Dr. Ed Young - The Ultimate Weapon
During the II World War, only one U. S. General was captured. General Jonathan Wainwright was captured by the Japanese. He was placed into a prison camp in Mongolia. When the war ended, MacArthur had won. Peace treaty was signed. The way in Mongolia-they had no way of communication, so a period of time went by, and the general there in captivity knew nothing about it. The Japanese there in that prison encampment knew nothing about it until finally an American plane landed nearby in an airfield, and an officer walked over there to the prison camp, and there was General Wainwright, now crippled with a cane. The years of being there as a prisoner of war had taken its toll, and this officer went outside the base and saluted the general, and he said, "The Japanese have surrendered".
Wainwright returned and began to hobble to the office of the commandant there at the prison camp, and he went in, and he looked at the Japanese officer, and he said, "My commander-in-chief has defeated your commander-in-chief. I am I control. I order you to surrender to me"! And the officer did. Wainwright took over that prison, and subsequently all the prisoners were set free. We've been studying evil, and I want to announce that there's still some mopping-up operations to go, and the news hadn't been clearly broadcast, but Jesus Christ on the Cross won the victory forever! Back in 1987, some were not even born then; some of you may remember that little barge just full of garbage, some 3,000 pounds of garbage that set sail from Long Island, remember? Was going to find a place to dump the garbage?
Now the whole story has come out. Evidently, some kind of mafia-don there in New York had worked up a scheme with the, his mafia equivalent in Louisiana, and the plan was to take the garbage from that Islip township, put in that little barge. It was to sail all the way down the East Coast and go into Louisiana, and dump all the garbage into the swamp there, into the marsh. I hear there are swamps in Louisiana. And, and the deal was that, that would produce methane gas, and they have a way of capturing that gas, and they would sell hit. Half the profits would go to the crooks in Louisiana, and half the profits would go to the crooks in New York, and they would continue this process... But something happened. The Louisiana connection didn't come through, and the barge had already left Long Island was enroute, and now the barge had to find some place to unload the garbage-problem! And they tried to unload it in Virginia. They tried to unload it in North Carolina, and then the media got an odor of this scheme...just...the media began to smell something rotten.
That's back when the media could smell... And, so they followed the saga of this barge. Remember? It went on for weeks. And the barge tried to unload the garbage in Georgia, and in Florida. Went down into the Caymans and, and tried to go to different islands, and they came back into Mississippi and Alabama, and finally, they sailed all the way back to New York. Cost 'em over a million dollars in the trip, and they still were loaded with garbage. And they went right back where they came from, and they found a place called the graveyard something, and dumped all the garbage there, right back on Long Island, where they began! What do you do with garbage? Now we're into waste management, right? Waste management is Old Testament stuff.
In the Old Testament, they would bring their sacrifices. They'd confess their sin on different days of atonement, and the sin would be covered, remember? Covered by the blood of animals, and doves, etc... But that's Old Testament. That's waste management. In the New Testament, there is garbage elimination. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us, eliminates the garbage, obliterates the trash, throws out the waste, and destroys it until it is no more! That's what happened on the Cross.
Now, it's interesting to take the understanding of evil and sin and garbage and trash and waste and, and sort of see how it operates in your life and in my life. It's also interesting to observe that you look at the major religions of the world; in The Abolition of Man, by Lewis again, he takes all the ethical principles of the major religions and he puts them alongside one another, and they are a lot alike. No murder. No stealing. Property rights, etc... A lot of the ethical principles of the major religions and minor religions are basically alike. You can't live in society without having these basic principles in operation.
So there's great agreement, except what we do personally about evil, and there, Christianity just breaks out of the pack and runs way ahead of everybody, because the Christian's answer for evil in your life and in my life is radically different from any other answer. Radically, radically different... And so we look at evil with a different perspective, and we go to the Book of Romans and Paul in Chapter Number 12 here tells us how we are to operate in a evil, broken world, even though the victory has already been accomplished in this mopping up phrase, when old Slew Foot is still trying to destroy God's purpose for your life and for my life.
