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Watchmen, Wake from Slumber

Chris Holland

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Chris Holland

Associate Director of HopeLives365 and World Evangelist for Adventist World Radio

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  • October 2, 2021
    6:00 AM
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Ah, ah ah, ah, ah, this media has you by the marilyn menefee are challenged and encouraged on the character of christ. More information. Please visit with dot org Ah, an analog guy trapped in a digital world. I. If I didn't, I didn't. I walked out today with arthur, it was a tragedy. I didn't get, I did not get a pen before I left but wonder these wonderful people here at maryland benefits gave out a pen. And I am, I'm fascinated because it's pen also. You can, you can make sure that you're level and then you can measure with it as well. And then they've got the little touch pat on there. This is a very functional pen, but was that, are you serious? For art oh, where the rubber is here? See, see somebody see, see, are there I pastored arthur's church and are there knows i'm, I'm very easily distracted. Now see, this is fascinating. Not only does it have flathead, it's got a phillips mark. I'm going to tell you this. You are a phenomenal leader of the maryland benefit that right there. I mean, what can make you feel more manly than to write to level something and then drive through it. But anyways, or either or this, or maybe it just let you know that you have some screws listed. You've got to know in the lord's, are you going to? But anyway, I want to encourage you to take notes and there's something about putting a pen to paper and we have enough of you in here that are young enough, but maybe need help with understanding what a pen in it is. What a paper is, but pen and paper, there is actually there scientific research and I'll have to ask tor been because torment is a psychiatrist and he probably hopefully would help me with this. But there's something about putting that tend to paper and writing that actually helps it register in your mind. I'm not against technology. Oh, go by the end, you may think I am, but I'm not against technology. It's just, we need to be mindful of what technology has done. I will start, do I have anybody that's a teacher in here? Anybody that said educator. OK, so you know this, those of you that registers know this Well over the course of the last 10 years, many schools have gone to all digital books and purchased computers and I pads and everything else to have all the textbooks on that. And now there are a school district nationwide that are basically saying, we've wasted millions of dollars because they're returning to textbooks because retention of the information has been a real problem in digital reading. And I'm not against digital reading. I have kinda, when I use it, you know, because carrying a candle on an airplane is much easier than trying to carry 15 books. However, having said all of that, why are we studying the kings? Because we want to learn lessons from the kings of how to be men who live without fear. We fear god alone, but do not fear the world because we are living in his word alone or by his word alone. Second kings chapter 12 and verse 3. Second kings chapter 12 and verse 3. Mm. I want you to take note, now we're going to look at a several generations of kings. And I'm not going to tell you right away. And then at the end I will share with you. I want you to take, notice we read about these kings that there's something that occurs with each of these kings. That is, and they are 3 words in particular that I hope and pray that you see these words clearly. Because these words, these words lead actually to the demise of a nation. Second kings chapter 12 I said verse 3, beginning and verse one through 3. In the 7th year of j who jo whole ash became king. Any rain, 40 years in jerusalem, don't be thrown about this. Joe ash and Joe ash, same king in judah, also don't be confused. There was a joe ash who randon israel as well, so don't let that throw you off. We're talking about the joe ashley, the joe ash of judah. He ran 40 years in jerusalem. His mother's name was zippy of beersheba. Joe whole as did. What was right in the side of the Lord all the days in which jehovah, the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away, the people still sacrificed and burn incense on the high places. And some of you were saying, while, why am I reading that he did? What was right in the side of the Lord, what more could you ask? I'm going to read another king, i'm going to read about his son, and I want you to see if you catch the challenger, the problem with his son. Second kings chapter 14. So just start a page. Second king's chapter 14. In the 2nd year of Joe ash, the son of Joe, as king of israel, amazon, the son of Joe ash, king of judah, became king skipping down to verse 3. And he did what was right in the side of the Lord, yet not like his father david. He did everything as his father, jo, as had done. However, the high places were not taken away and the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places that some of you might be at this point in time saying okay, pastor home, what your point he did, what was right in the side of the Lord Maybe his son might reveal it more plainly. Second kings chapter 15 again beginning and verse one. In the 27th year of jeroboam, king of israel as ariah, the son of amazon, king of judah, became king skipping now to verse 3, and he did what was right in the side of the Lord. According to all that his father amazon had done, except the high places were not removed, the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. Did you catch it there? Did you catch the problem? Let's look at one more passage because maybe his son will help identify it even more