Pastor Rick Warren Has Lost It!!

Southern Baptist Pastor Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life, seems to be flip flopping.

I heard Rick Warren say that if you don't worship Jesus as God then you are not worshiping the same God but now something has changed.

And I sure hope someone holds him accountable.

Listen to this audio commentary of how Rick Warren and Saddleback Church,, are building bridges to Muslims in Calif.

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Why Two Touches to Make a Man to See Clearly

Two Touches from the Lord and the Disciples See Clearly - Do you?
The Gospel According to Mark
By Sean E. Harris

Bible Text: Mark 8:14-33
Preached on: Sunday, February 12, 2012

Online Sermons:

Mark chapter number eight. Once you have found your place, please stand for the reading of God’s Word.

We are going to tackle a large chunk of Scripture today. Once the sermon is over with, I pray that you see why we did; or I failed miserably.

Reading from verse 14 of chapter number eight.

Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Let’s pray.

Father, help us to get the most of your Word this morning. May this be a good time of teaching. May we all say this morning, “I learned something.” Father, bless. Father, call someone this morning who has not put their faith in You. Call them today. May this be their day of salvation. May this be the day that they say that they join with Peter and say, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” May this be, today, their day of confession. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

So you may be seated. Last week we were in verses 11, 12 and 13. So we will look back at that text for just a moment.

You will recall that the Pharisees came to Jesus, and they began questioning him in verse number 11. And they were seeking of him a sign from heaven. That they were testing him is what verse number 11 says.

“And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.”

And verse 13.

“And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.”

And that is where we pick up verse number 14.

“Now the disciples had forgotten...”

Why is Christ sighing? Why is Christ sighing? Why do we have him sighing deeply? Is Christ ok with people rejecting him? Is he ok with that? “Well, that is their choice.” It doesn’t really impact him? No. He sighs deeply.

The truth of the matter is that there is somebody here this morning who is causing the Son of God to sigh deeply. He is exasperated with you, quite frankly. He can’t believe how much He has to reveal himself to you; and you still won’t put your faith in Him. He can’t believe the number of times you have seen things, and you have heard things, and you have heard the Word of God; and you still won’t respond. And He sighs deeply at this. He is not ok with your permanent consistent rejection of truth. He cannot believe this morning that some of you are going to check out and go into a lala land, and that you will be dozing in and out throughout the service. He is not ok with that. He doesn’t give you a “by” this morning because of that.

Verse 13.

And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf.

How many are in the ship? How many, church? Do the numbers. How many? Thirteen, 12 plus one, 13. Is one loaf going to be enough? No way. That is a snack. Ok, you are not going to make it on that. No peanut butter and jelly. Not going to make it. That is not enough.

Verse 15.

“And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.”

Beware of the leaven of the Sadducees in Matthew. Beware of the leaven of Herod. Beware of this.

And I asked myself, why in the world is he saying this? These are followers of him. Why does he have to say to them, “Beware of this”?

That is why we read the entire Scripture. Does this statement occur before or after Peter’s conversion? Before. It is very important. Context is important in understanding what is going on here. He says it before.

Now, why does He need to say that? Let’s think about this. We estimate the disciples are probably in their 30s at this point, or somewhere around there. Christ has been with them for how long? Anyone tell me. For about how long? About two years. Good. That is a fair decision—about two years.

For 28 years they have been influenced by Judaism—28 years of baggage, 28 years of Judaism, 28 years of Sadducees, 28 years of Pharisees, 28 years. And Jesus is giving them a word of caution here: Beware of this leaven. Beware of these Pharisees. Beware of these Sadducees. Beware of Herod. Beware.

Why does he have to say that to them? Aren’t they whole-hog already? No. No, they are not. He is talking to them about spiritual warning; and they are saying, “Is it because we forgot the bread? Is it because we forgot?”

They are not there yet. They are not fully there. They still need some warnings. They still need some admonishments. Christ’s admonishment occurs prior to Peter’s confession. The significance of the word “leaven”—Le t’s read it. The significant thing about leaven is its power which may symbolize either good or bad, evil. Usually, though not always, leaven was a symbol of evil in rabbinic thought. Jesus referred to leaven in an adverse sense when He used the word to describe the corrupt doctrine of Pharisees and Sadducees and of Herod. The leaven of the Pharisees is elsewhere identified as hypocrisy.

