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01 Finding God in a Godless Society

Eric Walsh
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Eric Walsh

Pastor and Physician

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  • April 5, 2021
    8:00 AM
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Jeremiah chapter 29 and verse 13 says and you shall seek me and find me when you shall search for Me with all your heart a message tonight isn't titled Finding God in a Godless society finding God in a Godless society let us pray Father God we thank you for this opportunity to study oh word. Once again Lord I ask that you make me a nail upon the wall a rusty sorry nail Lord and upon that nail Lord I ask that you hang a portrait of Jesus Christ let our Walsh not be seen or heard instead father let us hear word from the throne room of grace so our prayer in Jesus is precious and holy name Amen All right so we're going to jump to the Book of Acts the 9th chapter. And we are going to read the 1st verse and tonight we're going to focus on the conversion of Paul as we deal with the subject finding God in a Godless society x. 9 in verse one says and solve yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord went up unto the high priest. Saw here is. Just been elected to the Sanhedrin the interesting thing about Saul is that he probably got this nomination and election because of his a cooperation in the persecution of Christians most notably the Bible records the story of the stoning of Stephen prophetically ending the 490 year prophecy and after Stephen died it was time for God to redirect the Gospel to the gentiles I think the irony of this story is that God literally uses the very the very men who persecuted the Christians to take the Gospel to the Gentiles and saw yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter in fact Acts 26 when he is giving a defense before grip of Paul says this about his behavior before he became a Christian acts 26 and verse 10 says which thing I also did in Jerusalem and many of the saints did I shut up in prison having received authority from the chief priests and when they were put to death I gave my voice against them in other words Paul voted to have them put to death and I punished them often every synagogue and compel them to blast fiend and being exceedingly mad against them I persecuted them even un to strain cities it was Paul's job to when he was still Saul to function. Like like like someone who would chase down criminals like a bounty hunter and he was a new leashed by the Sanhedrin who had received authority to even chased the Christians in other cities and in foreign lands. Paul's fury against the Christians came from the fact that he thought he was doing God's work but the Spirit of Prophecy tells us that in fact when Paul contemplated on Christ there was rattling in his mind around whether or not Jesus was the Messiah but the peer pressure of his time the influence and power of the Sanhedrin his upbringing and training as a perfect Pharisee all work to influence Saul to want to persecute Christians and he thought he was doing God's work and as I speak to you young people tonight I submit that there are challenges for Christians today as well I have gone to school many years and studied in Adventist in Christian institutions and in secular ones and I can tell you that if you are not rooted and grounded the world can swallow you up the world is becoming more and more secular and some of the faces that we see are the brilliant minds of people like Neil de Grasse Tyson who when he explains the universe explains it without any creator no design very brilliant man but when he does when he describes science and the astrophysicist that he is he's does a phenomenal job of describing the universe but but the universe has no God and in fact if you listen carefully it's almost as if if you believe there's a god something's wrong with you. Of course Bill Maher doesn't hold back in his documentary religion as he intentionally mocks anyone who believes Muslim Jew or Christian anyone of faith is mocked and they have agreed to created this art of disbelief Bill Maher brags on his show another very intelligent and very very talented person but he brags on his show of those who he pulls out of Christianity or religion and into atheism almost like it's a sport there is there's a movement young people in our society to extract God and faith. And one who was deemed to have one of the greatest minds of our time is Stephen Hawking. And he says this is one of his quotes he says we are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star but we can understand the universe that makes us something very special that is a staggering statement and it is becoming the way the world simply believes and it's frightening because if you even look at what he's saying it doesn't really make sense if we're just a breed of monkeys on a planet what an on a tiny planet what an average star how why did we develop the ability to understand the universe that wasn't necessary for survival if you understand the theory of evolution it almost in an apparent in what he's saying is that there has to be some divine spark in the minds of men but but the world has believed and and is moved to believe that sometime now we are foolish to believe what we believe in as I was preparing to speak to the young people of the conference I was I was really moved as I prayed to speak to the fact that if you are going to be a Christian today you are going to have to be strong. Fair weather Christians will not survive this day and age young person if you're only a Christian because your mother's a Christian you're not going to survive as a Christian you won't make it to the other side as a Christian if you're only a Christian because you went to Sabbath school and Pathfinders if you're only a Christian because you got baptized and everybody else did at 11 or 12 years of age if your Christianity is really just wrapped up in kind of the cultural