Leon Fontaine - Are You Naive, or Innocent?
You know, when I was a younger Christian there was a season of church life that maybe I was sensitive to it. But where you would learn the principles of God. And oh, as a young man I wanted to please God. I wanted to know His Word and obey His Word. And so I remember just doing everything that I could. And I would hear that, you know, there's verses in the Bible that say if you love the world, the love of the Father is not in you. That to be a friend of the world, is to be at enmity or hate with God. Over and over I would find these verses that talked about Satan as the god of this world. And so I wanted nothing to do with the world.
And then as we began to learn God's Word and I began to realize as I looked the Word. Just a minute, just a minute. I mean, the Bible also says that John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". So now, I'm kind of confused. If I love the world, the love of the Father is not in me. If I become friends with the world, then I'm hating God. Yet, Jesus loves the world and He died for the world. And so at one point we were so legalistic nobody could stand us, and we just lost any ability to reach this world. Then as we went to the other side, for every mile of road is two miles of ditch. We began to realize, just a minute. We are salt. We are light. Nobody had a saltshaker for breakfast this morning. But if you had eggs, you shake salt on because eggs without salt is blah. But salt adds flavor, salt preserves.
And so we as believers followers of Christ. We had flavored to this world. We are the ones preserving this world. It's our prayer. Our stand for God. And then we are the light of the world because Jesus is within us. And so as I read this scripture I realize, no. The Bible says we are to be in the world but not of the world. And I've never met so much as in the last number of years naive Christians. And so today I want to talk about naive or innocent. Now, naive means to show a lack of experience. Naive is when you have lack of wisdom. Naive is when you don't make good decisions. Your judgment about how to make decisions is just not there. You're naive. Easily swindled. Easily tricked. Easily, and that's the way the enemy wants the church of Jesus Christ and yet we tend to even believe those things about us.
Someone said, "Well, they said it, so I believed them". I say, "What do you mean? People say stuff and you just believe them"? Well, yes. We're Christians. We love them. I said, "It's crazy to have somebody you don't know say something and then just believe them". Really? Do you think so? I say, "Well, so you're going to just take all your money because someone said they're going to make a high return on it, and you're going to give it to them because they said they could". Well, no. Where you're going to just let your kids be babysat by person you don't know. But they say they love kids and they're good with kids. Well, no. Oh, so then you really need to make sure you understand that Christians can be naive.
Some political leader says, "I'm going to do all this for you". Yey! It's awesome. Or someone at work says we're going to do that. We need to stop being so naive and we need to learn the Word of God. Or because the problem with the church world today that I'm seeing. We've still got both ditches. We've got the judgmental Christians on one side that turned everybody off. But then we've got the naive Christians on the other side. They just think everything's wonderful. It doesn't matter how much universalism you mix with this, or if you mix this religion with that religion. I love Jesus and I love this. I love this religion, that religion. And this God and they see, and they're so naive there's no power. There's nothing there for the world to respect. They let the world determine their doctrine.
Now, innocent is different. Innocent and naive are different. Innocent is where you're guilt-free. Where you're an unimpeachable. Where you're honest. Where you're honorable. You see, you gave Jesus your life. He died on the cross, paid the price for your sins. Forgave you, took the curse of the law, and it's gone from your life. He gifted you with His righteousness. Which means you're in right standing with God. So you and I can live this life now of innocence where we don't have to live in guilt. We don't live in condemnation. There's a purity and innocence about us because of Jesus. That's what you're trying for. But don't move from innocence to naive because naive you're going to be taken advantage of. We've got to understand something. That we don't want to be this religious, judgmental people that so many people moved towards. That's not an answer. They're unhappy. They're miserable and they love pushing on everybody else.
But we don't want to be this naive Christians who don't even read our Bibles. We just love everybody and smile and whatever will be, will be. And everything going to be okay because we'll just pray. You know, I've noticed after years and years of pastoring that people's prayer probably three quarters to eighty percent of their praying is done because of their poor decision making. I'm not saying all. I'm saying that people make poor decisions, get into trouble, and try to pray their way out, and they're naive. There's a lack of wisdom. There's a lack of judgment to make good decisions. Yet the Bible says you can have the wisdom of Christ. You can be wiser than your teachers, wiser than people older than you, wiser than your enemies.
So we don't want to walk around with this naivety of, "Well, you know". You need to get in the Word, and you need to understand how to be a believer that loves people. You see, wherever you see the word "world" in the Bible. There's a few different meanings. See, we've got God's created world. Take a look around. This gorgeous campus with trees and grass and things that His creation mankind made. Buildings and, you know, God made the world. But then there's another word that world can mean and that is the people in this world. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him. He's not talking about inanimate things like trees or objects. He's talking about the people.
