Pastor Star R. Scott

Friends Pt.4

  • Date: January 27, 2010
  • Teacher: Pastor Star R. Scott
  • From Friends

We want to go ahead and see what Father has for us tonight. There are a couple of things that I wanted to share with you. We want to get back into our study on friendship with the world. We've talked about being the friends of God and what it takes to be a friend of God. He said, "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you [to do]" (John 15:14). Amen? If you want to be a friend of God, be always obedient. We saw that it's not only obedience; it's quick obedience. Be quick to obey the will of God. There can be no lingering and praying and waiting. When God speaks to us and tells us to move, then we, like Levi, get up and walk away. Our whole livelihood is left behind and there's no concern with where we lay our head, what we eat or drink, because our Father knows that we have need of those things. Amen? Do you want to be a friend of God, really? We think that being a friend of God is, from the natural perspective, all perks. Do you want to know what it is? "For I will shew [you] how great things [you] must suffer for my name's sake" (Acts 9:16). Amen? Do you want to be a friend of God? Then you're going to have to forsake everything that's natural to you and go daily not knowing the end of where God is leading you. But we have a promise and we see Him who's invisible.

Do you want to be a friend of God? Be ready to forsake all of the wealth and power of the nation and count it a greater treasure to be numbered with the people of God. "Do whatsoever I command you [to do]." One of the things that He went on and said.... If we're sons, if we become friends of God, if we're walking in obedience, He's not going to hide His will from us. It's from the servant that they don't know what their master is doing. It's revealed to those that are His friends, those that are the children of God. Your eyes begin to get opened. You begin to see things that other people aren't seeing. There's more expected of us. There are measures of grace that begin to be placed into our lives that might even appear to others from the outside that, "Man, they are great men of faith! Look how powerful and committed and great they are spiritually." The friend of God knows that he can do nothing without Him and stands amazed every day at the mercy and the grace of God that infuses him with just enough grace, just enough faith, to finish one more day. He battles all the same emotions and all the same trials as everybody else. He just obeys one more day, just forsakes it all one more day. The friend of God is the one who has nothing to live for but God--one treasure, one purpose--that loves Him more than mothers and fathers and houses and lands and their own life also, the friend of God.

I want to be His friend. I want to be able to see Him. I want to be able to hear His voice clearly. Not for what might be a possible advantage or gain in this natural life, but, you see, there's nothing like Him. He's the ultimate. Everything that we seek, everything that we think we might like to have, all of the understanding we might want, all of the pleasures in life that we might want, He is the ultimate. Just one glimpse of Him fully satisfies. Amen? I want Him to be my friend. And so He proclaims Himself that. He says, "I am a friend that sticks closer than a brother." Praise God! We're just asking Him for that revelation and that ability to know Him. We talked some about natural friends and I want to read something that Fénelon wrote concerning friendships that I think says better what I was trying to say the other night, so we might as well let it be said properly. I'll share with you one of the reasons I like this guy so much. As some of you know, he's a man that wrote 300 years ago. He came from a very nominal life into superstardom. He tutored the crown prince, the next king of France. He had the ear of the king and he ended up in conflict with another great, I believe, archbishop is what they were called of that era. Far more famous, greater political influence, a friend of the king and for years they began to debate and write papers taking doctrinal stands. The other archbishop being a friend of the Pope, won out. And so the Pope judged Fénelon's writings, not as heresy, but as questionable. The Pope quoted one thing about him. He said, "Fénelon's major fault is that he loves God too much." Interesting, isn't it? How many of you would like that to be the indictment against you? The other man's writings are no longer observed in any way and 300 years later people are still reading the words of this man. I think this is one of the reasons why. There's a lot that can be said about him. But he's writing a little note to someone and he said, "Let the ups and downs of your spiritual life come and go. If you were always down you'd become hardened and discouraged. God gives you seasons when you can catch your breath." Can you "Praise God" for that? "Let me tell you about myself. When I suffer, I can never see an end to my trials. And when relief comes, I am so suspicious that the suffering is not really over that I hesitate to accept my rest."

