Hervey Bay Presbyterian Church

Living on God’s Earth (2)

Bible Readings

  • Isaiah 46
  • Romans 1:18-32

Introduction

My dear friends in the Lord,

How does one understand the world one lives in?  How does one answer life’s questions?  Who are we?  What are we doing here on earth?  Where do we fit in?  Do we have an influence on things around us?  

The way we answer these questions reveals our worldview.  What shapes our worldview?  What makes you think the way you think?  One’s worldview determines one’s thinking, and one’s thinking determines one’s actions.  Thoughts and actions have consequences.

Greeks 

If you were Greek and lived a thousand or more years ago, you believed that three days after your birth you would receive a visit from three sisters. They were old, ugly women, who were strict, bitter and without mercy, dressed in ragged clothing, with snakes as hair, their skin blistered and eyes bloodshot.  These sisters would decide whether and for how long you should live, weaving the web of life from a spindle into the Book of Fate. Together the sisters were called Fate.

Hinduism

If you were a Hindu, you would believe that there is one god, with a feminine aspect displayed in the mother goddess Durga.  In her one finds original energy which gave birth to time, space, and from her, the material universe progresses.  As Mother Nature, she gives birth to all life forms, and ultimately she re-absorbs all life forms back into herself, or “devours” them to sustain herself as the power of death feeding on life to produce new life.  

Atheism

If you were an atheist, you might agree with Richard Dawkins, when he remarks, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

Another atheist, Mike Autrey, says, “I will live and I will die. I do not believe religion will bring peace to mankind. At the very core it seeks the end of the world. Judgment day. The end of the road for our species. And against those ideas I will fight. For my child as well as yours.” (http://www.atheistrepublic.com/gallery/i-am-atheist-because-i-sought-truth-about-reality)

The reason why I mentioned these different views is to make it clear that what one believes determines the way one thinks. Is there purpose?  Is there hope?  Is the world created, or did it just happen? Is there design? Can the earth sustain human beings?  Are our lives determined by fate? 

By and large policymakers of our age are not Christians, and their policies are determined by their worldviews.  Filmmakers choose to make movies which reflect their worldviews; so do newspaper editors and TV stations.  We are bombarded by non-Christian worldviews.  So, how do we react?

Environmentalism

One of the reasons for this short sermon series “Living on God’s earth” stems from my personal observation and study over the years concerning the perceived impact and future of mankind on the earth.  This led me to read up on the tenets of Environmentalism.

Let’s first just make a proper distinction between the environment and environmentalism.  We live on earth as part of the ecological system, also referred to as our environment.  Christians should instead refer to God’s creation, and not to a capital “E” Environment as if it is an entity.  Environmentalism goes beyond this:  it is a religion with the environment as the subject of worship.  

The worship of Mother Earth flows from pagan religions.  Humanity’s relationship and dependence on the earth for survival has existed since the beginning of time. Environmentalists claim that many cultures including Native Americans, Aborigines, Africans and South Americans have understood this interconnection with the natural world. Western cultures had a poor understanding of this relationship as they separated themselves from the land through technology and development. Mankind (more so Christians), driven by the Biblical mandate of subjecting the earth and ruling over it, must, therefore, bear the guilt of exploiting the planet, harming it, and disturbing nature’s balance.  The catch cry is the conservation of natural resources.  

The religion of Environmentalism holds that earth is a living goddess with feelings and thoughts just like any other conscious living entity.  She has quite literally sacrificed her own salvation so that we can live here.  She can literally feel the harm we do her (https://www.aetherius.org/the-mother-earth/).   One of the surest ways of harming mother earth is pollution, of which CO2 emissions is the worst.

Mother Earth worship has solid connections with old pagan Mother Goddess worship.  These religions are strongly connected with some versions of feminism and Wiccan views.  Wicca, which is a form of witchcraft, emphasises the immanence of divinity within Nature (Nature is god, and god is nature), seeing the natural world as made up of both of spiritual substance as well as matter and physical energy. Since the Goddess is said to conceive and contain all life within her, all beings are held to be divine. For some Wiccans, this idea also involves elements of animism (a belief that natural objects other than humans have souls, something we find in indigenous cultures). Plants, rivers, rocks (and, importantly, ritual tools) are seen as spiritual beings, facets of a single life.  Wicca worship the Earth Goddess as Gaia.  

A thread which runs through all these religions is that, through industrial development and advancement, man is a destroyer of all things good.  Christianity is labelled as the worst, not only of its understanding for the cultural mandate but because it upholds patriarchal families.  Men are regarded as violent warlords who will do whatever is needed to enrich themselves at the cost of mother earth, while females are presented as loving and caring, and thus a continuation of the Mother Goddess.

