Summary: Now it would seem ridiculous to ignore sin & Satan completely, so they don’t. But what God calls sin in the Bible isn’t necessarily what they consider to be sin. And the idea of a real Satan is hard for some to accept. (Powerpoints Available - #237)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #237.)
ILL. As many of you know, before Ethel & I moved here to Flint Ridge, we lived in Brownsville, TX. And while we were there I was part of the Ministerial Association.
Unlike some ministerial groups, it was not a formal organization, issuing pronouncements or passing resolutions. Rather, it was just a group of preachers meeting for fellowship, sharing ideas & concerns, & seeking to understand each other a little better.
In our monthly meetings, in an effort to learn more about each other, we discussed such questions as: "How did you happen to enter the ministry?” “What kind of preparation or training did you have?” “What do you feel to be the most important part of your ministry?”
Some other topics were: “What passage of Scripture has had the biggest impact on your ministry?” “If you were making a list of priorities, where would you put preaching?” “What kinds of sermons do you preach?” And, “How do you decide what to preach?"
A. Now, why am I telling you this? It is because of a discussion we had which revealed that some of the preachers had been taught to preach only certain kinds of sermons.
They had been taught that it is old fashioned to preach about sin & Satan, & that people as affluent & educated as we are wouldn't tolerate anyone talking about a real hell, or telling them that they're sinners & there is a Judgment Day coming.
So they tended to preach on more agreeable subjects, such as love & brotherhood. They had been told, "People want to be happy & go home feeling good, thinking positive thoughts about themselves. So stick to those kinds of sermons."
Now it would seem ridiculous to ignore sin & Satan completely, so they don’t. But what God calls sin in the Bible isn’t necessarily what they consider to be sin. And the idea of a real Satan is hard for some of them to accept.
But then what do you say when something as terrible as 9-11 happens, or you see videos of people being beheaded because they're Christians, & street crowds rejoicing because a suicide bomber has succeeded in blowing up a busload of children? How do you explain that? Where does such evil come from?
If you don't believe there is such a one as Satan, then what do you say? How do you answer the questions, & calm the fears? That is the problem some preachers are facing, & they're struggling with it.
Unfortunately, others are just shrugging their shoulders & going on preaching their pet topics, seemingly oblivious to the need for a clear message about what God says concerning right & wrong, good & evil, & an eternity of heaven or hell.
But before I go any further, let me read just a part of an e-mail that I received some time ago. It’s entitled: “How It Happened.”
God filled the earth with green & yellow vegetables of all kinds so Man & Woman would live long & healthy lives.
Then Satan brought forth chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter.
God brought forth the potato, a vegetable naturally low in fat & brimming with nutrition.
Then Satan peeled off the healthful skin & sliced the starchy center into chips & deep-fat fried them. And he created sour cream dip also.
God said, "Try my crispy fresh salad."
Then Satan brought forth the 99-cent double-cheeseburger, & said to the Man, "You want fries with that?"
Man answered, "Super-size them."
God created yogurt so woman might keep her figure that man found so fair.
Then Satan brought forth ice cream sundaes & banana splits with all the fixins.
Well, there was a lot more to that email, & I enjoyed reading it. But I’m afraid that too many people treat Satan & his power as a joke. They have sugarcoated sin, & laughed at the mention of hell.
ILL. I think Joe Wright, minister of Central Christian Church in Wichita, KS, was absolutely right in his prayer before the Kansas Legislature a few years ago. And even though he had been invited to pray, what he said in his prayer created quite a controversy. You’ve probably heard it before, but please listen to it again.
He prayed: Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgive-ness & seek your direction & guidance. We know your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good,'' but that's exactly what we've done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium & inverted our values.
We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word & called it "moral pluralism."