Now, let’s not forget, a moment ago the Pharisees indicated, “We will believe you if you open the skies up. If you show us a major sign, we will follow you. Until that time, we are not there yet.” Right? That is the context.

Now he gets them aside, 13 of them, and He says to them, “You beware of that.” He doesn’t want them being influenced by that thinking. He doesn’t want them considering that idea. He doesn’t want them embracing that “Show us a big sign” mentality. Be careful. Be careful that you don't embrace that. These are words of concern, words of admonishment.

Their response is, “Is it because we have no bread? Is that why the Savior is saying this? I mean, come on. Doesn’t he know?”

That is where they are at. And Jesus knew it. And he said unto them:

“Why reason ye, because ye have no bread?”

I am not talking about leaven or unleavened bread. That is not what we are talking about right now.

“... perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?”

Are you stupid? And yet the sad thing is—and I don’t know what to do about it–there are people who are going to come to this ministry for several years; and they are going to die and go to hell. And I want to say to you, “Are you that ignorant?”

“Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?”

Can you not perceive what you are rejecting? Do you not understand what you are casting away? How is it that you can come week after week and sit under this teaching of the Word of God and not embrace it?

Christ is not ok with their lack of understanding. Neither is He ok with our lack of understanding.

1 Corinthians 15:34. Paul speaks of their lack of knowledge, and he says it is shameful. He says, “I say this to your shame”—to your shame. It is not ok that you are biblically illiterate. It is not ok that you are stupid when it comes to the Bible. It is not ok that I can give you 10 characters and say, “Put them in order;” and you would be clueless. It is not ok when I say, “Turn to Philippians,” that you are back in the Old Testament flipping around. That is not ok. God is not ok with that. He wasn’t ok with them embracing the things of men while ignoring the things of God.

Look at verse 33. Turn, and with your eyes and look at your own Bible, and look at verse 33. He says very clearly, 8:33—let’s look at it together, reading in the middle of the text.

“...thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”

You know more about the things of men than the things of God. You are ok with complete ignorance about the things of God. Just–you are just ok with that. But pick any sport. You can tell me the rules, the players, all the details. Those are the things of men. Now when it comes to the things of God, you have concluded, “I am not in seminary. I don’t need to be a theologian. I am saved. Isn’t God ok with that?”

He says in verse 19, “Where were you or were you there or don’t you remember when I brake five loaves among 5,000?” And he says, “How many baskets, how many loaves did we have?”

And they said, “Twelve.”

And he says, “How many were there when we did seven with 4,000?”

And they said, “Seven.”

And he says, “How is it that you do not understand, then? How many demonstrations must I do over molecules? How many demonstrations must I do? What do you need to see, disciples? What is it going to take to move you to the point of embracing God?”

Will you this morning have to have a death in your family? Is that what it is going to take to get your attention this morning? What will have to happen to arrest you into it? Tell me, what will it take to move you to see?

So we get to this miracle right here, and this is a very unique miracle. It is only found in Mark. And, quite frankly, it bothers me. I didn’t understand it. I could not have preached this miracle until this week. I didn’t understand why in the world we have got a scenario whereby Christ touches the man, and he doesn’t see with 20/20 vision. And we don’t have anything like this anywhere else. We don’t have any scenario where He touches him, and He heals the right leg but not the left leg. And so he wobbles a little while, and then He touches the other leg; and now he is good to go. There is nothing like that in Matthew. There is nothing like that in Luke. There is nothing like that in John. We don’t have anything like this in which He lays hands on the man, and he says, “I see, but I see men like trees.” He is saying, “I don’t have crystal-clear vision.” It wasn’t 20/20. It didn’t work.

What do you mean, it didn’t work? I mean, what happened? Did the Lord get his wires crossed? That is insane, right? So there must be a reason why He chose to heal this man in two stages. Agree or disagree? Because he shows himself able to do it any time He wants prior to this, right? So there must be some reason why He did this like this. Moreover, there must be a specific reason why Mark included it in his gospel and placed it right here. Matthew didn’t. Luke didn’t. John didn’t. I want to know why. I am not ok with not knowing why. I need to figure out why. So let’s look at it.

