Jentezen Franklin - Getting Back To God's Word
Hello and welcome to Kingdom Connection Thank you so much for joining us today, and I believe that today's message that you're about to hear is a wake-up call for this nation. And everyone who's watching this all over the world, it's time for us to get back to God's word, it's time for us to stop conforming and compromising to world reviews and be bold and take a biblical stand. Let's go right into the service and I'll come back and pray for you in just a moment.
I wanna preach to you for just a few moments this morning from the Book of Proverbs, Proverbs 25:11, quickly. "A word fitly spoke is like apples of gold in settings of silver," A word fitly or rightly spoken. In other words, the right word at the right time in the right place can turn things, can change things. It was Solomon who wrote these words, and he was surrounded with counselors, and he must have been thinking about when they were discussing issues, that someone would speak up and have that fit word, that right word at the right moment that was just so clear, suddenly, "There's a way out of this, there's a solution to this".
Words are powerful especially, these fitly spoken words are like apples of gold and my little team is so sharp, they just put it together for me. But apples of gold in a silver platter is what he said it was like. It's like that is just the best, when you have the right word in the right moment. Well, the Bible said that God's word, in Psalms 119, brings light. "God's word," the Scripture said, "Gives understanding". Said in the Book of Romans that He framed the world with His words. That before the world was, He framed the world, and upholds the world with His words. God spoke and said, "Let there be light". And there was light. It's really an amazing thing when you begin to understand that words can change darkness to light. I wanna take you on a journey, and I want you to lean in, and I want you to focus clearly for the next few moments. I promise I'm going somewhere. It's called "The Golden Age of Harvard University".
There's an article in the Smithsonian Museum that talks about how at one time Harvard University was the gold standard for all universities. It was founded by a preacher, by the way, and it was started as a theologically seminary to teach and deepen people's knowledge of the Bible. How far they've come from that. And when you read and study about it, they said it's not always possible to mark when golden age begins, it's much easier to mark when an institution, rather, begins its decline. Whether it's a nation, whether it's an empire, whether it's a church, whether it's a business, whether it's a system in the world, any system. he said this, and I quote: "The silvering of the gold is always done in the name of progress".
In other words, when you start watering down the main purpose for which the thing began, what got it to where it reached the golden age, when you start watering down the gold of an organization, it's always done in the name of progress. It's always done in, "We've got to get bigger, and better, and bigger, and in the name of progress we're gonna change everything we were ever about". You can easily tell how a nation is in decline according to this principle. For example, one of the greatest empires that ever was was the Roman Empire, and there's a day, July 24, 410 A.D. when something happened that changed world history.
The Roman Empire covered most of the world, and they created roads, and they took their language, the Greek language, and it was universal almost all over all the world, it was powerful, and it drove the world. But there were 40,000 who rose up at some point because the nation began to decline, and they took the city of Rome, and even though Rome had never been conquered and no army could conquer the nation of... and the empire of the Roman Empire, nobody could conquer them, but Rome was conquered easily because it was so divided that they walked in an took that beautiful city easily. How did it happen?
Edward Gibbons, the historian said, "The rise and the fall of the Roman Empire," he wrote a book called "The Rise and the Fall". There were five reasons for the eventual destruction and decline. Number one: the rapid increase of divorce and the undermining of the family. That when you begin to see the undermining of the family, when you begin to see the undermining of husbands, and wives, and children, and families staying together, and loving one another, and being together, it's one of the steps of the nation on a decline, it's when you begin to see the rapid increase of the destruction of the family.
This next one blew my mind. Higher and higher taxes. This is not a political sermon; this is just history. Higher and higher taxes. They said the spending of tax money for free bread, therefore, creating a workless society. When you begin to build a culture that doesn't value work, that doesn't value people who get up and go get it every day, who take care of their families, who love their families, who fight for their families, and stand for their families, and then you create a society that expects free bread, everything. I'm not talking about people in need, I'm not talking about people who have health issues. I'm talking about well bodied people, strong people who just, they're lazy. And the Bible said, "If you don't work, you can't eat". That's not a fun Scripture.
