Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Mike Novotny » Mike Novotny - Two Dangers That Slip Into Christianity

Mike Novotny - Two Dangers That Slip Into Christianity

Mike Novotny - Two Dangers That Slip Into Christianity
TOPICS: Hard Words Loving Truths

When I stand up here and look at you, when you sit out there, or you're watching at home and you're looking back at me, I think what both of us would want is the fun stuff of the Christian faith, and there's lot of it. Yeah, I want to talk about the greatness of God and the fact that he is right here with us and with his people. I want to gush to you about the forgiveness of the cross, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the power of the mighty name of Jesus. If you took the time to get dressed, and maybe shower, and drive all the way over here with the gas prices being what they, I bet you want to hear that there is a God who knows you and yet he loves you. A God who is for you and has plans for you.

It doesn't matter what you're going through, doesn't matter how much you weigh, how smart you are. Like, there is a reason God has you on this planet, a great purpose for your life that you can find and rejoice in. And that's what you want and that's what I want. Hey, no one wants to come to church and hear some Bible thumper, let you feel the flames of the fires of Hell. No one wants to get yelled at and then give an offering and call it a Sunday. We don't want that. Sometimes, in this part of our life just like all the other parts of our lives, we might not want to, but we agree that we have to, and that's really what the Book of Jude is all about.

Jude, if you're not familiar, is just this one chapter, a little book, tucked way near the end of the Bible, right before the Book of Revelation. Jude, it appears, was written by the half-brother of Jesus, also born of Mary after Jesus was born, and Jude wanted to speak to his Christian friends and tell them all these great, great things about being a Christian. That's what he wanted but at the end of the day he ended up with a letter that wasn't maybe what he first wanted but what he knew his friends needed.

He writes, "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Dear friends," He loves these people. "Although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people". I need you to fight what is historically and biblically true, so someone doesn't snatch this out of your hands before it's too late. That's what Jude's letter is all about. That makes you wonder, "Well, what was up? What happened that made Jude write that? Why is he saying to his friends, 'Hey, I wanted to talk about the good stuff but I got to tell you to fight against these people who want to do bad stuff.' What was happening"?

Well, verse four has the answer. Jude continues, "For," Here's the explanation. "For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who perverts the grace of our God into a license for immorality and they deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord". If you're watching at home or you're here, grab a pen and write this down. Here are the two dangers that Jude is so concerned about. Number one, these people say that grace is a reason to sin. He says, "They pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality," "Free pass. Do whatever you want".

Second, these people are saying that Jesus isn't really Lord. Quote, "They deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord". In other words, these people that had secretly slipped in the church were saying, "Hey, listen, if God is love, if on the cross Jesus didn't died for some of the sins but all of the sins, if it's true that however much you sin the grace of God has always got you covered, if it's not about you but undeserved love saves you in the end then why fight against temptation? Why not just sin? I mean, whether you get drunk or not, if Jesus forgives you with his mercy in the morning, why not have a few? If there's no, like, exception to the full forgiveness that Jesus finds at the cross, why would you do the hard, agonizing work of resisting what you find in your own heart"?

And you kind of end up with this, you know, second thing he warned about. "Why follow Jesus as Lord? If Jesus has laid out this path and it's a narrow, difficult path to follow, why not live your truth? Why not be your authentic self? Why deny part of your own heart to follow Jesus if at the end of the day Jesus is going to bail you out anyway"? The logic make sense? Being a Christian is beautiful but it's hard. "What if it didn't have to be"? Some people said. What if you write your own story? Make your own choices? Decide what's right or wrong for you and at the end of the day say, "Hey, I'm a Christian, and Jesus forgives"?

Do you think there's anyone who might have slipped in the Christian church that says that today too? A few of you know that every year I have the opportunity to go to a local Christian high school and talk about a little book that I wrote concerning sexuality and Christianity. Really cool. The kids get to ask these anonymous questions to me. I kind of find out where they're at, do my best to teach them. But there's actually something that I've noticed in the last I'd say three years in that class. These are seniors in high school, many of them have just been immersed in the grace of God through years of Christian education, and Sunday services, and Christian homes, but what I've noticed question after question, after question in growing amount in recent years is the idea, "Well, if Jesus forgives", here's one anonymous question I wrote down verbatim.

Someone asked me, "Pastor Mike, the Bible says every sin is forgiven, so doesn't that mean that an unrepentant gay person or unrepentant straight person is still going to Heaven if they're Christian"? I mean, following the biblical plan for sexuality is no joke. It is very difficult whether you're straight or gay so why bother? If you end up in Heaven because every sin is forgiven, why fight it? Doesn't just have to do with sexuality though, right? You can make the case for anything. Why honor your parents? Why follow the biblical plan for marriage? Why forgive the people who have hurt you? Why love someone who's difficult to love? Why be generous with your... why do any of the hard things of the Christian faith if every sin is forgiven?

