Matt Hagee - The Endangered Species of Truth And Reason
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Would you stand for the reading of God's word? If you brought your Bibles, turn them to the book of Romans, the 1st chapter. We'll begin with the 21st verse today, as this morning we visit a topic that's familiar in phrase but might not have been addressed from this concept before. Today we're talking about "Endangered species". And we're talking about two kinds of species that are familiar to all of us, but you might not have ever put on the list. Today we're talking about "The Endangered Species of Truth and Reason".
There are a lot of people who are concerned about endangered species, it raises a lot of funds and awareness. You have commercials that try to jerk tears out of your eyes, as they show dogs that need a bath, and text or tweet if you love pets. I love them next to potatoes, but anyway. There was a game warden who was hiking in Colorado. And he went up a mountain he hadn't been up in a while. And there at the top of it, he found a campfire. And sitting behind that campfire was a mountain man that had been away from civilization for several decades. He looked on the fire and there was a spit. And roasting around that spit was a rather large bird. And he said, is that a turkey? It's not turkey season. He said, no, that's not a turkey. He said, what is it? He said, it's a spotted owl. And he said, that's an endangered species. He said, nobody told me that.
The game warden said, I'm going to have to write you a ticket. He said, it won't do you any good. I'm not coming off the mountain, I'm not going to court, and when you come back up this mountain, I'm going to be gone anyway. The game warden thought about it for a bit. He said, well I guess you have been up here a while, and maybe you weren't aware of the laws. I guess I could let this one go. Maybe we shouldn't write this ticket. And he said, maybe we'll just consider this to be one of those moments of mercy that every man needs. The mountain man said, I appreciate that. Just as the game warden turned to head back down the trail, he looked at the mountain man. And he said, I just need to know. He said, I've never tasted an endangered species before. He said, what does spotted owl taste like? He said, we'll it's not as tender as bald eagle, but it'll do.
People are concerned about endangered species. This Sunday and next Sunday, we're going to talk about these species. Today, truth and reason. Next Sunday we're going to talk about masculinity, feminine grace, and childlike faith, because those are some endangered species. And then next Sunday night, we'll be speaking on the topic of the endangered species of purity, respect and kindness. All of these need to find protection and defense in our culture. If you believe that, say, amen.
Let's read Romans 1:21 today. The Bible says: "Because they knew God, they did not glorify him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts. And their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things. Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanliness in the lust of their hearts to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever". Amen.
Heavenly Father, your word is truth. Let it echo in our hearts and in this sanctuary, around the nations of the world today: that we may have a revival of righteousness and a resurrection of reason in your world. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
You may be seated. When it comes to the endangered species list of values and character, there are certainly more that we could add than truth and reason, masculinity, and feminine grace, purity, and kindness. But the reason that I've chosen these is because I feel that if truth and reason do not return to the sanctuary, they will become extinct in our streets. If masculinity and feminine grace do not stand up and identify themselves in our culture, then we're not going to have any kind of compass to raise the next generation. The Bible says it very clearly: he created them male and female. That is a joy to be celebrated and a responsibility to live, as you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your gender should not be debated and redefined. It should be giving thanks unto God, because it is he who made us and not we ourselves.
Unless purity and respect return to the house of God, chaos and violence will continue to reign in our streets. The challenge with these values is not that they are endangered in our society. The challenge with these values is that they are endangered in our churches. The reason that society is the way it is, is because the church is the way it is. When it comes to truth and reason, you need to know that they are on the endangered species list, not in the street but in the sanctuary. I'll give you some data to back that up. The latest Barna Research done on the condition of the church in the United States said that 73% of the population identifies as being Christian, and that when that identity, they say that they read the Bible and believe it: that they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Now we would say, 73%, that's a great number. That's almost three-fourth of the nation. However, when you look closer at the 73% and you ask them a few more questions, here are some things that we find out. Out of that 73%, one out of five have gone to church more than once in the last six months. So for those of you who have made it twice this month, you are an exception to the rule. Four out of five Christians or professed Christians only go Christmas and Easter maybe, when the Word of God says: do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together. Out of the churches that they went to, eight out of ten did not read the Bible and did not have a message that was centered around scripture.