clearly. Second kings chapter 15 still beginning in verse 32. In the 2nd year of pack the son of rumble i A king of israel, jock, i'm the son of zaya. King of judah began to reign. Okay, just so we don't get confused. Zaya, an Amazon aya. Excuse me. Zaya an as ariah or the same person. Okay. So this is as arise, sun job them. They began to rain skipping, now diverse 34 and he did what was right in the side of the war. He did, according to all that his father was, I had done. However, the high places were not removed and the people still sacrificed and burn incense on the high places he built the upper gate of the house of the Lord. Okay, did you see the generational problem? Did you catch the words? These 3 words are the eternal death. Now for any one that is pursuing a relationship with jesus christ and they are a death knell for us as men trying to lead in our home in our church and in our community. And the words were repeated over and over again there and there 3 words. 3 simple words were not removed or not taken away. 3 simple words yet important words. These words let us take note led to the demise of a nation. What does it mean? These kings were willingly, excuse me, willing to see me. We follow the letter of the law, but they were unwilling to follow the spirit of the law. They did what was right in the side of the Lord. Everything looked good on the outside, but there was something going on. So you used to were tolerant. That's an interesting word and what that. All right? Yeah. They tolerated it. Yeah. And what's interesting about that is without knowing, you're actually very theologically correct. Now let's talk about this. What were they unwilling to remove? The bible says they were not removed, they did not remove. What did they not remove? What is the bible say? It's not a trick question. The high places. Now when we think about high places, often what we will think about is pagan, alters, and I don't know if any of you have ever been on visits to europe, or really many places any place outside of the United States. But if you've been to europe, if you've been to turkey, if you've been degrees, yes, the altar of zeus, the altar of hadrian, the altar dedicated to athena, and all these kinds of things. That's what we often think about when we think of high places. However, it's interesting when you study this word high places, this is not always referring to a plague, a pagan place of worship. There were high places that were dedicated to the worship of the almighty god. But that's still a problem. Why is that still a problem? Because utilizing a center of worship outside of jerusalem was forbidden in the old test, yet even more dangerous is that many of these places were what we would call as synchron to stick places of worship. What is synchronizes them? synchronize them is trying to reconcile the union of different or opposing principles, different or opposing religions, different or opposing philosophies. What might be the greatest example or the easiest example of synchronous ism? One very easy example is Sunday, worship. Sunday worship is the attempt at taking a pagan festival, but placing it under the guise of christian principles by talking about the celebration of the lord's resurrection. That is synchronistic. Does that make sense to everybody? Everybody understand? But it is the combining of opposing ideas. It is imposing upon god attributes that are not biblical, but fit into your worldview. The word worship, by the way, is defined in the dictionary as an adoring reverence or regard for any person or thing. So high places were places of worship, Where people spent time to adore, that which made them feel better. One commentator remarking on joe ash and his non removal of the high places said this, these high places may have been regarded by joe ash as relatively unimportant as they apparently were considered by his predecessors. That's no big deal. Just a high place. But those high places after these kings become a major major problem, was a political oh, well yeah. Yeah. I mean there, there is for Yeah. For sure. Yeah. Well I mean, yeah, I mean because that's why that's why jeroboam beth allen, dad. And then it was absolutely a political thing. We're trying to apply this to being men who lead and so, and so, and by the way, making it political is part of the secret system. It becomes a political issue rather than and the main issue of worship. But I want you to take know that somehow some way these kings did not find these places to be important to down to deal with as well. And, and the, the illustration that I would like to give you is sometimes a little bit can cause a major problem. And what do I mean? But I do, I have any bakers here. Anybody that likes to bake anybody? Nobody. Oh, there we go. Okay, we got some bakers. Oh, so this is good. So over the course of the last couple of years, I've been very intrigued when I went to rome and I had pizza in Rome. It kind of changed my world of what pizza really is. And unlike the United States, where cheese is the main component of pizza in, in Rome and in italy, in general. The cheese is really actually kind of an afterthought to, in fact, the original pizza was simply bred and basal and some tomato sauce on it. And so anyways, I become intrigued by this and this is not primarily a class on how to make pizza. When you're making artists and pizza dough. The challenge you have is you can't decide now that you want to have p to and 10 minutes. You need time, you need 6 to 9 hours, maybe 24 hours, depending on the dough you're working with. And so in making don't, when you make enough dough that would make 312 inch pieces. So it's a good amount of dough. The recipe calls for a 3rd of a quarter of a teaspoon of east. That's a mere pinch. But given time, arthur, it will rise the loaf. What's the point of making? We're talking about a number of things here, gentlemen. And