We are going to begin this sermon by turning to Jeremiah 30.
Jeremiah 30:1-3 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, "Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: 'Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,' says the LORD. 'And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.'"
We are looking at a prophecy here that has never been fulfilled. We know that it applies to the time of Jesus Christ's return, because that is when other prophecies tell us this is going to occur. We of course believe we are in this time that is described here, and that the reuniting of Israel and Judah lies ahead. But before we get to that time, we are going to have to go through some very bad times that are going to be far more stressful than what we have already gone through. I think you will agree that right at this time the things that are happening are already pretty stressful mentally and emotionally.
Jeremiah 30:4-7 Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. "For thus says the LORD: 'We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
As the prophecy unfolds, beginning in verse 1, we see a reason why we can look forward in hope for that part of it to be fulfilled. But then He admonishes us pretty strongly by saying that we are passing through a period of time that is unlike any other time that the people of the earth have had to go through. It is unique in that sense. There have always been wars and rumors of wars. There have always been earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, lack of rain, too much rain, and on and on it goes. Those things have always taken place, but what we are looking for (and I believe, even at this time) is a time that is unique, even considering all of those things. In other words, the intensity is going to be greater than it has ever been in the past, and it is being stretched out, as it were, over a fair amount of time.
What we are looking at here in Jeremiah 30 is an overview. It does not contain a great deal of detail, but Jesus filled in that detail for us in Matthew 24, in Mark 13, and in Luke 21. We are only going to look at a number of verses in Matthew 24. Here Jesus fills in details to give us a little bit more insight into what is going to happen. In verse 22, He said it is going to be bad enough, that...
Matthew 24:22 Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
The indication there is that it is going to be a pretty intense series of events. We might ask the question, "Why do we need this?" The answer to that is that God has put it in His Book, and He has distributed that book to His people, and therefore He wants us to know that He has planned this, and He wants us to go through it—at least a good deal of it. Since He is the great mind that has everything figured out, He knows exactly where He is going. We know His character, and He has willed us to go through it, and therefore it is for our good.
Do you think we can change our mind about it a little bit since God has willed that for a good part of it we are going to have to go through it? We are going to have to endure those emotional pains. We are going to have to endure the stress of wondering what is going to happen next. What is our president going to do again? How much money is he going to take out of our pocket? How low is God going to bring the Israelitish people before He finally intervenes, and how much of that do we have to share with those people. Even though we are converted, even though we are His begotten children, we are going to have to share a great deal of that with our unconverted brethren.
Let us look at Matthew 24, to something that is attached to this. We know that in Revelation 6 we see this vision where martyrs are in their grave, and they are saying, "How long, O Lord?" Well, we have already said that. "How long is this going to go on?" Here is what verses 32 to 36 of Matthew 24 say. Notice the analogy here, the metaphor that he is drawing upon.
Matthew 24:32-36 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it [all these events Jesus has enumerated here] is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
This is what I am getting at here, and I am getting at it because I know of people in the church of God—in United, Living, Church of the Great God, you name it—who are spending an awful lot of time trying to really define when Christ is going to return. Now listen to your Savior. He says, "But of that day and hour no one knows." Do we really believe that? We are aching to be able to find it. [We say] "How much longer am I going to have this heaviness about what is going on in the world?"
Matthew 24:37-39 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
That is pretty definite. He has firmly made it so that to pursue that end in our studies is not worth it. It is a waste of time. It is time we could use for something better than looking for a real precise date of when Christ will return. He has given us plenty of things to look for in terms of what we would call "news events" so that we would understand that we are in the time. He wants us to know those things in order that these things prod us to do what really needs to be done so that we are prepared.
Go with me to Deuteronomy 29:29. This is a verse that needs to be underlined in your Bible. It needs to be colored, circled, etc.
Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things [We are looking at a secret thing. Nobody knows when Christ will return.] belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, [Why?] that we may do all the words of this law.
That is the important thing. He gives us enough insight so that we will be stirred up by the events we see occurring so that we know that our Lord is near. It might still be years away, but He is an awful lot closer to coming than He has ever been in the history of mankind. So we are on track.