This guy's reading my mail! "It seems to me that to accept both good and bad seasons alike is to be truthfully faithful. Accept both comfort and correction from the hand of God. Of course, this is all very easy for me to say to you, but I want you to know that I cringe at the very thought of the cross coming to work in me. I'm not telling you that experiencing the cross will be easy. Outwardly it will be difficult, but inwardly it can be worse, a time of agony and dryness. If I sound a bit pessimistic, it's because I'm writing to you in the midst of a spiritual dry spell. I don't know what tomorrow brings. God will do what seems good to Him. Sometimes what He wants is hard to accept. Listen to God. There is true freedom, peace and joy in Him." I like reading this guy because he's real. It's not doctrine. These are some of the things that he's presented that are phenomenal. Tremendous scholar!

He writes to others and he says this: "Your mind is too busy. You're too argumentative to maintain a quiet awareness of God. If you're always reasoning then you can't cultivate the silence in which God speaks. Be humble, sincere and simple with people. Be calm and quiet before God. Your mentors are too dry and intelligent and critical." These are letters that he writes to friends and people that ask for his advice. "Even if you only listen to them a little bit you will be drawn out of a quiet and simple faith. They reason too much and they are unhealthfully curious, wanting to understand everything. Long-standing habits are easily restarted because you already have a natural leaning toward them. Stay away from anything that will lead you down the old paths. It's been four months since I've had time in my study. But I'm glad to give up study and not cling to anything that God wants to take away. Perhaps this winter I will have time to set foot in my library. I shall enter it cautiously and listen for the slightest hint that God would have me elsewhere. The mind must fast as well as the body. I have no desire to write, speak or to be spoken about, reason or persuade anybody. I choose to live each day simply. I put up with any inconveniences which present themselves, but I also take time for entertainment when I need to. Those who write things against me or are afraid of me are sadly deceived. God bless them. I'm not so foolish as to go out of my own way to annoy them. Happy are the free and only Jesus can make you free."

He writes on a little further and then he says, "My mind has been such a deceiver that I refuse any longer to count on it. You will pass away with the world if you pattern yourself after it. God's truth remains forever, so let His ways take over you. I warn you again, beware of those who are full of doctrine. They will trap you and do you more harm than you know how to do them good. Their discussions go on forever but they never come to the truth. Intellectuals are unwisely curious. They are like conquerors that destroy the world without possessing it." He goes on and makes a couple of other comments along those lines, and then his discourse on the danger of friendship. This can be a blessing to you. I think it's very helpful. Paul writes concerning the love that we have for one another and that it's to be unfeigned. It's to be to all men. As he's speaking there and he talks to all men--Tony was sharing this in the back talking about what the Greek is really sharing in the statements that the Holy Spirit is making through the apostle. It talks about not only available to all men, but all men equally. Equally available, equal with intensity, and with an equal worth placed on every one of the members of the body of Christ. It's part of what we were sharing the other day, the need for us to come together and understand that none of us are our own, so we can't give ourselves to anybody beyond what the Head directs. We don't make commitments of our own volition any more than we project our will in any other areas of our lives. God wants to use the community and the body of Christ corporately so that we can have the same care one of another.

So, there are the multiple gifts within ourselves that are to be used to the edification. One of the practical ways of understanding this is we may not spend the same amount of time with everybody, but everybody is to have the same worth in our eyes. And when everybody has the same worth in our eyes, then it allows us to still have that liberty of associating with people that we have natural things in common, people that we have had as long-term friends and we don't dictate any more just saying, "Okay, I'm going to have to forget about you and go find other friends." We're not saying that. We're talking about equal worth and an ability to not become possessive and think that there isn't going to be the dynamics of the Holy Spirit that may take you for awhile, away from some of these for the good of the body of Christ. If you're not able to make that kind of a move, then Jesus isn't Lord. He is the head of His body. You are not your own. Those that you have attached yourself to are not their own. We're bought with a price. Amen? The Lord places us " the body [say it], as it hath pleased him" (1 Corinthians 12:18). That doesn't just pertain to gifts, though that's a big part of it. But these gifts are more than utterances and revelations. These gifts are the care that we have for one another, the intimacy, the strengthening, the lifting up of hands, the speaking to edification, all of these things that are vital for us to be built up and edified so that God would have a temple to live in. For we, the Church, as well as we, the individual, are the temple of the Holy Ghost and it's very important. It says you had better take heed if you bring destruction, division to the temple of God or to the body of Christ. It will bring judgment upon you. So, as we have an intimate community here, we're talking about being relational without possessiveness. Fénelon speaks a little bit--this is about a page and a half so it will take just a minute to share. I wasn't going to share this tonight, but here it goes.