So when you go to a church where they read the Bible, that's just 20% of the 73 that say they're Christians. You're in a rare place today. It's an endangered species. Of the 20% of churches that are still reading the Bible, think about this stat: 80% of the people who attend those churches, they see the Bible as a source of hope, they see it as a source of inspiration, they see it as something to consider when they make their daily decisions, but they do not believe that it is the inerrant Word of God. That means that eight out of ten sitting in churches today think that there's someplace in this book where God got it wrong. truth is an endangered species. What happened? truth didn't change. The environment around truth changed. Sometimes the things that make a specie endangered is when the environment around them has a dramatic change, and the species cannot adapt.
In our world today, some people consider truth not to be a virtue: they consider it to be a weakness. There was a middle-aged man, who went to interview for a job. And the chief executive officer, who was hiring him, looked at his resumé and all of his work records. And he said, you've got a stellar career. You've got a great education. He said, you're really over qualified for what you are asking to do for this company. He said, I'd be glad to hire you, he said, but I have to ask you. He said, what do you consider to be your biggest weakness? And the man said, well, it's just that I'm always absolutely truthful. And the CEO said, well, I don't think that that's a weakness. And the man said, I really don't think what you think. Sometimes truth can get you in trouble. But when there's a change in environment, the specie has a choice. It can either go extinct or it can adapt. And if it adapts, it must change its makeup so that it can fit in its new environment. And over time, with enough adaptation, what you used to call something, no longer reflects what it once was.
This is proven in science over and over and over again. Whenever archaeologists go into caves, and they see paintings of ancient animals, dogs, and cats, and cows from the days of Pharaoh, they look, and they say, they don't look the same. When paleontologists have dug up the bones of these animals, and they've reconstructed the skeletons, here's what they say about cattle from the days of Moses and Pharaoh back in Egypt. They say that cattle in Egypt thousands of years ago were six-foot tall at the shoulder. That's my height. And they weighed more than 3,000 pounds. That's more like a rhinoceros than it is a big mac. If Moses were to go to Texas and see a cattle ranch today, he'd walk up to the herd and say, where's the rest of it? And the reason for that is because over time the environment changed, and so the cattle adapted. And so we call it a cow and Moses called it a cow. But his was this tall and this wide, and ours are this tall and this wide. They're called the same: they're just not the same.
Now let's take this principle and apply it to truth. What happened to truth? The environment around it changed. And I can prove it with a Webster's dictionary. Consider the 1st edition of the Webster's dictionary. 1828 is when it was published. And if you don't have a copy, I suggest you find one on Amazon and ship it to your house tomorrow. Why? Because in 1828, Noah Webster, the founding father, was the general editor. And in 1828, when you opened up his dictionary and you went to the word "truth," you found this definition. It said that truth was something that transcended fact, a fundamental reality transcending from scripture. A fundamental reality transcending from scripture. In 1828, the definition of truth had this as its source.
Now let's look at what happened hundreds of years later. When the environment changed, we see in the 10th edition of the Webster's dictionary published in 1996. Opening the dictionary to the word "truth". Here's what it says. The definition of "truth" is a sincere action. It is a consistency in character that then becomes a matter of fact. In 1828, we said "truth" comes from scripture. In 1996, we said "truth" comes from us. The more consistent we behave, then that becomes a fact. And then once it becomes a fact, then that becomes a truth. In 1828, when our founding fathers had just recently written and the declaration of independence, and they made the statement that "We hold these truths self-evident," they said that those truths transcended from scripture.
In 2017, when we talk about truth, we say, well let's just watch how they behave. And however they behave, that must be real. You see truth hasn't changed, but the environment around it has to where it has so adapted that if Noah Webster came to the world today, he would say, "What happened to truth"? And with this problem, people say, well, pastor, where do we search? How can we discover truth? Where is the definition to be found? I appreciate Noah Webster. And I'll consider the things that people say today. But when it comes to defining truth, I take all of that and set it second to what the Bible says. I have a biblical definition of truth that's easy to remember. It hasn't changed. It hasn't adapted over thousands of years.
No matter how much the environment around it changes, it is just as solid and certain as it was the day it was spoken. Jesus said it this way: thy word is truth. No matter how much the world changes, this truth remains the same. For the grass may wither and the flower may fade, but the word of the Lord endures forever. This word is true when I'm in a season of need, because I can find provision in its pages. This word is true when I'm broken and in search of healing, because this truth will be health to my navel and marrow to my bones. This word is true whenever I'm lost and searching for direction, because when I read it, it becomes a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. This word is true when I need protection, because the Lord is my shield and my strong tower, and an ever present help in a time of trouble.
