Education as we know it can largely be traced back to one man, the great pastor and Bible teacher John Calvin.
Good morning, everybody. It is cold out there. It is – wow. It looked nice, so I stepped outside. It wasn’t nice at all. It was freezing. You guys keep praying, too. We’re pursuing some building options and, I mean, now, we’re at seven services on Sunday and just to open up seats like this and more people can come. Ultimately, though, we’d like to get a number of services diminished and down to something a little more manageable. So, we’re looking at space. Just keep praying. I’ll keep you posted.
We’re still in Proverbs. Today, I’m gonna launch out of there into some things on educating of children. We did a four part series on kids and last week, we did discipline; this week, we’re doing education. And then, from here, we’ll get into food, alcohol, sexuality, those often go together.
And dating, courtship, singleness, a lot of other issues. And so, sort of, we finish the children today and then we’ll get into something else. On this issue of children, I went through a lot of historical background for you insofar as education is concerned. Public education, as we know it in this country is only 160 years old; public, non-Christian education. So, when we’re talking about education, what we assume is the way that things are has not always been the way that things were.
In Proverbs 1:8-9, we see, you know, “Do not forsake your father’s instruction. Do not neglect your mother’s teaching.” The assumption in Proverbs and throughout the Bible is that mom and dad are teaching the kids and that is, basically, the Biblical summary of education. We’ve come into a place in our culture where, with school systems and districts, it’s far more advanced and complicated than that. The way we got from mom and dad living in a rural society and the ladies growing up to be like mom, and the boys growing up to be like dad, to our present context is a very long and complicated road that I’ll try and walk with you in a few minutes. The process by which education was conducted was primarily through the families and through the local communities, and it was primarily dedicated to those who are more affluent landowners, and almost exclusively male. Men who were landowners were given education. A lot of other people simply weren’t. They weren’t given an opportunity toward literacy and such.
And part of the reason for that was you lived in a society that didn’t deal with the vast volumes of information as we do. On planet earth, the amount of information is doubling every two years, which means we’re just living in the midst of an enormous information explosion that previously would not have been even possible. I’ll give you an example. Previous to the 15th century, a gentleman named Johann Gutenberg, he invented the first printing press. He was a Christian. He loved God. He wanted to see the Bible and Christian literature made widely available, so he took, basically, a wine press, hand carved out all the letters for certain books, and then pressed them onto paper with ink. I mean, you can imagine enormously laborious, long, complicated process to make a book. But, that was considered a revolution because previous to that, if you wanted a book, you had to sit down with a scroll or parchment and a pen and copy a book by hand. You can imagine how big your library would be if you had to write down the books you wanted, word for word, for word.
Some of the scribes for Christian Scriptures took the Jewish method and someone would read it and then a room filled with Scribes would write the words down as they were being spoken. So, you have some libraries, you have some books, and they are preserved, but not widely available like we have. This, though, did change, like I said, with Johann Gutenberg. He invents the printing press and, all of a sudden, books and Bibles were made widely available. The first book printed off a printing press was a Bible. And that was because God’s people felt it was very, very important that two things happen. That, one, linguistics and literacy was made widely available; and two, that publications and books and such were also widely available. So, throughout the history of the world, most of the significant work in languages and in linguistics was conducted by Christians who would either walk into a place, figure out the language, and then create a written form; or take the pre-existing written form, translate the Bible and Christian literature into that language, so that people could love and study about Jesus. That was the point of literacy and literature and Christians wanted everyone to be literate.
And this was greatly heightened by a gentleman named John Calvin, born in France, raised in Switzerland, died in Geneva, Switzerland, was probably, if not the, definitely one of the best Bible commentators in the history of the church. And he was leading something that’s come to be known as the Protestant Reformation, which also included men like William Tyndale, and Huldrych Zwingli, and Martin Luther. Some great men in various nations who, at the same time, God impressed upon them that the teaching of the Bible and the teaching of the prevailing church at that time were not coinciding. That the church was teaching that they – a lot of things that weren’t true and weren’t in the Bible. And people didn’t know that ‘cause they weren’t literate and they didn’t have a copy of the Bible. So, you had to depend upon your pastor and if he was lying, you didn’t know because you couldn’t read Latin. And if you could read Latin, you still may not have a copy of the Bible. And all the Bibles were in Latin. So, lots of men shed blood and died trying to get a translation available in English and in some various languages.
This gentleman, John Calvin, was so committed to education and literacy and making Christian Scripture available to God’s people that wherever his influence went, also sent schools, and education, and literacy, and language translation. He greatly then influenced a group of people called the Puritans. The Puritans arrived in the United States and, basically, helped – basically, founded our nation and their goal was to set up a society that respected the Scriptures, that was literate, and did things to God’s glory. That was their intentions. The Puritans get a lot of bad press. The Puritans were very Godly people. If you wanna read a good book on them, there’s a book by Leland Ryken called Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were. When someone is sort of mean, and nasty, and unpleasant, it looks like they ate something past the pull date, we say, “Oh, you’re being Puritanical.” That’s not how the Puritans were. Maybe the Pilgrims were that way, but not the Puritans. The Puritans actually live life pretty fully and enjoyed God in all things and weren’t legalists as we tend to capitulate them.
What happened, though, is in these English colonies, these Puritan colonies that were settled on the East coast, the most influential person in the community was the pastor because he was the widest read. He read very, very widely, was widely educated. In theology, social sciences, culture, the arts. In the hard sciences, the empirical sciences, the pastor would be very, very, very well read and knowledgeable.
And so, probably the greatest example of this is a guy named Jonathan Edwards, greatest theologian that America every produced. Skilled in theology, but also killed in nature and botany. And loved philosophy, loved the arts, loved culture, loved creation, loved astronomy. Studied very, very, very broadly, and interpreted everything through the Scriptures. They would study everything, but they would take it back through the Bible as final authority. So, when these people landed and they set up their colony, you’re not surprised to find out they had a very high literacy rate. Upwards of 90 percent of the men in the early colonies were literate, which was unlike any other group of people. Even today, in our nation, you’ll be hard pressed to find a lot of areas that have 90 percent literacy among the men. A 90 percent literacy, and wherever John Calvin and his thinking, and his followers, and his influence went, literacy went, so that by the turn of the twentieth century, the early 1900s, those nations that had not yet received the Gospel and were not Christian, had a literacy rate of between zero and two percent. Catholic nations had a literacy rate of 40 to 60 percent and Christian nations tended to have a literacy rate upwards of 90 plus percent. So, wherever Christianity went, literacy went.