So world, the word "world" can be used for people. But then the Bible also says not to love the world or the things of the world. And He's talking about the god of this world. The prince of the power of the air. This evil murdering, killing, stealing, attacking, you know, people. The enemy. He's very much alive on this planet. He doesn't have power over believers, okay? But he knows how to come in and just get people to believe certain things and embarrass them. He's always going to be tempting you. So whenever you read the word "world", you need to be aware of that. So when the Bible says we can be in the world, it means in the system of cities and governments and jobs and careers. Whether it's politics or business or the arts or making movies. I mean, the people who follow Christ should be all throughout this world being salt and light. But, well, while we are in the world making friends, sharing Christ, living our lives. We should not be of the world. That means picking up their beliefs, picking up this spirit of the world. Which is really a demonic thing trying you to get focused on yourself.
The apostle Paul says he was crucified to the world. What does he mean by that? He meant the demonic believing, the demonic system that's trying to get you to think about you, getting ahead for you, getting as many pleasures as you can in your life, in your season, in your time. The enemy tries to get us to become so selfish. And he's always going to be tempting you and I to begin to pick up the spirit of the world. Now, the enemy is a tempter. He is right now trying to tempt your marriage off, trying to tempt you to get your finances off, trying to tempt your relationships, your career. He wants to kill, steal, and destroy. But it's an interesting thing how he tempted Jesus. Let's take a look at it. He comes to Jesus to tempt Him and he tempts Him in three areas, three ways.
So in Matthew 4:3, it says, "When the tempter came to Jesus, he said, 'If thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread'". I thought, "What kind of a temptation is that"? Usually when you talk about people being tempted is drug, sex, and power or something like that. And he's tempting Jesus to turn stones into bread. What's the big deal? I mean, he literally rain bread in the desert. It's called manna, heavenly bread. They didn't have a way to feed the two million people moving towards the promised land. So the Bible says they got up every morning. They went up and they gathered the bread for the day. They called it manna. So He had no problem there. I mean, God one time He had Moses hit a rock and water blew out of that rock to water two million people. That's three times the size of this city.
Can you imagine? I mean, so God got no problem with that. So what's the big deal? If Jesus is hungry turning rocks into bread. I mean, He turned water into wine. He turned mud into an eyeballs when He had a blind man and He packed mud in those eyes. And it says He spit in the mud, put them in the guy's eyes and the guy could see. So He's doing all kinds. He takes fish and He recreates a couple fish and a few loaves into thousands of fishes. What's the big deal? Why is this a temptation? It's what's behind it. And many people today, the enemy just kind of like the frog in the kettle. Just trying to get you to move towards the world, adapt their thinking. Oh, God is love. So what's the big deal? Why do I have to change? God should love me the way I am. And I know I'm supposed to accept Him as my Saviour. But, I mean, yes, He loved me. And they have all this reasoning that the church picks up and we change our doctrines because of some person you read writing on spiritual things and you don't even know who they are.
Be careful. It's not so much of the enemy is tempting you to become an axe murderer or a rapist. He's trying to move you slowly so that your beliefs change, and you begin to absorb the spirit of the world. In Matthew 4:6 the devil's going to tempt Jesus again. And again it's the same thing. What? He says, "Satan says to Jesus, 'If You are the Son of God, jump down from this high tower. For it is written, He's going to give His angels charge over you, and in their hands they're going to bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone'". What kind of a temptation is this? Again, it's not sex or drugs or addictions or power or to kill somebody. He's just trying to tempt Him to have the angels rescue Him.
Well, the angels always did. I mean, angels would come and minister to Jesus. He walked on water. He walked through crowds that were crazy mad trying to kill Him and they couldn't see Him. Jesus said nobody touches me till I lay down my life. And so what's the big deal. And Satan was trying to say, "Hey, I mean, people will see you as the Son of God because the greatest create miracle". What kind of a temptation is this? But it's what's behind it all. It's what the enemy was trying to get Jesus to do. Then the third temptation. Woohoo! Boy, things become aware now. Third one, takes Him he says, to a high spot shows Him the cities of the world, all the countries and he says, "All these things I'm going to give You if You'll fall down and worship me".
Boy, now, we're getting into something here. You see, the love of the world has the lies and the evil begin to sip into you, into your thinking, into your reasoning. It's going to make your love for God grow cold. In Revelation he starts talking about certain churches back then and what he had against them. One of them he said, "Man, you could do great works. You do great things. You're amazing in every way except this one thing I have against you. You've left your first love". See, as believers it's crucial that we understand if we don't pursue Jesus. If we don't seek first the kingdom of God. Someone asked Jesus, "Well, what's the most important commandment"? He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength". Everything within you love God. Why? There's something about loving God and pursuing the kingdom of God. That vaccinates you against the world and it trying to creep in.
