Robert Jeffress - The New Moral (Dis)Order
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. As Godless politicians become more and more enamored with inclusion and tolerance, our country seems to be spiraling deeper and deeper into moral decline. Behaviors that were taboo 50 years ago are now widely accepted and even celebrated, and it seems like things can hardly get worse. Well, today I'm going to share why America's rapid spiritual deterioration will ultimately lead to its demise. My message is titled "The New Moral (Dis)Order", on today's Pathway to Victory.
Perhaps you've seen this headline: "Most Americans think country headed in wrong direction". Did you know, a recent survey revealed that 66% of Americans agree with that sentiment. How is it that our nation has gotten so far off track? Billy Graham provides an insightful answer. He writes, "That moral and spiritual decadence is upon us today becomes evident at every turn of our daily newspaper. We live in a day when old values are rejected and the sense of significance and purpose has disappeared from many people's lives. Yes, we need to cry out to be saved, saved from ourselves, for it is the soul of a nation and a culture that is dying. The world is on a moral binge such as was not known even in the days of Rome. We have at our fingertips every pleasure that man is capable of enjoying, and man has abused every gift God ever gave him, including sex, until he no longer finds joy and satisfaction in them".
Dr. Graham wrote those words in his book, "World Aflame", that was published in 1965, 50 years ago. If it was true then, how much more true is it now? You know, we keep hearing over and over again that our culture is evolving. We're getting better and better as a civilization, but the evidence suggests the contrary. We are devolving as a nation and as a world, and it is that moral and spiritual deterioration of our world that is the final sign of the coming of Jesus Christ. And that's what we're going to talk about today as we continue our series, countdown to the apocalypse. We're going to look at what the Bible says about the moral deterioration of our world, and how it will be a precursor to the return of Jesus Christ. Is our culture really devolving? What evidence is there, pastor?
In 1947, a sociologist named Dr. Carle Zimmerman wrote a book entitled "Family and Civilization". He identified 11 symptoms of decay that were the cause of the fall of the Roman and Greek civilizations. Now, I want you to listen to these 11 signs or 11 symptoms that caused the decay of these civilizations. See if any of them sound familiar.
01. No-fault divorce.
02. What he calls the birth dearth, increased disrespect for parenthood and parents.
03. Meaningless marriage rights and ceremonies.
04. Defamation of past national heroes.
05. Acceptance of alternative marriage forms.
06. Widespread attitudes of feminism, narcissism, and hedonism.
07. Propagation of anti-family sentiment.
08. Acceptance of most forms of adultery.
09. Rebellious children.
10. Increased juvenile delinquency.
11. Common acceptance of all forms of sexual perversion.
Now, Dr. Zimmerman wrote that in 1947, citing the cause of the decline of civilizations thousands of years ago. What is the solution to our moral deterioration? How do you reverse this downward trend? In a word, "repentance". The word repent actually is a Greek word, metanoeo. It means a change of mind that leads to a change in behavior. As individuals and as a nation, we need to have a change of mind that leads to a change of direction in our lives. No individual, no nation, will be blessed that rebels against God, and as a nation, we are rebelling against God. We are shaking our fist in the face of God in two distinct areas. First of all, in the area of what God says about marriage. Let's look and see what the Bible really says about marriage and the best place to start is at the starting-place. That's profound, isn't it?
Let's go back to the book of Genesis, and I want you to look at the opening sentence in the Bible. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". In this simple statement, we find the answers to the question, where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? And we find in these opening chapters of Genesis a description of how God created everything that is in the world, and you'll remember that on the sixth day of creation, he performed his crowning work of creation, the creation of mankind. Look at verses 26 through 28. "Then God said, let us make man in our image, according to our likeness: and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. God blessed them: and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it: and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every thing that moves on the earth".
Now, in this passage we find several important principles about God's purpose from the beginning. First of all, man is created in the image of God. Would you write that down? Man is created in the image of God. Look at verse 27. "And God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him". That Hebrew word for image literally means statue. A statue is a representation of something else. You and I have been created as statues, as images of someone greater than us. We are created in the image of God. Principle number two, God separated mankind into two categories: male and female. Look at verse 27 again. "He created him: male and female". There are two categories of creation, not three. God did not create mankind male, female, and question mark. It is male and female.
Now, I don't wanna get off into the weeds this morning, but we understand that since the fall, because of the fall, there have been some genetic abnormalities that occur. You see it in people that are born deformed, people with handicaps. There are genetic deformities that are part of the fall, but don't miss the big point. The big point is, God's original prayer and purpose in creation is two categories of human beings, male and female. And in those two categories, you find an equality. The fact that he said he created them male and female means that both are equal in the sight of God, but listen, equality doesn't mean sameness. God never meant for men and women to be the same. There is a difference in function, even though there's an equality in stature before God, and you see this difference from the very beginning in creation. He created them male and female, and that means there's a difference in the way we act.
There's a difference in responsibility. There is a difference in how we relate to one another, including how we relate to one another sexually, and that's where you find, in the Bible, and why you find the prohibition against homosexual behavior. I want you to write down some of these verses. People who say, "Well nowhere does the Bible talk about homosexuality". Listen to what the Bible says. Leviticus 18, verse 22. "You", talking to men, "Shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female: it is an abomination". Leviticus 20, verse 13. "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act: they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them".
Could you be any more clean about what God thinks of the homosexual act? He says it is detestable. He says it is an abomination. God's word says homosexuality is unnatural. Literally that means it is against nature. It is against the laws of God. It is against the natural law of God and there are severe consequences in every area of life for it. Or consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Paul said, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God"? Who are the unrighteous? "Don't be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. But you were washed, you were covered with the blood. You were sanctified, you were forgiven".
