Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

Spiritual Deceptions of Secular Wealth and Education

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Barry Johnson

Spiritual Deceptions of Secular Wealth and Education Spiritual Deceptions of Secular Wealth and Education

Date 2011-10-30
Series Spiritual Deception
Sub-series  
Document (PDF) BFF-20111030-TheSpiritualDeceptionsOfSecularWealthAndEducation.pdf

Please note that there is not yet an audio recoding for this sermon.

Message

What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

Much of what is wrong with America can be understood if you choose to grasp, to know and understand and believe, our distraction from God by the spiritual deceptions of secular wealth and education. These two things, secular education and secular wealth, have “empowered” our society to a level of tolerance of the ungodly, of tolerance of the things of Bael, to the point where, except for a small remnant remaining in America, both Jehovah God and Christianity are barely tolerated any more than Islam, Buddhism, or other strains of religious non-humanism. The religion loved and practiced by the greater number of Americans is humanism. And our secular wealth has made all, except a small remnant, believe that our wealth insulates us from needing God as our provider.

And I refer to a “small remnant”, and I believe earnestly that we are part of that small remnant. I say that, not in judgment of the rest of America, or of the rest of the world, but because we clearly still, in our little body, and in those with whom we share the remnant, have our focus, mostly, on God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and their Word. That focus separates us from the rest of America, and most of the rest of the world, which chooses to disregard, ignore, deny or replace God with themselves or some other false religion.

Isaiah, the Prophet, speaks of the remnant, even when he lived and wrote, in the latter half of the seventh century B.C. In Isaiah I: 9, he speaks insightfully of the need for and the role of the spiritual remnant, Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah.

Analysts abound with the insight that Europe and America are now in a post-Christian phase of history. Only the remnant, the small remnant, keeps this, our generation, from being a non-Christian phase of history.

My current readings suggest that much of the world is under the onslaught of poverty, starvation, sickness, the criminalization of life, and utter despair. And much of the world lives in societies in which Christianity is illegal, or scorned by the law of those societies and the vast majority of people living there. And much of the rest of the world lives in a wasteland of religious ennui (“boredom”) where their education has taught them to deny the Creator and worship themselves or other parts of the creation.

Much of he world actually does live in and with relatively-high secular wealth -- as they are able to maintain a standard of living above the international shanty-towns of poverty, starvation, sickness, criminalization and despair. That secular-wealth standard typifies most of Americans, and it is a major deception in leading many Americans to believe that they don’t really need God as provider, that, “Thank you, I am doing quite well enough for and by myself!”.

Again, Isaiah, who is the most-quoted Old Testament voice in the New Testament, contrasts the remnant with the non-remnant, contrasting the faithful with the faithless and anti-faithful: Isaiah 2: 6-9. For You (Jehovah God) have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways; they are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they are pleased with the children of foreigners. Their land is also full of silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is also full of horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is also full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made. People bow down, and each man humbles himself; therefore do not forgive them. [The Amplified Bible describes this humbling as being before idols; the NIV describes this humbling as suggesting that people will be humbled by their sin. I am not sure for our purposes that the distinction is that great. The point is sin, by reference to either the idolatries earlier described in this passage, or by reference to the groveling of mankind before itself, instead of its humility before God!]

Reading this, I was so struck, by its similarity to America, to the times in which our generation lives.

We have been culturally-encouraged to tolerate, accept, and follow “eastern ways”: From the followers of the Beatles and their Indian (“eastern”) mystics, to the strains of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Animism, and the Dalai Lama, many in America and elsewhere have accepted these “eastern ways”.

Many in America are fascinated with Nostradamus and his soothsaying, his so-called prophetic insight into the future, and Palm-Readers, and Mind-Readers abound along the roadsides of urban America. And of course, our secular psychologists and psychiatrists prophesy humanistic corrections to the historical past, seeking to perfect our happiness rather than our joy.