awareness of growing up in an advantage church and you do not have your own relationship with God and understanding of His Word you will not survive in fact Paul later on says in 1st Corinthians chapter 3 verse 18 let no man deceive himself if any man among you seem to be wise in this world let him become a fool that he may be wise for the wisdom of the world is full is snus with God For it is risen written he take up the wise in their own craftiness In other words God catches them in their craftiness Paul goes on he says and again the Lord know of the thoughts of the wise that they are vain therefore let no man glory in men young people if you are going to be a Christian do not glory in the in the in the in the. Social media of the famous people of our time the influencers of our time do not think that somehow they have something special because many of them do not know God and in fact their wisdom is really only vanity think of how vain it is that man's things he basically evolved to create himself therefore let no man glory in men. Of course there is a strong movement and young people are being pulled in 3 decades ago America lost its religion why and I talk about these political reasons an organization they say Imagine no religion and put it up on billboards in cities or organizations like Freedom From Religion Foundation and what is meant is that there's a new group of Americans when it comes to religion and religious categories one of them is a group called the nuns meaning they have no religious affiliation whatsoever and you see here to excel or rate of growth of the un affiliated from 1972 to 2016 people of show of shaken off religion and have moved to a beliefs of basically that is minimal at best what you hear people saying out is I don't believe in religion I'm spiritual I don't go to church church I don't need church walls for religion I just stay home you know the Bible says For sake not the assembling of yourselves together so Paul says in the book of Hebrews and people say well I don't have to I don't have to have religion I could be spiritual let me say something people are religious about their favorite football team favor of their religious about March Madness and following the brackets their religious about following their belief they're the people that they follow on social media but when it comes to God You say you know I don't I don't need religion. In fact when you look by age what you see is that all of a sudden it's been up there is a heightened level of religiously unaffiliated in the 18 to 29 year old age and as you say comes down as this wave carries out America is going to become less and less affiliated with any belief and the challenge based on the theme of this week of revival that it is possible go and do the challenge is going to be that when we go to do we are no longer going to reach people who at least have some basic concept of the Scriptures the evangelism in the next decade is going to look nothing like it did in the last century we're not going to be walking into people who have some respect for the Bible or scripture or the God of heaven or for His Son Jesus Christ we are going to go into a different realm talk more about how we're going to have to reach people later in the week but I want you to understand young people at these times are different and we're being influenced by so many there are this is not happening by accident I actually got some lyrics from who is arguably the greatest rapper of all time Jay z. Jay z. and his and one of his albums he has lyrics he says question religion question it all question existence until them questions are solved right he said listen to question it and back make them solve the question but it's difficult to solve the questions if you could solve all the questions of life there would be no need for faith. He says I'm secular tell the heckler settle down your religion creates the vision like my Maybach partition. Move away from religion and he says I confess God in the flesh live among the serpents turn arenas into churches he says basically that he is God in the flesh is j.c. who is a member of the 5 Percent Nation of Islam a religion that believes that the black man is God and the white man is the devil look it up for yourself that's what the religion believes that's why when he raps he says things like I ham I am Joe Hova God mc young people as we listen to this music and and we're influenced by the lyrics it has an effect on us in fact we are told in a spirit of prophecy that by be holding we become changed and we'll see more on the science around how the media and social media and music influence our opinions our thoughts and yes even our behaviors so much so much has happened in the world it now d.c. comics actually introduced Jesus as a character but it's a distorted story of Jesus because he comes back to get to learn how to save the world from a superhero called Son man isn't it interesting the Lord of the Sabbath that's the come to Earth to learn how to save the world from someone named after the 1st day of the week times changing our children read these comic books and look up to the super heroes all of this influences the way Christianity is viewed in fact in one article I click here to see how superhero films are replacing religion in teaching us how to live whatever the argument now is that in fact the more ality of the new. This new world order that you've been following the news the pope has come out and said that we need a new world order after covert and what they're what some are saying is that this new world order is more relatives should be defined by how superheroes handle themselves. In the scripture the enemies of the people of God are always described as those who tried to bring the image of God down into the image of man or animals and then they had carved them into idols and worship them in some ways we're going to see a resurgence of that in some ways the popularity of the superhero is one example of that actually after 9 in verse 2 says