there are going to be some things that are very difficult for us to talk about. The point that I don't want you to miss Is that a little bit can be very destructive over time. Even when we think it's not important. Yeah, please king of the unity official religion. Would that be a It would be a very good example and let me, let me take it one step further. Because a lot of times when we talk about the sunday and we talk about constantine, we don't get deep enough into that. When you study roman history, you realized that amongst the roman soldiers, the number of one deity that they worshiped was a deity by the name of Miss ross. Well, when you go and you read about nath ross, miss ross was the son of k moves that should sound familiar to you because k moves is who they were worshipping in the temple in the book of the heel. By the way, I'll talk about that a little bit this evening. I'm not primarily about a moves, but some of the practices going on there. What's the point? Miss ross though? Miss ross was born out of a virgin birth. Does that sound familiar? No, never. So now you see how synchronizes and works. Miss ross, son of tamers, tamers is a god of nature. We're going to worship the sun s U. N. Constantine in wanting to bring his empire together. You've got this growing religion that's just spreading across. You can't stop it. Well, what's the easiest thing to do? Let me make this synchronistic religious experience. That merge is mithra ism with christianity, that's synchronizes. So yeah, you've got it now, and we're talking pagan kind of stuff. We can do this other kind of stuff because we can give god a tribute attributes that he's not that he's just simply not one or what, what's a good example of something that we might not necessarily call it synchronistic, but it is synchronistic. Oh God, it's q loving to punish that really By the way that's led some people down the road to come to a conclusion that they believe god does not destroy. That's problematic because that's not what the bible says is. That's why everybody following a loving god couldn't do that. That's using your definition of love to define god's character. Here's the issue though. See these kings did not take away and not taking away. There was this and by the way the words were not taken away and if I know it's after lunch, so me and maybe grammar is not your favorite thing, but we're not taken away as in the passive voice. Okay. Do we understand what that means? The passive voice means that, that the subject is being acted upon. So what does that mean? They took no active role in taking it away because they had a nonchalant attitude and they just allowed the practice to continue. It's kind of like a child, have you ever flight people do with a child? What happens when they cover their eyes? You're gone, and then they open their eyes. And have you ever wonder why a child laughs and thinks that this is the most fun ever? Because in the under developed mind, by closing their eyes, you're no longer there. But you're still really there. You see that's almost what these kings were doing. If I close my eyes, maybe it's not really there. The high places service distractions from true worship and the worship of the true god. But we need to take this a step deeper. Okay. And now we're going to come to the point that you were making sydney We read in 2nd kings 14. It says, speaking of amazon, the high places were not taken away. Those are the 3 words. And we've talked about what that means that they were not taken away. But there's a deeper and more important question. Why? Why were they not taken away? thankfully, god didn't only have the books of the kings recorded, but he called the chronicler to also record the same stories. And the chronicler records in 2nd, chronicles chapter 25 and verse one. The same story that we just read but uses some different words that give us some insight that now we begin to make this intensely practical. Second chronicles chapter 25 and verse one. The bible says amazon was 25 years old when he became king and he ran 29 years in jerusalem. His mother's name was joe, hadn't of jerusalem and he did what was right and the sight of the Lord. And that would be wonderful if that's where the period was, but there's no period. There's a comma there. And what does it say after that? But not with a what somebody has loyal heart. Perfect heart. Somebody else? Second chronicles, chapter 25 in verse one. That's actually verse 2, but not with a loyal heart as the new king james, but not with a perfect heart is the king james. Okay. The new american standard says, but not with a whole heart Same story. But in the inspiration that the holy spirit gave the chronicler, he's not just telling us what he didn't do. He's telling us why he didn't do it. Not with a loyal heart. The word they're loyal. Is the hebrew word, soft. And it's translated, perfect, whole complete on divided The general meaning behind that word is the idea of completion or restoring to a state of unity and wholeness. Why is this important? The word son, lemon. The hebrew is rooted in another hebrew word that most of us know. And even if we don't speak hebrew, it is the word shallow shallow. What a shallow me face shall botched long, peaceful sabbath. The words shalom literally translated means the absence of strife, strife, completeness, harmony, and fulfilment. And so my dear friend sidney, where without necessarily knowing the hebrew you stated something that is important. Amazon had a divided, broken, incomplete, unfulfilled, in harmonious part. And because of that, he was tolerant of these things because in some way, shape or form, whether it be through religious practice or through political gain, he thought he would find completeness. And it speaks to us in the 21st century because we often gentlemen have a broken heart and we try to fill that void through a variety of