Let us add one more piece to this. This is going to be found in Ezekiel 33. I want to remind you, if you already knew in the past and maybe have not thought about it for awhile, the opening to the book of Ezekiel gives a pretty strong indication that Ezekiel was with the children of Judah. He was already in captivity. He was already in Babylon with those people, and he did not write the things that are in this book until about 130 years after Israel went into captivity, around 720 BC.
So 130 years after Israel went into captivity, Ezekiel, inspired by God, wrote the book of Ezekiel to Israel. Not to the Jews. They can be included in it, of course; but it was written to Israel; therefore, this entire book is an end-time book. It is written to the Israelitish people who are in the United States, in Britain, and in the other countries in the Western world, and of course to the Jews as well. Listen to what God says to Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 33:24-33 "Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, 'Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.' ["Yes, America—my land, my country!"] "Therefore say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: [enumerating some sins here] "You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood [a murderous country, you know]. Should you then possess the land? You rely on your sword [Oh, the greatest army in the world!], you commit abominations, and you defile one another's wives. [Adultery running rampant.] Should you then possess the land?"' ["Should I give it to you?"] "Say thus to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "As I live, surely those who are in the ruins [The nation is being ruined.] shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die of the pestilence. For I will make the land most desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed."' "As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, 'Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
Do you understand that God is telling Ezekiel, "No matter how hard you work, no matter how you lay yourself out to these people, they are going to end up listening, but not heeding." They eventually killed him. That has been the end of so many prophets it is incredible—so much that Jesus lamented, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets." They never repent. A few of the prophets did live through their ministry, but the people shut them out and killed an awful large number of them. So here was God telling Ezekiel, "You are not going to be successful."
How would you like somebody to say that to you? It is the lot of the true ministers of God. People love to hear, but very few will do what it says to them from God's Word.
Now why am I doing this? Because I do not want this to happen to you. We need to take the warning and be different. The warnings are coming at us every single day in the news reports that are going around the world. From all parts of the world we are hearing what is going on. Though we might feel badly, what are we doing? Are we actually increasing our studies intensely? Do we actually pray more fervently? Do we actually lay ourselves out in appeals to God to intervene and to make the strength of His church, wherever it is, to be stronger? That is our responsibility.
We are to take the message of the news events that are going on, and to stay alert, and stick our nose in the Book, and really make the choices in our life to obey regardless. That is not easy to do. That is going to determine whether we grow. It may even determine whether we are taken to a place of safety. I do not know. That is God's call. He will take to a place of safety those who are going to do best, but that is His call. In Zephaniah, He says that maybe, perhaps, you might be set aside to escape these things.
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD's anger.
Do you understand why Jesus said those who endure, who persevere to the end, are the ones who will be saved?
This particular sermon is the third in the series that I have titled "The March Toward Globalism." The nations of the world, and especially those in the Western world where the vast bulk of the Israelitish people live, are being led toward a dangerous—to life, to limb, and prosperity, political, and economic configuration. The framers of this configuration call it "Globalism." Its central thrust is that individual nations will no longer cooperate with each other as sovereign nations, but rather they are being put into groups, cooperating with each other within those groups, but dealing with other groups of nations that are also configured into groups.
This particular plan is one of those things that sounds good on paper, but the Bible shows that it is also obviously not within God's will, and the clearest model for what is developing is the European Union. Many individual nations in that union are ethnically Israelitish, and so it is actually the Israelites who are leading the way into this model configuration. The Union now consists of 26 nations. The United States, also Israelitish at its core, is being drawn ever so quickly into this mode of governmental and economic thinking.
In the first sermon in this series I drew from the Bible what I feel are seven necessary elements I could see that are important to what is forming in our time. What we see forming is, I believe, the biblical Beast. The Beast is a union of nations under a single figure that is clearly shown as not good for mankind nor for God's purpose.
Revelation 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns,and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
In reading this you can see that the Beast is a configuration that includes many nations, many ethnic groups.
Revelation 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast.
I read that only so that we will see that this Beast is under the authority of, the power of, and receives its strengths, its ideas, its thoughts, its hopes and dreams from Satan, from the great Dragon. He is leading this feeble operation. His plan includes what amounts to using God's child-training instruction in order to produce a family or group of people who have the same general mind-set. This, in an overall sense, is what this sermon is going to focus on. It is really a childrearing sermon, but I want us to think of it in terms of what Satan is doing. He knows where to get good ideas. He gets them from God, and he knows that if God's ideas are used, they work. The only thing is, he is going to use God's ideas in an evil way. He is going to twist the instruction so that it produces a mind-set that is like his rather than a mind-set that is like Jesus Christ's. It is a plan he will follow.
