And how essential that absolutely is in today's very confused world.
By the way, let me give you a little bit of apologetics. What do you say to somebody who says I no longer believe in God? I don't believe in God, because look at all the evil in the world. Look at the tornadoes, look at the Holocaust. And because of that, I can't believe in God. So let me clarify something. The existence of evil is not an argument against God's existence.
What it does do is it calls into question the kind of God that actually exists. What kind of a god would allow the Holocaust? What kind of God allows the evil that is taking place in the world. What is He like? So this is what I say to people. You have an option. You can either disbelieve in God and go your own way, or you can look at what is happening in the world. And you can see that God must have a side to Him of justice and, if I might say, of terror.
And therefore, the best decision that you can make is to flee to Jesus Christ, who is the refuge from the anger and the wrath of a righteous God. You come to Jesus. That's the answer to your unbelief and to your struggles. Jesus is the one. The Bible says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. I, for one, don't want to fall into his hands unprepared. You rush to Jesus, who protects us from the wrath to come.
We don't understand everything about God. The older I get, in many respects, God is more mysterious than ever. But this we know-- we cleave to the promises of the Lord Jesus Christ. And we go on believing no matter what. So there is the love wins gospel.
Now there's another gospel I need to comment on, and that is the gospel of my sexual preference. The gospel of my sexual preference is found in evangelical circles today. You may know, perhaps you saw it on the internet, or you read about it, that there are some churches that are wanting to be called evangelical who now are condoning same-sex marriage. Also what you find is-- there was a publishing house that was rather Christian in years gone by. And it has published a book entitled Gay and Christian, in which it argues-- the book argues-- that one can be gay in practice, in practice, and still be a good committed Christian.
Now when I talk about this, I want to speak very sensitively. Because I'm sure that there is some here this evening who perhaps struggle with same-sex attraction. So I want to be sympathetic to where you are at, and I want to simply say this-- that if you struggle with same-sex attraction, if you are not attracted to the opposite sex-- let's suppose you're a young man, and you're not attracted to young women. That doesn't mean that you're a homosexual. It means that God is calling you to a high and holy calling of celibacy.
In fact, it's referred to in the New Testament. Jesus talks about a eunuch, and he says there are some who are born that way. They have no natural attraction. There are those who are made that way by men, and there are others who are committed that way for the sake of the kingdom. So what we need to do is to help people to see that singleness can be a tremendous blessing, and God may be calling you to that kind of a lifestyle. And certainly, he is calling you to celibacy and not to same-sex relationships, no matter how they might be constituted.
Here's what bothers me about modern society. Today, if you are not in favor of same-sex marriage, you are a hater. You are called names. You're a hater, you're homophobic. Oh, you're bigoted. Keep your bigotry to yourself. Really? You mean there are no good arguments against same-sex marriage? What about, even apart from the Bible, what about natural marriage as opposed to unnatural marriage? If you know anything about anatomy, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And are you really seriously telling me that a baby that is adopted by two men-- that they can take care of it as well as a mother can? Are you really telling me that? But today there can be no debate about it, because the homosexual movement has tremendous power. And it is denying us freedoms that we always thought we had as Americans. I think I may comment on that in a moment.
But then along with that, you have the whole transgender phenomenon. You have the Bruce Jenner. Now we should be sympathetic to Bruce Jenner, who always thought that he was actually a girl in a wrong body, ever since the age of 9. But there is a doctor by the name of Dr. McHugh. In fact, you might want to write this down. His last name is capital M, of course, C-H-U-G-H. Paul McHugh, a Johns Hopkins University psychiatrist. You should read what he says about transgender reassignment surgery.
In Chicago there's a doctor who does it beginning at age 4. He gives four-year-olds a certain hormone therapy to prepare them for surgery. He is destroying them, according to Dr. McHugh. Dr. McHugh says that if you have transgender surgery, you have 20 times more likely-- you will be-- to commit suicide. He said we are not doing any favors to anybody by emphasizing this, rather than dealing with the psychological order.
Did you know that Bruce Jenner today is still a man? I could go through the details and point out that he is a man neurologically and in every way. But we're living in an age of confusion. And by the way, parents, if your teenager comes to you and says, I think I'm transgender. What you need to say to them is you need some help psychologically. But also, be encouraged. Because according to Dr. McHugh, 70% to 80% of all teenagers who think that they are transgender grow out of it. It's a passing fad. And we can expect more of it, because in our schools, there is deliberate rebellion against God and gender confusion. There is a war against God as creator of male and female.