Now, I don't want to spend the rest of the sermon looking angry and stern and shouting at you, "No"! I don't want to but maybe for some of you I have to. That's actually what Jude does. Following verse four, Jude goes on a 15 verse rant. It is a hyperlinked Old Testament story saturated on and on and on rambling-ish rant to make one, single point and the point is "No, grace does not replace repentance". I want to read all 15 verses "Though you already know this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt," His people.

"But later God destroyed those of his people who did not believe. The angels who did not keep positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling," We called them "demons". "These, God, has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgement on the great day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people..." who had slipped into the church. "They pollute their own bodies, they reject authority, and they heap abuse on celestial beings. But the even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the Devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!'"

In other words, this is about what God says, not about what I think. "The Lord rebuke you". "Yet these people, False teachers. Slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct, as irrational animals do, will destroy them. Woe to them! They've taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion. These people are blemishes at your love feats, eating with you without the slightest qualm..." Their sin doesn't bother them a bit.

"Shepherds who feed only themselves. They're clouds without rain, blown along with the wind; autumn trees without fruit and uprooted, twice dead. They're wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.' These people are grumblers, faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, 'In the last times there will be scoffers who follow their own ungodly desires.' These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit".

You follow the theme? There's a lot in that tough message from Jude but I hear him say three times in just those closing words. "They follow their own desires. They follow their own desires. They follow their natural instincts". They're not following Jesus. They're not repenting of their sin. They're following themselves. They're doing what they want to do. And do you think they ended up okay? Could they live for themselves and yet somehow end up with him. Jude says "No". Hey, ask God's Old Testament people, Israel, what happened when they turned their backs and didn't repent of their grumbling ways. Ask the scorched earth of Sodom and Gomorrah what happens when people live their own truths sexually. Ask Cain, the son of Adam and Eve, that God cursed. Or Korah who had no time for Moses' authority whom God personally killed. You do you and you end up without him.

Are there any of you watching, sitting at home, who are holding your breath? And to be clear, I'm not talking to people who are struggling with sin. You might feel like an F+ Christian today. You face planted in your faith, you came in and there was so much you needed to confess. I'm not talking to you. That's real faith. I'm not even talking to those of you who are struggling so badly with the sin that you're addicted to it, and you go back to it, day after day after day. Doesn't seem like you're getting better but you just, you wish you could be different because you know that's not what God wants. That is actually is real faith too. Here's who I'm talking you. Any of you who know that this is what God says and you just don't care. Is that you? Are there any guys here today who are living and sleeping with their girlfriends who think that God's design for sexuality does not apply to them?

Do you think in Hebrews 13:4 where God says, "The marriage bed should be honored by all for God will judge the sexually immoral," do you think, do you think you get a free pass from that? Just to test your compatibility and save a few bucks on rent. Is there anyone here today who thinks good sexuality is defined by what you feel and desire by instinct instead of what we find in the scriptures? As if what your heart wants is what defines goodness instead of what the heart of God wants. Are there any husbands here today whose coworkers and clients get more love, attention and affection than their own wives? Who feel like they always get the worse of you and the last of you.

Are there any wives here today whose husbands have forgotten what it feels like to be respected when they come home? Have any parents or step, parents here today who have used their anger to control children? Such a twisted and abusive way that will scar the way they understand God as a heavenly Father. Do you act all nice at church but behind closed doors your kids know? Any teens here today, maybe some who go to that Christian high school, who party underage and you honestly think as long as you're not addicted or drive drunk that it's cool with Jesus?

Are there any grownups today who are of age who think the same thing? Is there anyone here today who is so Republican that when they drive on the highway pass those handmade signs in the farmer's field that mock and degrade the president, you think it's funny because deep in your heart you hate him? The angels are not laughing. Is there anyone here today who's actually bought the narrative that it's your body? Did you make it? Do you actually believe this that a couple, a woman, anyone gets to decide when live begins as if you are the Lord who creates life and decides it? Is there anyone here who, like, publicly on social media supports the murder of children because you think it makes you compassionate towards grownups? Are there any pro-lifers here today who vote to defend life in the womb every single time and yet when real humans are struggling with the real things that lead them to abortion the fact is you do nothing?

Do some of you give more to feed your pets than you do to feed the poor? Do some of you here today think that you can have a strong faith in Jesus without organized religion? No pastor, no community, no structure, no communion but you're going to be fine, right? Because faith is a personal thing. Nevermind the Old Testament or the New, the apostles or the prophets, all the books of the Bible. Is that you? Is anyone here holding their breath waiting for the service to be done, waiting for this episode to be over because you be really, you know, let the preacher rant for a bit, threaten you with Hell, but you're still going to do it?