You might wonder why he needs to do these things. Well, we will see this unfold. The Beast is not being put together in a moment.
Let me go back in thought a little bit to the previous sermon. I opened that sermon telling you that Satan uses a plan that in the world people will call "gradualism." That is, it is the old "frog-in-water" routine. He cunningly devises what he is doing so that the people are going through tiny incremental changes. By "people," I am talking about the citizens of the United States of America. Their government, their education, the economic system, and everything, it is all being configured into what he wants it to be just before Jesus Christ returns, so that the nation—the organization he is leading—will be thinking like he does. That thinking, brethren, is really slick.
I can tell you, and I know that you understand, that what has happened to the United States, especially over the past 100 years—in its thinking, in its approach to life, in its approach to God, in its approach to its education, in its approach to its economics and everything—has undergone such a change that if somebody came back from the 1890s they would barely recognize the way the people are living. They would barely recognize the way the government is operating, especially if they came back from the time when the Founders of this nation put together the Declaration of Independence and when our Constitution was put together.
The Constitution of the United States is one of the most remarkable documents that has ever been put together on the face of the earth. It was largely responsible for God being able to use it to produce the prosperity and power of this nation in such a brief period of time. But it is gone now. It has been wiped away by Satan, with God's permission, by making incremental changes over 100 years or so. If he had made some of the changes we have seen made in the last 20 years, and if he had done that at first, this country would have never risen to the power and so forth that it has today because the people would not have accepted it.
We are going to go to three scriptures in Proverbs. I am just using these as a model in one small area of child-rearing. What I want you to think about here is how different it is today in terms of child-training practices that are done in the United States.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.
All three of these touch on the subject of spanking as a tool of how to turn a child from the foolishness of pride, which in turn has its own fruit in self-centeredness, self-importance, and self-exertion. In my previous sermon, this is what I kind of concentrated on that has produced the world as Satan wants it to be. He wants citizens of his kingdom to focus on themselves, and the way to stop that from developing falls into the hands of the parents.
The spanking is only one small part of God's whole program, and it is delivered to us for the purpose of understanding that children absolutely need to be corrected. They need to be forced. They need to be narrowed down with their foolish thinking into a certain pattern of life that is designed by God for them to follow after, and spanking merely stands for all of the correction that is given to a child. It is not just one thing, and the parents need to be on the ball, on top of things, taking care that their child gets the correction it needs so that it does not fall into the ditch, as it were, later on.
Turn now to Proverbs 29:15-18. Notice here God puts them together in one proverb—what you do with your mouth and what you do with your hand. The two go together, and to just spank the child is not enough. The child is to be given good instruction and correction.
Proverbs 29:15-17 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, [That is the opposite of foolishness.] but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. [Mama, I do not think you want that to happen. You want your child to bring honor to you. God wants His spiritual children to bring honor to Him. Brethren, this gives us something to shoot at in our childrearing: wisdom.] When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; [Would you say that transgression is increasing?] but the righteous will see their fall. Correct your son, and he will give you rest.
Richard has been talking about the rest in the last two sermons he has given. That is a wonderful thing. It can be construed out of James the third chapter that if there is no peace in your life, you are not going to produce the fruit of God's spirit. Do you know why? Where is your mind going to be when it is not at peace? It is going to be all over the place, and you cannot concentrate on the things that will produce righteousness and the fruit of God's Spirit. That rest is so important it is almost unimaginable. He says here that if you take care of your children, what you are going to be blessed with is rest.
Proverbs 29:17-18 Yes, he will give delight to your soul. Where there is no revelation—[where there is no instruction from God]—the people cast off restraint. . .
That is what revelation is. It is instruction from God.
I want you to think about this, because as we go through the sermon, you know very well who it is who is instructing the children in the world. It is Satan who is doing it, and they are casting off restraint.
Proverbs 29:18 . . . but happy is he who keeps the law.
