Thursday, November 13, 2008

What Your Neighbor Believes Matters

I. Not Believing Anything Is Foolish

A. Whatever a person may say, down inside a person with no concept of God opens the heart to corruption; picture surfing the Internet without virus protection. To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalm 14:1)

B. People with no conviction of God correspond to mice collecting trap loads of cheese without consideration of the danger implicit in the “cheese trays” they amass. “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)

C. People who do not respect God have no capacity to discern what actually is in their best interest; people who cannot learn are dangerous to everyone around them. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

D. Remember what life was like without God; does anyone deserve that? “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:” (Ephesians 2:12)

E. The fool does not have the capacity to evangelize himself; someone must perform a spiritual Heimlich maneuver. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalm 10:4)

II. Believing the Wrong Thing Is Dangerous

A. Man-made gods are not substantially superior to atheism. “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” (Psalm 115:4-8)

B. Idolatry may seem like a good idea at the time but it misleads; a chauffeur faithfully following a corrupt map will trouble passengers more than one with no map. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” (Romans 1:20-23)

C. What appears to be pious faithfulness actually compounds evil for idolaters, polluting society; the abortion industry is an old and disgusting form of idolatry. “Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils,” (Psalm 106:37)

D. Normal Christianity will turn people away from idolatry and its consequences; saved people do not destroy their own children. For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; (1 Thessalonians 1:9)

E. The common Biblical word for hell derives from the place where the ancient Jews built facilities to destroy their children in the service of man-made wisdom. “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom [Gehenna], to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.” (Jeremiah 7:31)

III. Silence Isn’t Golden

A. To love God, a Christian must believe in Him totally and care enough about other people to keep them from both atheism and idolatry; a Christian cannot be content to let other people go to hell in their own way. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)

B. The proper response to foolishness and corruption is evangelism; silence is sin. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

C. A church which is correct in every doctrinal and formal feature but which does not warn the dying is a beautiful corpse, effectively dead. “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (Revelation 3:1)

D. People with the gospel are called to bear witness to God and to expose idolatry. Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)

E. People who accept the American proposition that religion is a private matter will have a difficult time with Jesus on Judgment Day; evangelism of atheists and idolaters is both possible and obligatory. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

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