Major bodies to promote this worldview

There is, of course, a platform needed to ensure that Environmentalism, or the protection of Mother Earth, is enforced.  

United Nations

Although not created for this purpose, activists infiltrated the United Nations to create a platform.  Very openly this international body has become the major sponsor for this religion.  One can only read the opening pages of the official environment websites.  I quote:  A healthy environment is the foundation of human life.  But we are putting the planet under enormous pressure.  We are depleting the Earth’s natural resources, polluting its air and water, destabilising the climate, and driving many of its species to extinction.  If we work together, we can change the world.  UN Environment works with people around the globe to drive the changes that the planet needs. Together, we can build a healthier, more sustainable world for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

This is a blatant display of pride humanism, declaring mankind in control of the world, with no room for the Creator God.

The operational word here is the recurring term “sustainable world.”  The UN has developed the so-called 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.  One paragraph states: “We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.”  It further states: “We are determined to mobilise the means required to implement this Agenda through a revitalised Global Partnership for Sustainable Development…”

Is this another way of promoting a one world government?

The UN talks about “our citizens”, “international law”, which, of course, will be passed by the United Nations, and the obligations of each country to these laws—all in the name of sustainable development.  This document is a neat marriage between environmentalism and Marxist socialism, with the thread of feminism running right through it.  A definition of sustainable development is “… a state of society where living conditions and resource use continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system. Sustainable development can be classified as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.” The premise is that we are sustained by Mother Earth, and not by the Creator God.  We need a body to control what we need, where to get it and at what price. This body will distribute what we have in abundance to other communities who lack some things. Will this body be elected?  To whom will they be responsible?  According to what standards will they make decisions?

This takes us right back to the worship of Mother Earth.  In essence, it is nothing but a religion; but the difference is that this is now pursued as a world religion.  

The World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches states, “Climate change is thus a matter of international justice and inter-generational justice.  The WCC makes no bones about its collaboration with the UN on climate change from 1990 to the present (https://www.oikoumene.org/en/folder/documents-pdf/Climate_Change_Brochure_2005.pdf.)  The WCC labels the promotion of the teaching about climate change discipleship.  It is no surprise that an inter-religious gathering was held during the Kyoto Climate Change Conference, with participation from Buddhists, Shintos, Christians, New Religions, Hindus, Muslims and Jews in a Catholic Cathedral in Kyoto followed by a candle-light procession to a Shinto Shrine where participants were blessed by Shinto Priests.  

How do Bible-believing Christians respond? 

  • We believe God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, is the only and living true God.
  • God rules sovereignly over creation, the world of his hands.
  • He is most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin; He rewards those who diligently seek him; He hates sin, including idolatry and the worship of created things. 
  • Unlike other so-called Gods. He is in need of nothing any created being should bring to Him.  He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom and to whom, are all things.
  • He maintains sovereign, all-wise and all-powerful dominion over all things He created. His “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made”. So mankind is without excuse. (Romans 1:20, ESV)  
  • When Adam and Eve fell into sin, they plunged with them creation which now is in bondage till the return of Christ when God will make all things new.
  • Man, in his sinful rebellion against God, suppresses the truth about God, “…for although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Romans 1:21, ESV)

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:22–23, ESV)

…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! (Romans 1:25, ESV)

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.” (Romans 1:28–29, ESV)

  • This is the reason for war, envy, hatred, jealousy, cheating, and abusing God’s gifts of the earth in a spirit of increasing consuming greed and exploitation. For this, we stand condemned before God and will give account to Him.

Only God can save, not the UN or the WCC with its sustainability programs.  To this end we proclaim Christ:  

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, ESV)

Meaning in the chaos of worldviews is only possible if we have peace with Him through whom God created the universe.  He revealed the Father to us.  When He returns, because of Him, those who trusted in his exhaustive and comprehensive intercession between the Holy Creator and sinful human being will be made citizens of the new heavens and the new earth.

Amen.

Sermon preached by Rev D. Rudi Schwartz on Sunday 13 January 2013

 

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Halloween and the Bible

Test all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

A Celebration of Evil

Halloween is a religious day, but it is not Christian. Tom Sanguinet, a former high priest in Wicca has said: “The modern holiday that we call Halloween has its origins in the full moon closest to November 1, the witches’ new year. It is a time when the spirits (demons) are supposed to be at their peak power and revisiting planet earth… Halloween is purely and absolutely evil, and there is nothing we ever have, or will do, that would make it acceptable to the Lord Jesus.”

