My freedom is real
“Urges…and how to overcome them!”
Promise: My freedom is real!
Have you ever received a “Save the Date” post card in the mail? Most cards are mailed because of an upcoming event such as a wedding or anniversary. Well, I have the biggest “save the date” event your calendar has ever seen. Highlight December 21, 2012 on your calendar because according to Mayan prophecy the world is going to end on that day! Watch this - 2012 movie trailer. The world as we know it will end on December 21, 2012. That’s the basis of this new hit movie – has anyone already seen it? Can I be frank with you? I did not even know there was a Mayan prophecy. I’m not even sure who the Mayans are? So let’s dabble in a little ancient history! According to Britannica, “the rise of the Maya began about AD 250 with Mayan culture lasting until around AD 900.[i] Mayan mythology taught that “the sun is a god and that the Milky Way Galaxy is the gateway to life and death.”[ii] The Mayans followed the path of the stars and planets and determined that the beginning of time was August 11, 3114 BC. On this date the Mayan’s calculated the sun’s movement crossed the center of the Milky Way Galaxy and it’s going to happen again 5,125 years later and that date is none other than December 21, 2012.
Now there are allot of things I’m not sure of in this world – I’m not sure what’s going to happen today or tomorrow – I’m not sure if I’ll have hair 10 years from now or what will my kids be doing! But one thing I am absolutely, positively certain – the world will not end on December 21, 2012. Why? Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 25. Do you need a Bible today? Jesus tells three stories or parables in Matthew 25 and they all have the same point – you do not know when Jesus is going to come back. His “so what” refrain is consistent. “Be ready. Keep watch.” In preparation of Matthew 25 Jesus said this in Matthew 24. Find verse 36. (Read) Why would God give this date to the Mayans but withhold this information from his prophets - not to mention his one and only son? When the world ends there will be no advance notice. Jesus uses the example of Noah in Matthew 24. (Read 37-42) The end begins when Jesus RETURNS. Not everyone believes this or teaches this. Let me give you an example. Turn in your Bible to 2 Peter 2. We are five weeks into our Urges series. It’s not that we have urges – it’s that we can overcome urges. Now Peter writes his first letter to encourage. Despite suffering stay faithful. He writes his 2nd letter to warn.[iii] Be careful about false teachers. Whose lead are you following? I am thrilled that Thanksgiving is this Thursday. I truly thank God for each of you and I pray you know how blessed you are. Now the day or two after Thanksgiving is when I put up my Christmas lights. I’m thinking about doing what this guy did? (Christmas Lights Ditto photo) I’m not sure how to take this photo. Is this neighbor being creative or is this neighbor being lazy? You and I MUST be careful who we follow. Peter first offers a warning! BEWARE of FALSE PROPHETS! (Read 2:1) Peter gives an example of an Old Testament false prophet in verse 15. (Read 15-16) The example is Balaam His story is found in Numbers 22-24. John MacArthur called Balaam a “compromising prophet for sale.”[iv] Balaam preferred wealth and popularity over faithfulness and obedience. So do many people today! Now the warning moves from past to present. BEWARE of FALSE TEACHERS! Have you ever heard of the song, “She’s got the look?” Whether it’s 1st century or 21st century false teachers also have a “look!” Go back to verse 1. A person can parade around and say they are a Christian, a Christ follower. This is true for all of us but especially of those who teach. You can’t just use words; your life must prove your words.
“Greg, should I marry this person or not?” Do they bear fruit for God? Do their actions back up their words? Wouldn’t you have more respect for a boss who also does what he asks his employees to do? Should you listen to me or to any minister, pastor or elder if our actions do not back up our words? (Elder insert) If I were you – I would not listen to anyone who is obviously greedy – find verse 3. Red flags would surface for me if that person was arrogant and despised authority – find verse 10. Peter adds to the “look” list in verse 17! Did you notice the two water illustrations? False teachers are like wells without water and storm clouds which blow away. False teachers are all hot air. They have nothing to give unlike Jesus who gives us living water! Now who do false teachers prey on? (Go back to verse 18) Whose just escaping from death to life? The answer is of course THOSE WHO’VE JUST ACCEPTED Christ. Those folks are described as “babes in Christ” or new converts. But they are just a sub group. The group most susceptible to teachings that are false about Jesus are people who know very little about the Bible! If you decide not to read the word of God it’s so much easier for you to fall for anything!
