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January 24, 2022 5:00 am
Pastor author and Bible teacher Alan Wright.
Jesus came because he loved you so much that he himself that he himself took upon his own being yours and mine who trusts in him to have that burden of guilt and condemnation live because you present for Devon in the series is presented in an old church in North Carolina are not able to throughout the entire program to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now you can be yours. Your donation this month to Alan Reich ministries you listen to today's message go deeper as we send you today's special offer. You can learn more about it contact us at pastoralan.org that's Pastor Alan.org or call 877-544-4860 that's 877-544-4860 world. All of this later in the program but now let's get started with today's teaching here is Alan writing in America where you seen statistics that church attendance has declined.
It is true. This number of people who you're reading about the nuns. The NONE's the one say I have no religious affiliation has risen by about 10 percentage points. But what sociologists say is that when people now fill out surveys. They are much more likely to feel free to be honest, because what happened to our culture is that it's no longer this big pressure to go to church.
I remember my first job that was many years ago in youth ministry right here in this town and I was helping to launch a new church and one of the things we did believe it or not was. We went around once a week and knocked on doors and introduce ourselves mean the pastor and invited him to church nowadays you got a big careful you knuckles on by the door. They Bible called police on you, but in that day they would at least be polite to us and I would say that most of the time the response we would get would be all I'm already a member of a church and I would say oh that's great.
What church and oftentimes they say the Methodist Church downtown, or the set in and I wouldn't call out its name & what's church and they say, you know, one downtown and I said oh you must become a sentence that yeah that's it. I say will that's great you know I hadn't. I hadn't seen the pastor there in a while. I'm drawn what was that pastor's name and ago that person would've filled out a survey and said yes I go to church but they didn't really go to church and they really were a Christian I think is better to be an environment where semi's nonaggression exam non-Christian, then just put it down because is the sociological acceptable thing to do and this is marking some of the difference in the way the surveys are. The other thing to say is that the mainline church has had a precipitous decline in the past decade, the church is that a firm scripture that talk about a personal relationship with Jesus emphasize the importance of sharing the gospel and hold to a literal understanding of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. All the churches that believe that are growing on the whole, that's what the statistics show Christianity across the world is growing. Interestingly, just in case you're interested in a number of atheists worldwide is declining.
In 1970 there hundred 65 million today is estimated to be hundred 38 million reason I want to give you all this statistics is just to say I think it's important as thinking people and as Christians to walk in the light, and that means the truth of what really is going on and I don't want to. I don't want to just join into a chorus of negative voices for no reason whatsoever why is it we only hear the negative things well. One reason is that news is about stuff that happens not stuff that doesn't happen right. You never go see a reporter saying I'm here right in the middle of this huge metropolitan area where there's been no terrorism today or ever. Most cities in our country there's never been any terrorism in any type of any sort. But is that ever been reported. Of course not news people are doing their job. The reporting stuff that happens and is part of us that somehow I don't know if it's in our sin nature. What is this that were little bit morbidly fascinated by bad news. Maybe sometimes were just little bit glad it happened somebody else make me feel boils a bad tornado that had over there that we don't have that maybe we have a little bit of that going on. We we get glued into the bed is weird like it is all the sudden we start playing a video and I sit here preaching the semi start showing bad news of thereby terribly bad news. What that is exactly but were little bit fascinated by bad news. But here's the thing that I think most of all, that makes us withhold good news and withhold our blessing if it were afraid it will go to semi's head daughter who's been raised in blessing. Pretty much every day of her life and she knows the difference. She takes a couple weeks ago. She said well so I went to visit my professor. One of my classes because we had had a grades given to us the whole semester and she's I just want to see where I stand because we got a paperback remake presentation. When I got a grades. I don't see how doing so I went to visit Prof. Assem, do anything. What you doing very well, but I don't want to tell you what, you keep trying hard as he takes me to said classic case of withheld blessing hi dad in the fact of the matter is beloved people think that if we get good news that people are going to give I'm saying is exactly the opposite people give up when there's too much bad news.
I know this because my two football teams have had a turnaround by Baylor Bears, who two years ago 11 game this year are 80 Matt rule the new codes is fantastic, and these players you know when you have a season and you lose about 10 or 11 games you to start thinking well this is about the time of the game. We were going to lose if you think you're going to lose you quit blocking you quit tackling all you act like you're blocking and tackling, but you're not blocking and tackling the block and tackle when the games already decided when you start thinking you can win your whole attitude is different. Matt Brown is going to Carolina has turned football program around if it were set for a couple of plays here and there. One last night. They don't want a lot more games they have, but the stadium is full it's a sellout I mean the last couple years.
The students were given so they didn't come to the game.
