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The Consumer is NOT King

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
October 7, 2022 12:00 am

The Consumer is NOT King

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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October 7, 2022 12:00 am

Who is really pulling the strings of world history? The Illuminati? The United Nations? The Devil? Not even close. 

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Is there anything in your past that causes you to wonder if you're outside the reach of God's grace?

That is the invitation and that is the impartiality of the gospel. You say, but Stephen, you don't know me. I hear you talk about the proclamation of grace, but you don't know my past. You don't know what I've done. You don't know my past. I don't know your past, but I can tell you with Jesus Christ, you have a future.

You have a future and it is something you cannot imagine. The remarkable truth of the gospel is that no matter what you've done, you're never outside the reach of God's grace. Jesus Christ came to save sinners.

If you fit that category of sinner, and by the way, you do, Jesus Christ came for you. But there's a common hindrance that keeps many people from responding to the message of the gospel. Today, you'll learn what that hindrance is, as well as the solution. This is wisdom for the heart.

Today, Stephen Davey looks at the power of God's saving grace as he continues through a series entitled How to Get to Heaven from Earth. Stay with us. It's interesting, I was reading in the USA Today and the front page headline announced you want it your way. This newspaper article began, America is becoming a nation of picky eaters, where in just the last year, 70 percent of restaurant orders had some form of personal customizing. The article went on to quote Ron Shike, who said, We live in an ever increasing world of, quote, Give me a lot of choices so I can customize. Ron Shike believes customization is the way to go, and with it, he has turned his company Panera Bread in only 10 years into a one billion dollar corporation. What the food giants want to know is what will people want?

One thing is certain. Customers want choice. You know, it wouldn't be so bad if we could keep that growing sentiment, that growing philosophy in the coffee shop or in the grocery store. The consumer is king. We'll give you whatever you want to consume.

We can't. It happens to be our current national anthem, frankly. Duke University went through its own politically correct makeover two years ago.

I read this article. It's annual encouragement because it's supposedly a religious school, right? It challenges its students toward chastity. And that particular word was challenged 24 months ago by homosexuals on campus. They confronted the faculty. Does the faculty mean to imply that their activity is unchaste? So the faculty put their heads together and decided to redefine chastity so that it could now include sexual relations between members of the same sex. But evidently not between members of the opposite sex. Let's just redefine the definitions.

Let's make it all up at all costs. So whatever happens, the consumer can get what the consumer wants because the consumer is king. But frankly, that didn't really bother me. That's how I expect the world to live.

That is the bottom dollar. That is the way those without the authority of God or his word act and live. What really keeps me up at night is the fact that the church is adopting this attitude more and more and more and more. There are students graduating from the seminary I graduated from that are trained and challenged that when they go out to plant a church, all they do is go poll the neighborhood. Ask the people what they want to have. And if you'll give them what they want to have, they'll come. Consumerism is now the practical theology of men entering the ministry. And it's all built around the phrase felt needs will meet your felt needs. What if we don't know what we really need? What we really need is God and his word.

Well, what may trouble us is some other need that really is less important. So most churches now choose what it wants to believe and will vote to decide. It will get its vote from some synod, some hierarchy, and it will believe and teach those things. Don't get so hung up on the Bible. You know, besides, it no longer really is the only authority. The consumer now has the freedom to carve it up, disregard some of it, disagree with much of it, believe some of it, scoff at the rest of it.

It doesn't matter. God won't mind. It was well demonstrated by an interview recently with a longtime musician, Paul Simon, who was asked, What do you think God requires out of us? He responded, and I quote, The only thing that God requires from us is that we enjoy life.

Isn't that convenient? You know, the only thing God demands of you is that you have a good time in life. Can you imagine parenting your teenagers that way with that philosophy? You know, Friday night, honey, I don't care what you do out there. Just make sure you have fun, for heaven's sake. You know, your kids, you're ready to go to school.

I don't care what happens at school. Listen to me, young man. Listen to me. You just have fun.

How convenient that is. Someone recently sent me this satirical cartoon. It shows a middle aged man sort of facing the camera who announces, quote, I have just edited the New Testament to make it reflect our individual rights to our own choice of lifestyles. I have cut out all the New Testament passages which refer to sinful activity of all kinds. Then I went on and took the liberty of removing all of the offensive sections, which seem to inflict archaic biblical notions of authority and morality, leaving only one non offensive verse.

Jesus wept. This attitude of consumer sovereignty and self-sufficiency isn't new. Of course, go back to 1875 when a man named William Henley wrote a poem you never memorized, but you know the last phrase of it by heart. It's his famous poem, a tribute to human self autonomy and self reliance and self-sufficiency and pride. It's entitled Invictus or invincible out of the night that covers me black as a pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.