“Man, maybe this Mayan thing is accurate?” No, it’s not. The Mayans worshipped the sun. Not the S-O-N but the S-U-N. Paul tells us in Romans 1 that people will often worship “created things instead of their Creator!” The Mayans made human blood sacrifices to the sun in hopes their lower “g” god would make them fertile and give them food to eat.[v] That is certainly not bearing fruit and neither do any other false teachers. False teachers specialize in catering to our urges. Back up again to verse 18. There’s that word “desires” again. Our urges, cravings and longings for the forbidden. This is the 5th time Peter has used this word. How in the world am I supposed to overcome my urges? Claim the promises of God! Here’s Promise #5: My freedom is real! You can’t get freedom any other way. It’s only though salvation in God’s one and only S-O-N and not by bowing down to the S-U-N! And that’s why Peter is so miffed and his warning is so strong. These folks were saying Jesus was not born of a virgin. Jesus is not God. Jesus did not bodily resurrect from the dead and Jesus is not coming back![vi] These teachers had an appearance of really knowing Jesus, but Peter DID know Jesus. Peter ate with Jesus. Spoke with Jesus. Heard Jesus teach and saw him heal. Peter’s life is totally changed because of Jesus but it wasn’t always like that. I was sitting in Panera again this past Friday morning. It was pretty early – maybe 6:30A.M. A man parks his BMW in front of the store and walks in. He’s all "nicey" nice with the girl taking his order and pays for his food. I do not know what he ordered but I do know it included hazelnut coffee. He gets his bag and cup and makes his way to those large carafes and would you believe it – there’s no more hazelnut flavored coffee. He yells – “where’s the hazelnut!” The girl says, “I’m so sorry, we’re making more.” I know what it’s like to be in a hurry. I’m sure he does too but he stands and waits. I bet he waits 5 minutes and the college girl walks up to him and says “I’m sorry – our brewer is not working right. It’s going to take more time.” And he freaks out. “WHAT! No hazelnut coffee. This is ridiculous.” No, his exact words were this sucks. And she says “I’m sorry.” And he says, no you’re not, you’re not sorry! Basically calling her a liar. And then he settles for another flavored coffee grabs his food and walks out the door! This man’s appearance was all nice. He walked in calm, but left angry! I’m curious? How does anyone, Peter – this man, you, me become free from anger? Don’t follow the advice of these teachers. “Jesus isn’t coming back. It really makes no difference what you do with your body and emotions. Or others say, “Look deep within. The answer lies within.” No it doesn’t. Peter has a better solution. Go to 2 Peter 1:5-8. (Faith - Stefanie Spielman) Did you know that we can be effective and productive for God? Anger will not allow you to be effective and productive for God. How do we overcome an angry heart? We deliberately grow our knowledge of Jesus! My wife Tricia asked our kids this question? I recommend you asking the same question if you have kids OR ask this in your small group. “Do you think believing in God is just about keeping rules?” Is this all just glorified rule keeping? It’s not about rule keeping. It’s all about relationships. God wants you to be free. God wants you to be free from anger. To be free from lust. To be free from bitterness. To be free from any addiction. It’s easy to think that freedom means no rules, no boundaries and no barriers? But that’s not freedom. A person here at WCC asked me to call a friend of hers and pray with him. So I did. I called him and said “Hi, I’m Greg and we have a mutual friend. She asked me to pray with you. Is that OK?” And immediately he answered, “I worship Satan!” Satan means accuser. His mission is to deceive. Jesus means, “Jehovah saves.”[vii] His mission is to seek and save the lost. Why? Because he wants to set you free. I don’t know what’s on the top of your “I’m thankful” list but on mine it’s – Thank you for setting me free. Do you know what 2012 is – it’s a great sci-fi thriller movie with tons of special effects, but it’s nothing to get nervous about. But Jesus’ words are true – I’m coming back. Are you ready?
[ii] www.gotquestions.com / What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy
[iii] Henrietta Mears, What the Bible is all about, 627
[iv] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, 2 Peter, 1937
[v] www.gotquestions.com / What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy
[vi] [vi] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, 2 Peter, 1933
[vii] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 47