things. And I could name a multitude of them. But if I start making a list, you'll say all what he didn't name, what I'm struggling with. But we have a multitude of things that we try to fulfill ourselves with. That actually don't lead us any where, except feeling a greater void. The reality is, is that the word shalom piece, this idea of completeness can be brought about by only one thing. Some 2911 says the Lord will give strength to his people. The Lord will bless his people with peace. It is the Lord alone. But let's take it one step further and as we take it one step further and one step further, it will grow increasingly more practical. And as it grows increasingly more practical, it means that the message will encroach more and more on our personal space. And as I share this seminar with you, I want to let you know it's not because I'm sharing the seminar to you. I'm sharing the seminar with you because these words and items are things that I'm wrestling with in my own life. So I don't speak at you, I'm speaking with you. So the word lamb, this word loyal that amazon did not have a loyal heart. When the old testament was translated into greek, some of you have heard this, the step to which it, when the septuagint was written, which is when they took the old testament and wrote it in greek. When they translated the word solemn into greek, they translated into the word play, right? All you don't need to remember any of that other than this. That word is used in the new testament and it is translated as fil, fulfilled, complete, finished, full. Let me give you a couple of examples. Ephesians, chapter 3, beginning in verse 14. For this reason I bow my niece to the father of the Lord jesus christ with excuse me, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through his spirit in the inner man that christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints. What is the width, length, depth, and height? To know the love of christ, which passes knowledge that you may be filled with the fullness of god. The word there filled is the same word used for loyal with Amazon filled filled with the fullness of god. How that might that fullness happen. While paul answers that any fusions foreign verse 20 but you have not so learned christ. If indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him as the truth is in jesus. And then he says these words, and as I read these words gentlemen, i'm going to share with you. For 20 years. I've been preaching something that's not difficult. And I want you to listen That you put off concerning your former conduct, the old man, which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind that you put on the new man which was created according to God and true righteousness and holiness and what you do now, notice the progression we hear him, we are taught with by him. And then we put off our former conduct arthur for 20 years, and I know for a fact in hagerstown, i preached a message where i've said we just need to fill our self so full of god and good things that there is no room for the bad things but gentlemen, that is not biblical. The apostle paul says here and I'm going to share a few other verses that there's something that goes along with that. And that is there is a putting off to make room for that which fills. Now listen to me all the way through because I'm not going to be talking about salvation by works. But I want you to hear this now, by the way, why are lots deceitful lawsuits are deceitful paul says these things the are based on the old man and grow more and more corrupt according to our deceitful last. Why are last deceitful? Because lusts promise joy. But fail to provide it last are deceitful because they promise happiness, but gifts, sorrow, lustre, deceitful, because they promise freedom, but gifts, slavery lusts are deceitful because they promised immunity from the results of wrong doing, but only bring about destruction. Paul repeats the same counsel in romans chapter 13 and verse 12. The night as far spent the day is at hand. Very 4. Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. There is clearly an action that we must take part in it is more than merely filling ourselves with the word in some type of hope that that won't leave any room for the bad stuff. But there is an active role that each of us plays and actually casting off or as these old testament kings did not do to remove those things that are an impediment to our relationship with jesus christ. By the way, these things are not necessarily step by step because through the sanctifying process that god puts us through, he will bring to our attention those things that are an impediment in our current situation that we would cast them off not by our own powered up by our own strength, by his might and his power. But there is an active role. And here's the challenge we face gentlemen. We don't have time for self reflection. Often we don't have time to even think about where we're at. And the Lord has drawn this to my attention over the course of the last 6 months. The 1st challenge we face is we don't have time to ask god to God where we are yet. How are we doing? Is there anything standing between the 2 of us But that in turn, men affects our home life because we don't have time to talk to our wives or our children and find out how we're at it and where they're at and their relationship with god. We're busy and by the way, when I say we're busy, let's be clear. That doesn't even mean that we're busy with bad stuff. There's a lot of good stuff in the world to do. You know, I get these ads. The 25 greatest types in North America. 