Delivered By
C. C. Risenhoover
Delivered On
May 29, 2016
Central Passage
Matthew 23:4
Description

LOADED DOWN

          About the religious leaders of His day Jesus said in Matthew 23:4, “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

          Jesus pulled no punches in talking about the heavy load of legalism that the Jewish religious elite had placed on the backs of people who looked to them for spiritual guidance.  In fact, His speech was so truthfully direct that in today’s world it would be classified as “hate speech.”

          But, the truth of the matter is that it was actually “love speech.”  Jesus was warning religious leaders…and the people who looked to them for spiritual guidance…that they couldn’t get to heaven by attempting to keep 613 rules and regulations…most of which were manmade.  He, in fact, condensed all of their laws into two…”Love God and love others”…and He taught that the only way to get to heaven is by way of the Cross…which involves truly believing in the Christ and allowing Him to become Lord of your life.

          The message preached by all the apostles and by all of the disciples of Jesus has always been the same:Love God, love others, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”

          It’s a simple message…but difficult to harness.  It’s not just a matter of a person saying “I believe in Jesus”…a statement that on its own merit has no more meaning than saying, “I believe the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl this year.”

          Belief in Jesus requires acknowledging the true Lordship of Christ in your life…which means living your life for Christ and not for yourself.  It’s a matter of turning your life over to God and exercising biblical truth in your walk with Him.  And, it means that you speak the truth of God’s Word…even to people who are offended by it…because it’s an act of love…and because it’s not God’s wish that any should perish.

          When someone is sinning…and unwilling to give it up…it’s the responsibility of a Christian to call attention to their sin.  That’s not being judgmental…it’s showing Christian love.  It’s showing concern for where that person will spend eternity if he or she is not willing to repent.

          So if a person is engaged in homosexuality…it’s my responsibility to speak what God says in His Word about the consequences of continuing in that sin.  If I don’t say anything for fear of hurting their feelings…I could very well be the reason that they end up in hell.  And, if a word from me can save them…but I refuse to speak that word…I could be responsible for where they will spend eternity.

          When it comes to being a true Christian…that’s a far greater accomplishment than any other that a person can achieve in this life…but it’s also an awesome responsibility.  The Holy Spirit has made the true Christian responsible for sharing the Gospel with everyone with whom he or she comes in contact.  What we do with that responsibility speaks volumes about the depth of our love for God…for others…and about our commitment to Christ.

          So when Jesus took a lot of religious rulers to task for what they were doing…it wasn’t because He hated them.  He was doing it because He loved them and wanted them to experience true salvation.  And, true salvation isn’t achieved by following a man-devised set of rules.

          We now live in a culture where profound evil…deep corruption…and ignorance of God’s Word is pervasive.  Sin is accepted, defended, assumed, destigmatized and statistically considered as being normal.  In the majority of people there is no revulsion at things that ought to produce revulsion.  People don’t feel the exceedingly sinfulness of sin…and they are unwilling to take a stand against it because it will make them unpopular.  And, it might even be dangerous and costly to them.  Much of this attitude is a result of the church not having a large enough doctrine of human depravity.  We need to understand just how deep human depravity is in our society.

          Recently the Obama administration issued an outrageous and unconstitutional decree that forces public schools to allow boys into girls’ restrooms and locker rooms…testing the limits of human depravity.  Some people think pastors shouldn’t speak out on this issue…that those in ministry should stay out of what they say is politics.  But, should a pastor be silent about out-of-control depravity by government that attempts to brainwash both children and unthinking adults?

          If pastors and church members don’t speak out about the depravity government is attempting to force on our children…who will?  On April 1 of this year…a most appropriate date (it being April Fool’s Day)…high-ranking White House officials met with transgender rights advocates who had written a letter to Obama appealing to his legacy…and comparing this issue to segregated bathrooms during the Civil Rights debate.  Within weeks the restroom decree was finalized by the White House.

          Simply put, the Obama administration worked hand-in-hand with radical transgender activists on an orchestrated campaign to push this outrageous agenda on school children.  Unfortunately, there is no longer any critical thinking in public schools.  Children in public schools are being propagandized to accept whatever deviant sexual behavior our culture…supported by the government…can devise.