Now they gotta go to the lottery to get a ticket to come to the football game and is exciting and football is fun why because the players who started thinking, you know, we might when you think that you're going to fail you just give up.
It's not bad news.
It motivates people, is good news. You know what I think that something happened at the cross of Jesus Christ. There was more than just you and I have an opportunity to become a child of God.
I think there was something good for the world. Don't you is interesting.
Stephen Penner who I was taking all the statistics from about change in the world for the good is actually Jewish though nonpracticing.
As an atheist, and he appeals mainly to humanistic answers as to why the world's getting better, but listen to this. This Harvard atheist professor. He said though I'm skittish about any notion of historical inevitability's cosmic forces or mystical arcs of justice. Since I'm skittish think about some bigger purpose to all of this but he writes some kinds of social change really do seem to be carried along by an inexorable tectonic force the sand as he spent his whole life studying the fact that the world has been getting better and he said it's almost at times like I have to admit there might be something behind us in reading our last couple weeks. Writings of a man named Rodney Stark. He's a sociology of religion professor at Baylor.
He is highly regarded in Pulitzer nominated author was written over 32 books Andrew Greeley of the University of Chicago is called giant and compared them to Max Weber, the preeminent sociologist of last century, and is one of the most highly regarded writers in his field.
People really paying attention to what he saying he started his research wasn't a Christian but through the mist of his research, he became Christian is read a book called the victory of reason. Fascinating, in which he argues that the whole of Western civilization and all the good that's come from it is a result directly of Christianity Alan Wright will have more teaching moment from today's important series to be accepted perfectly free to be yourself with no fear of injection last no more anxious feeling that you feel like the pressure is always on right here in my longing for life with no show before sin came into the world's relationship notion since the fall of the human heart has been windowdressing camping trip seem condescending, so tiny, perfect in order to meet my lover.
Now roll the highest pleasing pricing and there is only the grace of God in Jesus Christ cleaned yourself yourself exposes the soul. He leads you into a revolution of God's love for your soul freedom joy as you start performing space, leaving for good life-changing full-length book from Alan Wright for yourself. The gospel is shared when you get Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you get today. We will send you a special offer. We are happy to send this to you as I thanked him Alan Wright Ministries, seven 877-544-4860 877-544-4861 come to our website pastor and work days teaching now here once again is a Christian gospel. Unlike every other form of religion. He argues values the God-given capacity for reason most religions in the world either. So emphasize just the mystical or just the law, and obedience. They don't say what Christianity says, which is God gave you a mind that can reason because you made in the image of God and Christianity values freedom and the individual.
I know we have's who much individualism in our culture now, but you must understand throughout most of the history of the world. The sense of the individual's importance was never highlighted and he argues persuasively that this ideology of Christianity.
Speaking from a sociological point of view was what gave birth to science it in the environment of mysticism and in the environment of Islam, there would never have been the birth of science, but this value on the human mind's capacity to reason gave birth to science, which ultimately gave birth to enlightenment and all of Western civilization that flows from this I wish I could tell you a lot more about his persuasive argument but let me just read what this imminent scholar said in this concluding chapter of one of his seminal works. Christianity created Western civilization had the followers of Jesus remained an obscure Jewish sect. Most of you would not have learned to read and the rest of you would be reading from hand copied scrolls without a theology committed to reason progress in moral inequality. Today, the entire world would be about where non-European societies were in, say, 1800, a world with many astrologers and alchemists but no scientists world despots lacking universities, banks, factories, eyeglasses, chimneys, and pianos. A world where most infants do not live to the age of five, and many women die in childbirth world truly living in the dark ages. It's interesting, by the way that Stark argues that one of the reasons that Christianity exploded and that's the word that every sociologist will use to describe the phenomenon of the Jesus movement. This man named Jesus was put on a Roman cross and his mainly rural followers afterwards began sharing the gospel story and Paul and some of his associates began going into the Greco-Roman cities and with rent 350 years the movement had impacted the entire earth.
He said one of the reasons for this which I mentioned almost parenthetically, but I found a great interest is that Christianity and the message of Jesus treated women with such high regard like no other religion ever has in the women now and then seem to be the ones that were more quick to become spiritually sensitive and hungry and women were being converted so fast.
This is a message of such power and hope for women, not just because the way Jesus treated women was so radically different than every other religious leader they'd ever been around. But Paul, who is preaching all over the world and writes like he does in Romans 16 verse one commending Phoebe a Deaconess in the church for how wonderful her ministry was and how important she was and how much they want to. This kind of thing did not exist in the ancient religious world and what happens a lot of these women were married to pagans and a lot of those pagan husbands became Christians and because of this, they began to multiply in the Roman empire. The average age of a girl being forced into marriage was age 12.