10 places you have to see before you die. Good places. Nature, god created it. But we can become busy with even good things. To not reflect on that, which is best Just so you don't think I'm drawing a conclusion of theology from one place. There are many passages that I could quote, but let me just go through a brief view. Paul, in collections 39, do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with his deeds. But it's not just paul that got in on this action. James and james, 121 says therefore let us lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness. The apostle paul gets back in on this hebrews chapter 12. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, what does it say? Let us lay aside every weight and sin which so easily and snares us and the apostle peter then gets in on this in 1st peter chapter 2 and beginning and verse one. Therefore, laying aside all malice, deceit, epoxy envy and evil speaking. Listen to those words, cast off, put off, laid aside in the old testament where we started to remove they all teach that there is an active laying aside an active putting off an acting cast, an active casting. All it is that as we lay aside, we make room to be filled by him and actually be renewed and walk. As paul says, in the newness of life Remove, take away, cast off, put off, lay aside. What does this mean? There is clearly a work that god calls us to do. We are not saved by that work, but it is a work of self examination that leads us to encounter the living christ that then he can give us the strength through identifying, by the way. That's the power of the holy spirit. The power of the holy spirit. What does it say about the holy spirit? When jesus tells them that it's to their advantage that the holy spirit comes. He will convict us all of sin. He lets us know. Hey, you've got this thing in your life that needs to be cast off. Very convict us of righteousness. So it's not just a casting off, but it is a replacing of. This is the right thing to do. And then he convicts us of the judgment. The com Let me illustrate this or any of you here or have you ever been a competitive swimmer? Anybody? Okay. Oh well kyle raised his hand back there. Do other than kyle: do any of you know a competitive swimmer? Okay. Something's interesting with competitive swimmers. There are typically 2 things that happened with competitive swimmers, the night before. They are to have a swim, meet, anybody know what those 2 things are carved. Somebody said cards, spaghetti is the number one meal amongst swimmers, the night before me. But then there's something else that happens and it happens even with the men They shave. Somebody said over here, they shave off every last hair from their body. Y quoting from team unified dot com. It is a proven fact that shaving the arms legs back and pretty much any part of the body exposed to the water, reduces frictional drag and improves streamlining. Now some of us might say that here, right there, what kind of frictional drag is that going to create? When we understand the difference between winning and losing maybe a 1000th of a 2nd, that little hair may make a difference. But not everybody buys into the idea that the frictional drag will cause a problem. Now I want you to listen to another argument for shaving. But I want you to listen with spiritual ears, and hopefully you'll catch it without me having to spell it out. Many argue that even if shaving doesn't help reduce drag, it gives swimmers a psychological boost because swimmers feel invigorated in the water after shaving. Why is that? It's certainly understandable because raisers not only remove hair, but they strip dead skin cells off the body, exposing a fresh layer of sensitive skin cells. This results in hypersensitivity and the water, stripping dead cells, removing dead cells from the body. Why is that important? And what's the spiritual application god desires to remove the deadness of our bodies, that we would then have a hyper sensitivity to the work of the holy spirit in our life. That makes sense. All right, we're not going to take the next steps in practicality. And for those of you that like me right now, you may not like me in about 15 minutes. You see in romans 1312, paul talks about removing the works of darkness. And I could probably go to every one of us here and say, so what are the works of darkness in your life? And most of us would say, I don't have any works of darkness because that's a strong word. Paul uses that phrase, works of darkness. One other place in ephesians chapter 5 and verse 8 through 11. He says this for you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord walk as children of the light. For the Fruit of the spirit isn't all goodness righteousness, intrude, finding out what is acceptable to the Lord and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Don't miss this. Now. The works of darkness are set up in opposition to the fruits of the spirit. Where do we find the fruits of the spirit? galatians 5: okay, galatians chapter 5 and verse 22. You know them all right, but the Fruit of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, long, suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Right? We often don't read verses 20 and 21 Because paul doesn't start with spirit to the spirit. Paul says this now the works of the flesh. Now don't miss this. Now. Paul sets up the works of darkness to the fruits of the spirit and the fusions chapter 5. Now he sets up the works of the flesh in opposition to the fruits of the spirit in galatians 5, the works of the flesh in the works of darkness are the same thing. And so what are the works of the flesh or the works of darkness? He says, and he identifies them adultery for an occasion unclean. This lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions distinctions, heresies and be murderers. Drunkenness rivalries and the like paul calls for all of these to be cast off. And sometimes we read that list just as fast as I read it right there. And often we say this doesn't apply to me. Let's look at these gentlemen briefly. The apostle call the apostle paul, calls us to remove the adultery and for an occasion. Are you