So kids in Chicago and some of the schools are taught that the teacher cannot say, now boys, you go to one part of the room, and girls on the other. I read an article that said that doctors should not tell the mother whether she has given birth to a boy or a girl. She should wait to see what choice the child wants to make. Folks, we have lost our minds. We have lost our minds.
And I want to tell you this. We're living in a day and age in which absurdity is no longer an argument against anything. Used to be that if it was absurd. We rejected it. Not anymore. The whole bathroom controversy-- you should actually go to the bathroom that corresponds to your anatomy. Now there may be some exceptions, because some people are born, perhaps, with both genders so to speak. But those are exceptions that can be dealt with. But to think that we are now having this emphasis on the fact that men can go into women's bathrooms, if they identify as a woman. We are headed for absolute total sexual confusion and absurdity. And unfortunately that's where we are.
Now enough of that. What I would like to do is to talk to you about rescuing the gospel in the midst of this. How do we live in a generation that has lost its way? Let me give you some hopeful suggestions. First of all, prepare for opposition. Look at what Jude writes in verse 18. Now you can flip your bulletin over, your insert. He says in verse 17, "But you must remember, beloved, the prediction of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you in the last time, there will be scoffers following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people devoid of the spirit."
Let's stop there for a moment. Number one, prepare for opposition. Prepare for opposition. If you think that times are dark, they are. But they're going to get darker unless there's a major reversal in America. They are going to get very dark. I read an article some time ago about the psychological problem of intolerance. What if intolerance turns out to be a psychological problem, a mental problem, that disqualifies you from being a parent? And therefore, the Child Protective Services comes into your home, takes your children because you are an unfit parent, because you are intolerant? You say, well that's absurd. Yeah, but there are lots of absurd things happening.
So I want to speak directly to you now as a family, you and your family. Mothers, fathers, grandparents listen to my heart today, not just to my words. There are two thieves that want to destroy your children, capture their hearts, and lead them away from everything that is decent, everything you have tried to teach them, and God. There are two things.
Number one, there is a school system out there-- and I'm not saying that's true of all schools-- but many schools try to sexualize your child. Don't you dare allow the school system to sexualize your child. The intention is to introduce them to various forms of sexuality, in some instances, to confuse them. And at an early age cause desires and aptitudes that are very destructive. Don't allow the school system to do that. And perhaps your school system isn't doing that, but parents, you have a direct responsibility for the children that God has given you. And you had better be very careful as to what they are taught in school and what's happening there. Do I have an Amen?
So that's the first thief. Let me give you the second thief. I'd like to preach an entire message on this alone, and that is technology. What if you had thieves that came into your house and stole your kids? Well, you'd call the police and so forth, and you would block the doors later on when they were found. What if I told you that there are thieves that are in your home right now that want to steal the heart of your child? And those thieves are computers, iPhones, iPads, and all of these technologies that we use to spread the gospel. But they are also being used for very evil, fenarius-- oh, there's a word like fenarius? If not, there is now-- purposes. Watch technology. Protect your children.
There is so much stuff out there. I could tell you stories about boys who got onto a computer and were introduced to pornography and horrible, horrible experiences. And the computers out there, and the people who run that technology, tonight, while we're meeting here, they are meeting together to think of new ways to snare your child. So prepare for opposition as families.
In the workplace, you're going to receive opposition. Churches-- the first bill that was written in Illinois regarding same-sex marriage, before the Supreme Court OKed it-- I read it in its entirety. And it said that any church that has weddings, and it rents out its facilities for weddings, has to have same-sex weddings. If not, they will be in violation of the law. I said to someone who is sponsoring it-- I was sitting beside him-- I said, now let's suppose a secretary were to say that she is going to go home, and this weekend, she's going to marry her same-sex lover. If she were terminated, because of that, in the church, what would happen? He said, instant lawsuit.
So we're living at a time in which churches must prepare as far as they legally can be. At Moody Church, we rewrote our constitution a couple of years ago with some attorneys, trying to build in some safeguards that may work for a few years. But we are headed at a time when our freedoms that we used to take for granted are being gobbled up in ways that we could have never predicted.