It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. It's simply another way of saying what our nature loves to declare. I, the consumer, am king. But it didn't start there. You go all the way back, in fact, to the Garden of Eden, the very first man and woman who ever lived became infected with this consumerism.

Think about it. Adam and Eve decided they wanted something that wasn't on the menu either. We will eat whatever we want to eat.

We will believe whatever we want to believe. And they did. And then God visited them and they discovered the harsh, absolute reality that they were not king.

God was king. Now, in Romans Chapter 10, Paul is in the process of telling his world of consumers and ours a number of things. Primarily, they're not going to get heaven the way they want it. They're not going to get to go the way they think they want to go. They're not going to be able to redefine God. They're not going to be able to redefine salvation. This is the absolute truth from Paul's inspired pen.

And it sounds like bad news, but eventually becomes very good news. Let's rejoin our study and let me show you where in Romans Chapter 10, verse 11. In this first of three things I want to give you, this is, first of all, the invitation of the gospel. For the Scripture says, and you ought to stop there long enough to understand, this is not the opinion of Paul. This is not the opinion of man.

This is the opinion of God. The Scripture says, whoever believes in him will not be disappointed. Would you note that Paul does not say whoever believes in himself, whoever believes in the church even, whoever believes in the latest spiritual fad, as long as you believe in something, God will understand. No, Paul says very clearly, whoever believes in him, you ought to circle the word him.

You might ask, who's him? Well, go back to verse 9 if there's any question, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, whoever believes in him, the antecedent is our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is the invitation of the gospel, whoever believes in him.

And Paul in this gospel presentation bookends that thought with him. Verse 11, look down at verse 13, for whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Call upon him, what does it mean to call upon him?

Let me give you four things. It means, first of all, to acknowledge him. In the book of Genesis it says, there came a time when men began to call on the name of the Lord.

In other words, they began to acknowledge his sovereignty and authority over their lives. It means to acknowledge him. Second of all, it means to praise him. David wrote in Psalm 145, make glad the soul of your servant. For to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

For you, Lord, are good and ready to forgive, an abundant and loving kindness to all who call upon you. It means to identify with him. Thirdly, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, to the church of God which is at Corinth, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. In other words, calling on the name of the Lord becomes an identifier of the believer with this object of identification who is Jesus Christ, their Lord. To call on him means to identify with his nature and his name, his deity, his attributes. Fourth, it means to depend upon him for salvation. In another song, David sang these words, I called upon the name of the Lord. O Lord, I beseech thee, save my life.

I love that song. Save my life, Psalm 116 4 and 5. So to call upon the Lord means to depend upon him for salvation, to identify with him in salvation, to praise him and to worship him in salvation. And would you notice, and I don't want to belabor the point too much, but you notice that Paul repeatedly defines the object of our worship, the object of our identification, the object of our praise, the object of our salvation. He says, whoever believes, verse 11, in him, verse 13, whoever calls upon the name of the Lord, and there you have it again, the Lord.

All capital letters probably in your translation. It is that Greek word kurios, which as we studied last session, translates Yahweh or Jehovah. It is this Lord, it is not any Lord.

It is not one you make up. It is thee, Yahweh in flesh. It is this Jehovah God among us.

Paul is saying in this invitation to the gospel, I invite you to this Lord and Savior. You see those two titles used repeatedly, don't you? Lord and Savior, Lord and Savior, Lord and Savior.

Think of these two titles in this way. Lord is a reference to who he is. Yahweh in the flesh. Jehovah in skin and bones.

That's who he is. Savior, that's what he did. He came to die to seek and to save those who are lost. So whoever calls upon the name of the Lord then believes who he is and what he has done. Hilary Swank, an actress who won the 1999 Oscar for best actress, was asked, and I don't know if this is a Christian journalist or who, but kind of a blunt question, but where does Jesus fit into all your successes in life? And she responded, somewhat embarrassed, quote, it's not like we're Catholic or Christian or Episcopal or practicing Judaism or Buddhism even. We just kind of believe in a higher power. And of course we hear that all the time, right? But she wanted to add these interesting words, and that doesn't mean a man god or somebody on a cross. You see, in one sentence, she denied who Jesus was, the man god or god man, and she denied what he did, died on a cross, and of course was thus buried and rose again from the dead.

To call upon the name of the Lord is to recognize and believe in the very core of your being that he is who he is and who he said he is, and he did what he did and what he said he did. Not long ago, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, a law professor at DePaul University, said this before the cameras in the world who lapped it up as if it was some kind of sophisticated wisdom. All religions lead to God using different paths.