So the reason for shame, the reason for the lack of peace, and the lack of restraint is because God's revelation of how to rear children is rejected by parents. Therefore, as Mr. Armstrong said, if you do not raise your children, Satan will. If we do not apply God's way, then Satan is going to move right in, and the instruction is going to come from the world. I do not mean necessarily that it is going to come directly from Satan the Devil. It will come indirectly through the world, and the world will raise your children. But the one who is really behind that is Satan, because it is his world, his nature—the place in which things grow.
Now how would Satan react to a child that disobeys? Well, rather than making a loving and concerned effort to bring about repentance God's way, he would make effort to induce the child to disobey again, and again, and again, because without punishment and no sense of failure, he supplies a measure of reward, especially emotional reward, from a sense of accomplishment. "Ah, that was exciting!" the kid thinks on the inside. Do you know that sin brings a douse of excitement to it? It does. It is a stimulating sense of excitement, because one has gotten away with something forbidden.
Parents are taught today by Satan's world that spanking is cruel. Maybe by a beast of a parent it certainly can be, but a loving parent who fears God would not allow himself to do that to his own child that he loves almost to death, you might say. A loving, godly parent knows that it is his responsibility before God to instill discipline in the child's character. The child needs to learn that delaying gratification is absolutely necessary to a real and lasting success in life. And so without spanking, children's self-importance, self-absorption, and sense of entitlement gradually grow until, in their own mind, they might actually come to the place where they can do no wrong.
I am thinking of David, of that statement made in God's Word about how he reared his children. Do you know what it says? David never said no. It actually says that. He never called them into account. He raised a murderer. He raised a rapist. He raised somebody who tried to overthrow his throne. He never said no. Actually, I think the words are, "he never called them into account."
If we cannot understand that, I do not think we can understand even the beginning of why it is so important that we take charge of rearing our children God's way, because if we do not, then God holds us accountable for what they do down the road when they start getting the physical strength and the ability to move around that they do not have when they are little toddlers. It has to begin very early in the child's life.
If nobody judicially and consistently corrects the child, then the child gradually develops the thought that all he does is approved.
It is a well-known cultural phenomenon that a constant stream of attentive and appreciative praise given to good athletes and to beautiful girls and handsome boys instills in them a full sense of entitlement, sowing potential in them that in some cases cannot be controlled. They do not want to control it, so they hit the news, doing really stupid things, like Lindsay Lohan, and a multitude of professional football players and basketball players. They might be 20 or 30 years old in actual number of years lived, but they are probably as mature as a 14 or 15-year old, with a million bucks in their pocket.
Do you want your girl to grow up to be a Lindsay Lohan? I do not think so. Or your boy to grow up to be wonderfully gifted athletically, and about as foolish as a person can get? Their problem is that they are not disciplined enough to be able to handle their self-absorption, and they eventually get to the place where they do not care.
Ephesians 5:17-18 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.
I am not going to read any further there, I just want to bring something to your attention. My Bible has a break right in between verse 17 and verse 18, and a title is inserted in that break, and that title in my Bible is, "Be filled with the Spirit." The unstated inference at this point is, as opposed to being filled with the spirit of God, they are instead instilled with the spirit of the world and of Satan. If we were using a little bit different metaphor, we might call it "the wine of the wrath of her fornication." It is indicating here that a choice must be made, because if we do not make it one way, we are going to be forced by the world to make it another way.
We have to deliberately choose to be filled with the spirit of God. (I am talking about childrearing here.) If we are filled with the spirit of God regarding childrearing, we are going to pay attention to what God says about childrearing, and we are going to take care of it.
I am not trying to indicate here that you people here have terrible children. You do not. The Church of the Great God, I kid you not, has the finest group of children I have ever seen. I have pastored somewhere about eight thousand people in the Worldwide Church of God all over this country, and I have never seen kids as good as our kids in terms of understanding spiritual things and being attached to you in a loving way; and that is good.
But I still, at the same time, want to impress this upon you as to where the children in the world are coming from. They are not paying attention to what you are paying attention to, and that is what has produced this world that we live in. But Satan did it in such a way that it took 100 or 150 years to develop to this place. It did not happen overnight. He had to reconfigure the whole way of life of the American people, because after the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were set, we had a nation with a foundation like no other nation on the face of the earth ever had, except for Israel when God was running things.