So Romans 12 tells us, beginning in Verse 9: "Love without hypocrisy". There's not a whole lot of that running around, by the way. Love totally, sincerely, without wax. That's the meaning of the word. Just genuinely. Love no matter what, no matter how. We think love is a feeling and an emotion. Love is something you do. Love-agape love is something that God empowers His sons and daughters to do in Christ Jesus. We are to love without hypocrisy, with a pure love. And then he tells us two things we have to do. The first, do you see it there? Is to abhor evil. And the second is to cling to good. Abhor evil. The word "abhor" there may be translated in your Bible, "hate". Right? You got a Bible, how many of you have a Bible that says "hate" there. You see it? Yeah, yeah-says "hate". The word "abhor" and "hate" there, it means to be horrified of. In other words, we are to be horrified of evil. Evil should frighten us. It's a horrible thing. Literally, we know Jesus hated a lot of things. Do you remember that?
"Oh, I thought hate was bad..." Oh no! Why was Jesus such a hater of so many things? It's because Jesus was a genuine Lover of so many things. And when you love something-you know, God loves the world. God loves all inhabitants of the world. Therefore He hates things that destroys the world. He hates things that destroys those who were created in His image. Therefore His hatred is stronger than our hatred, because His love is infinite, and His love is so much stronger. And then Paul tells us what is good. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence-in diligence, fermadent, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation-trouble, sickness, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality".
That's a test when you look at that. Just say, "Oh, that's nice, that's fine, that's good... No, Lord. Do I measure? Do I really have a loving heart"? That's what a loving heart looks like. It, you can figure it out. The Spirit will tell you, as its told me. You pray that. And then finally, he talks about, "Do we have a blessing heart? Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse". That's not profanity, by the way. "Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep". In other words, a lot of people, we're with them, and we don't feel like they're a blessing to us. We fe, we hear a... they suck the life out of you. You can't have too many of those in your repertoire of friends, by the way. God help you if you're married to one. But we are to be in the blessing business. I'd love to take time and put my hand on everybody's head and say, "Lord, lead..."
I'd love for you to put your hand on my... we're, we're to bless. We're to lift up. We're to encourage. We're, we're to rejoice with, cry with those who cry, laugh with those who laugh. We're, we're to be a blessing! We're to have a heart that blesses! Don't you love to be around people that are a blessing? You genuinely-genuinely... by the way, this is without hypocrisy. This is the bottom line of love. And then finally, we're to have a humble heart, beginning in Verse 16: "Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation". So this is talking about how we abhor evil, how we cling to that which is good. These are the kinds of heart we have, a heart that we develop. It's not natural heart; it's a supernatural heart we have in Christ. And then he tells us, we are to be not overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. We can easily get overcome with evil, and we turn back evil for evil.
How do you respond to evil? When someone abuses you, slanders you, hurts you, disappoints you, lies to you, lies about you, kicks you, deceives you, how do you respond? How do I respond with that? Let me tell you how not to respond. How not to respond is just be passive. Just-you're, you're quiet on the outside to this evil, but you're burning up on the inside. Let me tell you for a long time what I've done, and this is wrong-little confession: When someone would really hurt, defame, slander-by the way, slander can be telling the truth in order to hurt somebody. Did you know that? It's not just lying about them. Slander can tell the truth in order to hurt somebody. Well now what happened, what I would do, I'd pretend like they died. I'd say, "Bill died". He doesn't bother me anymore.
Say, "We didn't know he died..." Oh yeah, as far as I'm concerned, he's died. I speak to him... He's not there. That's not the way to do it. That's not God's way, folks. Little confession... Another way is to respond with violence. "I'll get you back! I'm smiling, but, heh, heh, my day will come"! And then when you see God taking some vengeance, as we're gonna take in their life, we say, "Heh, heh! That a way, God! Get 'em! Get 'em! That's right! I know that guy hurt me too"! But we let, we overcome our evil, but we are to be overcomers, we're overcome evil with good, and we say, "Well, what does that look like"? Tells us right here in the Scripture. "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people".