and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues that if he found any of this way whether they were men or women he might bring them bound on to Jerusalem so souls job was to go to Damascus it was a long hike it would take him about a week it was a 120 miles there about for him to go from Jerusalem to Damascus so he was on a mission to extinguish there were many synagogues in Damascus and each one the Jews would be probably of different ethnic backgrounds are from different parts of the world and they stick together based on where they were from probably and he was going to root out the Christians that were in the synagogues he had permission he had the certified paperwork to do this kind of spiritual bounty hunting something happens to him and actually after 9 in verse 3 The Bible says and as he journeyed he came near Damascus and suddenly there shined roundabout about him a light from heaven as he journeyed he came near Damascus and suddenly there are signs around about him a light from heaven and as he's getting close and he's actually almost at the end of his journey you have to believe based on the way the story plays out a light comes into existence a bright light later on Paul says that the light was brighter than the noonday sun It was about noon and this light was so bright that it was brighter than the Sun in verse 4 and he felt of the earth and heard a voice saying on to him Saul Saul why persecute is that homey. His question is a profound one and he said Who art thou Lord it's almost like he knew he was too he was talking to but I want to submit to you as we talk about finding God that we don't really find God God has never been missing the truth of the matter is that God finds us. Paul is on his way thought he was doing the right thing for he was living up a right just life and yet God had to come find him in the person of Jesus Christ you don't find God really God has to find you but you've got to be open to him finding you so we got to find God in a Godless society and I want to give you 4 places that you must find god for places if you look carefully God has been there waiting for you all along and the 1st place is fine you can find God in your blessings the 2nd one you can find God in your trials but some folks the last 3 are going to make a lot of sense you can find God in your doubts and you can find God in your weakness for places you should be able to find out for of many that will hit these for tonight here find out in the end blessings for 1st class alone eons 5 Paul writes rejoice always pray without ceasing in everything give thanks for this is the will for this is the will of God and Christ Jesus for you rejoice always let me say something in life we often the devil convinces us I'm talking to the young people right now that often convinces the devil often convinces us the devil often convinces us to focus on what we don't have rather than what we do have. Even as a young person when I was young we were poor my mother was a single mother if you ever heard me preach I talk about the fact that my father left my mother when I was 2 years of age and we struggled for the 1st part of my growing up I watched my mother get her associate's degree bachelor's degree master's degree and we moved up like The Jeffersons for those of you who might resonate with but I want to tell you that when I was in the in about the 3rd or 4th grade I my mother gave me my older brother's hand me down jeans the way to school. The problem was my older brother was 7 years older than me so he was from a general from a whole decade before Coles is from a whole decade before so if you get me in the maybe I was in 5th or 6th grade imagine me going to school in bell bottoms. Man it was a mess it was a mess I mean I was looking like j.j. and the Huxtable 0 on t.v.. I was what I wanted so bad to have stuff everybody has every fact I remember when Atari came out everybody in the school got an Atari I was my brother and I want to play games we take out coins and flip them in place table soccer and football and. And I didn't realize Don't miss this young people that when I look back on my life the best happiest years of my life were actually the years when I had the least my mother created a comfortable home for us and most importantly my mother made sure that we know who Christ was. And I will talk about this war tomorrow night we talk about a lifestyle of faith that's a topic for tomorrow night but I believe that a lot of folks think that it's the it's the beautiful drama of those people who are who are converted later in life and come into the church and and as these amazing dramatic stories and yes they are dramatic but I want to tell you that is how it works in being raised in a house where the Holy Spirit dwells. There's power in it because the from a local talk more about the from a little later in the week the frontal lobe of your mind is where the seal of God is going to be place and all those years in a home where when you come together as a family we would sing hymns to enter the Sabbath and to exit the Sabbath we were in Sabbath school on Sabbath morning we did Pathfinders we were in the choir I couldn't sing but I was still in the choir. And let me tell you something and formed my mind as to what a scripture says Train Up a Child in the way you should go and when he is old you're not apart from it because in that atmosphere where God is invited in let me tell you something I looked at those times and wished I could have moved out I remember playing football and I was the only kid walking off the field and no father there to meet me and how upset and angry I was at times and I look back now and I wish I had seen that God was in the old me but I see things that he. I work hard because when I was 13 years old I started working and taking care of my and buying my clothes sort of my mother would get a reprieve I would I could I clean the house I cooked meal my mother my mother I sat like this we were domesticated God is in the blessings and sometimes