It’s still that way in the world. Go to a place that has not yet received the Gospel of Christ and you won’t see large libraries in literate people. You won’t. And so, what happened in the early colonies, they decided to set up schools. They called them common schools, the Puritans did. These were the first public schools in the United States of America and they were distinctively Christian schools. You would read the Bible. Pray. Study theology. And it was about Jesus. Going to school was about learning about life and Jesus. And out of the first 123 colleges and universities founded in the United States of America, almost every single one was Christian, including what we now call the entire Ivy League. Many, if not most of them, started out to train Christian ministers and missionaries. The common schools in New England, they made a grievous error, though. Since a lot of the politicians and a lot of the citizenry were Christian, what they decided to do for their public school system, their Christian public schools, was to tax people and have tax dollars go to the Christian public schools. I think that was a grave error in the history of education because, pretty soon, not everyone was Christian and they didn’t want their tax dollars going toward that.
But, for the first 217 years in this country, if you went to public school, you were going to a Christian school, okay? Does that surprise you? What we now call Christian school, originally, was called public school. There’s a gentleman named R. L. Dabney. He was a theologian and a pastor at the turn of the 20th century. Here’s what he had to write. I’ll read out of your notes. “He says nearly all public men and preachers declare that the public schools are the glory of America. They are a finality and in no event to be surrendered. We have seen their complete secularization is logically inevitable. Christians must prepare themselves, then, for the following results. All prayers, catechisms, and Bibles will ultimately be driven out of the schools, the public schools.” Does that surprise you? The weird thing is to go, “They had Bibles, and theology, and prayer in the public schools?” And he’s saying, “Yes, after hundreds of years of success, there’s a day coming when they’re going to drive them out.” Now, we are, after the fact, looking back going, “Really, there was Bibles in public schools?” Yes, for the first 217 years, and for the last 160 years, there has not been.
So, secular, non-Christian public education is a very recent invention. How did we get from Christian public schools to what we have presently? There are two men who are, in large part, responsible for that. One is a gentleman named Horace Mann. He was a politician in Massachusetts. He was raised in a Calvinistic home, but became a Unitarian. Unitarianism started to become very popular because there was this thing called the enlightenment project where the human mind was elevated above the wisdom of God. People believed that everything could be known by the three pound fallen brain and the scientific method. If you put those two together, you can know anything. And what happened was it led to atheism and deism; atheism being there is no God ‘cause we can’t put him in the laboratory and prove it; or deism being, well, if there is a God, that God doesn’t matter because God created the universe, wound it up, put things in motion and has left, and doesn’t involve itself, himself, herself, in creation anymore. So, there’s no miracles, no revelation. Jesus isn’t God. The Bible’s a bunch of stories and myths. If there is a God, God doesn’t have anything to do with the world, so it’s just pointless to talk about God. It’s worthless. There’s no need.
He was a Unitarian. Did not believe in the Bible. Did not believe in Jesus. Did not believe in any of these things. But, did believe that the public schools should not reflect Christian values, but the values of all parents. And he was upset that his tax dollars were being used to teach Bible, him not being a Christian. So, what happened then, he started a movement to take Bible and Jesus out of public school so that it could be more general in nature, as if there was a values free education. He established the first non-Christian school board in the history of the United States of America in the state of Massachusetts.
Okay, after him came a gentleman named John Dewey. John Dewey was, again, Unitarian, not Christian, believed that Christianity was very antiquated, very outdated. Still believed in mythical stuff like angels, and Heaven and Hell, and Jesus being God, believed that those were very old notions. That we were in a progressive, enlightened time, that we need to leave those old ideas and get on with some brand new creative, progressive thinking. And he believed that the best way to do that would be to take over the school system and reshape the thinking of students so that we can control the future and what people do in the future, and how they think. That’s how you get public education going from Massachusetts being not Christian, to an entire nation of not Christian public education is through John Dewey. John Dewey, interestingly enough, was a humanist. He was the founder of The American – he was t he first President of The American Humanists Society. There was a thing called The Humanist Manifesto. If you look for it online, you’ll find it. Basically, it declared that there’s no God. There’s no life after death. The Bible’s a myth. Jesus wasn’t really God. All of these things. The first signature on that document was John Dewey, the founder of public education this is not Christian in the United States of America.
But, what he was committed to was progressive thinking. New ideas, field testing them in the school system to see if these new ways of thinking are, in fact, tenable. That proves itself out where we experiment with sexuality and economic theory, and behavioral psychology in the school system, field testing it on kids and if it doesn’t work, then they’re all messed up and we don’t do it again, but we’ve blown a whole generation.
I’ll give you an example. How many of you have had whole language instead of phonics? Everybody here do whole language? Whole language was a dismal failure. It was very progressive. They said, “Oh, they’ve been teaching phonics to kids for generations. That’s outdated. We need progressive theories of literacy. We need to teach kids whole language. Now, phonics is simple. A says ah, B says ba, C says ca or sa, right? You learn phonics. Whole language says kids don’t learn that way. They need to learn whole words. And what happened was kids can’t identify whole words. They think phonetically. It had worked for hundreds of years and now, “We’re gonna try something different. Oh, it didn’t work. All the kids are illiterate. Sorry about that.” That’s where we get the Sylvan Learning Centers. That’s where we get Hooked on Phonics is because kids go to school and they can’t read. What you think, if anything, is the basic function of education, reading would at least be included. Progressive ideas tend to, you know, either succeed or fail, but they have generally tended to fail.
That’s how we got to where we are. Are you surprised that we got from mom and dad teaching the kid on the farm to Seattle public schools? That’s how we got there. We got there through time, and through Gutenberg, and through Calvin, and through the Puritans, and through the public schools in Massachusetts, down to John Dewey, down to public education as we know it in the United States of America. That’s how we got there.
Let’s talk about the Seattle public schools then. Wanna do that? Seattle public schools, 45,000 students. The budget is $450 million. That is an average of $10,000.00 per student. I looked on their website and it said that $6,300 some odd dollars, I think it is, is spent per student and I did the math and I’m wondering where the other $3,700.00 is. Not sure, somewhere, probably in a bureaucracy somewhere. If I gave you $10,000.00, could you get a decent education for your child? You could. Ten grand, you could get a decent education. The Christian schools in our area that I’ve been looking at for my daughter – I started looking when she was two. She’s four now. The cheapest I found was a classical Christian reform school. It’s about $3,600.00 a year for elementary ed. You go up to some Christian schools, they’re kinda in that $6,000.00-$7,000.00 a year range for an elementary education. To get $10,000 or above, you have go to a very, very prestigious sort of prep school; you have to go to a really, high, high, high end school to get above $10,000.00 a year for an elementary education, or even a secondary education. Ten thousand dollars a year is spent per student.