Let me tell you something: The Bible is full of nuance. There's some people you will not be at peace with. No matter how you operate on principles we're gonna look at, they, they just, they just not gonna be right with you. They're not gonna forgive. There are a lot of people that are so narcissistic, they're so schizophrenic, or their so broken, they're so hurt themselves, they just have to be in the constant slashing business! And, and it says as far as possible... see how nuanced the Bible is? See, as far as possible... do everything you can. So what does it look like when you overcome evil with good? Uh, a great illustration of this is, is I Samuel, Chapter Number 24. It's a great story! If you're not familiar with it, David was in hiding. They were in a cave there, Abdullah, hiding from Saul, and Saul was paranoid. Said David was going to take over his throne. He was jealous of David, and so he had 3,000 of his troops out looking for David to kill him! David was hiding, and in the marching around, Saul had to make a pit-stop.
So he went in this cave. He didn't know David was hiding in the cave, and David was hiding there in the shadows, and as Saul didn't observe him, he came and took Saul's coat, King Saul, and just cut a little bit of it off, the coat, his cloak, and kept it. And Saul put his coat back on, walked back out, went out, and a little while later, David was on top of a high mountain, and he said, "O' my father, great King Saul! This is your son! I honor you! Why are you pursuing me"? Etc., etc... He treated Saul with great deference and great reverence and great respect. He said, "Why are you pursuing me"? And David held up the bit of his gown, and said, in other words, "I could have killed you. I was right there and you didn't even know it. Here's part of your gown", and Saul must have looked, said, "Oh, ho-ho! I didn't notice that was missing".
Don't you imagine? And then Saul was repentant. He said, "You're a better man than I. I'm ashamed, and, and come on back home, David. You're like a son to me". And by the way, this happened two or three times in other situations. See, Saul was, you know, he had a problem-schizophrenic, paranoid-I don't know. He had a problem. He was a sick man. He, he couldn't... But look how David did everything he could, did he not, to show that he honored and respected God's anointed? He didn't attack... And so, that's how we are to respond. We are to do everything we can. Sometimes you can't do enough to bring things back together in harmony. And do that in your family. Jesus says twice, recorded in the New Testament, "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other cheek and let him slap that one as well..."
Now by the way, when you slap somebody, that's not a physical attack. It's not. If you want to attack somebody, hit 'em in the nose, and the eyes, and the mouth, other places when you really want to hurt somebody. But what is a slap? It, it shames you. It's humiliating. It's embarrassing. It's, it's condescending, and, and therefore, when someone slaps us on one cheek, how do we respond to that? Do we respond passively? Do we respond with anger? Jesus says we're to turn the other cheek. When we don't turn the other cheek, you know what we're doing? We're saving face. Say, "Well, you slapped me on one side, but I've still got this side"!
But we turn the other cheek, we're no longer saving face, are we? And that's the issue with a slap. It's not the bodily harm; it's we're saving face, and if we turn the other cheek, we're saying it doesn't matter about my ego. It doesn't matter how embarrassing this is, but what's important is, that you have harmed me. You have attacked me in this way to shame me, and I'm not trying to save face. I'm putting my ego to one side. Therefore, we separate-listen carefully-our enemy from what the enemy has done or said to us. Very important. Here is what the enemy has done or said. We separate that from enemy himself and we ask God for the power to forgive the enemy, and don't worry about saving your face. Then you, the Bible says you heap coals of fire on their head, and this means you illumine them. You warn them. You, you deal with this, and maybe in your forgiving, you not only build a relationship again, but you are heaping coals of fire on their head, and all of a sudden, you've diffused the whole situation.