involved in a relationship outside of god's will something other than god's prescribed marital relationship between one man and one woman? If you are, that is a work of the darkness. Uncleanliness, literally defined are we involved in something that is morally impure? That is a work of darkness, lewdness. That word can also be translated as last. Are you last thing for some one or something? I da latree. We often talk about idolatry and we're like god dollar tree that doesn't apply. I don't have any idols in my house. Do you have something in your life that is taking the place of god? And you depend on more than him. By the way, if you don't think idolatry is still a problem, literal idolatry, i met a woman in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I spoke at upper peninsula camp meeting. How many have you been to the upper peninsula of Michigan upper peninsula of Michigan is a wonderful place. When you meet the people there, they will tell you they are not americans and they are not canadians. They argue 1st, I met a woman there that she was catholic, she worked for the catholic, decide diocese as an assistant to the priest. She encountered the truth of god's word and over the course of 18 months had a transformational experience, a pass, a raw. She couldn't believe she tell me the story. She is so moved by god to remove and cast off. She had a statue of Mary in her front yard, to which she went and found an 8 pound sledge hammer and remove the idle from her yard. But it's not always statues that we have to deal with. Sometimes it's in our mind. Sorcery Many, wow. I mean, I mean, I don't visit a sorcerer, It's literally translated magic. It is the greek word pharma key. And by the way, don't mis apply that. Okay, I'm not going to speak on that foreign. Why don't misapplied that? There? Are people mis applying that? Don't apply that, but where does the bible most speak of this issue of babylon. Revelation excuse me, sorcery. Revelation 823 babylon sorcery. Are we drinking the confusion of outside doctrine and influences and bringing that into our home and into the church. Hatred are we harbouring ill will for others contentions? Are we instead of demonstrating the love of christ? Do we come to battle in coral and strife? Are we always ready in season and out of season to have an argument with someone to let them know how superior in knowledge we are. Jealousies? Do we harbor resentment against someone outbursts of wrath? Are we harbouring anger towards someone? dissension? Are we causing division through gossip heresies? Are we practicing or involving ourselves in false teachings? Because it's a false teaching, but it's new. And we refer to it as new lighted because it gives us some sense of the fast way. But we're rather of practicing heretical teaching, n V. Do we have spite in our heart murder? Many of us would say, I mean I've never heard anybody. Jesus says, if you have hatred in your heart towards someone, you've heard your Brother drunkenness or we allowing things into our body that alter our mind or dull our senses. And this goes beyond alcohol and drugs, but other things that affect our mind in a negative way and habits. Not thinking the way god would have this thing revel re, that's an interesting word the paul use. They're literally translated that word means party. Now why would that be a work of darkness? Are we just living life, especially in the context of these and times like it's our own little party not taking seriously the matters that are at hand. And then by the way, I love the apostle paul. Just like a lawyer, he ends that passage by saying these simple words and the like. What is you getting at? I may not have named your particular issue. But the holy spirit is probably let you know what's happening right now, and it's connecting you of what it is. So let me just use the words and like anything in the realm of an impediment to your relationship with jesus christ. The call of god is for us to cast off and remove taking time for self examination. Have we've taken the time to seriously consider where we are spiritually? Because the bible is crying out to lay aside and remove these things. And my dear friend, some of these things are deeply rooted. You know, I had a tree removed from my home in my backyard and I wanted to do it myself, but I, you know, I'm, I'm kind of, i've got this channel jump, i'm a country voice trapped in a city dwellers body. And so I don't do a lot of that kind of work and my wife was really nervous for me to get a change on cut the tree down. I'm still convinced i could have done it, but instead of taking 4 hours, it would take me like 3 weeks. So anyways, they remove the tree, but then you gotta do something else. You gotta remove the stump. And so they bring in a stump driver. By the way, I need to have one of those. You never seen a stump grinder, that is an amazing little machine, but the stump was close to the fence and so it left some of the roots. And so I had to dig up some of the roots. That was 6 months ago. I'm still digging roots. Let me tell you the fascinating thing. I dug up these roots and I put them in a wheelbarrow and I put them in my garage. And I kinda lost track of time these which sat in my garage for 34 months. Not a lot of light, my garage, and these roots. Past rojas started sprout and little trees, not in the ground. And not much light. Don't miss the point. When we take time for self examination, god wants us to dig deep. We are living in the last days. And now more than ever before, we need to be in alignment with god's will. And sometimes that will require digging out the roots of sin. Reread As I proceed in the last few moments and I'm going to go just so you know, I'm going to go 5 minutes over time. I may step on some toes and I'm ok with that because I stepped on my own toes. But there's something that has gain a foothold in many of our lives. That