"It's natural to want to have a good friend whom you admire and like. It's a great pleasure in life to have friends, but friendships can be full of danger, especially if you live in a community with a close circle of people. As a member of the body of Christ, you no longer belong to yourself. In a group that meets to honor the Lord Jesus, you must guard against forming special friendships. These will lead to cliques or a party spirit. Sometimes when someone you like has been hurt, you become emotionally involved and pick up their offenses. This will cause division in the house faster than anything I know. You are soon plotting and chatting in secret and a sense of divisiveness permeates the entire affair. Of course you appear to yourself without blame and insist that you're only standing up for what's right. Others watching this are harmed. You set a bad example for them and usually force them in a very subtle way to take sides. On top of this, I just want to tell you that jealousy comes between two people who are devoted to the same friend. Each fears the other will be preferred and what problems this causes.

Furthermore, when you have special or favorite friends it puts that person in a difficult spot. A person who is loved by another often makes the whole community jealous or critical. They either want to enter into the special friendship also or are critical for what they think that person should be. Often there is suspicion and misjudgment. Everyone is caught up in looking at someone other than Jesus. Finally, you harm yourself. You can become so preoccupied with others that you lose sight of the lordship of Jesus in your life. You spend less time alone with Him, always thinking about your friend, always concerned with that relationship and neglect your Lord. And of course you say, �??I can handle this relationship.' I say watch out! Try not to single people out to love them. Love equally all those God asks you to love." ("Seek out" versus "God asks.") "If you know you are preoccupied with a friendship, try to cure yourself. See all people as they are with their good and bad points. Then you will not romanticize them. What is your self-nature getting out of these unhealthy attachments? This is something you ought to look at. Love your friends in and for God and not for what you get out of it. Don't be so selfish."

Just a couple of practical things that I think we can apply to the study that we did and relate those to the biblical principles that we know of community and loving one another. Treasure the gifts that we have in one another. Thank God for the friendships that we have, but we don't become exclusive. We don't become separate. We do not become possessive. And we're always ready to be sent to the aid of anybody in the body of Christ to bring edification because we love all equally, because every one of them has the same value of the blood of Jesus. Amen? Those are a couple of things that I think can be practical to us.

Let's go ahead and pick up where we were in our study the other evening. I want to look at a couple of things. We were talking about the world's system. As you remember, we were pointing out that the world, in our mind, is so often associated with the things of the world. We saw that the apostle said by the Holy Spirit, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15). We were trying to make that distinction between the things and the world's system, the spirit of the world. Now, in the world right now, we have been talking a lot about the spirit of antichrist. Because, though John spoke of it in the first century, we believe that the man of sin, the Antichrist, could be coming on the scene very soon. Do you believe that? Now remember what we're talking about. This term "anti-Christ" is not only in opposition to Christ, but instead of Christ. The Antichrist is not just opposing but instead of. Isn't that the original intent of Lucifer? "I will ascend above the throne of the most high God. I will be like God." Amen? So in Isaiah 14, we see that revelation of Lucifer. He's cast down. Second Corinthians 4:4 tells us that he becomes the god of this world. "In whom the god of this world hath blinded [the eyes of men] which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...should shine unto them."

Now, we all understand this doctrinally and yet every day we go out there and associate with the haters of our loving heavenly Father. Their hatred is not necessarily being expressed verbally, viciously. They may not be having blasphemy in their mouths, but I want to tell you, every man who is of the kingdom of Satan hates God. Do you believe that? Now, that's who we relate to. Those are the people who wrote all the books that educated us. Every one of us was educated--in the natural sense, those of us who are older adults, and even to a degree much of what we have to filter out here in our school--by books written by Satan. Hot off the press from "Tainted Fruit Press," the Garden of Eden. "The day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). "Has God said? What this gospel is all about, what the Church is all about, the kingdom of God is all about holding you down. You have rights. You could be a god. You deserve independence. You should control your own life. You're better than everybody else. You deserve more than everybody else. And no one truly appreciates the gift you are to the world." And all the P.R. that constantly comes from the serpent, from the god of this world, who's blinding the eyes of those that associate in this realm lest they should believe the light of the glorious gospel.