As you begin to get into His Word and get to know Jesus. You become so strong. And the Bible says that the spirit of truth is in you and it lights your way. And I want you to understand that Holy Spirit is within you as a Christian and there's a truth. The other thing that Holy Spirit does and it's so clear through the Word. That as you are moving in directions, He lights your way. When the Holy Spirit is within you and I, He is here to guide you as a mom raising kids, to guide you as a dad, a grandpa, to guide you in careers. Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth. He lights your way. He ignites your darkness. He makes you aware of which paths to take. And this is so precious. It's something the world cannot have because they don't have the spirit of truth.
Now, because of that if they're wonderful people. I've got people in our families and out-laws and in-laws who have never given their lives to Christ and chose not to. I still love them, hang out, go for lunches, coffees. We're friends. But you have to understand I don't let them decide my doctrine. The way they talk. The way they see the world. The way they see God. The way they see themselves. The way they see eternity is flawed because they don't have the spirit of truth on the inside who lights your way, who helps you to understand, who brings truth into your life.
And I want to challenge you today. That don't allow the enemy to begin to get you into a drift and slowly drift to the thinking the way the world is. You watch a steady died of movies and TV shows. And you need to know if you haven't figured it out. There's a world view hammering away at you, as to what is right, what is wrong. And after a while when you watch enough of this world view coming at you through your school, to your kids, movies, to you, in work, in business, TV, news. You begin to question if you're not strong in God's Word. And it's amazing how many believers can begin to take on the thinking of the world.
There's a fascinating story in Joshua 5. Joshua is leading the children of God. Moses led them out of Egypt. And forty years later, Joshua is now leading them into the promised land. They're at the edge of a huge city called Jericho. A city that was a fortress up on a hill, almost impossible to attack. And Joshua the Bible says in Joshua 5. He looks up from where he was sitting one day, and he sees a man right in front with a drawn sword. Now, when the sword is in the scabbard, it means you come in peace. But when the sword's out, you, there's problems.
So he looks at the guy and he goes, "Hey! Who are you with? Whose side you're on? Are you with us or are you with them"? Meaning, you know, the giants in Jericho. And this man looks at him and he says, "No"! No. What's that mean no? I asked you. Are you with me or are you with them? "No", the guy says. But here's what he says, "No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come". What? Joshua, he knew what was going on. He fell on his face to the earth that he worshiped. He said, "What does the Lord say to me His servant"? Now, in the next chapter goes on to giving him the battle plans for taking Jericho which was as crazy as crazy could be. March around it once for six days. Seventh day march around it seven times, blow the trumpet. What? And God destroyed the walls and they took out the whole city. But here's what's going on.
See, so many Christians today think that Jesus is your fairy god mother. She follows you around with a little wand and whatever you want, she just gives it to you because it's all about you. It's all about your desires, all about your pleasures. It's all about everything going smooth with no problems. And that's how they see Jesus. Jesus just follows me around and He looks after me. And others, you know, "Well, He's my bro. He's my homie". As though He's just one of the guys. No. John 10 says, My sheep know My voice and they follow me is what Jesus said. It doesn't say, "Hey, I know My sheep voice because I got to follow them". No! We follow Jesus. Yet if we're not careful this new age creeps in.
Well, it's all about you. It's all about me. And the Bible says, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And if you're not careful, you're going to raise kids where it's all about them. Yes, parents. Hey! You know, what do you want for your kid? I just want them to be happy. Then a couple of years later as your kid doing something that is wrong. You say, "Well, you know, I don't know anymore. If I agree with the Bible on that. I mean, they're happy. So it can't be that bad".
Okay, stop right there. It is not about pursuing happiness. Life is about pursuing Jesus. It's about following Jesus. Seeking first the kingdom of God where you're going to find your purpose. And when you find Jesus and purpose, happiness will always be with you. But if you pursue happiness which is a self-centered way of doing it. It's like a butterfly. You'll never catch it. And if you do, you'll never hang on to it long. In your life as a Christian, have you gotten to a place where it's all about you? Because there's nothing more depressing than thinking about you 24 hours a day.
When I get down, it's when I think about myself day after day, week after week. I'm just, "Ah, get me out of here". All I can think about is Leon? And sometimes my brain got to wake up. Just a minute here. I was supposed to be following Jesus, His Word, His directions, talking with Him, listening with Him. Pursuing the purpose that He said. Get out and reach the lost. Eternity is coming. You've only got 70 to 120 short years. But the people that you love, you're going to spend eternity with them in heaven.
So treat your time on this earth not as get your bucket list together and figure out how many more pleasures you can pursue. But instead say, "Jesus, I'm following Jesus. One step at a time. I live for the moment in His love". The enemy's temptation, it just get you to drift. And in life I don't think we notice when we drift. But Jesus says you can leave your first love and it's time to wake up the mighty men, wake up the mighty women, and make a decision. I live for Jesus. People don't want to talk about Him. But I'm going to learn to bring Him into conversations when I can in a Spirit Contemporary way, not judgmental and arrogant or condescending but confidently knowing that the answer to people isn't to solve the problem. It's to know the problem solver, Jesus, and everything changes.