is, I believe, drawing our attention away from the fullness of god filling our hearts. And while it was a tool designed for increased productivity, it has gain a foothold that is meeting many to demise. Mary lynn biggs wrote a poem In reaction to a book she had just read that will introduce the topic. Here are her words. My smartphone is my shepherd. I still want more. I stare editing green pastures. I text instead of looking at the still waters. It drains my soul. It leads me in the path. Some unrighteousness for the apps said. Yea, though I walk through the Valley of no likes, i will not fear for my smartphone is with me. Snapshot and instagram, they comfort me. My smartphone prepares a fake world for me in the presence of reality and annoyance, my head with secular humanism. My discontent runs over surely laziness and comparison shall follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the cyber world looking down at my smartphone forever. Maryland biggs wrote this poem as a reaction to the book. She read 12 ways. Your phone is changing you by tony ranking. In that book, tony rankin, who is a christian author, addresses several items that are of particular importance for us today. Man, he asks a fundamental question. What is the best use of my smartphone in a flourish in the flourishing of my life? Because he says, if we don't ask that question, our phones will control us and lead us to what he calls routines of nothing. So what are some key takeaways? Number one, we are addicted to distraction. 95 percent of americans own a cell phone, 75 percent of americans own a smartphone. The average number of pick ups by the average user is $81500.00 times per year. That's 15 times per hour. And while the smartphone is an effective tool, taking the place of at least 10 different devices, it is let us to a constant state of distraction ranking summarizes it this way. Number one, we use digital distractions to keep work away. Number 2, we use digital distractions to keep people away. Number 3, we use digital distractions to keep the thoughts of eternity away. My wife and I have phrased have coined the phrase, we are no longer present. In the present. The distraction is an invented and created world in which we believe we are in control. However, it is in control of us. Number 2, we ignore flesh and blood ranking states. The smartphone is causing a social reversal. Listen to this now. The desire to be alone and public, and never alone in seclusion. Even though we are together, we're not really together. We're merely in the same room, having created a fantasy world for each of ourselves. Thus, we don't have real relationships. Facebook and other social media outlets tell us we have friends and followers, But we are more alone and more depressed than at any time in this earth's history. The challenges we can create who we want to be. And more importantly, we can hide who we really are. Number 3, we crave immediate approval. The sad truth is that men rank he states, the sad truth is that many of us are addicted to our phones because we crave immediate approval and affirmation. Everything is about the, like. Everything is about the emoji. Everything is about seeking for limitless approval. Here is the challenge we face as men of faith. The reality is, is that everything we do is not always likable. And it denies an accountability to God. Number 4, we lose. Our literacy. Digital reading is unnecessarily hurried. And this habit leads over into how we read the bible. It is difficult for many to read and linger over a passage of scripture that is longer than $280.00 characters. Number 5, we feed on the produced the challenges in our lives are not produced. Our lives are lived And the reality is, is there are corporations that are paying massive sums of money to vie for your attention, attention, and will stop at nothing to achieve it. We become what we like. We get lonely. We lose meaning. We fear missing out. In fact, rank, he calls it fomo. Fear of missing out. When it comes to cultural fomo, we are eager to turn the tables and heap shame on others for not having yet ingested movies. Television series or viral stories that we have already consumed for always, neither unique or modern solo is the primeval human fear. The 1st fear, stoked in our hearts when a slithering servant serpent spoke softly of a one time opportunity that proved too good to Miss. We become harsh to one another. Have you ever had an email sent to you with words in it that you know a person would never speak to your face, but let's make it more personal. Have you ever sent an email to someone that you know you wouldn't speak those words to their face? And now gentlemen, in the last 5 minutes here, we enter into a sensitive area. But our phones, One of the great problems we face is we get comfortable with secret vices. Rank rankin states anonymity is where sin flourishes. He goes on, smartphones makes sexual sin more discreet, giving its space to fester behind a veil of privacy. He goes on. Smartphones make free pornography easier to find than the weather forecast. Smartphone vices capitalized on our endless curiosity. Free for an access on a smartphone represents a spiritual epidemic of unprecedented gravity in the history of the church. 12 percent of all websites are pornographic in nature. More than 80 percent of those individuals 18 to 49, have viewed some type of pornographic material in their lives. 