The third thing: Higher and higher taxes and a workless society. Does that sound familiar to anybody? You know how hard it is to find people that will do anything? Number three: a mad craze for pleasure. This is where the gladiators came from. They became so pleasure-minded, the decadence of the people, the people were rotting away morally because all was about pleasure, everything was about pleasure. The decay of their faith went hand in hand with this obsession, the mad craze for pleasure and entertainment at all costs. Thank God for this room that's filled this morning. It's people saying, "There's something more important in our life than fun and entertainment. God matters to our family, God matters to our home, God matters to our marriage".
This was an amazing one. When the real enemy showed up, it was their own people. They were so divided in the Roman Empire that it was the own citizens that had divided and conquered, and therefore, the whole empire fell because of those who rose up from the bottom and said, "We're going to destroy everything good in this nation". And they did it. They fell into what was called the Age of Barbarism. The rotting away became so severe, that witches, and the occult, and violence began to take over the whole world. The Romans had built roads and the Greek language was known worldwide, and they had traveled on those roads, they still exist. Many of them in Europe today, you could, they're still there, that's how indestructible they were.
It's amazing that Christ came in that time so that the gospel could go all over the world in one language, the Greek language. But they became so splendored in that empire that before the whole Roman Empire fell, the medieval villages during... were cut off and most of them were only 50 to 500 people living in little towns, few ideas were there, entire vocabularies consisted of 600 words, and they lived their lives, and they would only see maybe 200 people. As they traveled from villages away, maybe as close as 30 miles away, there would be another whole dialect of people. Most didn't travel more than seven miles because the world had become so violent that when the night would fall, you would be killed if you were outside of your own home.
Violence began to increase more and more, the chances of a murdered being caught and convicted during the dark ages was less than 100 to 1 chance. The deterioration of justice, the deterioration of what is right, of law and order, it all began to happen. The decline begins to happen, less and less people really being educated, really learning, really reading, really understanding, really talking, really discussing issues and having a back and forth civilly, it was gone and there was nothing but hatred, and violence, and ignorance, and death, and crime, and looting, and killing, and raping. These are the signs of a nation in decline, an empire in decline. There came upon a moment that brought such darkness.
Here we go now. That the church, the institutional religion of that time said, "We're going to outlaw the Scriptures. First of all, we're going to interpret it into Latin, and the people are already uneducated, they'll never be able to read it, and we're gonna take the ability to read the Scriptures for themselves and we're only give a priest the power to interpret the Scriptures. There'll be no arguing, there'll be no challenging of the Scriptures, of whether or not that is biblical or not, whatever they say will go". And so the first Bible was written in Latin and it was rarely challenged because nobody could read it but the priest, and they had such indulgences that they would come up with things such as, "If you have a descendant who has died, and gone to hell, and lived a wicked life, if you give me money, we can spring them out of jail", I mean hell. "We can spring them out if you've got enough money".
Many of you know that's not in this book but it's in some people's teachings. And I'm not here to argue all that, I'm simply giving you history before I get to what I wanna preach. It was at that moment that Martin Luther, a priest in that church, that institutional religion, he stood up and he said, "This is the straw that breaks the camel's back. There's no way you're going to tell me that I'm saved by works, by how much money I have, by how much power I have, by how much influence I have. God only lets me go to heaven if I'm saved by grace, not by works". He got that revelation. And then he began to preach the priesthood of the believer, that "I don't have to go through a priest to only, God, bless him! Anybody preaching the gospel, God, bless him. I'll take him, I'll link arms with him, and I'll do whatever I can do without compromising what I believe".
But here's the point. During that time, that was a revelation, that was light. In 1229, people were absolutely forbidden to own a Bible and people could lose their lives for doing it. But here's what got me. The greatest thing that maybe began to turn the corner and move the world out of the Dark Ages back into light was a man by the name of Erasmus of Rotterdam who wrote a book on civility and children. He describes the difference between civil people and barbaric people. And he simply said, "Here's the difference. People who have self-discipline or people who do not have self-discipline. The nation that has people who are civilized, if they practice self-discipline, if they're not practicing, and upholding, and lifting as a standard to that people of that nation discipline, decency, and morality, and good, it's a matter of time before it all comes crashing down. The saddest part of all is," this is what the author said, "There were no children".
