Summary: This sermon looks at the call by John to Test the Spirits and how we can do that today. It introduces and challenges people to test the Da Vinci Code book and movie through the what we learn in the passage.
A. Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” That is certainly true of parenthood (as I raise my kids, it is interesting to see and hear some of the same excuses I gave my parents, from my kids). I am sure it is true for Teachers as they listen to some of the same excuses for not doing their homework as kids have been giving for decades, even centuries. Even with fashion there is really nothing new – just look at some of the same styles of clothes that come out now that were in style decades ago.
B. Yet, as we look at this divine statement by Solomon, I am sure that he was more concerned with the fact there are really No New False Teachings – rather than n nothing really changes with fashion or excuses of people!
And it is True: Even though different people may try to write a book, begin a cult, there really are no New False Teachings.
C. Certainly, today and throughout the ages, there have been those who have taught and tried to:
Question the reliability of the Scriptures and say that there are other “divine books” available. The Latter Day Saints – Mormons are based on this teaching.
Question the deity, person or ministry of Christ
Question the notion that Jesus is the only way to God’s Kingdom/heaven.
D. Well, the best selling book “the Da Vinci Code” is another in a list of books that try seek to Question the Truths of Scripture, Jesus and means to be in relationship with God and have eternal life.
There is nothing new under the Sun – as Solomon or a teacher wrote about 2600 years ago.
E. In fact, the name for such false teachings as the Da Vinci Code is called Gnosticism from the Greek word meaning “to know.”
Though Gnosticism doesn’t have a lot of unified teachings, at the heart of Gnosticism is this:
- All matter, including the body is evil
- Spirit or Spiritual things are good.
- To get in touch with what is good - spirit, you need certain “knowledge.”
- You can gain this “knowledge” through special teachers and/or certain rituals or acts.
- So the more spiritual “Knowledge” you get the more godly or closer to a higher being you get.
- Because the body is considered evil, there are two stands of Gnosticism to help you be in the “know”: 1. you treat the body harshly by abstaining from food or comforts, pleasure, or joy. 2 the other form says the body doesn’t even count so you can do whatever and in fact, you can gain this spiritual “knowledge” thru physical and acts of pleasure.
The Da Vinci Code is basically a novel that uses a lot of Gnostic thought, even promoting it: How you might ask:
It uses as it source for authority Gnostic writings that were written 100-200 years after the time of Jesus and the Apostles to question the Deity of Christ ; to question the authenticity and authority of the Bible as we know it (claiming that it was forced on the church through Constantine in the 300’s AD).
The Da Vinci code states that Jesus never really died for the sins of people nor was he raised from the dead – but faded into obscurity, Marrying Mary Magdalene and having a baby, Sarah. In fact, the Holy Grail is not the Cup Jesus used at the Last Supper but is Mary Magdalene.
The Da Vinci Code, like Gnosticism purports that one’s spiritual fulfillment doesn’t need Jesus as our Savior and Lord.. In fact, the Da Vinci Code teaches Jesus chose Mary Magdalene to be the Matriarch for the church and include the worship of goddesses in the church. “… Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from modern religion forever.” (pg. 124)
F. To say that there is nothing new under the Sun is seen as you really consider the message of The Da Vinci Code but some of these same questions and teachings were found during the time of the 1st Century Church – as we find in our passage today – 1John 4:1-6 and yet the Biblical authors wrote against these teachings.
Colossians is about a form of Gnosticism.
Galatians teaches against some false teachers who weren’t Gnostics but were called Judiazers who believed in the Grace and GoodNews of Jesus but taught that you also had to “Do” certain things, like circumcision to be saved.
OUR PASSAGE: some were teaching that Jesus didn’t come in the flesh but only appeared to be a man – why? Remember, the Gnostic thought that the body is evil!