Many girls were forced into marriage before puberty and there was such a despising of women that it was a very common practice to expose infants after they were born husband could just mandate that his wife have an abortion which was truly unsafe but often would just say I have a baby girl and they were exposes me to just take it and put it outside for the cold or wild animal to kill and because of this sociologist have learned the Roman Empire had an imbalance in the were far less women than there were men, but in Christianity, the average age of a woman in those early times that Mary was age 18 and the women were respected and they didn't kill their baby girls and because of it.
Christianity began exploding all over the place, say to you is that we don't just look at this from a sociological perspective. We look at it is Christian then say the reason for all of this is spiritual reason. I believe the children don't die before age 5, and we live in a culture where women are valued reason all this is come about is not just a sociological phenomenon of Christianity, but the whole reason that the Christian gospel was born. Here's what Paul said happened in Colossians 2, verse 13. He unveils a mystery and says you were dead in your trespasses and then circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all of our trends passes trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with his legal demand is saying that what happened was that our hearts were student under the burden the anxious burden of the law that we could not keep.
And so Jesus came because he loved you so much that he himself paid the debt that he himself took upon his own being, your sin and mine so that anyone who trusts in him will be able to have that burden of guilt and condemnation live their life because you are 100% forgiven and what it means is that Satan and all of the strategies of hell cannot prevail against you because Satan is nothing more than an accuser and a liar and once you have no debt to pay. There's nobody that can make you feel guilty about that. That and so the more you see the gospel of the more that you receive the good word of the gospel. Anxiety lifts and your heart is able to be free, but what Paul says is it something else happened here by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with his legal demands. The ads this this, he set aside, nailing it to the cross and he discs are the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them in him. The were different this time. It literally means he stripped them like if you had a royal robe of authority they got stripped off of you.
What he's saying is that the cross of Jesus Christ is not just for your personal salvation, but it is for the cosmic transformation of the entire universe. What happened in the heavenly is it nobody else could see was even more dramatic than what you could see with your eyes. Up until that time there had been a sense in which there was a rulership of evil over the earth. But what Jesus did was so full, so final so glorious, so complete, that is drip the demonic forces of their authority in the earth, and instead we are in Christ have been given authority and what it means, therefore, is that Satan and all of the demonic principalities and powers are nothing more than squatters who are still fighting and biding their time until the consummation of the age. But the real authority has been stripped from them and we therefore are in Christ are no longer the tail, but have been made the head and love when I think what happened love. If you understand that you can read all of Rodney Stark. It's fascinating.
You could repent and are and what's happened in the transformation of the world you can look at all the sociological forces but I'm telling you what we believe is that there was a moment in time where God in Jesus Christ did something decisive changed the whole cosmos and ever since that time there has been an unveiling that is increasing throughout the earth, and I believe that the sky is not fallen that we are chicken Little are loosey-goosey are lucky ducky.
I think instead Christianity is on the rise. Evil is losing God's people are winning and the gospel is more powerful than it ever has been before that he is a gospel good news message burying her worry instead of your talent from the series. No worries. But don't worry Pastor Alan is back joining me in the studio shearing a parting good new start for the day.
Just a moment please stay with us like to be accepted perfectly free to be yourself with no fear of rejection roll their eyes make fun of you.
I love you lasts only claimed for yourself yourself exposes the house of Saul, he leads you into a revolution of God's love seals here so freedom and joy as you shall performance a sleeping infant good life-changing full-length book from Alan Wright for yourself. The gospel is shared when you get Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you get today we look for special offer.
We are happy to send this to you as I thanked him Alan Wright Ministries, seven 877-544-4860 877-544-4861 come to our website. Pastor, our.work now here with Pastor sitting in putting a recap of closing thought on today's teaching, burying your worry instead of your talent which are closing thought best route day.
I'm so glad they were looking at this parable is so often misunderstood, especially misunderstood regarding this third servant that the master calls wicked and lazy. So often we read this parable and we just feel scared and well kind of worried that one day we get to heaven and God say you didn't do enough with the talents that I gave you that that's not what this is about. This is a parable in the end that is about three Christians and some of them work harder than others.
This is about 1/3 servant misunderstands the master's and master.
I need to be a hard man, reaping where you did not gathering more you scatter no seesaws afraid this is this is a parable about fear and misunderstanding of the master. The master is generous and wealthy. This servant has rejected the master and has instead chosen a life of fear.
This is about a person who doesn't know the master at all. Yeah, this is a powerful powerful powerful example of how sometimes we read Scripture so more holistically that we miss the primary meeting God our father is a loving, benevolent, wealthy master who is entrusted so much to us. We need not live in fear but enjoy a all that is entrusted to us.
That's what makes us good stewards to today's good listener supported production Alan Wright Ministries