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Poison in the Pot

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 3, 2021 7:00 am

Poison in the Pot

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 3, 2021 7:00 am

You may be a good cook but messing with God’s recipe for living won't stir up anything but trouble. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he explains how worldly ideas and solutions can poison the pot of God’s formula for the future.

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There has not yet been made the correlation between our social starvation and the spiritual departure from God that has infected our culture. Dr. Tony Evans says we poison the pot when we add worldly ingredients to the Lord's recipe for our lives and our society. And until the cause is addressed, the cure cannot be experienced. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative.

It sounds reasonable to say that we'll take a good idea wherever we can find it, but today Dr. Evans will talk about the disaster that results when we don't take time to consider the source. Let's join him as he takes us to 2 Kings chapter 4 for today's lesson. A pastor went to visit one of his parishioners, a very elderly lady, and he just wanted to minister to her in this final season of life. She welcomed him in and had him sit in the living room. They began to chat. Situated before him on a little table was a bowl of peanuts. He asked his host, these peanuts sure look good. Would you mind if I had some?

Oh, she said, absolutely not. Feel free. So as they talked, he would pick up a peanut or two here or a peanut or two there, and after he'd been there for 30 or 40 minutes, he noted that he had eaten virtually all the peanuts. And so he said to his elderly host, I am so sorry. I've been talking and enjoying our conversation so much. I've almost eaten up all of your peanuts. Oh, she said, well, that's really okay. I haven't been able to eat peanuts since I lost my teeth, so now I just suck the chocolate off of them and leave them in the bowl.

Sometimes you don't know what you're eating. Such is the case in our passage today. We're told in verse 38 that Elisha returns to Gilgal to be with the sons of the prophets. It was there where they would be prepared for the prophetic ministry that they were being called to, and Elisha is like the president or the chancellor of the school, you would say today.

His job would be to equip the sons of the prophets in order to fulfill their responsibilities prophetically. It was very important for him to be there because we're told in verse 38 that there was a famine in the land. That means there wasn't food. You see, God told his people, if you depart from me and go after other gods, I will close up the heavens and there will be no rain. Your ground will become like iron, and things will not be able to grow. To put it another way, when you walk away from me, you will be famished. There will be a famine in the land when you leave me, my word, and chase after other gods.

The reason why Elisha goes to the school of the prophets is that it was the job of the prophets to explain to the people the spiritual reasons for their social dilemma, their agricultural dilemma, their economic dilemma. Because the people would not automatically make the connection between no food and their relationship with God. They're just seeing it's not raining, they're just seeing stuff is not growing, they're just seeing we are hungry, and they're seeing their socio-economic, agrarian, agricultural reality, but not the spiritual cause of it. What you are seeing on CNN and MSNBC and Fox News and all of this chaos you are seeing has to do with a famine in the land. How do you know when you're in a famine? You are hungry and nothing you do satisfies. So you know you're in a famine when you are hungry and you can't get what you need to fix the hunger you possess. You look at all the time and the money and the meetings and the efforts and the gatherings and the complaints and the fights and the marches and the reactions and nothing seems to satisfy. Nothing seems to work, nothing seems to fit or to fix the dilemma because there has not yet been made the correlation between our social, economic, familial, personal starvation and the spiritual departure from God that has affected and infected our lives and our culture. And until that connection is made, you stay hungry. Hungry for peace, hungry for productivity, hungry for harmony, hungry for unity, hungry for oneness, hungry for order, hungry for a society that is not in decline. You wind up socially starving to death. And the thing about it is, if the connection is not made, there is nothing that will satisfy.

So you can come up with something in the meantime that gives you a temporary fix, only to discover it doesn't last very long. And until the cause is addressed, the cure cannot be experienced. And it's because of this famine that the prophets were being prepared to take the spiritual and the supernatural into the natural because that would be the only way people would ever eat. People would ever see heaven open, rain fall, the earth flourish, so there would no longer be a famine. So even the sons of the prophets are hungry. So Elijah says, we've got to feed these guys. He tells his servant to make a stew so that the sons of the prophets could eat.

But in verse 39, one of the guys gets a bright idea. It says, he went out into the field and gathered herbs, found a wild vine, gathered them in his lap, the wild gourd, sliced them, put it in the stew, for they did not know what they were. He says, I want to sweeten the pot. I want to put some stuff in the stew to juice it up.

I want to put something in the stew to add a little more flavor. Now, a gourd is basically a cucumber, but a wild gourd is a cucumber with poisonous pulp. So the poison is inside the gourd that looks like a cucumber. So you think it's a cucumber when it's actually poison. But it doesn't look like poison.