Church, we live in a world that's filled with fake news! But today I thank God I've got the good news. The good news is the Word of God is alive! It is powerful! It is true! And it will set you free! People say, where do we find truth? The first thing you do is you stop looking for truth in all the wrong places. When people begin a search for truth and they do not reach for the word, everything they embrace is a lie. Just consider agnostics. Whenever we open up God's word, the reason that we debate the truth rather than receive the truth is because we have added to and taken away from based on the opinions of others. We have people that go to school so long that they become so smart, and then they say things that are so dumb.
Like, I'm way to intellectual to believe the Word of God. I don't know what it is about Ph.D's. that cause people to speak with British accents, as if they have suddenly mothed into a different being. I am so smart: I am an agnostic. Well, if you're so smart, cowboy, why don't you pick a different name? You say, what? Agnostic. I studied a little language myself and "Agnostic" is a latin word for "Knowledge". And whenever you take the latin prefix "A" and put it in front of anything, it means "Without". So whenever you call yourself an intellectual, educated, brilliant agnostic, you're saying, I am without knowledge. Congratulations.
Now why would you want to listen to somebody like that, whenever what you have is pure, it is powerful, it can change your life? Stop looking at what the world has to say about God's word and open up its pages and see what it has to say about you. The Word of God is so pure that when you pour it over your heart, it will heal the deepest wounds and forgive the greatest sins. The Word of God is so perfect that no matter how much of it you receive, it will not return void, but it shall accomplish everything that God sent it for. The Word of God is so powerful that it can break every chain of addiction. It can destroy every yoke of bondage. It can drive out every power and principality. It can calm every storm and move every mountain! Thy word is truth! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!
Intellectuals want to search for truth in knowledge. But the Bible says that without the fear of the Lord, no knowledge is found. Other people want to search for truth with rationalization. They believe that they can rationalize it, if they can make it make sense between their ears, then it must be true. If that's your definition of truth, it will always be a very shallow reality for you. It's rationalization that made eve believe she could eat the fruit. It's rationalization that got the children of Israel just a few days after they walked through the Red Sea to dance around a golden calf as if it was God. It's rationalization that made David believe that he could murder Uriah to cover up his sin with Bathsheba. Rational people knelt before Baal and said he was a provider. And they almost starved for three years while an irrational prophet named Elijah was fed and watered by the hand of God.
Now would you rather be rational and starve or irrational and beg? Every week of the world, I see rational Christians come to church. And they hear the truth of God's word, and then they rationalize in their mind that there just must be another way. They say things like, well let's be rational. I mean God really doesn't expect the tithe and the offering. But the truth of his word says: bring all of the tithes into the storehouse. Now why did he say that? He didn't say it for himself. He said that I may open up the windows of heaven and pour out upon who? You. God didn't say, bring it to me so I can keep it. He said, bring it to me so you can receive blessings. But we rationalize: there must be another way to be blessed. I mean let's be rational. God doesn't want me to be a witness: does he?
People ask me if I'm a Christian. I say, ah, uh, go spurs. Jesus said: you will be witnesses unto me in Judea (that's your hometown) and Samaria (that's the surrounding area) and in the uttermost parts of the earth. It doesn't matter where you go. If you go, he goes with you. And you might as well witness for him. Proverbs says that he who wins souls is wise. Well let's be rational. I mean you really don't want me to come to church and do all that stuff like clap my hands and raise my hands and worship the Lord. But the truth says: let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Psalm 47 says: o clap your hand all ye people and shout unto God with a voice of triumph.
Let me give you a new perspective of rationality. I think it's perfectly rational to say that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Not one of us has escaped that problem. And I think it's rational for us to believe that the wages of sin is indeed death. We actually earned it. We deserved it. It's not something that was placed on us. We did the work and we received the payment. I believe it's a rational thing to say that if we did not know God, we are walking among the dead. For Isaiah 53 says: we like sheep have gone astray. We each turned to our own way, because we decided to do it for ourselves and not do it for him. God says the wages of that is your demise. That's rational. But I thank God that he is so irrational that he loved me irrationally when I was still a sinner.
And he sent his son, who died for me: that I might be set free. I don't understand how he could do it. I don't understand how he could make a way. I cannot rationalize how I was outside of the covenant, and without God, and without hope, but today I stand here as an heir, and a joint heir, and a Son of God! It's an irrational thing in my mind. But I give God thanks, and I give him praise, and I give him glory, because he made a way where there seemed to be no way! It's irrational to sit in church and think that you can breathe without him. It's irrational to go to work and think that you can earn without him. The Bible says that in him we live, and in him we move, and in him we have our being.
