The Christian's Response to 2020

We Must Embrace The Importance Of Reading The Word Of God.

Matthew Maher
Oct 18, 2020    45m
To learn how we should react to the trails we are facing in 2020, we must recognize the importance of reading the Word of God. We can't move forward saying we are doing what Jesus called us to do, if we don't spend time in His Word. The Bible speaks the truths we need to live as Christians in today's culture. Video recorded at Ocean City, New Jersey.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Matthew Maher: 00:02 Church, look at me, the government will not elect the Gospel. Schools no longer respect the Gospel. The courts no longer protect the Gospel. The world at large rejects the gospel, but by God's grace alone, salvation goes to anyone who sincerely, genuinely authentically selects the Gospel. And those who select the gospel, oh, there will be a conviction in that person's life to stand firm, steadfast on the truth, you ain't moving me from this conviction. And here's the reality, when we truly live for the Lord, we consequentially give up the world.

Matthew Maher: 00:55 I am convinced it's the goal of every minister who stands in a pulpit to do three things immediately. Stabilize the Christian in a time with so much confusion, so much chaos, the Word of God should be front and center, the gospel should be front and center, to stabilize the souls of Christians. And then we need to contextualize the problem, what we're up against, identifying the real enemy, a spiritual enemy. And after we contextualize, of course, we mobilize. We get our marching orders, and we live it out beyond the building.

Matthew Maher: 01:28 So how do we stabilize? Well, we'll look at some of God's sovereign nature, Psalm 103 verse 19, "The Lord has established his throne in heaven." The Lord has established his authority in heaven. The Lord has established his economy in heaven. The Lord sits as God over this world, his kingdom rules over all. These are the scriptures that we need to orient our hearts and minds around, when we're reminded that God is in complete control. Don't get it twisted, when you look around it looks like things are out of control, God sits as King over this world, and he rules over all. But here's the most interesting thing about his rule over all, one of the ways he rules over all is giving man over to his own rule. It's what we call in theology, freewill, when you have a decision that you can make to either accept God or reject God.

Matthew Maher: 02:22 So man, historically, the pattern of human history has rebelled against God, and God bows to our humanity because he gave us the ability to reject him. And what is the result? Well, you can look through Romans chapter 1 verses 20 to 25 and see the primary results of man rejecting God, man choosing his own way. Instead of the creator, we choose creation. We've replaced the truth of God with lies, and of course the result is always going to be confusion, chaos, evil, and unleashing of immorality, and godlessness, that is the spirit of antichrist. So if you were going to reduce, say in strategy to one tactic, it would be this, his primary strategy is to get you and I to think independently from God's authority. If he can get you and I to think separately, think independently, from God's authority, the Holy Word of God, Genesis to Revelation, 66 books in one.

Matthew Maher: 03:30 If he could get me to think my own thoughts, he can get me to rebel, defy, it's what we call in common day vocabulary, progressivism. Have you heard that progressivism somebody with progressive views, progressive thought leaders, progressivism is man's attempt to flourish human nature apart from God. Man's attempt to leverage government to help flourish humanity apart from God. Well, here's the reality, progressive thought, driven from a degenerate heart, an unsaved heart, will always produce rebellious onslaught. Look back in history, every time man has risen up and said, I have my own idea. They try to flourish outside of God's way of humanity flourishing, and it's coming from an unsaved heart, the result's always going to be rebellion. These are the reasonings behind our current critical condition.

Matthew Maher: 04:42 Yet, we serve a God who puts in what we call restraints, restraints that hold back evil and immorality. The first restraint that God put in place is moral restraint, moral order, a conscience. Every single human being has a conscience. The conscience, however, was given by God to be oriented around the law of God, morality. And the moment we push that conscience down and suppress it, it becomes seared, it becomes numb, it becomes deafened. And when the moral order is broken down, you get the opposite, Immorality, and immorality becomes commonplace according to the culture.

Matthew Maher: 05:28 So God put in a second restraint. If the moral order breaks down, the second order, is social order. Social order is made up of families, the bedrock of society is the family, father, mother, male, female husband, wife, with children. That is the second restraint that God put in place. Of course, parents are supposed to train up their children in the way they should go, so that when they're older, they will depart from it. That is because the moral order can so easily be rejected, so the parents are supposed to instill biblical order under the social order, AKA the family. It's an understatement for me to say that the family is under attack. In fact, you can trace every ill of society to fatherlessness, not just fathers who are physically absent, fathers who are emotionally distant. Seven out of ten youth in detention centers or facilities come from fatherless homes, suicide rate increases for children in fatherless homes, drug addiction, I mean the list goes on. Why are we surprised when there are organizations out there who are attacking the biblical family? Because if you can remove the family from the equation, all hell breaks loose.