"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with [Him], and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:17). Amen? Everything Satan does, beloved, is to draw you back into the darkness. You might just be on the fringe; you might just be on the shadows right now in some of the different areas of your life. I want you to know if you are in a shadow, you are not in the light, because "...God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). These things that taint our minds and these things that vex our souls and these things that we go into the world every day hearing and seeing, hearing and seeing, are trying to rob faith from your heart, the ability to trust God solely, the ability to submit a hundred percent to His lordship. Subtly we're being told--oh, it's not being verbalized, "You don't really have to trust God. There's a credit card. There's health insurance." We could go to that whole extreme and say that we don't believe in any of those things and just go ahead and believe God. Don't go to a doctor. Don't...and people do that all the time and die. And some get healed. But I want to tell you something. The real tragedy of this whole thing is lying to ourselves that we're not vexed by this world's system.

All of the teaching that we've been doing in these last couple of sessions is just to try to get us to stop lying to ourselves. As I was in prayer, just fellowshipping with Father this morning, at one point I just sat there with tears in my eyes. Don't misunderstand. I know that it's by grace alone that we can do it. But I said, "You know, Father, if the things that I'm dealing with have caused such a strain internally within me, the anguishing of heart, the fears of not being able to be with my family, no longer being able to carry out what God's called me to do. If those things have caused the torments and the anguish and pain, how in the world could I stand and be burned alive and worship You in the midst of that? How weak I am! How much more I need to die! How I need to hunger and thirst for righteousness that I could be filled!" How you doing with the footmen? Are we what we think we are? Are we judging ourselves based upon the pureness of our doctrine--and it is pure--our knowledge of the Word of God? Who is still sitting on the throne in your daily decisions? Where truly is the treasure? Let me ask you, is the treasure the presence of God and the will of God? If it is, then you praise Him at midnight, amen, in the prison, and when your reputation is gone and everyone that used to stand and admire you at the gates now mocks you and runs from you. Your wealth is gone. Your family is dead. Your health is broken. You say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). Is God sovereign in our eyes?

I don't struggle as much with the sovereignty of God as I do with the love of God. I really struggle with the belief that God loves me because I know how unlovely I am, and in the midst of all of that, He says, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). In the midst of all the warfare He says, "I will not allow you to be tempted past that that you're able to stand but with every temptation I'll make the way of escape" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Do you know what it is? Death. Death to self. Embracing that opportunity. Is He Lord? Love not the world. The world is independence. The world is in rebellion to the lordship of Jesus. The world sets its own schedules and does what it pleases when it pleases. And we're able to do that to different degrees. Some of the independently wealthy are able to move a little more freely than those of us that have 9-to-5 jobs. But in every area of our lives where we are not being lorded over, we are lord. We set our own value systems.

All I'm asking tonight is do we really believe that we're free from this independent spirit? We talked about it the other day. The world doesn't pray about whether it should go to such and such a city and stay for so many days and buy and sell. It just sets a course. Ambition drives it. Opportunity drives it. Do we submit every aspect of our lives, every decision? Are you amendable to the will of God in your life? Are we able to embrace His sovereignty and be able, by His grace when things aren't going our way, to say, "[Praise God!] Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right" (Genesis 18:25)? Amen? How do you deal with the sovereignty of God? Do you expect Him to answer to you? "Well, I don't expect Him to answer. It's not like I'm going to call God up short and say, �??Listen. I want you to answer to me.' I just want to know why." He's not going to tell you why. Now what are you going to do? Are you going to grudgingly, through your teeth quote Romans 8:28? "And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Look over at Romans 8 for just a second. What I'm trying to get us to see--when I talk about the world as I shared the other day, we're not talking about drugs and sex and alcohol and tattoos and short skirts and pornography and leisure time in this abundance that we've had. I'm talking about controlling your own life, being your own god. Are you dead yet? Can I ask you a question? You can respond to this one. It's not rhetorical and it's not a trick. How many of you are, maybe not this moment but over this period of time--I don't even know if this is good grammar, it's usually not--deader than you've ever been? Can I see your hands? How many of you have found that in this time of your life over these trials? Praise God! How many of you at some other point in your life have been more submitted and deader to self than you are over these last couple of months? Let me see your hands. What we're trying to look at and the question we're really asking is: Who is Lord? Who is the God of your kingdom, of your world? How quiet have you been to allow yourself to really hear the voice of the Lord as it pertains to every aspect of your life? I'm talking to many of us that have been on a course for fifteen, twenty years and we may have set that course out of our own hearts, with deceived hearts, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. We may be very successful at what we're doing. We've got it planned out. We know what the end is going to be and, might I share with you, that is not walking by faith. Now there's nothing wrong with having plans and looking ahead. Walking by faith is the tenderness of heart and the hunger to embrace the purpose, the eternal purpose of God at any time. How quickly can you walk away as Matthew did to the call of God in your life?