Some of you know, I would much rather make a dumb joke standing up here than threaten you with Hell. I don't want to. But for the sake of your soul, I have to. If you hold your breath, and live for you, and never repent, you might think you're good with God, you might think you're going to a better place, but on the day that you die, you will bang on the gates of Heaven and Jesus, Himself, will peer through the bars and He will say, "Do I know you"? I'm begging you to breathe today. I'm trying to persuade you that whatever you're getting out of holding on to that sin in the end it is so small compared to the bigness of what God wants for you.

That's why Jude ends this section of his letter with these powerful words. He says, "But you, dear friends," Here's a contrast. "By building yourself up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear, hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh". What's the answer in a world that tells us, "You do you. Do what you want. Follow your heart. You'll be fine". Write this down. Here's Jude's response. He says, "No. You, dear friends, keep yourselves in God's love".

And I love that choice of words. You expect him to say, "Keep yourselves in God's truth. Don't let go of it". Instead, he says, "No, no, no, let's not forget that the God who is truth, he's always love. The pastures might look greener somewhere else, you could wonder away from him like sheep going astray. Keep yourselves here because this God loves you so much. The world out there cannot give you Heaven. The world out there will run out of mercy and time for you, not God. Keep yourself in God's love. Pray about it. Build yourself in it. And remind your children of it". And I want to just say to those of you for whom this sermon was not really meant, if you are repentant, thank you God. Thank you God.

If you honestly believe that denying your own heart to follow Jesus is worth it, say a prayer of thanks. Many people do not believe that. Thank you God for keeping me right here, building me up in this faith as I wait for the mercy of Jesus Christ. Jude looks forward to the future, the day when Jesus returns, when everyone who had been holding their breath will experience instant regret, and those who have been struggling and fighting against, and wondering maybe in the back of their minds, "Is this worth it"? will see the face of their glorious Savior and God and say, "Every second".

So, if you're repentant, keep repenting. If you're not, it's not too late. I wrote on the top of my sermon today, "Mike, be strong and courageous". And then, I wrote in Spanish, "Palabras duras, corazones suaves". "Hard words, soft hearts". I pray that my words and Jude's words today, as hard as they were, might create a soft, repentant, receptive heart that follow Jesus as Lord and lives in his grace. By God's crazy timing, last Monday, I was at the produce section of my favorite grocery store, and I noticed a man next to the salad staring at me. He said, "Pastor, you don't know me, but I want to show you something".

This middle age man pulls out his wallet, he opens it, he pulls out a piece of paper and he unfolds it, and I notice it's a printed version of a sermon that I once preached on sexual purity. And I saw all over it, I couldn't read the words, but I saw his personal notes, and underlines, and asterisks, and he looked at me and I could see tears starting to fill his eyes. He said, "Pastor, you said, 'As long as we're still fighting.' Right? I'm still fighting". And I wanted to say to him, in front of the salad, "Amen". Amen.

And I want to say that to you too. You might be fighting, you might feel like you're losing but if you are repentant, you are winning. The Devil wants to have you, to own you, to get you to follow your own heart. If despite all the things inside of you, the desires and instincts that you find, you say, "No, Jesus is worth it". You are winning.

If you actually believe that giving up the pleasures and treasures of this world is worthy because Jesus has in store for you eternal pleasures at his right hand and treasures that this world can't touch, you are winning. If you're not holding your breath but saying again today, "God, forgive me." and breathing in his amazing grace, you are not losing no matter how weak your faith seems, you are winning. So, my dear friends, if you believe that, if today you will join me and then we all can take a deep breath. And next Sunday I don't have to say what I have to, I can say what you and I both want to. And all of us, with joy and grace in our hearts, can get back to the party. Let's pray:

God, we live in a culture that seems to honor you with their lips but then they tell us, "Always to follow our hearts". They make such a big deal out of this life, and our relationships, and our romance, and our money, and our bodies, and everything, and they just, they don't talk about what happens after this life, so thank you God for opening our eyes to it. Jesus, you once said, "What sense does it make if we get everything in this world, but we give up our soul"? And so, today God, we thank you for the Book for Jude. We thank you for the smelling salts that snap us back to what's real and what endures forever. I pray God that there's not a single soul listening, sitting here today that runs from your truth. If there's anything that I've said that they have doubts about, God, may they not run but reach out and ask that as Jude says, "We can show mercy to such doubting, and questions, and we save those who are so close to the fire". God, we want to be a church that preaches primarily of the things we are for. That gushes about your glory and your goodness, God, but never help us to become that at the expense of what we sometimes need to be. A church that is full of grace and truth, that 200 proof. So, please, in ways we can't see just yet, bless this message, bless your truth. May it produce in us with those hard words, some soft hearts that are always ready to receive the word of Jesus. We pray all these things in his beautiful and worthy name, and all those here who believed it, joined their voices and they said, "Amen".

Are you Human?:*