I believe that the answer is found in context, context, context. Context is the absolute solution—context. Where was it placed?

Many of you, because of the army, will PCS to other locations. You will just do that. You will move. Jobs will move you. Even non-military people have to move a lot. Let me tell you something. Listen to your preacher right now. If you go to a church and, when the man is preaching, he preaches one verse and then goes on a tangent for the rest of the sermon and doesn’t preach context, find another church. Find another church. Don’t spend any time in that church, because this miracle that we are describing cannot be understood outside of verses 14 through 21 and 27 through 33. You would be doing your people a disservice as a Sunday school teacher if you preach just the center text and didn’t explain to them before and after.

So that is what I want to do for you this morning.

“And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.”

This is not the first time this has happened. This, quite frankly, is routine business.

“And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town.”

He pulls him out of town. He is not trying to have a big show of healing people in this town. He’s going to take care of this man, grabs him, leads him out of town, spits on his eyes. Gross! Right?

But we are going to endure anything to get to see—you are going to endure anything.

Moreover, if you are blind, it is not quite as big a deal.

It is not like you saw it coming.

“—and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.”

Now this is crazy. The Lord knows whether He is going to see something or not. He doesn’t need him to tell him, “Well, let’s see, let’s check it out.”

He knows the man doesn't see clearly. That is intentional.

So the man responds.

All right. Let’s look at verse 24.

“And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.”

All right. That is not 20/20 vision, agreed? That is not 20/20. Hey, this didn’t work! I mean, I got a little bit. I mean, I can make it through life like this. I won’t run into this thing right here, but I can’t see crystal clear right now.

So did Jesus get something wrong? Is this like “hocus pocus” and it should have been “pocus hocus?” I mean, what is going on here?

All right, I would submit to you that this is commentary on what we just read--commentary. The disciples were thinking of leaven in an unclear manner, much like men appeared as trees to a man who had received only the first stage of healing. I would submit to you that what we have got here is Mark saying, “This is how the disciples were seeing things, and it is just like this man right here.”

Let’s talk about this. Mark was not there at this time. Mark heard this from Peter. Mark took all that he received from Peter and the other apostles and wrote this gospel under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. Mark was led by the Holy Spirit to systematically place all this down.

Mark remembers, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Peter told me a story about a man that they healed, and it was really unique because it was the only time that Jesus healed someone and it took two touches to get it right. Wait a minute—that is exactly how the disciples were that time.

So he strategically places this in Mark eight after and before Peter’s great confession to help us understand what life was like in the minds of the disciples.

“And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.”

And we, this morning, with our 20/20 vision, we say, “Are you kidding?” But that is because we look at it with 27 canonical books in the New Testament.

The second time:

“After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.”

Let me ask you this question this morning: Have you ever been to a revival or a service here or in another church, and you said to yourself, “How could anyone leave that service and not get saved?”

Have you ever been there before, and you said, “I cannot believe that there are people that could walk out this morning and not repent”?

Have you ever been to a funeral like that? You said to yourself, “How could anyone leave that funeral and not be saved?”

Have you been there before?

The truth is that only God opens eyes.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4:

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

In order for you to receive the gospel this morning, God has got to open your eyes. It is not a matter of, Doug and I are going to have a debate; and then at the end of the debate, I will convince him by reasoning skills that he needs to come to Christ. If God doesn’t do a work, it is just like talking to a man who sees men as trees. He hears things. He has got it. But it is not crystal clear.

Now let’s look at Peter’s confession of faith, because this is really where we get a better understanding of what is going on. Look at verse 27 with me, please. Mark 8 verse 27.

“And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? I mean, you guys are out on the streets and about. You are making lodging reservations. You are getting bread for us. You go in and pick up stuff. When you are in town and you are talking to people, what are men saying about Jesus of Nazareth? I mean, what–what is being said about me? What does the rumor mill say?”

So they respond.