Can you rise up as Abraham did early the next morning to be about Father's business of giving up your greatest treasure? Do you love Him more than self-will, treasures? And if not, we've seen this very clearly. You don't have to be a theologian. "If you don't, you're not worthy of Me." That should concern us. Regardless of what area it is--for some of us it's relationships, and we're so caught up and we've got young people here, "We want to get married and I'm pursuing all of these things." Are you pursuing the will of God with the same vehemence? Is finding the will of God and living in it your passion? One of the things we've tried to ask ourselves over these last few months of study is, "What are you passionate about?" Tragically, if most of us would be truthful, we'd say, "Me." But a lot of us don't see it because we don't think it's really about "me." But see, it is about you. "Well, it's my kids." No, it's about you. Some of us are passionate about ministry instead of Jesus. We want to go be used somewhere. The Lord has you where He wants you. That's not good enough for you? Being in the will of God doesn't gratify you? It doesn't satisfy you? Then what's the real issue here? "I just want to do more for Jesus!" You're doing all that He's asked you to do. What more can you do? "Well, I want to do more for Jesus that satisfies me, that gratifies me. The Holy Ghost, the leader into all truth has missed this one." Hmm? As we're coming into the last days, we know that the Scripture teaches very clearly that it's not good for a man to be alone. Two are better than one, praise God. But Paul speaks very clearly in the Scriptures as we come into the last days. You might be better off single and give yourself one hundred percent to Jesus. (Not one "Amen," except from the married people.)

The world: "You're a god. You have rights. There's an independence." No, you're not your own, you're bought with a price. We are slaves. We are slaves. We don't have a say. "Yes, but doesn't the Bible say we are no longer slaves, we're sons, and if we're friends, God reveals these things to us?" Yes. We're slaves who are adopted. We're slaves who are entrusted as stewards with the precious gifts of the kingdom. You will be the greatest of sons when you see yourself always as the debtor, the slave who's received the graciousness of the Heavenly Father. A son with rights? Yes. A son with access? Yes. A beloved son? Yes. "He loves you as He loves Me," Jesus said. That one always blows my mind. The world always emphasizes the throne. We would be good to emphasize at this time in many of our lives, the shackles from which we've been delivered.

Let me just share a couple of things with you as we're closing for this evening, the reading from Fénelon took a little bit of our time, but it was time well used. What we want to see is that everything that the world attaches itself to, its access to us, is through our carnal mind. We're looking at Romans 8 here and I want you to see in verse 7, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: [hatred, hostile, opposed. It's really interesting. It's the opposite of agape. Agape puts a merciful worth and enmity takes the worth away from one that deserves it and places it upon ourselves. And so we see the carnal mind being at enmity against God, this mind cannot be] subject [the Scripture says] to the law of God, neither indeed can be." It is not subject and it cannot be.

The thing that we have to do as we read through this eighth chapter of Romans, we begin to see that the Spirit begins to use some terms that are very strong. In verse 5 it says, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." That word "to mind" really means to set our intentions upon, our intentions, our focus, our appetite, our treasure. So as we look at this, what the Holy Spirit is saying very clearly to us is that--go back to verse 4, "For what the law could not do [verse 3 says], in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending [Jesus] in the likeness of sinful flesh [He was totally man. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh and he came], and for sin [He came to take sin on. He came to take it into Himself. He then, having embraced it, having been made sin for us, broke its power through His righteousness, His obedience, His holiness. And then he says, he then], condemned sin [as it pertains to] the flesh."

So there's a judgment upon sin. What this is saying to us is sin is no longer now capable of being the prominent power of overpowering the minds of men, the god of this world blinding their minds lest they should believe the light of the glorious gospel. Sin no longer has that ultimate power. There has to be volition. There has to be giving of this mind or of this flesh up and a uniting with, for it to come back to that place of dominance or usurping of that authority or that dominance in the life of the person. So what he's saying is the carnal mind is the mind that sets itself on the spirit of this world, the spirit of independence, the self, the refusal to deny ourselves. "They that are after the flesh [those that are fleshly, carnal, are the ones whose minds are intent, set upon, desiring] do mind the things of the flesh...." I said all that to make this simple truth: What do you really spend your time on? Where is your passion? Do you get as excited about prayer as you do about playing? Do you get as excited about the visitation of God, the opportunity to share the gospel as you do about the new furniture, the potential job, the new car? Do you come with an expectation to these meetings, and excitement that matches the excitement of your team in the big game? "Yeah, but we come to church all the time. The big game is only once a year." Just stop lying to yourself. "Pastor, there's no way that that means more to me than Jesus." Then do away with it. Don't ever participate in it again, starting tonight. What was that feeling that just ran into your gut? How many defense mechanisms and Scriptures came to mind to defend against your ultimate death to self? That's the mind of the world. It will justify itself. It will give heartily; it will give abundantly as long as it can retain the right to knock Jesus off the throne when things get really important, when you want to touch "my Isaac."