I want you to understand that Satan's way is gradualism. He has snuck up on us academically, economically, religiously, and so forth; and he has gradually wiped away the foundation of the law and order of the United States of America. His major weapon, brethren, is childrearing. If he can get parents not to rear their children right, he is going to destroy a nation. It may take a while. You need to remember that you are rearing children for the Kingdom of God, and that is your goal. Nobody can do it in your family but you.
Concerning these two verses—Ephesians 5:17-18—I will just give you a little bit more of the overview. Paul had already mentioned Satan in chapter 2, verses 1 and 2 specifically, and then he gets away from Satan after this couple of verses here, and Satan is not mentioned again until chapter 6, in verses 10 through 12. Then following verse 12 is an overall solution to unity with God.
Now what instruction is there between chapter 5, verse 18 and chapter 6, verse 12? It is important to understand the context here. Between 5:18 and 6:12 comes marital relationships, which Martin has been going through in great detail here. And why is he going through it in great detail? Because it is important in terms of preparation for the Kingdom of God and the rearing of children. Get things going in the right direction. That is what Paul was doing.
The book of Ephesians is about unity. How can you have unity in a family if a husband and a wife are not getting along real well? Everything here links together, but there is an irritant on the outside looking in, and that is Satan. We do not want to invite him into what God is producing in the family that He is calling into His family. Do not give him a wedge to go beyond what he has already committed to do at this time. So in Ephesians 5:19, Paul shows an application of Christian doctrine regarding how a Christian should live his life in various respects, and he passes on to parent/child relations.
I am going to insert the following at this time. I believe that the child-training problem here in the United States of America can be directly tied to godlessness. I do not know whether any of you have ever read the book "The Fourth Turning." If you have not, I recommend that you get a copy of it from your library and read it. It is an excellent historical summary of Britain and the United States over the past 600 years.
The authors do not go way, way back there; but for 600 years it looks as though Britain and the United States are pretty much on exactly the same pattern of life in terms of what is being produced in each nation. What these men show is that there is a very clear 80 to 100 year period in which a cycle is worked through every time, and once the 80 to 100 years is gone by, the cycle reverts right back to the beginning again and goes through another 80 to 100 years. Every 20-25 years the same thing happens, in general, in the culture in the United States and Britain that happened 100 years before. Really intriguing.
Listen to this now. I am just going to give you an overview.
During the 1800's there was a very strong religious revival that historians have labeled "The Great Awakening"—a time when very fiery evangelical-type ministers were preaching about God and repentance, and teaching about rearing your families in pretty much the godly way. It turned England, especially, practically upside down. What it brought on was what you and I know now (moving forward about 50 or 60 years) as the Victorian era in England in which family life was very rigidly structured around the Bible.
It was not a good structure, but it did produce a very disciplined people. Everybody kind of knew their place in society, and they carried it out. I am not saying these people had good marriages. I am not saying that their childrearing was good. Neither one of those things was in right balance at all, but it did produce Britain's discipline. This was the period of time that provided the foundation for lifting Britain as being the head nation in the world in terms of wealth and colonization and industrialization, and all of those kinds of things.
Well, the United States was on the same track, but we did not have the wherewithal to produce what Britain was producing. We were headed in the right direction, and by the time we got through the First World War and into the Roaring Twenties, we were where Britain was about fifty years before that. After the Second World War we rose to the greatest height that any nation on the face of the earth has ever had.
Does anybody know what happened just as the Second World War was ending? It has something to do with childrearing. The "infamous" Boomer generation was born! That generation was reared by my generation, and we did not do a good job. Do you know what we produced? As the 50's began, we were watching "Leave It To Beaver." I think you will get the picture here pretty quickly. By today's standards, that was a nice gentle family situation-comedy type show. Anybody could watch it. Hardly anybody could be offended. There was no sex. There was no violence, etc., etc., but it kind of set the tone for the way the 50's were in terms of lifestyle.
However, when we get into the 60's, with the Baby Boomers, which my generation was raising, the cities were on fire. Over one hundred American cities burned in their inner-city area. Who was doing it? It was the Boomers. They were young men and women who had been showered with the great wealth that the United States of America came out of after the Second World War.