So prepare for the future. Times are going to be dark. Teach your children to stand for the faith. Read them biographies of some of the great saints of the past, who have been willing to give their lives, and who are role models for us, so that we know that the church has always been an island of righteousness in a sea of paganism. And God has been faithful in the midst of it. So number one, prepare for opposition, because it is already here.
Second, let me talk to you about the spiritual disciplines. You'll notice that this comes from Jude. "But keep yourselves in the love of God--" verse 20-- "waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life." That should not be interpreted to mean we have to live in such a way that God keeps loving us, because we know God will keep loving us. It means we live consistently with the fact that God loves you, and stay there. And I see the spiritual disciplines as absolutely critical, because the Bible says that Satan goes about roaring like a lion, seeking whom he may devour.
If you see the animal channel on TV-- and I like the animal channel. You say, well there are several channels that could be dubbed as animal channels, but that's a separate subject. You'll notice this, that lions roar when they are claiming ground and territory. When they're actually running after that poor deer, they are not roaring at that time. And the enemy says, I rule technology. I rule in this area. I rule in that area. And the Bible says, watch, because he is there to devour you. You and I and your children have a target on our back.
So I think the only way we can do that is to keep up our spiritual life in terms of our yieldedness, in terms of our own repentance, our own commitment to the scriptures, so that we can stand against the kind of inroads that Satan wants to make into our lives and in our families. He says keep yourself in the love of God. Put on the armor of God. And let us as a church repent of our own sins.
Third, you'll notice that he says we don't treat everyone alike. What's very interesting is Jude does not to speak about the fact that we should attack the false teachers. And you and I probably shouldn't, because they're out there, they have the money, and they have the technology. And they are doing what they're doing. But Jude is saying minister to those who are being affected by the false teachers.
I'm picking it up now in verse 22. "Have mercy on those who doubt." If somebody is going through a time of doubt, a time of deception, a hard time, have mercy. Don't cast them out. Don't be hard on them. Remember that all of us have gone through times of doubt, of struggle, of heartache. So have mercy on those. "Save others by snatching them out of the fire." There are those who are going the wrong way, the wrong direction, they've bought into the various teachings of the world. You know what happens if you have a violin, and the lead string is out of tune, and you use it as the string to tune the other strings? All the other strings are out of tune.
What you find today is that in our culture we are often tuning our lives in accordance with the culture. So if you see someone being led astray because of what is happening in the world, snatch him out of the fire. Go to him lovingly. Help him to see that he's going in a wrong direction, and that the way of the transgressor is hard. Snatch them out of the fire, and another, show mercy with fear, hating even the garments stained by the flesh.
There's some things that you and I know about that we should definitely stay away from. And we should encourage others to stay away from it also. Try to minister to people who are being led astray in this world in which we live.
Number four-- Jude does not refer to this directly, but he would certainly agree with it. Let us learn to love those who hate us. Learn to love those who hate us. What this broken world really needs is love. It needs the expression of people reaching out. We are not called to be waving our fingers in the eyes of the world and telling them how evil they are. They are simply acting on the basis of their passions, their lusts, their desires, and in many instances, of their perversions. And what they need to do is to find out what love is. The world can outentertain us, the world outnumber us, the world can outfinance us, but my friend, let it never be said that the world can outlove us. Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that is given unto us. Let us love well.
Jesus said love your enemies. You say, but the enemies out there, they hate us. They may. Today I spoke about Islam very briefly. I did want to add something else that, in addition to Islam having special dibs here in America-- and it is very, very special-- no matter how many attacks are done in the name of Allah, somehow people continue to believe that it is a religion of truth, no matter how many passages in the Quran or the Hadif there are to justify it.
But you and I are called to love. And by the way, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are turning to Christ, I'm told, in Muslim countries today. Isn't that wonderful? But Jesus said this in Luke 6. He said, "Blessed are you when men cast out your name as being evil." That's the literal Greek. "Blessed are you when men cast out your name as being evil for my sake. Great is your reward in heaven." Love your enemies. And we have the privilege of doing that.
I want to say a word also, since I'm up here and talking, about the present situation in America regarding immigration issues and controversies. We as a Church have the privilege and opportunity of loving absolutely everyone that we come in contact with, no matter their origin, no matter how they got here. We have the privilege of reaching out to them.