Here’s something to think about too. Every year, new schools are opening up ‘cause parents won’t send their kids to public school. Since 1995, an average of 21 schools a year, private, have opened up in Washington State. Okay, in Washington State, there are 506 private schools that are accredited through the state. What percentage of students do you think between ages kindergarten and fourth grade go to a private school, not including home schooling, but just going to private school instead of public, K-4? Thirty-six percent; K-12, 31 percent. That doesn’t include home schooling. Home schooling would probably push it upwards of 40 plus percent. What that means is between one third and 40 percent of parents are saying, “We won’t send our kids to that school.”
Let me ask you this. Is Washington State between one third and 40 percent Christian? No, not even close, okay?
So, it’s not just all the Christian parents saying, “We’re not gonna send our kids to the school”; it’s parents that aren’t even Christians saying, “We’re not sending our kids to the school.” And I find it curious that the public school system cannot educate children because they don’t have enough money, even though they’re missing 30 to 40 percent of their students. Can you imagine what the school system would be like if all those kids were there? I mean, financially, if they can’t make it now, they definitely wouldn’t make it with a 30 to 40 increase in attendance. Tax brackets here? Real high, especially in the city. This year, the school district in Seattle has got a $450 million budget. They’re having to reduce their budget by $11 million. So, what they’ve come to is something called a buy back program where they have three pots of money that they give each school; facilities, student services, which can be administration and counseling, and also education of the child. And they’ll give these three pots of money to each school and each school has to determine what they’re going to cut to shave $11 million off the budget.
If you continue to read the paper, especially the local section of The Seattle Times and The Seattle PI, you’ll find that there’s a big fight over what they’re gonna cut. Like we voted in – the electorate voted in teacher’s raises. Well, teachers aren’t gonna get their raises, even though it was voted in. So, they’re gonna cut raises for teachers. They’re also looking at some things like, one of the big fights now is 2,200 seventh graders are flunking in the city of Seattle and they need summer school to get to eighth grade. But, that costs money, so they’re looking eliminating summer school for 2,200 flunking seventh graders.
In addition, what they’re looking at having to cut is the music and arts program. There was an article on this last week. Out of the 69 public elementary schools in Seattle, how many music teachers do you think there are? Fifteen among sixty-nine elementary schools. And they’re looking at having to cut them ‘cause they can’t afford it. Okay? It’s a very interesting day. When we get into this issue of educating children, I think it is tremendously important that we know how we got to where we are and what exactly we’re dealing with. In some rural communities, the public school is still dominated by Christians. A lot of the people are Christian; the principal’s Christian; a lot of the teachers are Christian. In some smaller school districts, there may be some more freedom. In Seattle, it’s just not that way. It’s just not.
How many of you went to a public school? I did too, okay? Now, we’re gonna have to get into the options for schooling. It’ll have some practical implications. How many of you are parents right now? You have kids? Okay. So, you have to think through, “How are we gonna educate our kids?” That’s practical issue. How many of you are planning on being parents sometime, right? Most of you, statistically, will be. You’re gonna have to think through, “Well, what are we gonna do?” In addition, I will say it has practical implications because you’ve all been educated and the things you’ve learned have helped shape your mind to view God and the world and certain disciplines in a particular way. So, we’ll do a lot of work and it applies to us all in varying degrees.
Here are the duties of teachers, according to the Scriptures. How many of you are teachers in school or you teach Bible studies, you teach something to someone, in some formal capacity, okay? Maybe 20, 25 of you. Okay, here’s the duties of a teacher according to the Bible. Starting with history, culture, walk through Seattle. We’ll get into the Bible now. Luke 6:40, Jesus tells us, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Is that true that students tend to be like their teachers? It could be sports, music, education. Parents, do children who are instructed tend to end up like those whom are instruction them? Yes. It’s very important. That’s why God put his Holy Spirit in his children to teach them so that we could be an imitator of God is what Ephesians says. A teacher then, should be someone who is imitatable. Hebrews 13:7 tells us to look at our leaders and imitate their way of faith. A teacher is a leader. They should be imitatable. You should be able to look at the teacher and say, “I wanna be like you and I want my life to look like yours.” That’s why Paul tells us to “Guard our life and our doctrine closely.” Not just the content you’re teaching, that’s very important, but the life that you’re living ‘cause that’s also a form of instruction. How you live and what you say is your sum total of instruction. If someone is not imitatable, they shouldn’t be a teacher.
I can still remember in high school, certain teachers I had, that I knew were drunk; that I knew were sleeping with girls in my school; that I knew were cheating on their wives. One of the teachers, I actually caught. I was on vacation on Orcas Island with a couple of buddies. We were hanging out and out of the grocery store, comes one of my teachers with his girlfriend. All over each other. Not imitatable.
If you’re not imitatable, you shouldn’t be a teacher because people will become like their teachers. That’s why James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” People who teach are under a great responsibility and burden from God to live in a way that is imitatable and to teach things that are true, both with their words and their life. So, there’s a burden on teachers.
Let me ask you this. If you send your kid to a Christian school, does that necessarily guarantee that they’ll get good, Biblical Christian education for people who love the Lord? No. How many who went to Christian school and almost became an atheist just because you went to Christian school, right? Some Christian schools are atheist academies. You put Christian kids in, they run through the machine; you get atheists coming out the other side.
And if the people are not imitatable and they don’t take their teaching seriously, just ‘cause they say “Jesus”, actually, is more harm than help. Just saying “Jesus” doesn’t make you Christian. Just saying “Jesus” doesn’t make it Christian education. I had the most frustrating experience the last two years trying to figure out where I’m gonna send my daughter to school. I go look at all of the schools ‘cause we have so many young couples and families, and I gotta figure out where am I gonna recommend people go and everybody’s gonna ask and I gotta figure this out. So, I got interviewing the Christian schools. The public schools, it was interesting, the Christian schools was, sometimes, even more interesting. That leads me to my next point. What is the goal of education? Go into a school and say, “Why are we doing this?” Does anyone know? You’d be amazed to find out most people are like, “I don’t know. Good question. I don’t know why we’re doing this.”
There’s no goal. There’s no telos. There’s no end. There’s no objective. “What are we doing?” “I don’t know.” I started asking the schools. I’d be like, “What’s the goal? What’s the objective?” They’re like, “Well the kids will be successful.” “Well, how do you define success?” “I don’t know. Come on.”