It doesn't sound like poison. It's growing like it's not poison because he couldn't see what was inside of it. He could only see the outside look and it looked like it would make the stew better. So he comes and according to the scripture, he chops it up and he puts it in the stew. When he puts it in the stew, verse 40, they poured it out for the men to eat. And as they were eating the stew, they cried out and said, O man of God, there is death in the pot. And they were unable to eat.

In other words, food poisoning set in and they got sick as a dog. Whenever you go out to the world to get poisonous ideas, poisonous world views through poisonous people who look good, it looks like it ought to work. It looks like it ought to fit. It looks like it'll make my life better. It looks like it'll heal my depression, my struggles.

It looks like it's going to strengthen me. And we chop it up and we mix it with the truth of God's Word. We bring the ideas of the world into the church, the ideas of the world into our lives, and we mix it with the Word of God. It's not that we deny the Word, it's that we mix it with wild gourds. And when you mix God's truth with wild gourds, it contaminates the truth so that the truth that was supposed to set you free winds up killing you because it has been contaminated with something that it cannot accept. And when you have an illegitimate mixture of God's way and the world's way, of human wisdom with divine wisdom, whenever you bring those two together, you cancel out God.

God can be canceled by the wrong combination. It says they ate it, and they said we cannot—we're gagging here on this mixture. You can't mix. If you mix diesel and unleaded, you ain't going nowhere.

Oil and water are not designed to mix. They're two different worlds. And that's what the Bible calls double-mindedness.

You're going both ways and you're trying to mix the two together. When something contradicts God, that's why the Bible says you can neither take away from my word nor can you add to my word. And then the Bible says if you take away from it or if you illegitimately add to it, you add a curse to yourself because God is smart enough not to need your help. Dr. Evans will come back with more of our message in just a moment, including a look at why God's recipe for life already includes every ingredient we need.

Right now, though, he's here with this thought for us. God has established the church as His dominant cultural influencer. And that's why it is the condition of the church that will determine the well-being of the community. So when Jesus established the church in Matthew 16, He said, And when my church is operating like my church should operate, then the society will see what God had in mind when He built civilization. So God is literally waiting on His people to come together with their uniquenesses across race, cultural, and class lines and to bring God's kingdom principles to bear in the church and then through the church overflowing from the church into the community to bring about the kind of change that we desperately need to see.

That's why in the book that I wrote, Oneness Embraced, that book on race and God's kingdom, it shows God's perspective, how we ought to operate in light of it, and even gives a plan for how any community can see transformation take place in spite of the anguish, agony, violence, and injustice and racial disparity that is occurring everywhere. Oneness Embraced was a very personal book for Dr. Evans to write, dealing with his own hurts and hopes over this issue. And for the next few days, we're packaging this powerful book, along with all six full-length messages, on CD and digital download from his current series, Race, Culture, and Christ, as our thank you gift in return for your contribution to help keep Tony's important teaching coming to listeners on this station and to other communities throughout the nation. Contact us right away to get the details and request your copy before time runs out. Just visit TonyEvans.org or give us a call day or night at 1-800-800-3222.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans will come back with more of today's message right after this. Are you hungry for more of God, more of His truth, more of His power, and more of His wisdom applied in your life? Then you need to connect with a community of passionate believers who are growing in God's Word through the Tony Evans Training Center. With exclusive video and audio teaching from Dr. Tony Evans, this interactive online study experience allows you to explore theology, biblical history, and real-life application of the kingdom agenda anytime, anywhere. Visit TonyEvansTraining.org to get started today.

That's TonyEvansTraining.org. There is no solution to what you're seeing happening in our cities and our culture and our country and our lives as long as the spiritual is either marginalized or illegitimately mixed. And if you ever have folk who walk across your lawn, your green grass, they just walk across your lawn regularly. Kids like to do that. In the name of a shortcut. They're walking across your lawn in the name of a shortcut. What they're doing is they're killing the path of grass.

They're killing the path of grass. What they're doing is they're creating an illegitimate path to a destination. People are regularly cutting across God's truth with illegitimate additions trying to get to a destination. And they wonder why they're hungry, why they can't be satisfied, satisfied with peace and order and productivity and meaning because there has been an illegitimate addition.

So Elijah's got to resolve this problem with the sons of the prophet whose job it is to bring the nation back to God. So in verse 41, Elijah says, Bring me meal. Bring me meal. Meal is flour. Flour.

Bring me meal. They bring the flour to him. He throws it into the pot and says, Pour it out for the people that they may eat. Then there was no harm in the pot.

Interesting. Here's the problem. The problem is that the mixture has now already occurred. The poison pulp is already in the stew. And there is no way to get the poison out of the stew because it's already been mixed up.