Matthew Maher: 06:57 Which leads me to the third restraint that God has put in place, law and order, moral order, social order, and then law and order. God's institution for law and order is the police, is our military, and there is a current attack against law and order. That is the spirit of antichrist working through media, working through people, to attack a restraint that God put in place. Romans 13, God has put in place government and law and order to punish evil doers, and honor those that do good. Now, that doesn't always perfectly work out, but by and large in the land we live in, that is a God given institution, it is the restraint of law and order. That's being broken down, there are people that think that's a good idea.

Matthew Maher: 07:49 Which leads me to the fourth and final restraint that God has put in place, it's the church. It's those that call themselves Christians, who have been given the Holy Spirit, who restrains evil in this world through you and I, through the church. It is the conscience, it is the community, it is the civil force, and it is the church by and large that God has put in place to push back the darkness. Isaiah 59 verse 19 says, "When the enemy shall come in like a flood." When the enemy shall pour in like a flood, what do you know about a flood? Well, in a river, they have river banks, which are boundaries that keep the water contained. But the moment the river rises above the river banks, the boundaries, the restraints, you get a flood and a flood destroys everything in its path. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, do you feel in 2020, like the enemy is coming in like a flood? The manifestation of the spiritual is seen clearly in the physical in 2020. Sounds hopeless, right?

Matthew Maher: 09:01 Let me read the rest of Isaiah 59:19, "The Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him." "When the enemy comes in like a flood, pours in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord, he lifts up a standard against him." What is this word standard? It is a military term, it is a battle standard, it is what you would see as a flag bear, or an armor bearer with a shield that has a certain insignia on it. But more importantly, it was a rally call, or cry, for the soldiers to rally to arms around a certain point. In the midst of battle, of course they would put this flag, the standard, on a wall or a hill, a conspicuous place so you can see it. Do you want to know why? Because in the midst of the fray, it is so easy to get disoriented. In the midst of the battle, you lose your bearings. And what we're seeing right now in the midst of the battle, is Christians losing their bearings. In fact, we're attacking one another. And the Bible is like, that's because you're not lifting up the right standard, you're not lifting up the right battle cry, the standard is a person.

Matthew Maher: 10:17 According to another prophecy, Isaiah 11:10, it says, "In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples." There's the same word, to the people, ethnos, all people. "For the Gentiles shall seek him, and his resting place shall be glorious." Isaiah's pointing to Jesus, John 12:32 is the fulfillment of this prophecy. When Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all peoples (ethnos) to myself." If you lift me up, I'll draw people to myself. See the church has lost our bearings, we're choosing sides. We're in the midst of a battle, we're disoriented, and this is the rally cry for the Christian to look at Christ again, the one who binds us together because the Christian is not bound together by social, by political, or by racial compatibility. That's not what binds us together, our race is not what binds us together. Socially speaking, that's not what binds us together. Politically speaking, that is not our common ground. What binds us together? Our compatibility is Christ, Jesus Christ, faith in him and him alone.

Matthew Maher: 11:47 See, when Paul wrote to the Galatians, he would say, "For you are all children of God, (ready) through faith in Christ Jesus." What makes you a child of God? That you have an awareness of your sinfulness, that you're a sinner, and our common denominator is that we claim the same savior. That's it, sinner all of us, claiming the same savior, all of us, there's our common ground. He says, for as many of you were baptized, right, associated with, into Christ have put on Christ. Similarly to how you put on clothes today before you came to church, thank you, by the way, for doing that, putting on Christ. There's this idea behind external distinction, external conduct, the fruit of the spirit. It's evident that you are a Christian, not just because you go to church on a Sunday, not just because you have good morals, not because you were raised in a Christian household but because you have given your life to Jesus Christ who's now living inside of you, who now makes you look more like himself. Because as Christians, our identity and our integrity are infused by Christ alone, not our color, not our class, and not our culture. We error greatly when we make certain descriptions about Christians, oh, that person's a black Christian, a white Christian, the white evangelicals. Have you ever heard that? The white evangelicals, or that's the black church, we cause division in the words that we choose to describe the church of Jesus Christ. There is no black church, there is no white evangelicals, there is one church and it's the church of Jesus Christ, and it says the Gates of Hades will not prevail against that church. I want to be part of that church.