especially in a world of materialism you look around at all these billionaire people I just read where Kanye West is worth like $6600000000.00 I said Marcy. And you think you want on that stuff let me tell you something I as a physician have seen some of the wealthiest people are the most miserable people 5150 s have to be called to have them put into psychiatric units because of how miserable they are sometimes challenge you find God in your blessings no matter how small it seems like it is young person if you're growing up in a Christian home and you have a parent or or 2 parents that love you I'm telling you to hold on to it a lot of young people in this world that don't have that but the next one you got to be able to find God in trials James 123 and 4 says it like this my brother and counted all joy when you fall into diverse temptations Knowing this the trying of your faith work its patience but let patients have a perfect work that she may be perfect and entire wanting nothing I wish I had time to get into this tonight with a bit more later in the week but I want to submit to you that in your difficulties there are a lot of young people today when they see something bad happen they want to pack up and run from God but I submit to you that like the 3 Hebrew boys who are just teenagers probably that when they start for God They met Jesus not in the comfort of the palace of Babylon and never can as they met Jesus in the fiery furnace. You will find out in trial if you how your self to see his protection and terrible times of this life I can tell you I've been through some trials and ironically the times I have been closest to God times and I went through the most difficulty to find God in your trials the 3rd one is find God in your outs. Mark 922 and 23 says it like this and often times it have cast him into the fire and into the waters to destroy him but if you can do anything have compassion on us and help us Jesus said unto him If you can believe anything is possible to him that believe this father who has this demoniac boy who the 9 disciples who could not cast out brings his son to Jesus and says listen Jesus if you can have compassion if you can do anything help my son Jesus says Who are you if ing there is another with Christ he spoke into nothing and no world came into existence Jesus said not if not all means lives on you if you can believe all things are possible to him that believes in a father's response is what I want you to take from this piece of the puzzle Mark 924 says and straightway the father of the child cried out and said what with tears Lord I believe help the how my unbelief. The father found Christ found God in his doubting this church is liberating it means that when you have doubt doubt doesn't disqualify you from coming to God and be receiving his blessing is mercy and even in this case a miracle that simply says I need to bring even my doubts to him you'll find him in your doubts if you search for him in your doubts tell a story of a time when my mother was dying of cancer in a very hospital where she was an administrator Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center the university where I went to medical school University of Miami I remember walking in and seeing my mother skin and bones from the chemotherapy. Her hair which was had fallen out and only a little bit grown back when I walked into that room my mother was smiling and bubbly and I was cut to the core. And I've been a long 3 years since her diagnosis and I had tried calling every cancer treatment center in the country as a physician I talked to some of the top on colleges trying to find a way to keep my mother alive. And when I say finally went into that room for the last visit with her and saw her in that condition it broke me down to begin to rise up and I looked at her. And she she was she was so amazed she ated I went into the closet actually into the bathroom over her of her room hospital room I fell on my knees as she was sleeping and I begin to agonize with God God how could you how could you this woman was a Pathfinder leader she she was a treasure in the church she she raised us to know usually she fought through all kinds of difficulties in her. Migration from Jamaica to America and all of the things that she had been through I said how lord could you know our did to die such an ignoble death. As I wept and cried to God I heard a voice speak to me and it said she has been perfected she has been affected and it all made sense and I want to tell you that my mother and I and the rest of the family saying What a Friend We Have in Jesus the rest of the time she was alive through the rest of that we can't I found God in my out that we can't. Because I realize I look at life in terms of 709100 years God sees life in terms of millennia the last place you need to find God is actually in your weakness find God in your weakness and he said on to me My grace is sufficient for the for my strength is made perfect in weakness most gladly therefore Well I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me this is Paul speaking about the thorn in his flesh this thing that he just couldn't get over it but he says ultimately God in Christ Your grace is sufficient for me Christ as my strength is made perfect in weakness. Paul then says I Most gladly would rather to glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me 1st career 2nd graders 1210 says Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities in reproaches in the societies in persecutions in distresses for Christ's sake for when I am weak then Am I strong I want to give this to young people some of you in your Christian walk has been you've been waffling a bit you you may have made some mistakes you made a father want to talk more about his Wednesday night you may have of sinned and come short of the glory of God But I want to submit to you that the evidence of God in your life needs to be the way he meets you in your weakness if you had no weaknesses and had no problem you'd have