There were little people, but children as children disappeared in that kind of culture of darkness. They were just smaller little people that were not separated from the adult community. There was no reading of children's nursery rhymes and books. There was no... None of that. They grew up in the same society that their parents did. Their parents didn't screen them, didn't protect them, didn't shield their little minds. And the babies would walk and talk, and they became little people, not little children. They talked like adults because they heard mom and dad cussing, and vulgarity, and this, and that. And the little kids, suddenly that's their response to everything, and they saw their leaders cutting people, and fighting people, and violent, and they became violent. They were not taught social do's and don'ts.
Child at the age of seven shared the exact same world as their adults, they played the same games, they had the same conversations, they heard the same stories, they worked the same jobs; as little children. The same activities. There was no transition from childhood to adulthood, they were exposed to anything and everything. And I just feel like, sometimes, that's exactly where we are. When an eight-year-old child is told and people in our leadership say, "They can figure out what gender they are". You don't understand, that's a conversation, not... That's for adults, that's for people who have their full maturity in their thinking, not an eight-year-old. Don't talk and tell my children that they're more, I'mma preach it like I want to, I'm tired of trying to walk the rope. There's male and there's female. Don't tell them that they need to castrate themselves chemically at the age of 15.
What are you doing? What are you teaching? This is insanity! This is insanity! I don't want my children to hear about, "Mommy has two daddies," or whatever. That's your business, live and let live. But listen to me, the children, their minds, they should be in a safe place. Well, if you gonna ever clap, you better start doing it 'cause people are getting more and more. No, it's time for the church to stand up and say, "This'll bring the light back, this'll bring help back, this'll bring hope back, this'll bring our young people out of the pandemic, out of the depression, out of the addiction, out of the hopelessness". We've tried that route; we've seen what it has produced. Look around you, look at the children that are dying. I said all that to get to this point. Something happened that began to cause the light to shine. The apples of gold is the fitly spoken word.
And what happened? Two things that changed everything in the climate and brought us out of the Dark Age. Number one: in the 1400s there was the printing press that was invented. And I'm not making this up, it's a fact, it's a historical fact. The first book printed on the Gutenberg's Printing Press was the Bible. The B-I-B-L-E. And at the entrance of the word, there it is. That's the golden apples, that's it. If you're gonna give your teacher an apple, give her one of these, this here, and say, "Do you know the B-I-B-L-E? It'll help us in math, it'll help us in reading, it'll help us in leadership, it'll help us be excellent, it'll help us be productive citizens, it'll help us in work, it'll help us ethics, it'll help us in family and marriage, in child rearing, it'll heal the society we're in".
If we would just go back to the B-I-B-L-E. The art of those periods, the art of the day had village festivals, and they show pictures of drunk men, and drunk women, and drunk children, all of them groping, unbridled lust, even the children. And I'm sorry, I hate to say this but has anyone noticed in this nation the rise of sexual child abuse, and the absolute trafficking of children. Little children, my God, what are we allowing? What are we doing? Has anybody noticed in this nation that children are losing the innocence, the innocence of children is just being wasted away because we're not shielding and guarding. It's not a small thing, listen to this, that we have old children. We have old children who at young ages they shouldn't experience such hard things, they shouldn't have to understand why mommy and daddy are not together, they shouldn't have to understand these things.
Life is hard to know when you get up 13, 15, 17, 18, you gotta handle life and deal with. But my goodness, little old children. because they've been exposed to so much so early. I wanna thank God for the church. I wanna thank God for KidPak. I wanna thank God for our preschool. I wanna thank God for our youth ministry. I wanna thank God for our summer camps. I wanna thank God for our volunteers and the Forward Conference that had 10,000 young people. I wanna thank God! I wanna thank God for Free Chapel. I wanna thank God for other churches like it that will stand. I wanna thank God for people who will defend the right to life like many in the Catholic church. I'm not here to put anybody down, I'm just here trying to say I recognize we're in a decline. But it doesn't have to end this way. We've got the light of God's word and when His word enters, light enters.