“I don’t know.” You know? I walk into a Christian school. Oh, it was so frustrating. I walk into a Christian school. I said, “What’s your philosophy of education?” They said, “Christian.”
I said, “Okay, well, I understand that. Okay, any specifics, you know, Christian?” “No.” “And I understand there’s different teams, though. You know, like, there’s different thinking on sin, and kids, and to educate. What’s your team?” I said, “Anybody you read? Anybody you guys are into? Where do you get your curriculum? Let me figure this out.” They said, “No.” I said, “Well, here’s the deal. Let me talk to some of the fathers. Can I meet with any of the dads and see how they feel about the education of their children?” They said, “No, but we got a mom’s group that meets every week for prayer.” I said, “Do you have a dad’s group that meets for prayer?” “No.” I said, “So, you do have a philosophy of education and the philosophy is dad has nothing to do with it. That’s a philosophy of education.” I said, “So, what you’re saying is all the moms get together and the dads don’t have anything to do with it.” They said, “Yeah, we can’t get the dads to do anything.” I was like, “Well, that’s a philosophy.” Okay, I’m talking to the woman. She says, “Well, what would you recommend?” I said, “I would recommend extending the right hand of fellowship to the fathers.”
Right? Where’s dad? I’m a dad. I wanna know where the dads are. There’s no dads. That’s a problem. I said, “Well, what’s the goal of the education?” They said, “You know, Christian.” “Okay, fine. I’m outta here. Enough of this.”
Okay, but if you look at it, it says Christian school, but just ‘cause it says Christian school, you know, you can also have like, you know, Christian crack house. It doesn’t mean anything.
Here are some of the goals of education. Okay, here are the goals. Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord.” That’s the primary, fundamental goal of education. Do they know God? Do they love God? Do they fear God? Do they serve God? Do they honor God? Do they obey God? Is it about God? That’s the first thing. Education is about God, not just people. “And the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” You wanna understand something, you gotta understand God first, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Here’s the purpose of education. Who is God? Do you love, honor and respect him, by faith? As a result, you’ll have knowledge, information, wisdom, how to live practically, and discipline consistency. That’s the purposes of education. God, knowledge, practical wisdom, disciplined living. That’s the goal of education Biblically.
Some other goals. Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your mind.” Thinking is an act of worship Biblically. It’s not the only one, but it’s one of them. Your thinking should reflect Scripture and love for God. What this means is we don’t want people to just have Christian answers. We want them to have Christian Reasoning. It’s not just saying I believe this, check it off. It’s teaching them how to think. And that’s where a lot of you had a hard time. You were told truth, but you weren’t told how to get there. So, later on in life when you got lost, you didn’t know how to get back to God and back to Scripture ‘cause your mind didn’t think Biblically. And I’m telling you that the whole world is based on some presumptions. They’re called presuppositions. There’s basically two world views in our world. One is that there is a God who has revealed himself in Jesus. And then, there’s another one that, basically, says that he is not. You build a whole world. It’s like a Jenga game. Those are the bottom pieces of the game and if you lay down the God of the Bible, you’ll build a certain kind of life and understanding. If you lay down a non-God of the Bible or no God altogether, you’ll build a whole ‘nother kind of world and life.
And so, that first premise is hugely important and the Bible says, “The fool says in his heat, ‘There is no God’.” That’s the assumption. You begin with a God of the Bible and then you build that world. This other world, what it does, it doesn’t have much of a foundation. It tends to fall over and break and collapse and that’s the society that we see. So, up on the 15th floor all the educators are trying to say, “How do we modify behavior?” The issue is, “Well, we gotta go all the way down to the bottom and say, you know, if we don’t have fear of the Lord, then we can’t deal with behavior on the 15th floor.” It’s an issue of beginning at this place, leads to this place; and beginning at this place, leads to this place. So, we can’t stand on the roof and try and modify things. We have to ask why the house keeps falling over and why it takes $450 million to prop it up. That’s the question.
So, the goal of education must be loving God with all your might. All your might. Christians have tended to become either rationalists that believe, not in reason, but in rationalism saying, “Oh, okay, if I can’t fit it in my mind, then it’s not true”, as if my three pound fallen brain can know everything. That’s where you get, ultimately, atheism or anti-intellectual. You hear some people say, “Well how do I?” – it’s the old song. “How do I know Jesus lives? He lives in my heart. I have a gushy feeling, so it’s true”, which is the junior high argument for everything, right?
Does a Christian need to be anti-intellectual? Do we need to say, “Oh, I can’t get involved in serious, rigorous thinking, you know, because I need to love God and I can’t let my mind be involved in that process”? You’re supposed to love God with all your might. All your might. How you think is very important to God. Somewhere in Romans 1 it talks about the fact that truth isn’t so much an issue of great academia; it is more an issue of humility. It says that – in Romans 1 – that people suppress the truth. Why? Because they’re not well educated. Do you know the highest literacy rate of any nation in 1941? Nazi Germany. The highest literacy rate of any nation in the world in 1941 was Nazi Germany. Now, was the gassing of millions of people because they lacked a decent education? No. See, education, without fear of the Lord, does not lead to a certain kind of world that you and I want to live in.
Literacy, the mind, education is not the answer. Romans 1 tells us why. Because people who are wicked, and sinful, and don’t wanna repent and change, and yield themselves and bend their knee to God, they suppress the truth. You give them the truth and they bury it in the yard. And they exchange Romans 1, the truth of God for a lie. And they worship things that aren’t God, like nations, and states, and philosophies, and isms. You say, “How did we get there?” We get there by assuming that knowledge, wisdom, discipline could come somewhere other than the fear of the Lord. So, we have to think Christianly. We have to think Biblically. We have to have a mind that worships God. Romans 12 tells us, “Not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.” So we can discern the will of God. So we don’t get confused and lost. We have to think differently, not just different conclusions, but different epistemology. Different ways of knowing. Different ways of coming to the truth that are Biblical, founded in God, in Christ, and in Scripture.
That’s a huge undertaking, isn’t it? How enormous is this? We’ve just pulled a Jenga piece out of the bottom of the whole educational system and every theory of knowledge has just collapsed to the ground. We have to start over with Jesus and our Bible. What happens then is when your mind is renewed and you love God with all your might, you could do what Isaiah 1:18 says. You can reason with the Lord. You can think things through with God. You can converse with God through Scripture and prayer. You can learn by coming into relationship of dialogue with the Lord. And that’s done out of humility. The main reason why people don’t have truth is because they’re blinded, true; but, in addition, because they’re proud. They just don’t like it, so they suppress it. Humility is required for understanding, not just education.