Matthew Maher: 13:47 See, when we let culture begin to infuse the way we do church, that is why we put the descriptors on it. I want my integrity, and my identity, to be infused by Christ. Verse 28 out of Galatians 3, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, (watch this) there's neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female." There is neither Jew nor Greek, okay, color. There's neither slave nor free, class culture. Male or female. What is he saying here? He's saying, we're all one in Christ, there's a compound unity for the Christian who's part of a church. The standard is Christ, and that is why the standard of Christ is, in Christ we stand. Let me say that again. The standard is Christ, the battle standard's Christ, and that is why the standard of Christ is, in Christ we stand. For all other ground, and all other religions, and all other ideologies, is sinking sand.

Matthew Maher: 14:57 The apostle Paul would write to the Ephesians. He would say, in chapter 6 verse 10, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." The word is trickery, the word is schemes, the word is strategies, of the devil of the enemy. Verse 12, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood." A lot of the time, our energy and our efforts are focused at physical man, physical woman, flesh and blood. And the Bible is like, you are warring against the wrong object, we are warring against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, in the spiritual realm, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 2 identifies Lucifer, Satan, as the Prince of the power of the air. The air, the airwaves, perhaps the media, perhaps the godless media, perhaps the left, lost, and liberal, media. Perhaps that's one of his mediums that he's leveraging to deceive, yet, how many Christians are able to discern the difference between truth and lies? His goal is to divide, that's what he does. He came to steal, to kill, to destroy, he wants you to choose a side. He wants you to choose a side between the right or the left, Trump or Biden, black or white, black lives matter or all lives matter. No, no, no, how about we get back to eternal life matters. How about we get back to biblical truth matters, how about we stop arguing about all this stuff, and get back to what the Bible calls us to. Are you for masks or no masks, right? See if the devil can divide us, he can destroy us.

Matthew Maher: 17:10 But more than that, if the devil can get us to fear Coronavirus, he can get us to lose sight of Jesus. So while we're talking about masks and coronavirus...See, anytime the enemy wants to control, his main tool is fear, he uses fear, he can get people to fear. Now you're only hearing one side of the story, you're seeing a very large number show up on your news and media every day. Over 200,000, over 200,000 people have succumbed to the virus. Over 200,000 thousand outbreaks over here, 200,000, 200,000 lost their life. And of course, if that's all they put on the news and media in 2019, 44 million people get the flu, 44 million, that is 120,000 people a day. If that's all you saw on the news, 120,000 contractions of the common flu, you would again be walking around in such terror. Pastor, are you saying that the coronavirus isn't killing people? No, no, no, I know it is. But no news and media outlet is going to tell you these stats, that if you're in the age group of zero to 19 years of age, the survivability rate, the recovery rate, is 99.997%, that's almost a 100%. Nobody's going to tell you that. Why? Because they want you to walk around in fear, they want you to depend on them. If you're 20 to 49 years of age, their survivability rate is 99.98%, this is from the CDC. If you are 50 to 69 years of age, your recovery rate is 99.5%. This is where we get into the age group of the vulnerability, 70 years of age or older recovery rate is 94.6%. This is every single year, the most vulnerable, the most affected by mortality. The median age of death for coronavirus is 78 years of age, 78. The life expectancy in the United States of America is also 78 years of age. Apparently, it is very dangerous to be 78 years old. Eighty percent of all the deaths are 65 years or older, my parents are in that demographic. For anyone to say, you don't care about those that lost life, don't know my heart. I'm just giving you facts, because this is not what you're getting on the major news outlets. Ninety-three percent of all deaths had comorbidities, that is two, or three, or more underlying health issues, right? Fifty percent or more, this is a conservative number, have come from assisted living homes, nursing homes, or hospice. What are you saying? I'm saying the news isn't telling you the whole story, the majority have underlying health issues. Our youth, zero to 25 years of age, under 500 deaths. Do you want to know how many zero to 25 year old’s there are in America? 100 million, 100 million, under 500 deaths, does that sound like what the media is telling you?

Matthew Maher: 20:57 Now, let me just kind of clean this up because there are people right now that are trying to sensor me, Christians trying to sensor me. I want to ask you a question, what do you have in common with Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, if you're trying to censor me? Why are they censoring truth? Why are they silencing voices that are trying to bring a spiritual perspective? If you're a Christian and a believer, you should be open to this, 2018, 2.8 plus million deaths, 2019, 2.8 plus million deaths, 2020 as of mid-October, 2.2 plus million deaths. I'm wondering why churches are shut down right now. I'm wondering why businesses shut down and have gone bankrupt right now. Are you saying, Pastor Matt, that you don't care about the 200,000 people who lost their lives and their families? No, no, no, but why is that always the counterargument to me presenting the other side, and why don't you tell your false narrative to those people who couldn't have family members visit them as they were dying alone in a hospital room? Why don't you tell your false narrative to those who only have a handful of people at a funeral and couldn't even properly pay their last respects. Yet, George Floyd had three funerals, and hundreds of people showed up. No, nobody's saying that. Weddings postponed, delayed, inconvenienced, marijuana dispensaries stayed open, strip clubs stayed open, liquor stores stayed open, Planned Parenthood stayed open.