You got anything going on in your life that you can't fix it because you're too messed up. It's just all up in your stuff. It's integrated itself into the fibers of your life and you don't know how to separate it. And you can't separate it because it's already in the stew of your existence. How do I unwrap myself out of this situation by either me putting the poison pulp in or allowing somebody else to put the poison pulp in and now it's been situated itself in the stew of my life and I can't live, I can't eat, I can't function like I'm supposed to function because I got death in the pot and the pot is my life or my family or my culture. It's already stirred up in there.

It's been in there for a long time and the racial problem has been going on for 240 years and the class problems and the cultural problems and it's just all mixed up and you got philosophies and theologies and theories and you got personalities and histories and backgrounds and you got all this stuff going on and it's all just all mixed up in there and you don't know what people's motives are and you don't even know what your own motives are and you're trying to figure out who to vote for because you don't like nobody and you're trying to work through all that and it's just all mixed up. It's all in the stew. Elijah said, bring me flour. Now, flour was used for making bread. How was the problem resolved when the poison was already in it? It had to be overwhelmed by something stronger and thicker and more powerful so Elijah knew if I get the flour in there, it will overwhelm the poison. You know, eat it up so that now the stew that was made bad can be transformed. I don't know how much poison you have in your personal life, in your world and we see there's poison everywhere in the culture but I do know this. This is not time for Christian light.

This is not a time for, for now I lay me down to sleep, pray the Lord my soul will keep and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul will take. No, we need some flour. That is, we need the word of God so strong, so powerfully, so purely, so uncompromisingly that it overwhelms the poison that has penetrated the life. You need more of this word to overwhelm the poison that has been in your life for days, weeks, months, and years.

You say, I've been dealing with this for years. You don't have enough flour. The flour has to overwhelm the poison. We need a generation of Christians now who take the word of God seriously, who take the word of God for what it is and what you are seeing now in our country, our culture, in our racial relationships, the brilliant minds can't fix. Because the scripture says in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and 1 Corinthians chapter 2, God makes a fool of the wisdom of this word.

God will downright embarrass you by thinking you can do this without Him or have to add to Him to get it done right. I don't know what's getting you hungry today, but I do know where there's some food. I don't know why your soul is starving today or our culture is starving today, but I do know where there's some flour.

And it, when taken in seriously, will eat up the poison so that you can behold again and so that the famine is addressed. A man went to the store one day because he needed some spaghetti sauce. So he went to get spaghetti sauce, and he picked up.

He didn't know much about food. He picked up preggo spaghetti sauce. He went to the store clerk and he said, now, I've got this sauce because we're eating spaghetti. Now, where do I get the tomatoes? The store clerk said, no, no, it's in there. Okay, well, now where do I go to get the oregano? Oh, no, no, it's already in there.

He said, well, where do I go to get the basil? Oh, it's in there. What about the Italian sausage? It's all in there. What about the garlic? Oh, it's in there.

What about all these other ingredients? You're looking all out here, but what you have for what you need has already been taken into consideration, and it's all in there. I don't know what you're looking for today, but if you need peace, it's in there. If you need order, it's in there. If you need justice, it's in there. If you need unity, it's all in there. If you need happiness, it's in there.

If you need provision, it's in there. You go on shopping everywhere else when God is saying it's already been put in there. If you and I will take seriously the Word of God, you will see when He put it together, He didn't leave any of the recipes out. The first thing we do when we start taking God's Word seriously is to come to Jesus, confess that we're sinners, and receive His gift of eternal life.

And there's nothing you can add to or subtract from how that happens. Tony will explain the process to you personally when you visit tonyevans.org and follow the link that simply says Jesus. You'll discover what it takes to start a brand-new life right now, right where you are. Again, that's tonyevans.org. And while you're there, don't forget to check into getting a copy of Tony's book, Oneness Embraced, a look at how kingdom-focused unity closes racial divides. And as a special bonus for a limited time, when you make your contribution toward Tony's ministry, we'll say thanks by sending you Oneness Embraced and all six full-length messages from his current series, Race, Culture, and Christ, a look at how the things that unite us as believers can mend divisions and distrust in our neighborhoods and communities. You'll find us online at tonyevans.org, where you can make all the arrangements, or give us a call day or night at 1-800-800-3222, where our resource team members are standing by to help.

That's 1-800-800-3222. Dr. Evans says the Lord didn't need to compromise the truth to successfully reach across ethnic and cultural divides, and neither do we. He has some practical advice on how the races can work and work together based on God's perspective, not human opinions. Find out more about this important subject when you join us tomorrow. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-28 15:16:17 / 2023-12-28 15:24:39 / 8

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