What can happen then is Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, excellent or praiseworthy”. We get to think about such things. We get to think about God and the things of God. We get to meditate on things and consider things that are joyous, and beautiful, and lovely, and good. See, one of the theories of Dewey was the only real knowledge is through experience. The Bible says there is vicarious experience. Someone else sins and we don’t do that. We spend our time thinking about things that are lovely and beautiful. In addition, that’s the – there are positive and negative dimensions to the Christian mind. The negative dimensions in 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul says, “We demolish arguments in ever pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” This is negative thinking. Not negative in the bad sense, but negative in the sense of reduction. People build philosophies world views, thinking that is not right. And what do we do? We take a flamethrower to it and we demolish it. In our culture, that is seen as mean spirited. It need not be.
I’ll give you an example. A guy did this to me in college. He was talking with me about Christianity and he said, “Well, what do you think’s gonna happen to you when you die?” I said, “Oh, I’m gonna go to Heaven.” He says, “Why?” I said, “I’m a great guy. I’m a good person.” He says, “Oh, you are?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “How good do you have to be to go to Heaven?” I said, “I don’t know. I really never thought about it. I don’t know. At least as good as me, I guess.”
Right? He says, “Well, how do you know what’s good?” “I don’t know. I don’t know this, you know, I don’t know. Leave me alone.”
So I thought, “Well, I’ll throw in the word Bible and then he’ll leave me alone.” And so I said, “The Bible.” He says, “Oh, so you believe in the Bible?” I was like, “Oh, man, I just put the noose around my neck now.” “Yeah, I believe in the Bible.” “Have you ever read the Bible”, he asked. My answer, “No.” “So, how do you know you believe what the Bible says if you never read the Bible?” Okay, now, I’m feeling like, you know, I’m getting pummeled. I’m on the ropes and I’m bleeding profusely philosophically. And I said, “Well” – he says, “I’ll tell you something that’s in the Bible. Jesus says, ‘To be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect’.” He says, “Is God perfect?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Is Heaven a perfect place?” “Yes.” “Are you perfect?” “No.” “Then you’re not gonna go there.” I was like, “Oh.” He just demolished my whole world.
The first 19 years of my life, 18 years of my life I lived in this philosophical system. It took this guy like 30 seconds, just lit the wick, boom! It was gone. I was like, “You’re right. God is perfect. Heaven is perfect. I’m not. I’m jacked.”
“I’m in serious trouble with God.” He said, “Yes, you are. You need Jesus to forgive you of your sin because you’re not a righteous man. You don’t have any of your own righteousness.” I said, “Well, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna read the Bible to prove you wrong.” That’s what I told this guy. So, I started reading the Bible and it only got worse.
It only got worse. No one is righteous. No one seeks God. No one is good. I’m looking. I’m like, “There’s gotta be something in here somewhere about good people”, hearing the Jefferson’s theme song and just movin’ on up to the Heavens. “There’s gotta be something in here somewhere.” And it wasn’t in there. I’m dying. I can’t find it. Demolished my argument. The Christian mind should be able to do that. If an attorney comes to you, or a doctor comes to you, or a mom comes to you, or an electrician comes to you, you should be able to figure out their belief structure and blow it up out of love. Okay, one of the greatest ways you can do this is a thing called a reductio ad absurdum. It means reduce it to the absurd.
Now, all you do is just show that to be true. I was arguing with a Buddhist in college. He says, “I don’t believe that matter is real”, okay? And he said, “And I don’t believe that evil is real.” So, I punched him.
Okay? Punched him right in the chest. A pretty good shot, knocked the wind out of him.
You only do this with men that are smaller than you by the way.
He’s looking at me. I said, “Do you now believe that matter is an illusion and so is evil? If not, I’ll hit you again.”
And he says, “Well, that’s, you know, that’s a good point, that it seems like matter is real ‘cause I can’t breathe”, okay?
Just assume it’s true and just walk it through and show that it’s not, okay? I was arguing on a radio show. This guy called in all the time, atheist. He says, “Nothing exists except for that which is material.” I said, “So, there’s nothing non-material?” He says, “No.” I said, “Do you love your wife?” He says, “Yes, I love my wife.” I said, “Where is that?” He says, “Well, it’s biological. It’s a biological chemical reaction. We’re just material. It’s not an emotion.” I said, “Can I talk to your wife?”
He says, “No, you can’t talk to my wife.”
I said, “Okay, ‘cause she’s gonna wanna hear that you love her, not that you had a biochemical reaction.”
“She’s gonna wanna hear that you love her and it’s invisible. There are things that are not material that do exist, like love”, okay? Had this great conversation. You can demolish arguments. You need not be afraid or scared at all. Nothing to worry about. Scripture says, “Let God be true and every man a liar.” God’s true. People are telling lies. You could take a flamethrower to their arguments in love, right? The other part is a positive thinking where you construct and that’s 1 Peter 3:15. First thing, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.” Now, it says repeatedly through the Bible that God is Lord, is that Jesus is Lord. What that means is he rules over everything. What that means is there are not people, or times, or circumstances, or events, or philosophies, or isms, or systems of thinking that are separated from Jesus. Jesus is over everything, everybody, every time, every place, everything. Jesus.
So, we must have Jesus understood rightly as our Lord, then we are prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But, do this with gentleness and respect. There’s no place for Christian jerks. That sort of defeats the whole purpose. “I’m going to tell you about the grace of God while I’ll spit all over you and tell you about God’s love while I’m cursing you out.” You’re gonna really confuse people if you don’t come with gentleness and respect. So you could very nicely take a flamethrower to their world over coffee. “That’s great. That’s your point? Okay, hold on, gonna light the way. Now, what were you saying? Boom! Yeah, how you doing now? Yeah, how you doing? I love ‘ya.” Right? You could be gentle and respectful, but then you should be able to answer everyone’s question who asks, okay? Do we have answer? Sure we do, and sometimes the answer is, “God’s ways are not my ways. God’s thoughts are not my thoughts. I don’t know.” And that’s an honest answer, but there are answers.
The Christian mind should be able to diffuse false arguments and also give reasons for the hope that it has. We had a radio show on like six or eight years nationally, three hours every Saturday night. We’d just take calls from people about Christianity. I was amazed as I sat there. It was amazing. It is not that Christianity is a math equation, but it is that Christianity has reasons that God has not given us this blind faith; that God has given us this opportunity to not know everything, but to know what we need to know. We see in part, but the part we see is what we need to see to be children of God. The Christian mind needs to be able to do that. And the purpose of education is to prepare people to think in such a way to demolish false arguments and to defend truth Biblically.