There was nobody to challenge the power of the United States, and we poured that wealth into our children, and what did we produce? Beatniks and hippies who defied the law left and right on every side, and they began to add to the confusion by rearing their children in a way worse than the way they were reared.
And so we get into the 70's. Do you know what happened in the early 70s'? We started killing babies in their mother's womb. What kind of path are we on? Are you beginning to understand?
This is one of the things Strauss and Howe do in this book. They point out that really the foundation of what causes these four cycles that occur over a 100-year period is the childrearing approach that is taken as each generation changes from one to another.
Incidentally, we are on a good track right now, according to Strauss and Howe. The generation that is coming along is going to change things for the good. There is enough history now available to them, that as they become of age into their young adulthood, they are beginning to see what does not work. It is the generation that Strauss and Howe call the "Hero" generation. It is the kind of people that take you to a place that when you come out the other end, you are a lot better than you were. It was the "Hero" generation that put us through the Second World War, and they produced us—my generation, and we did not do a good job because we started the Boomers on their way to what they produced.
What I am getting at here is that we are coming to a crisis. I am going to read two long sections of Scripture. The first one is Romans 1, verses 18 to 32, and I want you to think of what has happened to the United States in the last 20 or 30 years, of what we have done.
One of the major things that was done, especially in the early 1960s, is that we got rid of God. We kicked Him out of school. I do not know about you, but when I went to school, every morning we had the Bible read to us. This was a public school. Every morning, at least ten verses of the Bible were read. Maybe a whole chapter.
We said the Lord's prayer in a public school. The school was out in the boonies, but it was still a public school in Pennsylvania. We said the Lord's Prayer every morning, and we saluted the flag every morning, as we were going through the Second World War.
When it came time for us to rear our children, we began to forget about that stuff, and so by 1963 or 1964 we were not allowed to pray in school anymore. God was booted out. Out in the street books were appearing "God Is Dead!"
By the 1970's we felt so strongly about our way of life that we were killing babies by abortion left and right, never thinking of the baby—the weakest of all of our culture. We were putting them to death left and right. What does that say to you about godlessness? Now the figure is up in the millions. God says in one place, "Make a chain, for the land is full of bloody crimes."
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. . .
The amount of suppression of the truth from the time our Constitution was formed to 200 years later is awesome.
Romans 1:19 . . . because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
He is talking about unconverted people who know better, but the evil in them, because of Satan, suppresses the truth and withholds it from the citizenry.
Romans 1:20-25 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, . . .
I do not know exactly what the "lie" is, but abortion is a lie. "Those aren't babies there," they say. "They are just masses of protoplasm."
Romans 1:25-27 . . . and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. [We are coming right up now to the 2,000 years.] For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. [How about AIDS?]
One of the most powerful organizations in America today is the feminist movement, combined with the gays. They get their way. We are reading up-to-the-date newspaper articles here. It all stems from godlessness in the way they rear their children.
Romans 1:28-32 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; [What an indictment!] who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Who is doing this approving? Where is it being generated? An awful lot of it is being generated right in the universities, right in academia by those who think they know better than others.
Let us conclude this sermon in II Timothy 3, where Paul directly states that what we are going to read here is for the end-time. It is our day. I want us especially to pay attention to the first thing he mentions. Guess what it is. It is self-love.
II Timothy 3:1-2 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves. . .
This is Satan's in-road to men's minds: the love of self, and that is what he promotes in his childrearing practices.
II Timothy 3:2 . . . lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents. . .
Where do you think that comes from? Start disobeying parents, the first thing you know you are disobeying the cops, and then disobeying your governor, and right on up.
II Timothy 3:2-4 . . . unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
I will tell you, we are really on a pleasure binge.
II Timothy 3:5 . . . having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
We have been brought to the place where we are in this nation because of a loss of godliness, and the most immediate ramification of loss and contact with God in daily life is the way we rear our children, the way we conduct our marriages, and then the fruit of those things we see out on the streets.
I think that we will stop right there, and God willing, I will go on with this in the next sermon because I want to show you how Satan promotes this in families right in an up-to-date way. That is how he is producing the end-time. He is doing it through marriage and childrearing, and the foundation is godlessness.
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment
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