It would be a false interpretation of the phrase, “and they are pleased with the children of foreigners” to jump into the political debate over immigration. However, that is not the point of this passage: under the New Covenant, this passage, tells us that there is trouble when the children of God (i.e., the house of Jacob) “are pleased” with non-believers, with those who do not belive in the reality of Jesus Christ as God incarnate and as the only redemptive way to the Father God.

These passages, applied to help us understand America today, show us that our secular education has expanded the notion of religious freedom in America beyond mere Christian toleration of other religions, into merely tolerating Christianity along with other religions. This type of secular education is a spiritual deception, and everyone needs to be aware of this deception and to know why, when and how to take special steps when it impacts your family, so that, in your personal home and family, and in partnership with your church and the rest of the remnant, you can overcome in yourself and your children the false teachings of our secular education systems, especially up through the college and post-college levels, as well as at the kindergarten, elementary, middle and upper school levels.

The next phrase, “land is also full of silver and gold”, obviously describes great wealth, and certainly America has it, and especially so in comparison to most of the rest of the world, and even in the current economic strife and disappointment in which we live. And the following phrases, referring to horses and chariots has a military connotation, contextually, giving a sense of security and protection (invading God’s province at times), and also has a wealth connotation as the old horses and chariots were used for civilian transportation (Philip and the Egyptian Treasurer), comparable to American automobiles and trucks today.

Today, not many people, and actually none that I know or have known, actually have a religious shrine in their house where they situate and worship cast images as gods, in that fundamental notion of idolatry, the worship of physical idols. But everywhere you look in our secular society, our land is full of the things that people worship instead of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit: we worship our wealth, our highly (compared to the rest of the world) educated selves, such that we have often joined others, like with the utopian Occupy Wall Streeters, in denying the sin nature of man, on the premise that man is, supposedly, fundamentally good. It is such an intellectually interesting thing to watch the utopians proclaim the goodness of man, as the foundation of hope and change for a revolutionary, utopian, equal society, at the same time that they are protesting the evil of man, and their perception of the sins of Wall Street and its officials and employees. And those utopians don’t even see the intellectual dishonesty of their protests, in light – or darkness – of their utopian dreams.

The whole thing about idolatry is that every one falls into idolatry until they acknowledge their own sin and sin nature, and they stay in idolatry, at least of self-adulation and self-worship, until they find Jesus Christ and believe that He is Who He says He is, and repent.

While Isaiah urged God, in Isaiah 2:9, not to forgive the idolators of the house of Jacob, Jesus offers us the ministry of reconciliation, the ministry of forgiveness, to make things right between us and God. We can only make things right through Jesus with God if we rich, educated, tolerant Americans choose to refuse, any longer, to be intoxicated with the passing, psycho-babble of philosophies of the day – be them “eastern ways”, “soothsayers”, disbeliefs (spiritual “foreigners”), or just plain, mean old humanism, self-adulation. And we must also choose to refuse to believe that, in our wealth and militarymight, we don’t need God, or that we need to get so busy in pursuing those strengths that we ignore our faithful God, the Father, and His Faithful Son, Jesus (ever interceding for us with God the Father) and His Faithful Spirit dwelling in us, walking with us, and informing us of the nuances of God’s Word and his prophecy.

So ask yourselves, please, Am I part of God’s Remnant? Despite my education and despite my relative wealth (by measure of the economy of the world), do I really fully embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and do I really only trust in God for my provision and protection? Ask yourself, please, “Am I ready to stand in that Remnant and pray, and witness and seek the kingdom of God not only for myself, but also for my fellow countrymen, and fellow members of the community of the earth?” The Remnant needs to come alive, to lift the cover, the basket lid, from its light, risking our provision and protection because we do trust in God, so that men see and believe anew or for the first time, so that the Remnant grows large enough to restore America to being a Christian nation, and to restore Europe as a Christian culture and to bring the Gospel of the Good News to all the rest of this humble planet? What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

God bless you and amen+