Ladies and gentlemen, there is no sin from which you can't be forgiven. Homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin. You can be forgiven of homosexuality. You can be forgiven of any sin but, get this, to be forgiven of a sin, you first must admit that you have sinned, and we have to admit what the Bible says: homosexuality is a sin. That's what the Bible teaches. There's a prohibition against homosexual behavior. Secondly, that leads to there is certainly a prohibition against homosexual marriage. Jesus did address the marriage question. He said it's one man with one woman for a lifetime. That's God's plan.
Jesus affirmed God's plan, and by setting God's standard, one man with one woman for life, he is saying that any deviation from that standard, not just gay marriage but any deviation, adultery, premarital sex, unbiblical divorce, those are all sins because they don't measure up to the standard, the perfect standard of God. You know, the Bible is not a cafeteria, where you get to go through the line and pick and choose those parts that you like. It doesn't work that way. If you're a follower of Christ, you accept all of Christ's teachings. Our rebellion as a culture against God is seen in our attitude about marriage.
Secondly, it's seen in what we believe about the sanctity of life. Let's talk about this issue, the issue of abortion. Since the Supreme Court's ruling in 1973, Roe vs. Wade, that legalized abortion for women, since that time, 54 million children have been butchered in the womb. 54 million children have been murdered, and that number is being added to every year by 1.3 million children who are being slaughtered. Gone. They don't exist any more. Wiped off the face of the earth because of our nation's rebellion against God. How does God look at that? Well, let's see what God says about the unborn. I want you to write down several key verses that talk about the unborn. Psalm 139, verses 13 to 16. These are the verses that probably, better than any in the Old Testament, describe how God views the unborn child.
David said, "For thou didst form my inward parts: thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: wonderful are thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance: and in thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them". Remember God's word through Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1, verses four and five. "Now the Word of God came to me saying, before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you".
God had a relationship with Jeremiah before he was ever born, while he was still in the womb. God views the baby in the womb as much as a human being, as the baby outside of the womb. Both are creations of God. You can understand, then, why God absolutely hates any violence toward children. Do you remember in the Old Testament when the Israelites came to Canaan, the Promised Land, that was inhabited by Canaanites? They unfortunately fell into the ways of the Canaanites, and they began to worship the false god Molech, a god whom the Canaanites said required the sacrifice of children on the altar, burnt sacrifices of children.
What did God think about that? What did he think about his own people engaging in that horrific sacrifice? In Jeremiah 32:35, it says, "And they built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-Hinnom to cause their sons and daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered my mind that they should do this abomination". God said, "When I saw the Israelites burning their children alive, it never entered into my mind that they would do such a thing". And so, in verses 28 and 29, God said to his own people, his own nation of Israel, "Because you are killing, slaughtering your own children, I'm gonna raise up the foreigners to come and invade your city and to take it captive, to burn it to the ground".
Now, folks, if God will do that to his own chosen people, who destroy the lives of children, do we have to wonder how God is going to deal with the United States of America? A country that not only allows but it celebrates the freedom of choice, the freedom of choice to murder our children. It is an abomination in the sight of God. You say, "Well, what does all of this have to do with Bible prophecy"? Here's what it has to do with it. Turn over to 2 Timothy 3, the passage we read just a few moments ago, and look at verse 1. Paul said to Timothy, "But mark this", and in the NIV, it says, "There will be terrible times in the last days". The NAS says difficult times, but it says in the NIV, "There will be terrible times in the last days".
Now, that verse raises two questions. First of all, what did Paul mean by the last days? This phrase really refers to those years, months, days, leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. Paul said to Timothy, "It's going to get worse in the last days", and the second question is, what does he mean by, it's gonna be terrible times? Difficult times? Look, that word terrible is not just some bland preacher word. The word had a very specific meaning. In fact, it was only used twice in the Greek New Testament. One of those times was in Matthew 8:28, when it was talking about the story of the demon-possessed men and the Gadarenes who lived in the tombs, remember them, and they were unclothed, and they were unrestrained. They were violent men, committing unspeakable acts. That's the word used for terrible. Literally, you could translate it, "It will be times without moral restraint". That's what he's talking about.
Just as those demon-possessed men had no restraint at all, so it will be in the last days. There will be no moral restraint. You know, almost three decades ago, the evangelical philosopher Carl Henry predicted that as America increasingly lost its Judeo-Christian heritage, paganism would grow even bolder, and he predicted that by the start of the 21st century, we would face, quote, "Naked naturalism and raw paganism. That is humanism with the pretty face ripped off, revealing the angry monster underneath it". And that's what we're seeing right now. Humanism unmasked for what it really is.
These are the times we're living in and they are a sign that we're living in the last days. But there's even a more direct connection to Bible prophecy and the moral deterioration of our culture. Remember in the last seven years of the tribulation, there'll be a world dictator called the antichrist. And I want you to listen to one of the descriptions of the antichrist found in Daniel 7:25. "And he will speak out against the Most High and he will wear down the saints of the highest one, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in the law".
Now, we understand the first part of this. In the last days, the antichrist is gonna speak out against God, and he's gonna speak out against the people of God. He's going to attempt to wear them down. But what does he mean when he says he will also try to make alterations in times and in the law? He's saying that this final world dictator will seek to change the most basic laws of humanity, and we're seeing that happen right now. Culture may change, but the Word of God never changes. Thy word is established in heaven for ever, says the Word of God. This is what Paul was talking about when he said to Timothy, "Get ready, get ready. In the last days, there will be terrible times, times without any moral restraint". But with that prediction is also a great hope. All of these things are simply setting the stage for the greatest event in human history. Don't lose heart. Don't despair. Help and hope are on the way.