Summary: Are you seeking God or seeking to be god? Do you love people or are you disquising your selfishness
TITLE: Shattering Life’s Illusions
TEXT: Luke 22:24-34
TOPIC: Reality, Faith, Sanctification, delusional beliefs
Preached by Louis Bartet at Point Assembly of God, March 16, 2003 at 11:00 A.M.
An illusion is an erroneous perception of the way things really are. It is a false belief or concept based upon an incorrect inference about reality.
People who would never think of lying to those around them not only lie to themselves, but in spite of incontrovertible proof to the contrary they sustain their delusional beliefs. They defend themselves against reality and in Christian circles we do it in the name of God. It’s the old "flight or fight" response. Since we are unwilling to experience the pain of fighting with ourselves, we flee from reality into an illusion. We deny the truth in favor of our opinion, an opinion we strengthen with prefaces such as "God told me" or "God showed me".
I do not mean to imply that every "God told me" is fallacious. God does speak hope into our spirits and we should believe what He says, but when the majority of our life is based upon "God told me" rather than "It is written," something is wrong.
ILLUS: Bennie, on his way home from work, would drive his car into an empty parking lot and wait for God to tell him when to go home. When I asked him why he did this, he replied, "I’m trying to learn the voice of God." While I admired Bennie’s desire to know the voice of God, his method seemed a bit neurotic and suggested to me that he might be a person suffering from some type of mental disorder.
In Luke 22:24, the disciples were arguing about "which one of them was regarded to be greatest" (22:24). In essence they were arguing the issue of position and rank. Who among them held the highest rank and was the most important, second only to Jesus. Who among them had the right to rule the others or have authority over them?
Of course Jesus defused their arguments by stating that greatness in His kingdom is not determined by who has the most clout, but by service.
The basis for their argument was the delusional beliefs they held about themselves and their ignorance of the very nature of God’s kingdom.
Perhaps Peter claimed that his walk on the water gave him the right to rule. Whatever their reasoning, they were wrong.
In this same context, Jesus points out to Peter that he is about to go through the trial of his life. He says to Peter—"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when you are again headed in the right direction, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:31-32).
Peter’s response is not much different from that of contemporary Christians.
"And Peter said to Jesus, ’Lord with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!" (Luke 22:33).
Although Peter accurately stated what he believed about himself, his perception was later proven to be incorrect. He falsely believed that he was a macho-man and that he would fearlessly follow Jesus even into the jaws of death.
If believing is the ultimate issue, then what we believe is given reality by virtue of the fact that we have believed it. If, on the other hand, what we believe determines the genuineness of our faith, then what we believe is as important as the belief itself.
Peter believed he was incapable of denying Jesus. If mere belief creates the reality, then Peter would not have denied Jesus. Peter’s belief did not create the reality. To the contrary, Peter’s belief was proven fallacious by the reality—He denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.
Pastor Jones is sincerely seeking God for revival, souls, and laborers. His admiring congregation applauds his love for God and his determined pursuit of revival. What neither he nor they may realize is that instead of seeking God, he is seeking to be God.
It’s an issue as old as creation. Satan’s desire was to be "like the Most High" (Is. 14:14) and his promise to Eve was "you shall be like God" (Gen. 3:5). That’s a tough offer to pass up. Instead of having to serve, I get served. Instead of being dependent, I become independent. Instead of being the servant, I am the sovereign. After all, I am qualified.
When the congregation under Pastor Jones’ care goes through a tough time and diminishes by 50%, he leaves the ministry angry at God and feeling cheated. He’d paid his dues, so why didn’t he get what he paid for?
Was he genuinely seeking God or godhood? Are we seeking to know and fulfill God’s will or do we want sovereignty in the areas of health, life, wealth and notoriety. Are we seeking to serve God or to rule and reign in His place?