Sermon of the week
And now, for the rest of the story . . .
Because opportunities to attend services may be limited for several weeks, the newspaper has invited local clergy to submit sermons for publication here.
Pastor, Burns Cornerstone Bible Church and Cassoday Community Church
As a teenager I spent most of my summers working for my grandfather in a small town in western Kansas. Each day at noon, we would go home to eat lunch, where we listened to Paul Harvey before returning to work.
I had never heard of Paul Harvey before I started working for my grandfather and I didn’t understand my grandfather’s obsession with the broadcast. It didn’t take long before I was hooked and looked forward to the daily broadcasts as well.
An essay Paul Harvey wrote and recorded in 1965 was entitled, “If I Were the Devil.”
He wrote that if he were the Devil, he’d engulf the world in darkness and seize the ripest apple on the tree.
He would take over the United States, subvert the churches, and start a whisper campaign telling people to do as they pleased — that the Bible is a myth, that man created God, and that “Our Father” is in Washington.
He’d convince people that lurid literature was exciting, peddle narcotics, sell alcohol, and tranquilize people with pills.
He’d have families, churches, and nations at war, let youths run wild until drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors were at every schoolhouse door, and allow prisons to overflow and judges to promote pornography. God would be evicted from the courthouse, schoolhouse, and Congress.
In churches, psychology and science would substitute for religion. Priests and pastors would misuse children and money.
He would take from those who have and give to those who wanted until incentive was killed. States would promote gambling and discourage extremes in work, patriotism, and moral conduct.
“If I were the Devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing,” Harvey said.
I stumbled across this about 10 years ago and was amazed. I am not suggesting Paul Harvey was a prophet — rather that God enabled him to see the dangerous path we were on and he attempted to warn us. I wonder today, just as I did 10 years ago, if we are willing to listen to and hear this warning.
One of the problems is that there are any number of sources available for people to attempt to gain wisdom and knowledge. Since these sources are not in agreement, the question many are left with is, which one represents the truth?
In John 18:38, Pilate struggled with the same issue and famously asked Jesus, “What is truth?” It seems the Devil has been successful in his efforts to turn us away from the only source of truth that truly exists — God and his revelation to the world.
If you have read this article this far, there are a couple of possible reactions you might have.
You might be tempted to dismiss all of this as propaganda shared simply to pressure you to attend worship. There was a time in my life I would have agreed.
On the other hand, what has been shared here may cause you to question the truths we cling to and lead you to question the validity of what you cling to. If that describes you, I invite you to consider the following:
In Acts 2:44, we read, “All the believers were together and had everything in common.”
This verse has long been one of my favorites because the community described had received the one thing that had the ability to unite them as one — the revelation of God through Jesus Christ.
What united them was greater than what previously divided them.
Each of us, in our own way, struggles with “the truth.” This is one of the main things we have in common.
There isn’t a single person who didn’t or won’t struggle with discovering and understanding truth because of biases we bring into such things. Even if we do encounter truth and make a decision to be guided by it, there isn’t a single person who will not struggle with complete and successful application of truth in their life.
This leads us to the second thing we have in common.
Each of us needs Jesus! We need Jesus because he is “the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
Given the state of our world, all of us need more of Jesus. His voice represents the truth all of us are searching for.
In Revelation 2:7, Jesus says, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
I firmly believe the Holy Spirit is still speaking to us.
Are we willing to hear? Or will we continue to listen to and follow voices that do not represent the truth and cannot lead us to a victorious life?