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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Merritt » James Merritt - Thyatira, Failing The Tolerance Test

James Merritt - Thyatira, Failing The Tolerance Test

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    James Merritt - Thyatira, Failing The Tolerance Test
TOPICS: This is Your Captain Speaking, Seven Churches of Revelation, Tolerance, Compromise

Well, I got a question, November the 16th, big day, how many of you know why it's a big day? Anybody here know the significance of November the 16th, anybody? Because if you do, you're smarter than I am and you're certainly smarter than a fifth grader because till I studied for this message, I didn't know anything about November the 16th. But in 1995, the United Nations declared what they called a year for tolerance and they called on UNESCO to follow suit. So November the 16th, they created the declarations of principles on tolerance as a way to provide awareness for tolerance for all participating nations. And so ever since every November the 16th, the entire world is called to celebrate what is called the International Day of Tolerance as a way to provide awareness that we all ought to be tolerant of each other.

Now that sounds good and actually the day is based on this premise and I want to throw it up on the screen, but I want you to read every word cuz there's one word there that if you're not careful, you'll miss it. Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Now to the average listener and to the average person, that sounds innocuous enough. That sounds harmless enough. I mean, sounds like something everybody would want to do, but as the old saying goes, the devil is in the details.

Because when you read that statement, there's one little word you might blow over, you might gloss over it, you might not pay attention to, but it is the word on which all of that hangs. And that word is acceptance. You see we're living in a world today where it's not just enough to acknowledge somebody has a different viewpoint or respect that they have a different viewpoint. It's not even enough to appreciate differences. It's not even enough to defend the right of someone to have a different opinion. For example, I'm pro-life, unashamedly, pro-life. Maybe you are pro-choice. I respect your right to have that opinion. It's America, you got a right to have it.

Here's the problem. If I don't accept your view as just as valid as my view, I am intolerant. So let me just make it plain. If you're pro-choice, I do not accept the validity of your view compared to my view. I don't accept it, I don't just don't agree with it, I don't accept it. Now I just became intolerant. And there are a few things considered worse today than being intolerant. It is if you know your literature, it is the Scarlet Letter people put on you today because once you're declared to be intolerant, all of a sudden you are bigoted, you are narrow minded, you're judgemental, you're full of hate, you're even dangerous.

And there are people who are considered intolerant. And if you're like me and if you are one of those that sometimes are, you know what could happen to you, you can be shunned like a leper. You can be stymied in your organization where you work and you certainly can be canceled by the tolerance police. That's the day we live in. Well today we're going to learn from a church in a place called Thyatira that and this is important, big statement, Jesus will not tolerate the toleration of what should not be tolerated. That is so good, I'm gonna say it one more time. Jesus will not tolerate the toleration of what should not be tolerated. With that thought in mind, we're in the book of Revelation chapter two.

I want you to turn to the very last book, Revelation chapter two. For those of you who may be visiting or you're watching for the first time, we're in a series where we're calling, This Is Your Captain Speaking. Jesus through the apostle John 2000 years ago wrote seven letters to seven churches that are now mainly in the country of Turkey. In effect what it was, it was the heavenly audit if you will. It was the divine audit of all seven churches of the good, the bad and the ugly. And the reason why we're talking about it 2000 years later is because what Jesus said to the church then, he says to the church now and churches are just made up of individual Christians.

So Jesus wasn't just talking to the church, he was talking to the Christians sitting in seats just like you. So what Jesus said to the people in the pew back in that day, Jesus is saying to you and me today. Now here's the interesting thing about this letter. This is the longest letter of all the seven letters that Jesus wrote. And the reason why that's so strange is because of the seven cities. Thyatire was the smallest city of the seven cities. So Jesus is writing the longest letter in effect to the smallest church. Matter of fact, of the seven cities, this was the least important of all the cities. It was a blue collar town. And I don't mean to be condescending, but I want you to think Detroit, that Thyatira. It was just a blue collar town. They were known for the manufacturer of purple dye.