“Well, Jesus, some say that you are John the Baptist, that you are the reincarnated or resurrected John the Baptist. I mean, that is a pretty significant rumor floating around right now—that John the Baptist came back, and you are him. Others are saying, well, you are Elijah. You see, Elijah was taken up, so now you have got to come and die and everyone is appointed men to death and then after that, the judgment; so you probably are Elijah coming back, and you are going to have to die. And that is what some people are saying—another prophet.”

Why isn’t everyone saying the Christ? Why isn’t every one going, “The Christ, the Christ, the Christ, the Christ?” Why? I mean, how many more miracles do they need so that they all say, “The Christ, the Christ”?

Jesus said in Matthew 13:13, “Therefore I speak unto them in parables because they seeing see not and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

Here is the truth. This morning, on any given pew, there are some of you sitting there, and it is just like me talking in parables. You see and see not; and you hear yet you hear not. I mean, you hear me and you see it, but it is just like men like blurred trees. You hear it, but you don’t hear it. You see, but you don’t see. You look at your watch. You look at your watch. You can’t wait for it to be over with. It is, quite frankly, boring as dirt to you. You are much like the man who sees, but doesn’t see.

So then he asks this very pointed question. He looks at every teenager this morning and says to every single teenager, “Who do you say that I am? I don’t want to hear what your mom says I am. I don’t want to hear about what your daddy says that I am. I don’t want to hear what papa says that I am. Don’t talk to me about mama and her faith and what she was. I want to know, who do you say that I am? Who do you? Don’t talk to me about the family. Don’t tell me that you have always been Baptist. Forget about all that.” He looks at every one of us individually, directly, personally, eye-to-eye, and he says, “You, who do you say that I am? Who do you say that I am? Don’t worry about what everyone else says. Don’t worry what the collective message is.” He walks right up to every single Korean that has been brought to us by the sovereign Lord, and he says, “Who do you say that I am, individually, personally, directly?”

And the way you answer this single question determines Heaven or Hell. That is it. This single question is the most important question that will ever be asked to any human being in the history of mankind. Who do you, individually, say that Jesus of Nazareth is? Who do you say that he is?

See, there is no more important question. We can’t ask a better question.

Are you 100 percent sure if you would go to Heaven today if you died? Time out. I am not going to ask that question. I am not going to ask that question. I am going to ask the question: Who do you say that Jesus is? Who do you say that Jesus is? Who? Who do you say that He is?

And Peter, he steps up boldly, proclaiming. He is the leader. He is the boss. He runs the show, quite frankly. And he says, “You are the Christ.”

In fact, turn over to Matthew 16 verse 17 so that we can see the full confession of faith. And you should know this. You should memorize this. Mark it in your Bible. Make sure you know where this is because it is the most important confession of faith found in the entire Bible.

So you should know exactly where it is at, and you could use this passage any time to witness with somebody.

Now let’s just make sure that we are clear. Look at the context of verses one, two, three, four. Let’s just look at it. There is a sign from heaven, just like in Mark, or a request for a sign from heaven. You have got the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees in verse number five, six. Look at verse number nine.

“Do ye not yet understand?”

Verse number 10.

“Neither the seven loaves... How is it that ye do not understand?”

It is the same context. There is no doubt about it. So look at the full confession of faith. I want you to see the full confession of faith.

Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

But that is it. That is the ultimate confession of faith. That is what separates us from Jehovah Witnesses. That is what separates us from Mormons. That is what separates us from Hindus, Buddhists. That is what separates us from Mohammed. That is what separates Christianity from every other cult and false religion--that right there.

You should mark this in your Bible. You should highlight it. You should write a marginal note right there. You should circle it. You should commit it to memory.

Now, having established that, let’s look at the very next verse. Look at it very clearly.

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona.”

Blessed glory! Hallelujah! Saved. Got it? You see it? Now, he is not done there.

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven [opened your eyes].”

You are not saying this because of your brain. You are not saying this because of reasoning skills. You are not saying this because we had a great debate, you and I, Dave, and man, I just muscled that guy into believing that Jesus is the Christ. I mean, I laid out the whole argument, stop to finish, and by the time I won that debate, and he believed that Jesus is the Christ. No, that is not the case at all. That is not the case at all. The fact of the matter is, you don’t get an ounce of credit. You don't get to share any glory.

It is a good job, Peter. You finally figured it out.