What that leads to, then, is the necessity for God to be involved in all subjects. You can’t study anything apart from God. When you’re looking at medicine, you can’t study the human body apart from recognizing that God made it. When you’re looking at the hard sciences, you can’t look at the material of the universe and deny that there was a creator. When you’re dealing with sociology and behavioral psychology, you can’t get into human conduct and morality without realizing that God put a conscience in the heart of people that’s sometimes seared and contorted, but still exists. You can’t deal in women’s studies unless you understand that God made women. You can’t deal with anything unless you understand God. And that’s the necessity is to know God.
1 John 3:1 tells us, “For God is greater than our hearts, for he knows” what? “Everything.” God knows everything. There’s no field of study apart from God. How many of you are students right now in college? It is vitally important for you to take your field of study and connect it to Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible and the Scriptures. You have to because God knows everything.
In addition, Colossians 1:17 says, “He”, Jesus, “is before all things and in him, all things hold together.” And in Colossians 2:3, I really love this verse. It tells about, “Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” You don’t have knowledge. You don’t have wisdom, unless you have Jesus. You need Jesus. Does Jesus relate to law? Does Jesus relate to math? Does Jesus relate to science? Does Jesus relate to philosophy or history? You guys think about it. We’ve been studying Proverbs. What fields of academic study are latent within Proverbs related back to the fear of the Lord? What’s in there? You should be reading it. What fields of study are in Proverbs? Business. Anything on business? Economics. Making money. Saving money. Spending money. Investing money. Tithing money. Setting up a business. Treating your employees a certain way. A huge amount in there on business and economic theory.
What else is in there? There’s a lot in law. Law is a Biblical concept. 1 John 2 that God makes laws and sin is the transgressing or the breaking of God’s laws. You can’t understand law apart from a law giver. And you can’t understand justice apart from the cross where Jesus dies for our sins and brings about justice and mercy. Absolutely. You look at that in Proverbs. It talks about, “Son, don’t go do these things and break the law. You’ll end up paying the consequence.” Law. What else is in there? Psychology. What we consider the study of the human person, right? The study of the human person has to be connected to God because who made the human person? God. In the image and likeness of God, we are made. You can’t understand what we would consider behavioral psychology apart from the God of the Bible. Otherwise, you’re dealing with behavioral modification and not what Proverbs calls the heart. That out of the heart comes life and you can’t change behavior unless you change the heart. And the heart is changed by Jesus who takes out the old heart of stone, gives us a heart of flesh.
I got into this argument with a behavioral psychologist in college as a brand new Christian. And I was reading the Bible and I kept noticing that there was institutional and systemic sin, but sin in the Bible is primarily individual. People were disobeying and offending a holy and righteous God. And I’m in a behavioral psychology class where the guy’s finishing his – I think his Ph.D. in behavioral psychology, studying a guy named B. F. Skinner. And he says people are basically victims; that culture shapes people and so that’s why they do the things that they do. We can’t hold those people accountable. They’re victims because they’ve been shaped by the culture. And I raised my hand, right? 2 Corinthians 10:5. I said, “Who made the culture?” He said, “Well, people did.” I said, “So, people made the culture that shaped the people.” I said, “So, really, we can blame the people because it was the people’s fault in the first place. They’re the first cause. These wicked people got together, created a wicked culture and now everybody’s a victim. And it looks like to me they’re all responsible. They’re all implicated. They all got their hand in the cookie jar. People make the world. Can’t blame the world for what it does to people. We made the world. That’s like me blowing something up and then suing myself ‘cause I injured myself.”
“It’s my fault.” So, he looks at me and says, “Yeah.” I said, “So, people are morally accountable?” “Yeah, yeah.” And just looking up in the air, this skinny little grad student.
You know, in the class. I’m 19. I don’t know anything, but I know when bad things happen, we don’t blame it on institutions, right? We don’t throw the public school in jail. We throw the kid in jail. What else is in Proverbs? Latent disciplines of thinking.
Response: Politics and government.
Politics and government. It talks a lot about the king. Honor the king. Obey the king. And it says, “You know what? The king’s son, he sets his course. But, you know what? The Lord determines his steps.” The king’s heart is in the hand of God. It says that, “God rises up kings, takes ‘em down, rises up nations, takes ‘em down.”
Is politics separate from God? Not the God of the Bible. How about human history? Is human history apart from God? Human history was leading up to Jesus and it flows from Jesus back to Jesus who’s coming again to judge the living of the dead. You can’t understand history without the point of history. The point of history is Jesus. You see it? Can you study gender? Can you study parenting? Can you study childhood development? Can you study friendship? Can you study sociology and community? Can you study anything apart from God? No. Because in Christ are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.
Does this change everything? Do you know why the Bible’s important now? If previously you thought, “Well, we live our life and then all this other stuff over here is spiritual. You know, we love Jesus and he forgives our sins, but what’s that really got to do with anything?”, it has to do with everything. Everything on planet earth comes back to – rightly relating to a fear of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures. Absolutely. Whose responsibility is this then, for this kind of education? Okay. Is it the school’s responsibility to make sure that kids come out like this?
There’s some foolish Christians that are arguing, for example, for prayer in schools. Do you really want the school teaching prayer? Can you even imagine what a publically acceptable prayer would look like? “Dear something, nothing, perhaps.”
You know, “He, she, it, they, we, perhaps. Bless, perhaps.” I mean, it would just – I can’t even imagine the acceptable prayer that would come out of an agreement among this neighborhood. If we got all the neighborhoods together and said, “Okay, let’s write a prayer that we all agree on”, right? Would that honor the God of the Bible? No. That would – the God of the Bible would send fire down from heaven, right?
He would not be happy with that at all. “Dear sky fairy, please whatever”, you know?
And it’s like, No, that’s not acceptable. We can’t pray “Dear sky fair, whatever.” God wants a little more than that. He wants us to pray, “Our Father who art in Heaven, holy is your name.” God has certain expectations for how we pray. It is not the job of the schools to teach these things, okay? It is, however, the duty of the church. 1 Timothy 3:15. “The church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Truth is supposed to be taught in the church. I’m not surprised when schools don’t do a good job with the Bible. I’m not surprised when television shows for kids don’t do a good job with the Bible. I’m not surprised. I am really offended, though, when the church doesn’t do a good job with the Bible. I expect more out of the church and the leadership in the church.