And as you're going to see in just a moment, if you had visited the Crosspoint Church in Thyatira 2000 years ago, that's the only church worth going to by the way, but if you'd visited to the Crosspoint Church of Thyatira 2000 years ago on the outside you would've said man, they got it together. This church is, they're getting it done. This church is really getting after it. This is the kind of church I wanna be a part of. It wasn't the problem they had on the outside, they had a big problem on the inside. You see, nobody knows the church better than Jesus. Nobody knows Christians better than Jesus and Jesus can see what nobody else can see. Jesus can see things in this church I can't see, you can't see, nobody can see.

You say, well how do you know that? Listen to the way Jesus is described in verse 18. He said to the angel of the church Thyatira write, these are the words of the son of God. Now watch this. Whose eyes are like blazing fire. What did John mean by that? Well, just like a blow torch can cut through the toughest steel, Jesus can cut through the hardest heart. He's got supernatural natural x-ray vision. Jesus, listen, Jesus literally and spiritually can see right through you. He can see right through me. He can see right through our church. Cuz lemme tell you something I bet you've never thought about. If I were to say to you how many people are sitting in your seat right now, you'd say one, you're wrong. There's not one person sitting in your seat right now.

There are three people sitting in your seat right now. You say, well who is that? Well, there's the person that you think you are and there's the person that other people think you are, but then there's the person that God knows that you are. There are three people in your seat. The person you think you are, the person others think you are, the person God knows that you are. The third person is the only, is the person only Jesus can see. As a matter of fact, Jesus said this about himself down in verse 23, I am he who searches hearts and minds. You see you can't keep a secret from Jesus because with him, there are no secrets. Nothing is hidden.

Now this will make you a little bit nervous. It makes me nervous. He sees our faults in high def. He hears our secrets in surround sound. And this church had a cancer on the inside that was going to absolutely eat it alive. And here's the problem. They were failing the tolerance test. That was the problem. That was the big problem they had. He said you're failing the tolerance test. But that doesn't mean what some people think. Okay? The world says if you are not tolerant, you fail the tolerance test. That's not the way you fail it in the eyes of God. The way you fail the tolerance test is by tolerating what should not be tolerated. That's the way you fail the tolerance test.

If you begin to tolerate what should not be tolerated, you fail the test. And this church was tolerating something they should not have been tolerating. It was putting up with something it should have put out, it should have put down, and the problem is like a lot of churches today, like a lot of Christians today, they thought they were broadening their thinking, they were only stretching their conscience. Let that sink in for a moment. So they were choosing compromise over conviction. They were choosing comfort over confrontation. They were choosing peace over principle. So here's what we're going to learn today. Okay, you ready? When you tolerate what is wrong, you will always contaminate what is right. When you tolerate what is wrong, you'll always contaminate what is right.

So let's see today, what does our captain say about making sure that we don't fail the tolerance test? Three things. Number one, the Lord commends spiritual health. This is the positive part of this church. The Lord commends spiritual health. Now, like any good doctor that does an examination, when you go see a doctor, the reason he'll check your heart, he'll check your blood pressure, he'll check this, he'll check your eyes and all that, he's not looking for what might be wrong, he's looking for what might be right. Jesus does exactly the same thing. And when Jesus looked at this church, he said, you know, there are several things I want to commend this church for.

For example, he says in verse 19, I know your deeds. Here's a church hard at work. They were not lazy. They were a ministering church. They were worshiping, they were discipling, they were serving, they were sending, hey were giving their time and talents to the work of the Lord. They were trying to minister their community. They were living out their Christian faith. And I'm absolutely convinced in my years of pastoring, I'll tell young pastors this, I'll say, listen, you're gonna build one of three kinds of churches. I said, there are churches that watch things happen. And then there are churches that hope things happen. But then there are churches that make things happen. I said, you want to pastor a church that makes things happen.

This was a church doing that. They were working, they were ministering, they were trying to please God the best way they knew how. And Jesus said, but you know what, I see something else. I don't only know your deeds, he says in verse 8:19, I know your love and your faith. Now here's one thing I'll say about this wonderful church. Of all the seven churches, the only church that Jesus singled out because they loved the way they oughta love was this church. You remember over in Ephesus what he said? He said, you have left your first love. Not Thyatira, in Ephesus their love was waning. In Thatyra Their love was gaining. He said, I know your love. I know you love Jesus. I know you love me. I know you love each other. I know you love your church. I know you love the ministry. This was a loving church.