Are you free tonight? You shall know the truth--not sound doctrine--the truth, the Word. I know the Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1-2). You see, He came into the world to save His own and they didn't know Him. Do you know the truth? As Paul is writing here by the Spirit and he's telling us, "[Look, just come to grips with this thing. Whatever has your attention, whatever has your time, whatever has your energy, whatever has your money] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity [the enemy of, in opposition to] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, [and cannot] be. So then they that are in the flesh [or in the world, of the world's system] cannot please God" (Romans 8:6-8).

We've studied this a lot as we've talked about sanctification. Look over at 1 Corinthians, and we're out of time. Chapter 2. We like to apply this to pagans (not the motorcycle group, and it does apply), but let's see this for what the Spirit's saying here and it talks to everybody that's embraced the ideology, the philosophies of the world. How subtle can this thing get? How many evangelical, fundamentalist Christians have absolutely embraced, just as an example, time-outs in favor of the rod and really believe that works? Time-outs do not drive foolishness from your child. They give you time to go the fridge for a break during the commercial when they call a television time out. How subtle? How many people in this room have used some version of that instead of the rod of God that drives foolishness far from the child? How vexed are we? How much of this world's wisdom has polluted our minds, the Church that's embraced the easy-believism that says all you have to do is confess with your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead, confess with your mouth, believe in your heart? Pastor, you don't believe that? Yeah, I do believe that. I just see people thinking they're believing in their hearts and they're believing in their heads. Because you "...draweth nigh unto me with [your] mouth...but [your] heart is far from me" (Matthew 15:8). I don't know if I'm communicating what our desire is again, but we'll finish with this, and if not, we'll try again.

First Corinthians 2, finish with this for the night. We know the Word of God is spiritual. First Corinthians, Chapter 2, verse 14, are you there yet? "[The worldly man,] ...the natural man [the carnal mind] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." If we're honest, do we really believe that this world's wisdom is foolishness? Look back at the first chapter for just a second. Verse 20. "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believed" (1 Corinthians 1:20-21).

I like that phrase here. I even like the way the King James says it. By the wisdom of God, He made it so that the world through their wisdom could not know Him. No matter how they look, they can't find God. You can only find Him through the Gospel, the cross, death to self, the burial and resurrection where He begins to make His heart and His will known to His own children. He says in this next chapter that these things are spiritually discerned and so because of that, this world, the carnal mind, can't know the things of God. So everything the world is pouring into you constantly is foolishness; it's in opposition to God. The same thing that He says after the rapture that's going to happen. It says, "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (1 Thessalonians 2:11). Many Christians today are being given over today to that same strong delusion as they're embracing the wisdom of this world. Believing they know God, believing they've heard from God, and it's their own idols. It's their own ambitions; it's their own lusts. There's a cross to embrace, a death to self-will, pride, ego, ambition, that if we don't take it, if we're not crucified with Him, we will become a fool through the world's wisdom that will ultimately vex us like it did righteous Lot.

Father, we thank You for Your Word tonight. As we take this time and try to put our finger on that very subtle, cunning spirit of antichrist, the angel of light wraps us up in all kinds of religious jargon and takes us down the broad path, singing the name of Jesus, and hearing only our own voice, writing songs about the blood and treading it beneath our feet. Going about in our own ambition and in our own time and our own ways, at our convenience, casting out devils and healing the sick and hearing, "I never knew you, depart from me..." (Matthew 7:23). The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and we trust it every day. We trust our own minds and our understanding and our own compromises, and our own justifications. "If you don't take up this cross and die to yourself, you're not worthy of Me." Jesus, help us to die, we ask, for Your glory and in Your name. Amen.

Turn to somebody next to you and say, "I have some more dying to do." Amen! Go in peace. God's love go with you.