Day of Death

Halloween has strong roots in paganism and witchcraft. It began as the Druid festival of Samhain. The Celts considered November 1st the day of death, because, in the Northern hemisphere, this was the beginning of winter, the leaves were falling, it was getting darker earlier, and temperatures were dropping. They believed that their sun god was losing strength and Samhain, the lord of death, was overpowering the sun god. The druids also taught that on 31 October, on the eve of the feast, Samhain assembled the spirits of all who had died during the previous year to return to their former home to visit the living.

Human and Animal Sacrifices

On Halloween, for thousands of years, druid priests have conducted diabolical worship ceremonies in which cats, horses, sheep, oxen, human beings and other offerings were rounded up, stuffed into wicca cages and burned to death. These human and animal sacrifices were apparently required to appease Samhain and keep the spirits from harming them.

Trick or Treat

To obtain these sacrifices, druid priests would go from house to house asking for fatted calves, black sheep and human beings. Those who gave were promised prosperity, and those who refused to give were threatened and cursed. This is the origin of “trick or treat.”

Jack-O-Lantern

The Jack-O-Lantern has its origin in the candle-lit pumpkin or skull, which served as a signal to mark those farms and homes that supported the druids’ religion, and thus were seeking the “treat” when the terror of Halloween began. The World Book Encyclopedia says: “The apparently harmless lighted pumpkin face of the Jack-O-Lantern is an ancient symbol of a damned soul.

Dance of Death

While people and animals were screaming in agony, being burnt to death, the druids and their followers would dress in costumes made of animal skins and heads. They would dance, chant and jump through the flames in the hope of warding off evil spirits.

House of Horrors

One of the popular heroes of Halloween, Count Dracula, was also a real person. Dracula lived from 1431 to 1476. During his six year reign, Count Dracula massacred over 100,000 men, women and children in the most hideous ways. He devised a plan to rid his country of the burden of beggars, the handicapped, the sick and the aged by inviting them to a feast at one of his palaces. He fed them well and got them drunk. Then he asked them: “Do you want to be without cares, lacking nothing in the world?” When his guests yelled: “Yes!” Dracula ordered the palace boarded up and set on fire. No one escaped this original “house of horror.”

The Word of God

“When you come into the land, which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations which you will dispossess, listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.” Deuteronomy 18:9-14

  • “…teach my people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 34:23
  • “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priests for Me; because you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your children.” Hosea 4:6
  • “Train up a child in the way he should go, then when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
  • “That whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone was hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Matthew 18: 6-7
  • “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9
  • “Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the Armour of Light.” Romans 13:12
  • “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and of the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:21
  • “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? What communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? For what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? …Therefore, come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
  • “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11
  • “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
  • “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the Faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies and hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.” 1Timothy 4:1-2
  • “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
  • “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
  • “Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.” 3 John 1

Participating in Paganism

Instead of participating in paganism, walking with Wicca, being in harmony with Halloween, having our children celebrate cruelty, and dabbling in a day of death, we should focus our family and congregation on celebrating Reformation Day this 31 October.

Reformation Day vs Halloween

It was on 31 October 1517, that Dr. Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of the Slosskirche (castle church) in Wittenberg, Germany. His bold challenge against the unBiblical practices of the medieval Roman papacy inspired the Protestant Reformation. All Bible believing churches should celebrate the greatest revival of Faith and freedom ever. The Reformation was one the most important turning points in world history. The energies that were released by the rediscovery of the Bible in the common tongue led to the most extraordinary spiritual Revival in history. The Reformation freed the Christians of Northern Europe from the decadence of Renaissance paganism and led to the greatest freedoms and scientific discoveries in history.

Every Bible believing Christian should celebrate the Reformation. No Christian should have part in celebrating the occultic Halloween.

We are in a spiritual world war. Cruelty to animals, vandalism and even murders occur with far greater frequency during Halloween. Every Halloween many thousands of animals, and even people, are sacrificed in satanic rituals worldwide, while millions of other people, including well meaning Christians, participate in Halloween celebrations. Halloween is a prime recruiting time for witches and Satanists. Many people have testified that they were introduced to the occult at a Halloween party. Halloween is very religious, but it is not Christian.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

Choose Life

This 31 October, take a stand against Halloween by mobilising your family and congregation to celebrate the Reformation, and to engage in spiritual warfare, earnest prayer, praying the Psalms, and sharing the Gospel with our friends and neighbours, particularly those who may be unthinkingly participating in this occultic celebration of divination, necromancy, human sacrifice and cruelty to animals.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole Armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole Armour of God, that you may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the Breastplate of Righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Above all, taking the Shield of Faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:10-18

ⓒ Article by Dr Peter Hammond, Frontline Fellowship

Related Articles:

Ten Reasons Why Christians Should Not Celebrate Halloween

Reformation or Desecration? How a Hallowed Eve Became Halloween