So this was a church with a loving heart, servant spirit. Cuz by the way, that's what always love does. Love produces service. If you love Jesus, you don't have to serve, you wanna serve. If you love Jesus, nobody has to make you to serve, you get to serve. Somebody was asked one time, how do you know you have a servant like attitude? Listen to this, this is so good. How do you know that you have a servant like attitude? They said by how you act when you're treated like one. By how you act when you're treated like one. This church had a servant spirit. He's not done. He goes on to say this, I know your service and perseverance.

Now watch what he says. I know that you're doing more now than you did at first. Jesus said, look, I get it. In some ways you're better than ever. You're working more, you're loving more, giving more, trying more, witnessing more, praying more than ever before. This church was not standing still. It was not backing up. It was moving forward. And while I'm in the neighborhood, lemme just say this, that's what I want for our church. I want our church to be doing more today than we were five years ago. I want our church to be doing more five years from now than we're doing right now. And I wanna challenge all of us beginning even today when it comes to serving and worshiping and giving and going and discipling and caring and sharing and praying and working. We ought only have one word in our vocabulary, more. I wanna pray more, give more, witness more, serve more.

So from all appearances on the outside, the church was spiritually healthy. If you were a spiritual doctor and you took the vital signs of this church, everything was good. Blood sugar was good, blood pressure was fine, heart, weight was great, oxygen was at an optimum level. The dashboard looked great. Now the problem is that was what you saw on the inside. But what if you cracked it open and you looked on the inside? So let's just do that right now. I wanna ask you a question. Just be honest. If you're a Christian, I want you to look back at your life a year ago. If you've been saved this long three years ago, or if you've been saved this long, just look at your Christian life five years ago.

And here's my question, if we were to do a spiritual x-ray of you, what would we find? Do you love him more than you did a year ago? Are you giving more than you did a year ago? Are you serving more than you did a year ago? Do you desire him more than you did a year ago? Because I've told you before, God wants us to grow up before we go up. God wants to see us grow. He wants us to see more. See, here's the problem. You know what I find when most Christians, they grow older, they don't grow bolder. I wanna grow bold, not just older. I wanna grow up as I'm going up. So the Lord commends their spiritual health. He said, look, in so many ways you check out, every box is checked.

Here's the second thing I want you to see. The Lord doesn't just commend our spiritual health. The Lord commands our personal holiness. He commands our personal holiness. Now I'm reading this letter and I'm just pretending I've never read this letter before and I've read to this part that I've already talked about. I'm thinking, good gosh, how in the world could you find anything wrong with this church? I mean, this church is, seems like they're doing awesome. And I guarantee you they were reading this letter and they just wanted to stop and say, man, let's make a cake, let's throw a party, we are doing great. But then they read the next word and it's that dreaded word we've heard before. Nevertheless.

When you hear that word from Jesus, just buckle your seatbelt. Nevertheless, I have this against you. And I know they're looking each other going, what could he have against us? What's this? You, what's that next word? Can we say that out loud? So Jesus has a problem with certain kinds of toleration. Can I get an amen to that? You tolerate that woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophet. Jesus said, I got one big problem with you, you have failed the tolerance test. You are tolerating that which should not be tolerated. You've decided to tolerate false teaching. You've decided to tolerate false doctrine. You've decided to tolerate false preaching right in the middle of the church.

Now before I go any further, we gotta answer a question, right? Who in the world was this woman Jezebel? Well, it was obviously some false teacher in the church who had been able to gather a following because she called herself a prophet. Now, there's a lot of debate among biblical scholars whether or not her real name was Jezebel okay? Doesn't matter whether it was or not, John's point is this was a woman, just like a woman in the Bible named Jezebel. Now just outta curiosity, don't be embarrassed, how many of you have ever heard of the woman called Jezebel? Alright, some of you have, some of you haven't. That's okay. You may have never met her, but let me tell you two things. Number one, I'll bet you've never met a woman named Jezebel. Number two, just a word, if your son every marries a woman named Jezebel, run. I'm just telling you, run. Okay?