35 percent of all downloads on the Internet are pornographic and nature. And by the way, gentlemen, this is not just a problem for us. One 3rd of all pornographic users are women. That means 2 thirds are men. What day of the week do you think more x more point is access than any other day? The week. Sunday, the day of worship. The day of the year where most point is accessed thanksgiving day By the way For those of you that are lay people, this is not just a layman problem. This is a problem amongst pastors as well. 55 percent of all pastors right now have some sort of pornographic content on their computer or on their device. Joe rigg me, wrote a book. The title of the book is more than a battle. And in a recent interview on family life today, he said this then today, sexual sin and sexual temptation is as old as dirt. This is not a new struggle. Paul had to deal with pagan prostitutes and temple prostitutes, stuff like that. Victorians had their brothels, but we have brussels in our pocket. That's the new thing. Everybody has this unprecedented access and anonymity. You don't have to keep your, I doubt at the store clerk when you're buying the magazine. It is that unprecedented access that anonymity, excuse me, that unprecedented access and the anonymity that brings that it brings, excuse me, that it brings that it takes it to another level. Then you add to that there. There are corporations and people whose entire vocation is devoted to the booking you. The swiping and all that stuff is designed to hook you, not just on your social media, your Facebook and twitter, and everything else. But this pornography, there are people there are human beings devoting every concerted effort to do that. While there is so much more to say on this issue itself, I would advise reading his books, his book more than a battle. Rig me believes there is help in this battle and he believes the key is found in mentors. He says this, another element of this is my project has been recognizing the importance of mentors, godly men, who are a step removed, who have had substantial victory in this area, and can therefore provide that model and that hopefulness. Hey, you can come to where I'm at. You don't have to stay in the pit. You can get out by the Grace of god. Mark, I said something to jason. Maybe there's a place for the maryland men of faith to begin developing groups across the chesapeake conference. I can assure you this problem is grander and greater and more prolific than any of us can imagine. Lastly, rank in his book. 12 ways your phone is changing. It says this, we lose our place in time. We give our time to what is not explicitly simple, but also to what cannot give us a joy to prepare us for self sacrifice. So what can we do? I would encourage you to find a group A group where we are accountable to one another, and we don't like that word in the 21st century. But accountability is key that we might remove the high places from our life. There is another book, katherine price wrote how to break up with your phone. She gives principles. Right out the cravings include others, assess your current relationship, set boundaries, then she calls it stop flooding. What does that mean? It is the marriage of phone and snubbing, picking up your phone, texting and looking at social media when you're in the middle of a conversation or a gathering with other people. There are groups of young people just in this. They get together and they take their phones and everybody puts them in at the center of the table when they go to eat. And the 1st person to pick up their phone is the one that pays the bill that day. But gentlemen and all seriousness, as I close by the way and then she says, try a trial separation and then find other things to do. I don't know if it's ever happened to you, but have you ever left home without your phone? The panic that we feel when we do that gentlemen, i've covered a lot of different things and I've gone way over time here. But where I want to land is this. We need to fear god alone. And we need to have a loyal heart. And the apostle paul has given us clear counsel, It's time to remove to take away to lay aside into cast off those things. There are an impediment to our relationship with jesus christ. By the way, jesus himself set it to if you're right, I causes you to sin block it out, kept it from you for it is more profitable for you that one of your members parish than for your whole body to be cast into hell. We don't like to think that we're practicing the works of darkness, but if it is not the Fruit of the spirit that is emerging in our life, it is the works of darkness. God is likely tugging at each of our heart. I'm not telling you that you need to get rid of your phone, but if the holy spirit is then you better follow. But what is it that we are each utilizing in our life to try to sue their divided, broken, incomplete spirits? The call of god is simple. We fear god alone and to be the men of the 21st century men. Men who will be education page 57 men, men who will lead in their home mental will lead in their church. Men who will eat in their community the call of god is that we would cast off the lay aside and remove those things That are preventing us from experiencing his peace. Jesus want you to have that peace. In fact, he promised in John 1427 peace i leave with you. My police i give to you, not as the world gifts do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid. Let's pray together. Heavenly father. Gone over some heavy stuff here. There are definitely men here that are feeling convicted as to things that need to be done in their life. Things that need to be removed and I pray lord, that you would give us the strength and courage to do what you've called us to do. May we not waste a moment in removing those things? And lord, may we follow you with a completely loyal heart. Ready to meet you and encounter you when you come again. And may you lord, work through us as leaders that we will fear you alone and lead our home, our church and our communities to encounter your son jesus. We pray in jesus name. Amen. And to see others live and take delight in that life. We pray in jesus name. Ah, we hope this presentation from the melon minifie has been a blessing to you. Your feedback is welcome. Please visit us at M L F dot.

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