Deuteronomy says: it is the Lord who gives you the power to get wealth. It is irrational for you to look at anything good in your life and not know that God isn't the one who sent it to you. Because it says that every good and every perfect gift comes from above from are the father, in whom there is no shadow of turning. And knowing how good God has been to you, and knowing how much he has blessed you with, I believe that it is irrational to sit in his sanctuary and refuse to give him praise! Oh church, for just a moment, would somebody magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together! Bless the Lord! truth transcends. Say that with me, "truth transcends". truth transcends reality. You can have a situation that's real, and truth can conquer it. I'll prove it. Jesus said: I am the truth. That wasn't symbolic: that was real.
John 1 said: in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. And nothing was created without him. And then in verse 14, we read a beautiful passage that says: and the word became flesh and dwelt among us. That means that Jesus Christ was literally God's word with skin on. So when he said, "I am the truth," he wasn't saying this is some label they gave me. He's saying, I am the word. And as the truth, he transcended reality. You see there was a reality for a guy by the name of Bartimaeus who was blind. He really couldn't see. But when truth showed up, he said, Bartimaeus, I'm going to transcend your reality: here's your sight.
There was a reality for a guy by the name of Zacchaeus. He was really a sinner. But whenever truth showed up, he looked up in the tree, and saw the sinner, and said, today salvation has come to your house. I'm changing your reality with the power of truth. Lazarus was really dead. He was really behind rock in the tomb. He really wasn't coming back. But when truth showed up in the graveyard, he looked at the tomb, and said, Lazarus, come forth. And the reality of the situation changed, because truth transcends reality. Here's a reality that you and I are going to face some day. The Bible says: it is appointed unto man once to die. I don't care how many vitamins you take. You may die healthy but you're going to die. I don't care how much kale you eat. Oh, you could add seven years to your life. Why do you want to?
Death is a reality. No one escapes it. But when my day comes and I breathe my last, when I face that reality, regardless of when it happens, my reality is going to meet up with truth. And I'm going to leave this world really, holding onto a truth that says, yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'll fear no evil. For thou art with me. Where is he going to go with me? First, we're going to go past the sun, moon, and stars. We're going to sail past every solar system and galaxy. We're going to sail through every heaven and arrive at the gates of Pearl, walking streets of gold. And my truth is going to really wipe the tears from my eyes. And my truth is really going to show me a mansion built by the architect of the ages. And my truth is going to usher me into the throne room of God where the judge and the Creator of all will sit on the throne. It's in that moment that I'll face another reality.
You see people think that whenever you get there, the battle's over. But there's an accuser. The Bible calls him "The serpent of old". He's the devil. And when I walk into that throne room, just like he was there to accuse job, he'll be there to accuse me. And he'll say to God, my judge, that man does not belong here. He didn't live a perfect day. I've got it recorded. I've got everything he did wrong, everything he didn't do for you, every time that he knew he was wrong and he stayed wrong anyway. And that's real. He's going to say, Matthew Hagee doesn't deserve this. And that's real. He's going to say, Matthew Hagee shouldn't be for eternity in heaven. He belongs with me. He's a sinner. And that's real.
But that's when my advocate, my truth, my Savior, is going to transcend the reality of what the devil is saying. He's going to walk before me to the throne of his father. And he's going to say, father, it is I who have overcome death, hell and the grave. And I have the keys to death, hell and the grave. What Satan says about Matthew Hagee might be real. But there was a day when at a church on loop 410, that boy walked out of a Sunday school class. He knelt by the water fountain. He believed in his heart. He professed with his mouth. And on that day, the truth walked into his world and unlocked the prison door! And whom the son sets free is free indeed! Church, I've got a truth that has set me free! Give the Lord a shout of praise!
Let's talk about reason. You see whenever truth becomes endangered, reason goes right out the window, because if you don't have truth, you can't make sense of anything. We live in an unreasonable world. We've ignored the truth of what the Bible says about life. The Bible says: life begins in the blood. And because we've thrown out that truth, we think it's reasonable to murder 60 million children with abortion. We've forgotten what the New Testament says, "He who does not work should not eat". Why? Because when you get hungry, you get motivated. And so we think it's reasonable to take, in the form of taxes, money from a man who will work, and give it in the form of subsidy to a man who can work but won't.