Now a review is in order. Okay, who in the world is Jezebel? We gotta go back to the Old Testament. Jezebel was a committed worshiper of the Pagan God Baal. He was the fertility God. Well, the king of the Jews at that time, the Jewish king Ahab broke God's law, he marries this pagan woman. She's not a believer, she's not a follower of the true God, she's a pagan, but Ahab marries her. And so in effect, she becomes the queen in residence. So she gets Ahab to build this altar to Baal. She even got Ahab to put 450 false profits on the government payroll. So the government, the Jewish people, their taxes are now supporting false prophets who are teaching false religion, who are spreading false truth and who are spreading all kinds of things that are not true.

Now 900 years later, John says, oh my soul, Jezebel has come back. Maybe not in the flesh, but in the spirit. Well, what was she teaching that was so bad, right? We're in verse 20. By her teaching, now watch this. She misleads my servants into, what's the next two words? Sexual immorality, right? And the eating of food. What's the next three words? Sacrifice to idols, right? We keep coming back to this over and over and over because here it is, 2000 years later, got the same problem. He says, you know what? You've got a lady in your midst and she's teaching sexual immorality is okay, and she's teaching spiritual idolatry is okay. So this woman was saying, look, it's okay to worship other gods, be tolerant, all paths lead to the same place. Everybody's trying to get to the same place. They're just taking different ways to get there. And then on top of that, she was introducing sex into religious practices.

So in fact, covered with a religious coating, what she was saying was this, hey, it's okay to engage in fornication. It's okay to commit adultery. In fact, practically any sexual act that the Lord would call immoral, she says, no, no, no, no, that's just not true. And at this point, I'm gonna be honest, I got confused reading this going, wait a minute, is that a letter to that church or is that a letter to our church, the church of today? It kind of seems like the same thing because here's why we're being told today by people who say, and this is listen, be careful when you hear this or we're more enlightened today. Yeah. You see the church has gotten it wrong for thousands of years over issue after issue after issue. And the amazing thing is what they're propagating, what do you think it leads to? Spiritual idolatry, sexual immorality.

So come on, man, you surely, in the 21st century, you're surely not gonna try to stand up here with any credibility and say that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. Surely you're not going to be that intolerant. Oh, surely you are not going to stand up here in the 21st century and say that all sex outside marriage between a man and a woman is wrong, immoral and sin. Surely in the 21st century, you are not dare to stand up and say that you're not gonna tell us that gender matters at all. Are you? You're not really gonna tell us that a piece of paper actually means anything, are you? And but listen, by the way, there were people in the church, you know what they were saying?

Well, you know, she's a prophetess. She has to know what she's talking about. Well, let me notice something that don't want you to miss. You notice John said she called herself a prophetess. In other words, what was he saying? God didn't call her that, she called herself a prophetess. So lemme just give you a little word of advice. Not everybody that has a doctor in front of their name is worth listening to. Somebody said there's so many doctors in the pulpit, you think God was sick. Not everybody that has a PhD is to be trusted or believed. As a matter of fact, I had a lot of PhD professors in seminary. You know what I thought PhD stood for? Not doctor of philosophy It stood for phenomenal decepter.

And here's what they say today, you'll hear it all the time. The church has been mistaken for 2000 years. The Apostle Paul, he was nothing but a woman hating misogynist, totally ignorant of what we now know about human sexuality, but we're more enlightened. We have the truth. Science has proven the Bible wrong. Culture has proven the Bible wrong. Philosophy has proven the Bible wrong. Votes have proven the Bible wrong. The supreme court's proven the Bible wrong. It's all been, a bunch has just been wrong. We just missed it. One of my favorite authors is CS Lewis. You know what CS Lewis called that kind of thinking, this is a great term, he called it chronological snobbery. I love that.

You say, what did he mean by that? Here's what he said. Listen to this. It is the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account to be discredited. In other words, he went on to say this. So when you start hearing things like, well, but the churches always believed that for 2000 years, but they missed it. But it seems like that's the plain teaching of scripture. Yeah, but the scripture is wrong. We know more today. We don't need the Bible to tell us about sex. We need Dr. Ruth to tell us about sex. I don't need the Bible to tell me what's right and wrong. I want my philosopher professor in that secular university to tell me what is right and wrong.