That is not what he said. He didn’t say, “I can’t believe you came to the truth. Way to think it through.”

No, the truth of the matter, he said, “flesh and blood hath not revealed it.”

He said, “No, no, that is not the case. No, no. You didn’t figure it out. You didn’t figure it out at all. My Father in heaven figured it out. My Father in heaven revealed it to you.”

Now, what is the confession of faith at this point in Peter’s mind? Jesus is the Christ. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Anointed One sent from the Father. Now they understood that the Anointed One sent from the Father was going to overthrow the Roman Empire.

Mark compares the Father’s work of opening Peter’s eyes to Christ’s work of opening this man’s eyes initially. Peter, though, sees men as trees.

You say, “Why do you say that? Why does Peter see men as trees?”

Let’s talk about it. In verse 31 Jesus, then, after hearing that great confession of faith says, “They are ready. They are ready. After that confession of faith, the disciples are now ready to be taught about why the Messiah came. They are now ready. That is the awesome confession of faith. They understand I am the Messiah, the Son of the living God. So now, having received that truth, let’s take them another step. Let’s take them a little deeper in their understanding of the mission and the Messiah.”

So he says:

“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”

And they say, “No way, not happening. No way—absolutely not.”

I will submit to you this morning that Peter is like the partially blind man. He sees men as trees. He recognizes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God sent from the Father. He has got that, but when you take him a step further and you begin to talk about the work of Jesus Christ, the penal substitutionary atoning work of Christ, he puts the brakes on it right then and there. He says, “No way.”

Now, again, we say, “Why would he do that? Why would he do that? Why would he put the brakes on it?”

When Jesus starts talking about suffering many things, when he starts rejecting the teaching of the elders, he talks about being killed. Hold on. The Messiah hasn’t come to be killed. That is not what the Messiah came for. Why did the Messiah come? To overthrow the Roman government and to restore the Israel theocracy.

Now, again, we don’t get this. The reason we don't get this is because we didn’t live during that time. We don’t understand that for 400 years between Malachi and Matthew, there had been numerous men that had been coming along and saying, “I am the Messiah. I am the Messiah.” And they would rally around them until the dude died. And when he died, they knew that, well, this was not the Messiah.

And then a new one would rise up and say, “I am the Messiah.” And he would get a band of followers around him; and then the Roman government would squash them like anybody else, and they go, “Ooh, I guess he wasn’t the Messiah either.”

So now they must be thrilled, because finally they have got a Messiah that is going to be victorious.

You say, “How do they know that?”

Well, we have got some people in here that are in the army. Jesus does not have to worry about a log train, logistics. You just make your own bread everywhere you go. It doesn’t get any better than that, man. You don’t have to worry about a log train. If you need bread, he makes it. It gets better. You don’t have to worry about medical support. No, no medevacs. When Jesus is around, if they lose their ear, he puts it back on. If they lose a leg, he heals it right there.

It can’t get any better than this. We can overcome finally.

I mean, this man has all the power that it takes. There is no way we are going to lose now. Right?

But wait a minute. He is talking to them about being killed. What? Suffer? No, no, you don’t understand. We have already suffered enough. You are not here to lead us to more suffering or for you to suffer. We are here to kill those Romans. They have been taxing us and wearing us out, and God made a promise to Abraham and to Isaac and Jacob. That promise was that we were going to occupy this land, and we are going to do it.

They don’t understand penal, substitutionary atonement. What is that? It is the doctrine that Christ died on the cross as the substitute for sinners–God imputing the guilt of our sins to Christ. And he, Christ, in our place, bore the punishment that we deserved.

This was a full payment for sins which satisfied both the wrath and the righteousness of God so that He—He, God—could forgive sinners without compromising His holy standard.

They don’t understand this. They are clueless about penal substitutionary atonement.

Here is what we had happening a few minutes ago—And this was not orchestrated—I did not know they were doing that this morning. We had people coming up here and telling us about the power of the gospel. And there were some people in the auditorium that were moved beyond measure. And yet there were others that sat there and went like this. The difference is that some have been touched by the Lord, and others haven’t.