          In 1992, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy composed a sentence that explains why we’re where we are today.  That single sentence reads as follows: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.”

          His view of human anatomy…defining one’s own existence…is now widespread.  We have to understand where such sentences some from…and they’re not from God or the Bible.  They come from a jurist who doesn’t understand the depravity of the human heart as explained by the Bible.  But, of course, you can’t believe in or understand what you haven’t read or studied.

          The new code words for liberals is “gender identity.”  That means that gender no longer means biological reality…but whatever people want to declare themselves to be.  That excludes God from defining for us the nature of our existence.  But, it’s God who assigned male and female roles…not government or jurists.  It’s God who defines marriage…and it’s God who says homosexual acts lead to hell.

          Obama recently appointed a 54-year-old man…who lives as woman calling himself Barbara Satin…to serve on the Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships…a body that influences grants to religious organizations and churches that operate social programs.  I don’t have to tell you where more of your tax money will be going…and what it will be going for.

          However, I do believe this gender decree by the liberal Obama administration is a diversion…one to keep us from focusing on its greater agenda…that being a Muslim invasion of America.

          So don’t be a soft target…and watch your back…because that’s always the direction from which the Islamists attack.  And, also remember that Obama has loaded the government with homosexuals and Muslims…many of whom have key positions in Homeland Security and in our military.

          But, there’s no reason to bemoan the fact that the world is acting like the world.  Jesus told us quite plainly this was the way it was going to be…and that those professing His name should prepare themselves for it.  His prophecies…and those of the Old Testament prophets…are being fulfilled all around us…causing me to be much aware of John’s statement in Revelation that “The time is near.”  And, I believe that time is very near.

          So I intend to keep on preaching that Islam is sin…because it was birthed by Satan…and because it’s a contradiction to everything Jesus taught about loving others.  It’s an evil ideology that tries to disguise itself as a religion that isn’t all that different from Christianity or Judaism.  I will also keep on preaching that abortion is murder…and that homosexuality is sexual perversion that flies in the face of God.  I intend to keep on preaching what I’m preaching because it’s the truth.  It’s not hate speech…it’s love speech…because my responsibility…and yours…is to present God’s truth to sinners so they will, hopefully, repent of their sin and turn to Jesus for salvation.  That act…turning to Jesus…essential for their eternal souls… because He’s the one and only salvation for all humankind.

          And, if those of us who are saved sinners don’t tell those who are unsaved sinners the truth…who will?  They’re not going to get the truth from a Satan-endowed culture that rejects God’s truth and presents in its place glorious alternative visions of reality.  The vision of God that we present…and the glorious future that He has promised to His people…must be proclaimed on a larger and larger scale.  It’s the failure of the church to witness to the greatness of God that has enabled Satan’s culture of sin to grow larger and larger.

          Many will say that I should not critique an ideology subscribed to by more than 1.5 billion people…unless, of course, I’m going to critique it in a positive light.  But, do you really think Jesus would cower from presenting God’s truth in order to appease a billion people or more…people who have been programmed to think that what comes straight from the bowels of hell is wonderful?  If Jesus didn’t cower in presenting God’s truth to a nation of God’s chosen people who didn’t want to hear it…He certainly wouldn’t cower in presenting God’s truth to a people chosen by Satan to do his dirty work and who also don’t want to hear it.

          And, neither should we cower at what must be done…because what we’re told to do comes straight from the mouth of God.

          Satan’s minions are bold in presenting to people the way they think the world ought to be.  Their aim is a sinless world…because in their world nothing that God calls sin is sin.  Nothing is immoral to them.  They want a world without God-ordained moral barriers…a world awash in every perversion known to humankind.  They want a Sodom and Gomorrah world where there are no Christians and…therefore…in their minds…where nothing that they do can be classified as a sin.

          The kind of world Satan wants is an easy sell…especially to the ignorant and unthinking.  And, there’s a multitude of those people out there…people who haven’t stopped to really think about what the world would be like if Christians weren’t around to at least try to hold the culture and government accountable for sins against God.