And CS Lewis said, when you start hearing that kind of stuff, when people begin to ask questions like those or make statements like those, he said we ought to ask questions like these. When you hear people rejecting a traditional time tested truth, he said, y'all ask these questions. Number one, you might wanna write these down. Why did this idea go out of date? So I'm gonna ask all of you today, why did this idea that marriage ought to be reserved between a man and a woman, why did that all of a sudden go outta date? It wasn't outta date in the one hundreds, two hundreds, three hundreds, four hundreds, five hundreds all the way up. It wasn't outta date till about five years ago.

Oh by the way, was it ever refuted or did it simply become unfashionable? And here's the third one. If so, who refuted it? How? Why? I don't mean this to be disrespectful. I believe in the rule of law. When it comes to what God says, the Supreme Court doesn't get a vote. I don't mean to make anybody mad or upset, I'm just letting you know, Congress doesn't get a vote. The President doesn't get to do an executive order. So the problem was this church had decided to tolerate false teaching. Now let's bring this church up to the 20th century. Alright, so we bring this church up to the 20th century. And we're not gonna call it Crosspoint Church, that we would never do that. Let's say the 20th, we'll just say it's the church at Mars Hill or something like that. You know what people do this thing about that church.

Now that church is affirming, that church is open-minded, that church is broad-minded, that church is inclusive, that church is tolerant. And the media would love us. Newspapers would never write anything bad about us and anybody that dared to criticize us, they'd just be lumped in with everybody else who are just these bigoted, narrow-minded, pharasy judgmental people. Because there will always be the temptation for the church to do what I call buy the lie. There'll always be that temptation to buy the lie. You say what lie? You remember the first question that has was ever asked in the Bible? The very first question. If you don't let me remind you, is when the devil looked at Adam and Eve talking about the word of God and said this, has God said, first lie, has God really said that? Did God really mean that?

And see there's always going to be those out there who'd rather we wallow in doubt about anything God has said than to stand in certainty of everything God has said. And yet these same people, this is what I love, these same people who call us intolerant, they are also intolerant of certain things. These people who look at me and say, you're intolerant. Well you're intolerant of sex abuse, aren't you? Well, yes. Well, you're intolerant of racism. Yes. Well, you're intolerant of child molestation. Well, yes. And the dirty little secret out there that they don't tell you is the truth of the matter is there are some things we ought to be intolerant of.

Mother Teresa was intolerant of poverty. Nelson Mandela was intolerant of apartheid. Martin Luther King was intolerant of racism. So I wanna be perfectly clear, I wanna make this, we cannot have it both ways. The church is going to have to make up its mind and you out there in the living world, that we're in the real world, you gotta make up your mind. You are either going to choose the word of God or you're going to choose the approval of culture. There's no middle ground. You cannot straddle the fence. You're gonna make up your mind. I know some of you don't like it. I know some of you, I get it. I'm just simply telling you with God, you cannot straddle the fence. Either we will stand for what is right or step aside for what is wrong. We either plant our feet on the rock of conviction or we sink our feet into the sand of compromise. Let me give you a great example.

March the 8th, 2004, Sunday, Gene Robinson was installed as the first official gay bishop in the Episcopal church. Well, a debate broke out because the Episcopal church had never approved a gay person being a bishop of anything. So this big debate broke out. Well, the Episcopal Bishop of Virginia made this statement. I want you to listen to what he said. If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy. The only thing wrong with that is that is a heretical statement. I wanna remind you of something. Gentle Jesus. Christmas Jesus. Baby Jesus. Loving Jesus. Gentle Jesus. You know what he said? I came to divide. I came to draw a line. I came to draw, put a line in the dirt. I will turn fathers against sons and mothers against daughters and brothers against brothers and sisters against sisters. Cuz as I said last week, I will say it again, it is better to be divided by truth than united in error. The Episcopal church said, no, we'd rather be in error and all get along.

Jesus said, no better not to get along, but stand in the truth. So what did Jesus say to this tolerant church? What does he say? You're okay, I'm okay, we're all okay. Doesn't matter what you believe. Everybody just accept each other and let's all sing Kumbaya and go to the varsity and have a chili steak. Nope, here's what he said. I've given her time to repent of her immorality, but she's running, she's unwilling. Now watch what he says. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely unless they repent of their ways. Now watch, I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know.