no need for Christ and I know some of us have some terrible addictions I speak to young people who are who are sometimes on drugs alcohol addicted to pornography. I've been in sessions with young people or gang affiliated and can't get out of that life I've been around them but I am here to tell you that like Paul in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 12 if you take your weakness and turn it over to him your weakness will be where Christ is strongest in you why because in your weakness you'll be driven to your knees it keep you humble keep you teachable ever in his word guarding against the temptations of the enemy even you know weaknesses is a place where you can find God acts 95 And he said who are doll Lord Lord said I am Jesus whom the persecuted. It is hard for the to kick against the pricks in other words you keep kickin but you're not going to get anywhere saw the church isn't going anywhere in fact what are the reasons the Sanhedrin to be done to go after the Christians because after they scattered them from Jerusalem all that really happened is that the like see the everywhere they went they planted and the Christians began to pop up more and more in synagogues all over the Middle East and that's why they were going after them and Jesus says listen I'm the one you're persecuting it's me when you go after my followers I'm the one you're persecuting which tells me that when you're going to trial Christ is going to trial with you Bible says and Acts 9 in verse 6 and he trembling and astonished said Lord what wilt thou have me to do. The Lord said unto him Arise and go into the city and it shall be told the what I must do this is the theme for the week it is possible go and do when you find him he will give you an assignment person acts 97 says and the men which journeyed with him stood speechless. They heard a voice but Smith seeing no man in fact if you take all of the 3 times that the story is told in the book of Acts and the times and when Paul tells the story what you find is that the men could probably hear it voice but it was not discernable to them they could see a light but they could see no form of a man it was Paul who could see the shape and form of Christ I could hear clearly his voice and it was Paul who later and eyes would be told he is my chosen vessel let me tell you something young people some of you are his chosen vessel devil wants to sift you as we eat to remove you from the faith because some of you God's hand is on you and you can feel it so what happened the devil UPS's game comes after you as big parties all the time and you get everybody's got a crush on you and all these things are happening all to draw you away from Christ verse 8 and Saul arose from the earth and when his eyes were open he saw no man but they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus and when he was 3 days without sight and he was he was 3 days outside and neither did he eat or drink. So all fasted began the process of learning and on learning what he had been told. A finish which is a quote from the Spirit of Prophecy a saw yielded himself fully to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit he saw the mistakes of his life and recognized the far reaching claims of the law of God he who had been a proud ferrous the confident that he was justified by his good works now bowed before God of the humility and simplicity of a little child confessing his own unworthiness and pleading the merits of a crucified and risen savior so long to come into full harmony and communion with the Father and the Son and in the intensity of his desire for pardon and acceptance he offered ups a fervent supplications to the throne of grace the prayers of the patient of the penitent fairest were not in vain it is young people that inmost thoughts and emotions of his heart were transformed by divine grace and his nobler faculties were brought into harmony with the eternal purposes of God Christ and His righteousness became to saw more than the whole world acts of the Apostles page 119-2120 I leave you with this the night young people it was a time when I thought of the things of this world was what was most important I thought for sure that if I could get fame and fortune that is what mattered most and when I look back on my life and some of the foolish decisions I made and foolish things I did I I am often overwhelmed with guilt but I want to submit this to you young people when you find Christ on your road to Damascus he is not concerned with what you used to do his concern is with what you are about to do. And I want to submit to you young person who has fallen was major mistakes was failed God Maybe you spent time in the world in a way that is not becoming of a Christian or of the way you were raised but I want to submit to you that there is power power wonder working power the precious blood of the Lamb I stand before you today not because I'm perfect but because by the Blood of Jesus Christ I have been redeemed I challenge you tonight as we close take time to find God and for places I mentioned the blessings will come trials will come your weaknesses will come all of these things will come I want you to be the type of Christian that finds God no matter what your circumstances let's pray Father God we thank you for this opportunity to study a word I pray for the young people who listen tonight wherever they may be or a father God that they would find Jews not because you were lost but because we were lost and Lord they would forge a relationship with you that is not trifling that is not dependent on who's looking not dependent on their parents but a relationship. That is forged and dependent on the blood of Jesus Christ. Our prayer tonight and bring us back safely together tomorrow night is our prayer in Jesus' name in this media was brought to you by audio from a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. Or if you would like to listen to more sermon leave it. Or.

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