          Know this right off the bat…if you speak the truth of God’s Word…you’re going to be unpopular and encounter opposition from lots of folks.  But, of course, if you live for the approval of these folks…you’re going to be a slave to their opinions.  Just remember that the majority of people didn’t like Jesus when He was here on earth either.  That’s the way it was…and that’s the way it is.

          So speak boldly about who Jesus truly is…about the reason He came to earth and died on the Cross…and keep your powder dry.  Keep in mind, also, that God’s enemies are your enemies.  If people don’t like Jesus…they won’t like you.  They may try to shine you on…but they won’t like you.

          For example, I’m not going to win friends and influence people in the Muslim world by demonizing Muhammad…but he was quite skilled in demonizing himself.  There’s little for me to do in demonizing him…because his own statements in the Qur’an and Hadiths do that for me.  The man used fraud, perfidy (betrayal), cruelty and injustice to advance the cause of what we now call Islam.  He indulged in the carnal appetites of sinful man and abused the claims of being a prophet.  Both children and adults of the female sex were abandoned to his desires without any reservations.

          Muhammad bestowed praise on treachery, inhumanity, cruelty, revenge and bigotry in a way that is incompatible with civilized society.  That’s why ISIS, al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah and more than 100 other Muslim terrorist groups do what they do today.  They’re just following the dictates of their founder.

          Even Arabic scholar/translators will tell you that every fifth sentence in the Qur’an simply doesn’t make sense.  The Qur’an itself claims to be clear…but it is incomprehensible to the logical mind.  And, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic…it’s not actually translatable.

          Apologists for Islam attempt to justify and dignify its 1400 years of abuse of Jews and Christians in the Middle East…but the roots of this extremely intense and protracted abuse is embedded in the Qur’an.  The fact that it is embedded in the Qur’an is the reason we now have Muslim terrorism worldwide.  The actions of terrorists aren’t because they have misinterpreted the Qur’an.  It’s because they are following it to the letter.

          You need to be aware that a minimum of 40 million youth in the Muslim world’s religious schools are avidly memorizing the Qur’an…and they’re also memorizing an extremist body of related Muslim traditions called the Hadiths.  These schools are nothing more than breeding grounds for potential terrorists.  Muslim youth are taught hatred for Jews and Christians…for both America and Israel…that the Bible has been corrupted…and that Sharia law should be the only law in the entire world.

          These schools are jihad (war) factories…and societal nuclear bombs.  Youth in these schools aren’t taught world history, English, math, computers or science…they’re brainwashed and taught by Muslim clerics to murder Christians and Jews.

          Here’s a little stat that’s worth remembering.  If you add up all the universities, colleges, high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in the United States…the total is about 24,000.  If you add up all the Muslim schools in Indonesia alone…the number is 37,332.  And, the kids in these schools are being trained by Muslim clerics to murder you because of your Christian faith.

          There’s absolutely no doubt that a world crisis is brewing.  We had better be aware of it…and also be prepared for it.  In the Qur’an 6:93 Muhammad declared, “Who is more wicked than the man who says ‘This was revealed to me’ when nothing was revealed to him?”

          Muhammad was such a narcissist that he didn’t realize he was talking about himself.  Prior to…during…and after the time when Jesus was on earth, many of the Jewish religion leaders suffered from the same narcissistic malady…as do some self-proclaimed religious leaders today.

          Islam was founded on one man’s narcissism.  Christianity…on the other hand…was founded on the willingness of Jesus Christ to die on a Cross as a sacrifice for the sins of all humankind.  Muhammad demonstrated all the characteristics of Satan…and Jesus demonstrated…and continues to demonstrate through the Holy Spirit…all the characteristics of God.

          Everyone has eternal life…and everyone will spend it where Muhammad is…or where Jesus is.  The choice should be obvious…but for those ignorant of God’s love…it isn’t.  Our responsibility is to show them the truth.  The Bible is truth…the Qur’an is an unfettered lie.

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