If you do not turn the other cheek, what happens, you are a part of the evil that has been done. They're controlling you! They still have their hooks in you. They're dominating my thinking, and we have the idea when we sit down. We say, "Remember what you did"? Wah! Wah! We harangue them, if we can. Or, we go to somebody else, "Let me tell you what that guy did, what he said. He owes me! Da, da, da, da, da"! We go to somebody else, and we take care of that. The Bible says God'll take care of it. "Vengeance is mine..." He'll take care of it. But we do that. Or, we keep praying it to ourselves, reminding ourselves, "Let me tell you what he..."
You don't do any of that. You turn the other cheek. You get your ego out of it, and then you're very aggressive when you turn the other cheek because you take all the venom out of it, all the hatred out of it, and they say, you know, and you do good, it's so tough, folks. This is where the Christian ethic is so radically different from all other ethics. All the other ethics say vengeance, stay away, or whatever. We say go there and be a part of the healing, and love them. Figure out ways you can honor them. Figure out ways you can do something for them. Let me tell you something: The next funeral in your family, when all the family shows up, or at the next wedding in your family when all of us had to have our picture made together, or, or the next holiday in your family and you go, "Boy, I sure hate to find my brother, or my brother's wife, or my sister, or my cousin, or that ki..."
You know, we go there with all this anger. Go there with the idea, "Man, I'm going to love. I'm going to be redemptive. I'm going to build up". Whatever they said, whatever they've done, my mom, my dad, whatever-man! It'll change the whole atmosphere! But the Holy Spirit has to give you and me the power to be redemptive, and we have to be (here's the phrase) passionately, aggressively forgiving. Passionately, aggressively forgiving and redemptive. And I'll tell you what it'll do to the person that you don't like, the person that doesn't like you. It'll just knock them off balance. They won't have a way to deal with that, because you have actively turned the other cheek, and you've actively begun to defeat the evil that you know is there.
Say, "That's easy..." No, no, no. "It's impossible..." No, no, no. "Jesus can do it, but I can't..." No, no, no. It's the power of God in you and me as we overcome evil with good! That's what it is! What is the Cross? It's God overcoming the garbage of the world with good. You see, God is a-not way up there somewhere off and away up there... God is a garbage collector who gets right down in the middle of your garbage and my garbage. That's what the Cross is. You see, a lot of people want justice. "Oh, I want justice. I'm tellin' you"! A lot of people say, "Oh, no, no. I want love, and I want to love everybody..."
See, you can't have justice without love; you can't have love without justice. We, we say, you know, "I want to be just. I want to be right with God". You can't be declared just before God unless Jesus Christ, Who Is just, and He Is the Justifier. That's what happened on the Cross. Justice was established between you and me and God on the Cross. Justice was established! God's justice, God's purity, God's holiness was established by Jesus in His death on the Cross. Justice was there. Also, love was demonstrated. You see, that's the miracle, love was demonstrated how much God loved us. He sent Jesus, the garbage collector!
By the way, you say, "This doesn't get God off the hook". What is God on the hook about, remember way back? God is on the hook by a lot of people say, "Well, if God is all powerful, He can't be all good, or He'd eliminate evil". Remember that? A lot of people put God on the hook about that. The Cross, really, is the answer for that. Jesus is the answer for that. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: When you and I go to the foot of the foot of the Cross, we don't look up there and say, "Eh, I wonder how, how high, how tall is that Cross"? We don't do that. We go to the Cross, we don't say, "You know, I wonder how long the arms are of the Cross? You know, how many, how many feet, how long are the arms of the Cross"?
We don't do that... You go to the Cross, you want to say, "You know, I wonder how much that Cross weighs? I, it's a pretty heavy bit of wood there. I wonder how much it weighs..." We don't do that. We go to the Cross. We just want to know, is that Cross high enough to reach to Heaven? Is that Cross-the arms of that Cross-are they long enough to include somebody that's has so much garbage in their life, now and in the past? Are the arms long enough to include somebody like me who's been in waste management instead of garbage elimination? Can somebody like me full of garbage, are those arms long enough to include me? And we ask, "Does that Cross weigh enough to tip the scales of grace, and forgiveness on my behalf"? See, that's personal, isn't it? At the Cross.