We've heard all that before, right? The judgment is not by the choice we make, but by how we pursue the path of the choice we make. Different religions are equal in the eyes of God and should be seen as equal in the eyes of man. So which god is it? Could it be a contradictory god to another god? Could it be the god of Vindhyakali whose temple I visited? And I saw her picture of the goddess with her long tongue hanging down to the ground, ready to lap up the blood of sacrifices. Is it that god, or is it the god of the Old Testament? Is it the god revealed in Christ?

Which is it? Is it that the law of non-contradiction no longer exists? That two separate contradicting beliefs could somehow both be right? Listen, my friends, if that man were to take his logic back into his own field of law and to the decisions of the court, we'd have social chaos in a few days.

If he were to take that logic into the field of science and physics and geometry and rhetoric, he would fail and so would we, every class. But you take religion and it doesn't matter, now you can move in with that law of contradiction and it doesn't matter what god you believe. Suddenly, God just becomes so simple-minded and absent-minded that he really doesn't care how you come, just as long as you're having fun on the way.

Remember, the consumer is king whether you're choosing 19,000 different options for coffee or between 19,000 gods. This is the invitation of the gospel. Secondly, I want to show you the impartiality of the gospel. Now, look back at verse 12, for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is the Lord of all. That didn't even shock you, did it?

There wasn't any hair on the back of your neck that immediately just stood up. Oh, but to the reader here, it did. See, it's difficult to imagine the shock of this truth that Paul presents once again, but think of it this way. As shocking as it is to your friends, maybe even your family, your co-workers, those people on that campus, those professors, those shop workers, whoever it is, as shocking as it is to the people in your world to hear you say that salvation can only come one way, it was equally shocking to the Jew to read here that salvation could come to more than one race, Jew and Gentile.

You can't imagine it. As irritating as it is, and people say to you, you mean to tell me that you believe that only those who believe in Jesus Christ can go to heaven? The Jew would be saying, you mean to tell me, Paul, that Gentiles can go to heaven with Jews?

He is preaching a politically incorrect message to them. But it isn't new. In fact, chapters 9 and 10 of Romans quote more Old Testament passages than any other two New Testament passages in the entire New Testament. All Paul does is string one to the other. What I just read you is quoted by Isaiah, and Paul's quoting him rather loosely. He's quoting the prophet Joel here.

The plan of salvation has always been faith and God's redemptive plan and person. The Jews were entrusted with this. They were to be the blessing to the nations of the world. Through them, Paul has already taught us in Romans 9, came the law and the prophets and the covenants and the blessings and the patriarchs and the Messiah.

Go as evangelists in the world and tell them this. But they hoarded it. They kept it. And by the time of Paul, they had developed a lifestyle that was anything but loving and compassionate and evangelistic. You know, in the first century when a Jew would return from abroad before he would come to the city limits of his city, he would take off his shoes and he would shake the dust out of them and dirt and he would brush his clothing and he would get all of the dust and the dirt off of him.

Why? Because he didn't want to defile the Holy Land with Gentile dirt. They developed isolating customs and dealing with Gentiles. They wouldn't enter a Gentile house. They wouldn't shake a Gentile hand. They wouldn't eat or drink from a Gentile cup or plate.

They wouldn't as much as get near one if they could help it. Every morning an Orthodox Jew would pray and among other things he would say, Oh God, I thank you that I was not born a Gentile. See, that's why it was so amazing that Jesus sat by that well and I think it's John 4 and here comes the Samaritan. They were even worse off. That was the mixed blood Gentile and Jew.

They were hated even more by the Jews. They wouldn't even speak to a Samaritan. And here comes this Samaritan woman and Jesus says to her, Would you give me a drink of water?

Not only does he speak to her, but he says, I'll drink out of your cup. And her first response is, How is it that you being a Jew would speak to me? What do you mean, Paul? There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. What do you mean that they can become the people of God? We are the holy ones.

We are separated. We are his race. And Paul gives this radical truth to his audience. Guess who's going to heaven?

Gentiles along with Jews if they come to the name of the Lord. I remember reading several years ago about Robert E. Lee, who entered a church sometime after the Civil War and he was seated next to a former slave. They sang together and knelt in the order of that service and prayed together. And afterwards, somebody criticized General Lee and said, Why would you kneel and pray next to that man?

And he responded, and I love this phrase. Oh, he said, The ground at the foot of the cross is level. It's level. There is no race there. There is no social standing there.