Now watch this. I am he who searches hearts and minds and then he makes a statement we don't pay attention too much. And I will repay each of you, not the church, you, you, you, you, you and this pastor right here. You don't stand by the truth. You tolerate what should not be tolerated. You compromise biblical conviction. I'm going to, you gonna answer to me? I'm gonna repay you for your deeds. Merciful Jesus, just as woman time to repent. She didn't do it. So I wanted you to remember something about false teaching cuz I've seen this happen in my life. It is a lot easier and a lot better to keep it out than it is to get it out once it gets in. It is a lot easier and a lot better to keep it out than it is to get it out once it gets in.

And here's what Jesus says to those of us in the church. He says, I'm gonna repay you according to your Jesus. He said, wait a minute. I thought if you're saved, you don't have to face the judgment of God. Well, yes, in one sense. No, you will never be judged by your sins or for your sins. When you give your life to Jesus, that judgment goes away. But we are going to be judged according to our works. We are going to be judged according to our deeds. God is going to see, look at our lives when we stand before him and say, you know, my son died for you on the cross. Did you stand for him when it came to truth? Did you tolerate what should not be tolerated or did you not tolerate what should not be tolerated? May we never tolerate what God never tolerates. So the Lord come commands spiritual health. The Lord absolutely commands, I mean commands, he commands personal holiness.

Here's the last thing then we'll wrap up. The Lord calls for a biblical heart. He calls for a biblical heart. Now, what's this? What's the council Jesus gives to the church? What does he say to the Christians? Same counsel he gives to us. Now here's what he said. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira. In other words, here's what he's about to say. This is the good news. There were some people in the church that were saying we shouldn't tolerate this. This is not right. We should not hear it. We should not listen to it. We should not have anybody in the church that's a leader that holds any kind of position that would teach this kind of stuff. No sir. We shouldn't have them in our seminaries. We shouldn't have in our Christian colleges.

No, no, no. There were some who say, nope, this is not right. He says to the rest of you who do not hold your teaching, you have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets. He says, I will not impose any other burden on you except, and here's all Jesus tells us to do, one thing, hold on to what you have until I come. So there were some in the church, they were standing strong. They said, we will not tolerate what Jesus does not tolerate. We will not do it. He says, all right, you just hold on to what you have until I come. Well, what did they have? Same thing we've got, the word of God. That's what we've got. And what Jesus is saying to me as your pastor and what Jesus is saying to you as our church, he's simply saying this, in the cultural storms that we all face today, we must hold to a biblical heart for biblical truth.

Let me give you a true story. My first class in seminary was a class in the Old Testament, and I had an extremely liberal professor. Most of them were. Who spent the first two weeks telling us how the Bible is full of contradictions. It was wrong in certain places and that we should not let the authority be of, we should not let the Bible be the authority for what we believe, we need to be the authority over the Bible. Well, I was a good boy for two weeks. I sat there with gritted teeth. I'd clench my desk, I'd look down, I'd push my veins back in that were popping about six feet out. And I heard this guy rip the scripture from, I mean, stem to start. Adam and Eve weren't real. That's just a myth. Jesus didn't have to die on the, I mean just all kinds of stuff you wouldn't believe.

So he got through it. He says, okay, next week we're gonna go into the study of the Book of Genesis. So I looked at a guy, a buddy of mine named Joey. I said, I was getting my books and I said, I gotta go talk to Dr. Kelly. He said, what are you gonna talk to him about? I said, I got a thing I wanna tell him. He said, Jim, I don't think I'd do that. Yeah, you know you I said, I don't care. So I went up to see him and I said, Dr. Kelly, he said, yeah. I said, you presented one side of your argument. Okay? When are you gonna present my mind? My side. I don't forget what Dr. Kelly said. Just a little, little short guy, sweet guy, but just you know a whack job. And he said, you're James Merritt. I said, yes sir. He said, are you telling me you believe in the inherency of the Bible or are you telling me you believe this book is the word of God from one end to the other? I said, yes sir I do.