The elders and I were – we get together for Bible study every Tuesday for a couple of hours of Bible study and prayer and we were together this week, and I raised the issue. I said, “So, it’s our responsibility and, ultimately, you’ll see in a moment, it’s the parent’s responsibility, but it’s our duty to train the parents. So how are we doing? Do the parents here know how that God relates to law and medicine and behavior and all of the isms?” So, here’s what we’re gonna have to do. We’re gonna have to do things differently, guys. Most churches, what they say is, “Well, the parents aren’t spending time with the kids, so we’ll train the kids. Well, now they’re at junior high. They still don’t make time, so we’ll train the junior highs. Oh, now they’re in high school, da, da, da, da, da. We’ll train them. We’ll educate them.”
Okay, to me, if that is because the parents have abdicated themselves of their responsibilities, then the church is sinning by continuing to bless and sanction the indifference of the parents. In the same way, if you say, “Well, you know, the parents aren’t doing it, so we need to do it.” Well, how about this? The husbands aren’t taking their wives out on dates. So, we’ll have some other guys do that to fill in the gaps.
You say, “Well, no. No, dad should – no, he should do that.” “Well, he’s not doing it. Someone needs to do it, so, Hank you get some roses and go pick her up.”
Right? “Well, they’re not talking to their kids, so, hey, go pick ‘em up.” No. Again, we extend the right hand of fellowship to the men. That’s what we need to do. Now, if you’re a single mom, you’re the head of your home, you have to rise up to the occasion and do this. But, it should be the church training the parents on how to raise their own children. Every kid’s got a children’s pastor. Every junior high kid’s got a junior high pastor. Mom, dad.
Now, what I’m not saying is if we have – kids get together for a Bible study, that’s evil. I’m saying if all the parents feel that their moral responsibility’s to drop the kids off at that study and do nothing in the Scriptures with them, that is wicked. That is wicked. It’s the duty of the church to train the parents to train their children. So, here’s what we’re going to do. We’re not going to start right now. Maybe the parents will wanna do this.
See, what parents do, they think, “Oh, children’s pastor, youth pastor, Christian school, glory be to God. I’m done. Great, I’ve paid people to do my job.” No, not at all. Deuteronomy 4:9, “Be careful. Watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.” Teach them to your children and your children after that. Teach your kids. Teach your kids. Who knows your kids better than you? Who loves your kids more than you? Who’s with your kids more than you? Who did God position to raise them? A lot of the fighting about schools is parents trying to figure out who can do their job.
Deuteronomy 6, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Parents are supposed to be instructing through all of life. Driving in the car. Walking in the mall. Going to the park. Hanging out at the ballgame. Instructing through all of life and it’s supposed to be saturated with God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:15, it says, “From infancy, Timothy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” That’s a great summary. Little kids studying the Bible so they can be wise, saved in Jesus. That’s what you wanna see. Who’s responsibility, ultimately, is this? School? No. Church? No. Youth pastor? No. Nanny? No. Daycare? No. Sunday school teacher? No. Dad. Dad. This is dad’s duty. This is the job of dad. The problem is 40 percent of kids tonight in this country will go to bed without a dad, which means we have a lot of work to do.
The Bible says, “Care for widows and orphans and those in need.” That includes single moms. That’s a tough, tough, tough deal. This is dad’s job, okay? If you are a Godly man, is this a burden or a privilege? It’s a privilege. You get to be the pastor of your own kids. And the pastor of your own home. And the Bible says 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, if you do a great job with that, maybe we’ll let you be a pastor in the church. But, if you don’t do this well, you’ll never be a pastor in the church ‘cause the church is just the big family. If you can’t handle the little family, don’t even talk about the big family.
Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers do not exasperate your children.” Don’t frustrate ‘em and bitter ‘em, get ‘em all angry and mad by being harsh, and mean, and overbearing. “Instead, bring them up in the training and the instruction of the Lord.” I told you here, the concept here is the pedaiah. It’s the sum total shaping of the human being. It’s the Roman concept there. The morality. And the behavior. And the life. And the wisdom. And the job. And the fear of God. And the theology. And the physical health. And the self control. And the friendship. And all of the sum total shaping of the human being is the responsibility Biblically of the father and mother, but primarily the father. Primarily the father.
The reason that I am so strong on the young men in this church is because, statistically, most of you will get married. Most of you will become dads. But, if you don’t fear the Lord and have wisdom, you are going to ruin the lives of women and children. You will cause much grief, much pain. And if you do it wisely, and you love and fear the Lord, and you understand the Scriptures and the Gospel of God, you can be an enormous blessing. You could be an enormous help. God could use you to raise up amazing servants of the Gospel. But, it’s the responsibility of the fathers.
Practically, let me get into what this means. If you are single, you should be, right now, walking in fear of the Lord, men or women. You should be studying your Bible and making sure that you can integrate everything back to Jesus and his Word, right? You should be thinking about whether or not you’re going to be married and be a parent.
Let me ask you this. Is there any such thing as a perfect school to send your kids to? There’s not, is there? In a fallen world, is there a perfect school? There’s not a perfect school. If you send your kids to public school as a parent, will you need to do a lot of reeducation around curriculum, interpret things, bring them to the Bible, supplement what they’re not getting, and do a lot of work to compensate for some of the instruction that they are getting? Will that take time? Yes. Will that take money? Yes. If you send your children to a private school, will you still need to check the curriculum, make sure that it agrees with your thinking, take it back to the Bible, be involved in your kid’s life, take time and money? Yes. And how much is an elementary education for a kid? I told you – $3,600.00, maybe $7,000.00, anywhere in there.
How many of you young men want to be fathers and send your kids to a good school? Financially, do you realize now you have to make a lot of money if you want to do that? If it’s going to cost you $6,000.00 a year average for five kids, in addition to raising your family, you will need to raise an additional $30,000.00 a year for school. You wanna be fruitful and multiply? Every guy I know wants a wife and a bedroom and that sounds great, and then he thinks about the kids and he’s like, “Well, we’ll figure that out when we get there.” No, you gotta figure that out before you get there.
I always tell ‘ya, in Proverbs, it’s just clear. Foolish people think about he weekend. Wise people think about the fifth generation. They’re thinking down the road and getting ready for it. Does that affect, men, what you’ll do for a vocation? It should.
Another option you’ve got is home schooling. If you’re gonna home school, does that take a lot of time?