You, quite frankly, you cannot sit there like a box of rocks and not be moved when people are talking about the power of the gospel if you see clearly. You can’t. If you are able to sit there and remain, then you are just like the man who sees men, but they are like trees. You have not been touched by the Lord—because there is no way a person who has been given vision from the Lord can watch as people proclaim the power of the gospel in numerous ways and you not be moved. It can’t happen. Something is wrong with your salvation. You are like the dude who sees, but he doesn’t see clearly.

Verse 32.

Peter grabs him and jerks him aside and says, “Whoa-ho-ho, no way. We are going to need a correction here.”

Notice, this is not Lord rebuking Peter. That is not what the text says. Peter told Mark about the day when he put his foot in his mouth. He told him about the day. He said, “You cannot believe what I said.” That is how Mark was able to record it. He said, “You can’t believe it. I opened up my big mouth. I didn’t know that he was going to die on a cross. I didn’t understand penal, substitutionary atonement. I thought we were going to overthrow the Romans in this century, right then and there. I had no idea what Isaiah 53 was all about. I did not understand penal, substitutionary atonement.”

So he grabs Jesus, and he jerks him aside and says, “You are not going to a cross. That is not what is going to happen. You are not dying. Enough of this suffering!”

And I want you to see this. I am running out of time, but you have got to see this. He says:

“Get thee behind me, Satan.”

Now, let’s stop. Let’s really pay attention. Please listen to what I am going to tell you right now. Anything that detracts from the glory of the gospel is Satanic. Anything that takes away from what God did for us in Christ Jesus, anything that minimizes it, anything that detracts from it, anything that adds works to it, anything that says that it is less than what it is, is Satanic influence in the body of Christ. There is no other way around this. This is not an area where we can agree to disagree. This is not a compromise zone. This is not the difference between one form of worship and another form of worship. If you are part of a church outside of here before or after or at any time in which the gospel is not magnified for all its glory in the great doctrine of penal, substitutionary atonement, there is a satanic influence in that church.

There is no other way of saying this. This is not a matter of “I disagree with him.” If you disagree with me, let me be clear: you are wrong, and I am right. This is not an area where I could be wrong next week and change my mind. This is an area where I will never be wrong. If the gospel—if Christ died so that you could have a better marriage, that is an influence of Satan. If Christ died so you could be wealthier, that is an influence of Satan. If Christ died so you could have a bigger house, that is an influence of Satan.

The gospel is the glorious truth that Christ died for sinners. And that is magnified for all it is worth. And Christ is talking to them about dying and suffering, and Peter says, “Oh, no. We are not going down that road, Jesus. Let me get you straight right now.”

And He says, “Satan.”

Now let’s not forget. This is a man who two minutes ago said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

He said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

And then he gets called Satan. Do you know what he needs? He needs a second touch from the Lord so that he can see clearly. He is just like the man who sees men as trees. He needs a second touch.

Here it comes. Turn to Luke chapter two. I heard someone talking about Pentecost. It is just before Pentecost. Luke 24. We are done. I am going to read this passage, and then we are done.

Luke 24. I want to show you the second touch. You could write down on your Bible in the margin, “The second touch.” I want you to see the second touch for the disciples, and then we are done.

Jesus walked up to that blind man and he touched his hands on him, and he could see clearly. So I want to know: When did the Lord walk up to the apostles and touch them a second time, figuratively, so that they could see clearly?

Now you all were singing about this morning about the gardener, and that was beautiful. And it is just amazing, Jonathan, the way the Lord used you this week and orchestrated this. You must be praying well and in tune with the Lord, because, by the way, we don’t have some planning meeting in which we put together a show for you guys.

Verse 33.

And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding.

There it is. That is the second touch. Right there. That is the second touch.

Why on that given day, why, why did Jesus heal partially only to wait and turn around and touch him a second time? I will tell you why he did that—t o give us a beautiful preaching illustration.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord, for giving us an illustration that we can use this morning to call men to put their faith in Christ. There are some of you here that see, but you see men as trees; and you need a touch from the Lord.

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

If you don’t see clearly here this morning, it is because you don’t have the Holy Spirit inside you. That is why. That is why you don't see clearly. That is why these lyrics on the screen don’t move you, because you don't see clearly. It is blurry to you. And the reason it is blurry to you is because you have not had your eyes opened by the Messiah. You can talk about Bible truths. You can talk about general ideas, but you don’t understand the gospel crystal clear. The reason you don’t is because your eyes have not been opened.