Never forget what he did. Had this condescending, had his glasses over his nose, kind of peering over them. He put his hand on my shoulder. Here's what he said. Well son, you stay here long enough, we'll disabuse you of that notion. I put my tender loving hand on his shoulder and I said, Dr. Kelly, with all respect, it will be snowing in hell and devils will be drinking milkshakes before that will ever happen to me. Now to this day, to this day, I've continued to hold fast to the word of God. Let me tell you why. Pastor are there things in the Bible you don't understand? Yup. Are there things in the Bible that you find are sometimes hard to reconcile? Sure. Are there even things in the Bible that you wish weren't there? Yup. But I'll tell you what I've learned.

I've learned this book is a sword that can cut through any false teaching. It is a fire that can burn up any false teaching. It is a hammer that can shatter any false teaching. Until I die with my last breath, I'm gonna take a death grip on this book and I am never going to turn from this book. So here's what Jesus promises. We're gonna wrap up. Watch this. To the one who is victorious, who's the victorious one? The one who says, I will not bend, I will not bow, I will not budge. The whole world can believe one thing, but if it's wrong and I'm the last man standing, I'm not moving. He says to the one who is victorious test my will to the end, I'll give authority over the nations. That one will rule with an iron scepter and will dash into pieces like pottery, just as I've received in my authority from the Father.

Here's what he said. If we'll stay under the authority the word of God and the son of God in this world and in this life, he said one day we'll have authority over the next world. We'll have authority over the next life. But we gotta be willing to be the last people standing. Listen. You say, okay pastor, I'm with you. Alright then you gotta be willing to lose. You gotta be willing to be left out. You gotta be willing to be rejected. You gotta be willing to be shunned by the enlightened culture. We've gotta hold onto the word of God and stay in the will of God. Jesus goes on to say, I will also give that one the morning star, whoever has ears here letting know what the spirit says.

So the church is now what is the morning star? Well, the better question is, who is the morning star? That's right the Bible. Jesus is. And you know what the morning star is, you ain't cause himself the morning star. The morning star is the star that shines the brightest just before dawn. He said, you will have the morning star. Here's what Jesus was saying. If you walk in the light of this book and never stray into the darkness of the devil's era, you will live in my light forever. So he says, stay in there. Hang in the battle. Don't give in, don't give out and don't give up. So let me just wrap up so you understand what I'm saying.

As a Christian, forget being a pastor. I get it. Yes. Yes. We ought to respect and recognize others who don't share our values, don't share our beliefs, don't share our practices. Yes, we ought to respect someone's belief, but that doesn't mean we have to accept it. It doesn't mean we have to affirm it. You convince someone's right to live the way they wanna live without denying that the way they live is not right. Because in the end, if you will just do that, we will have not just Jesus, we'll have all of Jesus. And not only will we have the blessing, we'll have the blesser if we pass the tolerance test.

Would you pray with me. with heads bowed, with eyes closed. Look, I get it. It's tough. It's hard. I understand it's not easy out there. You teach at a public school. I understand you work at a secular corporation. I understand. In your own neighborhood. I get it. I understand. I'm not asking anybody to be mean. I'm not asking anybody to be disrespectful. I'm not asking anybody to be a flame thrower. That's not what I'm saying today. What I am saying is there's a test out there right now, you gotta take it every day. It's called the tolerance test. And we should never ever tolerate what Jesus doesn't tolerate. So I just wonder right now, those of you who say I'm a follower of Jesus, I'm a believer in Jesus, would you just pray out loud this prayer with me, just very briefly, just pray this with me out loud. Say it right now:

Lord Jesus, help me to stand for you and help me to stand for truth. Help me to do it in love and with respect. Give me the courage never to compromise my convictions and the truth of your word.

Now, you don't know Jesus. You've never been saved. You've never trusted in Christ. You can live one of two ways in this world. You can live like the world and you can live with the world or you can live like Jesus, which means you don't live with the world, you may live in it, not with it. You live with him and for him. Jesus Christ. Lemme tell you something. You know why Jesus Christ died on the cross? Do you know why? He was intolerant that sin ought to have the final say in our life. He was intolerant that anybody that didn't want to go to hell shouldn't have to go to hell. That's why he died on the cross. He was intolerant. Today, if you've never accepted that Jesus and into your heart, you could do it right now just by simply saying in your heart:

Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner. I need a savior. I believe you're that savior. I believe you died for my sins. I repented my sins. I turn away from my sins. I trust you as my savior. I receive you as my Lord, and I commit my life to you today.

Are you Human?:*