Yes. Selecting curriculum, teaching children, multiple grade levels, all subject matters. Is that a lot of work? It’s an enormous amount of work. Will you need a larger home to accommodate that so you can set apart a place for school, and desks, and teaching? You will. How about if you do a home school coop? You say, “Well, we’ll do two days at home and three days in a coop, and different parents will take different subjects and we’ll work together. Is that still gonna be a lot of work to coordinate all that, and curriculum, and work with the parents and children? You’re basically setting up a small, informal school. See, what I’m saying is every single option costs money, takes times, requires the involvement of the parents.
So, as you read the Bible, you will find the Bible infers a lot of things about education. It doesn’t give a lot of principles, though, on the school. But, it does say a lot about the parents because the parents are still the most important factor in the training of the children. You can have a great school with Godless parents and they negate each other.
Ladies, practically, how many of you are single? Okay. How many of you wanna be moms? Many of you. Does this effect what you study in your course of study in college? Does this affect the amount of debt you get into, so that if you get married, you can be a mom? If you wanna train your own kids or be involved, does that mean you’re gonna need to be widely read, know your Bible, be a good theologian? I bet some women say, “Oh, you’re saying women should be mothers. Well, I thought they should go to college and be smart.” Yeah, it’s good to have a well read, smart mother. They’re very helpful. A wise woman, in Proverbs, is a jewel. They are hard to find, but they are worth infinite value.
I would encourage the ladies, read widely if you’re gonna be a mom. Mom needs to know philosophy, and history, and culture, and the arts. Why? Because they gotta teach kids to demolish arguments and also give reasons for their hope. Is this enormous? Don’t you love that? Don’t you love that life is so overwhelming that we actually need God? I’m glad. I’m glad we have life in which we need grace and we need God. My biggest fear, though, is that this typical things happens. Everybody gets excited, gets married, has kids, throws ‘em in the Sunday school and throws ‘em in the Christian school, and just lives their life, thinking that somehow that their duty is to shuttle the minivan back and forth, and that’s the sum total of the parental responsibility. Your responsible, if you’re a parent, for the shaping of your kids. And the church needs to help you in that and we will.
When I came to Christ, or Christ came to me in college, I remember meeting with a lot of people and I remembered thinking, man, I’m an idiot. I don’t know anything. I graduated with good grades, you know, a lot of honors, did fine. I went to college. I didn’t know anything. I had no coherent view of history. I had no introduction to philosophy. I had no clue about economics. I had no idea about anything, really, let alone the Bible. Didn’t know the Bible. And, at that time, I realized, “Man, I have gotta catch up. I got a lot of work to do.” For the last – first ten years of my walk with Christ, I read, roughly, a book a day. I still read about 100 plus pages a day, everything I can get my hands on, because I’m trying to train my own mind to love God and know enough so that I can teach you and lead this church. It’s an enormous responsibility because, as a parent, too, I have to be a good dad to my kids and I gotta make sure that I take accountability for my instruction of them. But, I’m also accountable before God for the condition of your life. If you get married, the condition of your home. It extends full circle.
Here’s what I want. I want this to be a church of readers, and thinkers, and literate people who can engage any philosophy-ism or thought process unflinchingly, hold to the authority of Scripture, be nice about it, but make sure that the truth is clear and that folly is exposed. That’s what we want. It begins with the parents and if the parents do that, then it can be extended to the children. Whether or not you have children, if you’re a Christian, that’s still your responsibility to be that way.
At this point, we always give you the Gospel. We’ve given you the Gospel many times with this sermon. The Gospel is simply this. That God created us and everything. God is creator. And God is separate from his creation. And this creation is a reflection of his glory. That God created us for relationship. That’s sociology. God created us for worship of him. That is spirituality. God created us to steward the earth. That is environmentalism. God created us to create culture that glorifies him, right? That is the arts, and culture, and anthropology. God told us his laws and he commanded us not to break them. That is law. We broke his law and we sinned, right. That is psychology. As a result, we are separated from God and from each other and death comes in. That is medicine.
As a result of that, we are separated from God and each other, trapped in our sin and a cycle of death. That is philosophy. What happens then is God has mercy and pity upon us and he comes to us in human flesh. God comes in ultimate humility as the man, Jesus Christ. Fully God. Fully man. That’s Christianity. Jesus lives a sinless, perfect life and is tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin and, ultimately, Jesus is put to death and something amazing happens when Jesus is put to death. My sins are placed upon him and he is punished in my place. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that, “God made him who knew know sin to become sin so that in him, I might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus died for my sin. That’s redemption and grace. That’s the heart of Christianity.
Jesus, then, is put in a tomb. And Jesus, three days later, breaks all natural laws and resurrects from death, conquering sin and death. He then gives evidence to that by demonstrating that he is, indeed, alive after death. And then, he ascended into Heaven where now he is seated at the right hand of the father. He is our high priest, our intercessor, and our advocate. We pray to him and he hears our prayers. He loves us. Though we do not see him, we love him, and we are filled with a glorious and inexpressible joy because he is present with us. God who is other has also involved himself in our lives and called us personally by name. We respond to him with love, and faith, and repentance of sin.
See, nothing is apart from God. Us. Our lives. Human history. Culture. Science. Morality. Behavior. Sociology. Anthropology. Psychology. Law. Nothing is apart from God and it all comes back to Jesus in who are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We love Jesus here. We love Jesus in all things, in all ways. And we encourage you to love him as well, and to thank him, and to bring every thought, captive and obedience to him.
At this point, we take communion, which is to remember Jesus’ body and blood. God, in humility, took himself in a humble form of human flesh and died for our sins. We take our offering. If you’re not a Christian or you’re a visitor, don’t give. It’s good to have ‘ya. Please do read the Gospel of John and look at the claims of Jesus and deal with him. He will demolish all of your false arguments and he will demonstrate himself to be true. If you have any questions, you wanna meet with a pastor, you call. We’d love to talk to ‘ya.
Father God, thanks for a chance to get together and study the Scriptures. Lord God, I thank you that you are our God, the living God, that you are not some falsified deity. You are not some concept. You are not some inner longing of the heart of lost man. That you, in fact, are real, and live, and true. That not only that, you have revealed yourself. Come to us in human flesh. Spoken to us through your Word. Demonstrated yourself through human history. Proclaimed your glory through your creation. Lord God, you are a great God and we are so glad that you are really our God. That you are Lord over all and that we belong to you.
God, it’s my prayer that we each would study to show ourselves approved. That, Lord God, we would learn to take every though captive, obedient to Christ. That we would nicely demolish false arguments. That we would patiently give answers for the hope that is within us. That, Lord God, we would love you with all of our mind and that we would impress that upon our children and our children’s children, to your glory and our joy. In Christ’s name, Amen.