It's level. You just come by means of this person called Jesus Christ. In his ministry newsletter, Leonard Ravenhill told about a group of tourists visiting a picturesque village in Europe. And they walked by in this one village by an old man sitting beside the path next to the fence and in a rather patronizing way, one of the tourists asked this old man, He said, Say, were there any great men born in your village? No, he said, just babies. Ladies and gentlemen, there are no great people born into the kingdom of God, only sinners.

See, that is the invitation and that is the impartiality of the gospel. You say, but Stephen, you don't know me. I hear you talking about the proclamation of grace, but you don't know my past. You don't know what I've done. You don't know my past. I don't know your past, but I can tell you with Jesus Christ, you have a future.

You have a future. And it is something you cannot imagine. In fact, that leads me to the third thing. And that would be the inheritance of the gospel as he talks a little bit, pulls back the curtain just a tad here. Go back at verse 12 where he talks about our inheritance.

He says, There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him. Abounding in riches, that's a sermon all by itself. Just take that word riches in your own personal study sometime and you just track it through the Bible. He will believe the implications for the life of the believer.

Just do that. Study the word riches. I want to give you at least a couple of passages. Paul wrote to the Ephesians referring to their incredible wealth. He says, In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished on us.

I love that. He just lavished it on us. We are wealthy by means of his grace.

Verse four of Chapter two, he says to the Ephesians, But God, being rich in mercy because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places, so that in the ages to come he might show the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. We have these thrones awaiting us as we'll be co-reigners with Christ. We can't even imagine.

Let me try to make you imagine at least a little bit of it. If I were to tell you after this service that I have this piece of paper up here, it's a document. And if you'll come up after the service and sign it, promising that you'll join the church, that's what it says here. Within 48 hours, you'll receive $100 million. Get ready. Get set.

Think there'd be a line? What if it were true? You sign here, you will join the church, and you're going to inherit $100 million. But not just that. I'm going to give you the keys to your own new personal estate, orchards and gardens and kind of your own river flowing through it. And you can sit by it. You can swim in it. And you say, oh, Stephen, I don't have any strength left to swim.

Well, that reminds me. I'll also give you a potion that will sort of revert all the effects of age and return you to a youthful age and health. And it's going to free you from all your diseases and all your aches and pains in life.

And you're going to stay that way the rest of your life. And it's all yours. Just sign right here. It's all yours. Dear friends, most of us in this auditorium will experience everything I've just said and so much more within the next 48 years. Guaranteed. Some sooner, some later. Not because you joined this church, but because you joined the family of God.

You took Paul at his word, and at some point in your life, you called on the name of the Lord for salvation, and you were saved. And within 48 years, you had that new body, that new mind, that new memory, sinless perfection, a new earth to explore and enjoy, a personal residence with a river of life flowing through it. Gold so commonplace, you walk on it.

It's pavement. Imagine that. Never a sad thought ever, ever again. Not a sinful thought.

Nothing along those lines. We cannot imagine the external and the internal riches of God through Jesus Christ. But Paul, in this chapter, lays, as it were, the responsibility at our feet. And it's very interesting to me how he presents this.

He, in effect, says, if you want this, ask. But you have to ask the Lord, Jehovah. You have to believe in who he is and what he has done. For those who don't, perhaps it's because they want to be king for now and refuse the king of kings, and maybe you're here like that, and you're going to say, no, no, no. I'm going to continue to parrot the words of Henley, who wrote with, what I believe, futile courage and misguided faith. Out of the night that covers me black as a pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul.

It matters not how straight the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul. Maybe you can parrot the words of an anonymous Christian who many years ago wrote a response to Henley's Invictus that goes like this. Out of the light that dazzles me, bright is the sun from pole to pole, I thank the God I know to be for Christ, the conqueror of my soul.

It matters not though straight the gate, he cleared from punishments the scroll. Christ is the master of my fate. Christ is the captain of my soul. The consumer is not king. Christ alone is king. One hindrance to the gospel taking hold in the life of an unbeliever is the belief that we are in charge and a desire to keep it that way.

There's only one king, Jesus Christ, and only one appropriate response to him, faith. I hope today's lesson has encouraged you. This is Wisdom for the Heart. Stephen called today's lesson, The Consumer is Not King. It's from his series entitled, How to Get to Heaven from Earth.

There's more lessons in this series and we'll bring you those in the days ahead. Stephen is the president of Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, North Carolina. You can learn more about us at At the bottom of that website is a link to Shepherd's Seminary if you'd like information about how you can pursue graduate level theological training. The school offers in-person training in North Carolina, Wyoming, Texas, and Florida. Visit to learn more and then join us next time here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-25 12:31:50 / 2022-12-25 12:42:48 / 11

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