War on Christians

Listen to a shocking article on the global war against Christians in Muslim countries.

We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.

The portrayal of Muslims as victims or heroes is at best partially accurate. In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations stretching from West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania.

The Week Brandon Died

God’s grace is sufficient! These past 7 days have been some of the most difficult days of my life. In fact I think the only week up to this point that has been comparable was the week my mother passed away. The sudden home going of Brandon Kerr was so completely unexpected that it threw me into a personal tailspin. I had known my mom was going to die prematurely—her life of alcohol and pain killers was going to eventually catch up to her. But Brandon was different—Brandon was a perfectly healthy handsome active young man. No one knew he was dying inside. Yet the truth is we are all dying. No one will escape death.

God had knit my heart to Brandon like He has done with many of the children in the church. I love them beyond what they or their parents know. I don’t guard myself and keep a distance; although, it would have been an easier week had I done so. Instead, I spent my week in shock, completely exasperated that God had not preserved Brandon’s life. I wanted that boy back, but that was not to be. Now was not the time to go into depression—there were too many things that needed to be done. A pastor in depression is, quite frankly, useless. There was a funeral to prepare for—this young man had been a gift from God, and we needed to glorify God even in Brandon’s death.

There were souls that needed to hear the gospel and be converted.

There were other families with needs that needed to be addressed; there were others that were rescheduled into the coming week. There was a Sunday morning sermon to still prepare.

There was a conference at Southeastern Seminary that I had planned to attend on Friday and Saturday. DA Carson was speaking, and I so wanted to hear him preach—but that was NOT the will of God for this Saturday. Reservations had to be canceled.
The will of the Lord was to go to a house of mourning. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart (Eccl 7.2).

To be honest, I did not want to go to a house of mourning. I wanted to go to Southeastern Seminary for the 20/20 Collegiate Conference and feast on the Word of God for two days. But that was not the will of God for these days. Instead, the will of God was to be consumed with the sudden, premature death of a precious boy.

How could this be the will of God? Perhaps the answer is found in asking: How could it be the will of God to crush his only begotten Son for selfish, arrogant, rebels and idolaters, most of whom would go to their grave rejecting God’s love?

You see, I don’t believe in the doctrine of Limited Atonement. This is why I am not a 5 point Calvinist. I don’t believe that Christ died ONLY for the elect. I believe His love is magnified beyond my wildest imagination when I understand that He also died for those who would never come to Christ through repentance and faith.

Christ is the propitiation for our [the elect’s] sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world [even those who spend their entire life serving themselves] (1 John 2:2).

To the disciples, the death of Jesus must have felt in many ways just as sudden, premature, and unexpected as Brandon’s death seems to us. On Sunday Christ was healthy and leading a procession through the streets of Jerusalem, and by Thursday he was dead. I wonder what plans were put on hold or cancelled by the death of Christ.

Yesterday, at Berean, at a house of mourning, I saw the love of the body of Christ poured out on a family because of one common thing—Jesus. At the house of feasting at Southeastern I would have seen love, too; but it would not have been love like this. This must be why Solomon said it is better to go to the house of mourning than a house of feasting. At a house of mourning we are all reminded that we, too, will stand before the Righteous Judge someday and account for the life we have lived; But seldom do I think of death at a party. At a house of mourning I get my heart right with God and fellow men—at a party I don’t think much of eternal things.

But our mourning is different than the mourning of those who reject the gospel. Our mourning is filled with joy. Paul said, “We mourn or sorrow not as others who have no hope!” Instead, we look to a glorious day when Brandon’s body will be reunited with his soul for all eternity. When the dead in Christ hear the voice of God calling them to the resurrection of the just, they will be glorified—the final step in God’s plan of salvation; and we will forever be with the Lord. Glory hallelujah!

The following song has been comfort to me many, many times when a saint has died:

It is not death to die*
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

Chorus O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

*Original words by Henri Malan (1787–1864). Translated by George Bethune (1847). Music, chorus, and alternate words by Bob Kauflin