We think it's reasonable to send our children to secular education. We say, well after all, it's free. No, it's not. Consider what it has cost us in the destruction of character for our next generation. Our children are not being educated: they're being indoctrinated. They're not being taught: they're caught. They're caught in a system that says, whatever you feel, that's the fact. Yesterday you came in here feeling like a boy. But tomorrow if you feel like a girl, pick your bathroom, and that's your reality. And we think it's reasonable. It's not reasonable: it's insanity. But why are we willing to allow the insanity? Because we've ignored truth. We've thrown it out. It's like jumping off of a 150-story building trying to convince people watching you fall that everything is going so far so G-O-O-D.
It's going to be okay for a little while, but the landing is going to get messy. And when it comes to this war with reason, the Bible gives us a clear understanding of why it happens. Paul said to Timothy that in the last days men would be lovers of themselves. They wouldn't have any self-control. They'd know what was right and they'd choose wrong, because they were headstrong. Do you know anybody who's headstrong? Don't raise your hand. They might be watching. Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Every Sunday, as a pastor, I come into this sanctuary and I get to see people in the wrestling match of their lives. And the wrestling match begins when the truth shows up. God's word is spoken, and somebody receives that truth. They know it's real, but then the wrestling match with reason begins. And they try to reason within themselves, well I know what he said, but he didn't say it to me.
I know who he said it аbout: it wasn't me. That's for them. I see people come to church, and they're carrying burdens, and they want to be free. They want life to change. They don't want to leave the same. And they believe that God has the ability to do it. And then the moment comes for them to take action in faith and receive it, and then they wrestle with reason, and they say, maybe next week. And they walk up just as bound as they did when they walked in. I see people with broken hearts that don't give God a chance to heal them. I see people with ruined lives that don't give God a chance to touch them. I see people who have a need and don't believe that God can fill it, because they've reasoned it out in their heart, in their mind, rather than received it into their spirit. I see faces so desperate for relief: and yet, they think it's more reasonable to believe that they can endure it than God can change it.
Let me tell you something. If what you were doing when you came to church was reasoning with me, all of those arguments would work. House word, you're not reasoning with a man: you're reasoning with God. And this is what he said in the book of Isaiah. He said in the 1st chapter and the 18th verse: come now. Let us reason together. God said, I'm going to invite you into a conversation. And the conversation's going to be just between God and you. And here's what he said. He said: though your sins are scarlet... He said, I know all about them. I was there. I know what you've done wrong. I know how far you've gone. I know how you got in the mess that you're in. And here's what I'm going to offer you. And let's see if you think it's reasonable. "Though your sins were scarlet, I'll make them white as snow".
I'm not going to condemn you. I'm not going to judge you. I'm going to change you. And though they're red like crimson, and though they've ruined parts of your life that you wish could be repaired, though you've walked in shackled, and bound, and chained and broken hearted, I'll make it like wool. And then verse 19, God says: if you are willing... How unreasonable for us to sit in this sanctuary and not be willing. How unreasonable for us to come to church in front of a God who can do all things, and not ask him to do something for us. How unreasonable to leave here knowing that this is a day of salvation and not receive the Christ who died to set you free. Today you've heard the truth. Be willing to receive it, because God can make you into a new creature through his son Christ Jesus today. Would you stand to your feet.
Today if you're in this sanctuary and you want to receive this truth, today if you're in this sanctuary and you want to leave changed, today if you're here, you need to know God brought you on purpose so that you wouldn't just hear a sermon, but that he would have a moment to invest himself in your life. And I believe it is very unreasonable for you to stay where you are, knowing how much you need him, and not be willing to take just a few steps and receive him. Today if you need Jesus like you've never needed him before, we're going to sing this chorus again, and I want you to begin coming from all corners of the building, because I believe that everything that we have done today is about right here and right now. And you have a reason to receive the truth, in Jesus' name.
Start coming as we sing. They're coming. Keep singing. There's some coming from the balcony. We'll wait for you. Some carrying their family. We'll wait for you. I want everyone in this sanctuary to repeat this prayer with me. Lift your hands before the Lord.
Heavenly Father, today I receive the truth of your word. And I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Today I thank you that truth has overcome my reality. And I am set free. For whom the son sets free is free indeed. Today I let go of all of my reasons. And I receive this gift of salvation. I thank you, Lord, for loving me enough to send your son. I thank you, Jesus, for dying for my sins and paying the unreasonable price to forgive me. So today in this sanctuary, I receive truth. And I thank you that the truth has set me free, in Jesus' name. Amen.