But it is not the government's first responsibility to be compassionate. We have that privilege as believers, but the government has the first responsibility to protect its citizens. It cannot be governed by compassion. If it can be compassionate, fine. But that's not a policy. The government has one responsibility. We as Christians have another. And that is to love everyone and be compassionate to everyone.
And even if people purport to be our enemies, let us go on loving them and representing Jesus Christ and doing it well. We must love those who hate us.
Number five-- we must be a witness. People are praying for revival in America, and we all are. But I want to tell you this tonight, my friend. Sometimes we use prayers for revival as a cop-out. We want revival to do what God has called us to do. And what God has called us to do is to witness to our neighbors, to our friends, to our associates at work, to our relatives, and to do it lovingly and help them to see the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is our calling.
What I want you to do this week is meet someone. Perhaps it's somebody whom you've known for a long time. And ask them this question-- where are you on your spiritual journey? Just ask them that. Let them talk. Ask questions. God may, in his grace, give you an opportunity then to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And when we do that we discover that if we do it well, we are actually building friendships, and we're helping Jesus Christ look good to a world that desperately needs to know that there is a Savior to save us from our sins. And we need to do that. And what a privilege it is to do that. And so we as a church go out, we fan out, all throughout Albuquerque tomorrow morning representing Jesus. And we're doing it with love, and integrity, and with an interest in others, and with brokenness.
I'm going to share something with you now. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. I believe that the time is going to come in America when we will find no support beyond the church. In America, we used to have presidents who supported us. We had laws and law givers that supported freedom of religion and what have you. I think all of that is going to disappear.
Why do I say that? Believe it or not, do you know who someone was who really praised the Church in Germany during the Hitler era? Oftentimes we say, where was the Church during the Hitler era? It was not there. And it's true. You know that I've written a book entitled Hitler's Cross where I discuss the Church in Germany, and its failures, and what we learned from that.
But at the same time, the Church-- part of it-- did stand against Hitler. Einstein said this about the Church in Germany. He said, I used to despise the Church, but now, he said, I have nothing but praise for the Church. Why did Einstein say that? Einstein said, when Nazism came, I looked to the universities, those great bastions of freedom, and they were silent. Because remember, where there is fear, there is silence. He said, I looked to the newspapers with their flaming editorials about their need for freedom. He said, they too were silent. Everybody became silent. But he said only the Church stood against Hitler's path.
Well the Church didn't do all that it should, but the Church did have this opposition. 700 pastors and priests were thrown into concentration camps. That at least is some opposition to Nazism. And for that, the great scientist Einstein praised the Church. The day may come when we cannot look to the newspapers. We cannot look to our judges. We cannot look to our politicians. We cannot look around us, certainly, to our universities.
The day will come when it will be us and God alone. But at that moment, what we will discover is that God is faithful to his people. My dear friend, tonight, we're entering an era in which us as Americans-- we've never been there before, have we? We have to trust God in new ways.
But God was even with believers in Nazi Germany, marvelous stories of deliverance and faith and courage. God has been with his people in every single era, and he is not going abandon us in the midst of our political confusion and our moral consternation and foolishness. God is going to walk with us in the days ahead. And I want to encourage you and let you know that.
And Jude, if he listens to this sermon-- I think he has better things to do in heaven than to listen to what I'm saying tonight-- he would agree. "Now unto Him, who is able to keep us from falling," he says, "and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding great joy, to the only wise God in our Savior be glory and majesty, dominion and power, forever and ever. Amen." I've used that benediction at Moody Church probably hundreds of times, and you probably have heard it as well.
That no matter how bad the fiery furnace is, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three asbestos kids who refused to burn-- known to some as shake the bed, make the bed, and into bed you go-- they said, oh king, we don't know whether or not God will deliver us, but whether he will or not, just get this straight-- we will not abandon our faith in God. And no matter how dark it gets, no matter how bad the situation becomes, let it be known tonight. We will not abandon our faith in God. Whether he delivers us from the furnace, or whether we die in it, God is with us.
Let's all stand for the benediction, shall we? And now, I give you God's most holy word prayed upon you and put upon you right now.
And now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding great joy, to the only wise God and our Savior be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. God bless you, and good night. Thank you. Thank you.
What binds us together is devotion to worshiping our Heavenly Father, dedication to studying his word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig, visit calvaryabq.org