Matthew Maher: 22:49 Why aren't the Christians, and the churches, rising up to this deception? This is this pastor's attempt at flying a banner which is not about retreating or isolating, it's about regrouping and insulating. Please do not hear what I did not say, I am not up here telling anybody to rip off their mask and go cavalier, nor am I saying, if you wear a mask that you're walking in fear. We take common sense approaches with safety, sanitary, and obviously being smart, but not neglecting that we're saved. Not forgetting that we are saved, and not a single person in here is going to live beyond the day that God has ordained for you to take your final breath. Let's get back to that, because God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of love and power, Holy Spirit power, and a sound mind. A sound mind looks at the data, understands what I'm up against, and again, walks in faith, not foolishness.

Matthew Maher: 24:03 See, Psalm chapter 60, verse 4, it says, "God, you have given a banner to those who fear you." God, you've given a banner, again, same word, to those who fear you, "That it may be displayed because of the truth." "Because of the truth. Selah" What is that banner, what is being lifted up from the pulpit? See if the name of Jesus Christ is not being lifted up from a pulpit, the biblical Jesus, not the legalistic Jesus, not the liberalism Jesus, the biblical literal Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. We often think that Jesus, who was the Word who became flesh, can only be reduced to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But the Word of God, in its entirety, is the character of God. That's why the Hebrews writer writes, "Jesus Christ was the same yesterday, today and forever." So I look in the scriptures, not the culture, to form and inform my conscience and my perspective.

Matthew Maher: 25:06 Spending almost five years in prison, of course, that is the most fractured place on earth. It is also the most divided place, factions, birds of a feather flock together. Of course, when you go into a place like that, you're on your own. So you find people externally that you can relate to, whites stay with whites, blacks stay with blacks, Spanish stay with Spanish, older generation population stay together, some people's crimes unite them, but by and large, birds of a feather flock together. And what I discovered, and you've heard me talk about this frequently and often, is because I believe with all my heart, this experience that I had was God giving me a concentrated exposure to the potency of scripture. A concentrated exposure to the potency of scripture, because it was around a Bible study with the Word of God open, where all types of walks of life United and gathered around. There were gang members, there were atheists, there were Muslims, there were Jews, there were Christians, there was blacks, there was whites, there was browns, all around the Word of God. And what I discovered was no gimmicks, no tricks, no games, no playing, no bells, no whistles, just open the book and teach the Word of God. And I watched as the Word of God began to penetrate the hardest of hearts. I watched, as I rightly divided the word of truth, under the inspiration of the spirit of truth, pointing to the one and only Jesus Christ. Who said, I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one can come to the father except through me. When I did that, I watched Christ break down barriers, and break down the hardest hearts of sinners. I watched, literally a white supremacist who had swastikas tattooed all over his body like you would see in a movie, sitting next to a black brother in a Bible study. Eventually that same young man who was lost, playing out in the big yard, handball and basketball with people of color, and all because of the Word of God was providing life to the lost.

Matthew Maher: 27:28 I often talk about my one cellmate, little John, 330 pound man. Former mob enforcer for a crime family, 6 foot 3, tatted up, this was a bad man. But the Lord got ahold of his heart, this was a man who persecuted people of faith, thought it was weak. And so one day as the Word of God was administered, God got ahold of his hard heart, because you just never know when God is going to get ahold of somebody's heart. Which means I should always lead with the Gospel, and leave the outcome to God. And little John went from, no exaggeration, he went from being violent to benevolent, complete transformation. He went from hardness of heart, to humbleness of heart. He went from crime, he spent a majority of his life, he's 50 now, in some type of jail institution, federal or state, he went from crime to Christ.

Matthew Maher: 28:23 I was out in the big yard one day, there's a three foot rule that you can't walk up on the gate, there's a line. Now, I'm standing behind that line and the warden comes outside. The warden, you would rarely see show up with the general population, if you saw them, it was a big deal. He comes out into this gate and he's walking with lieutenants, sergeants, and other petty officers, the warden never rolled alone. So here he is, and he comes to the gate and he calls my name, he called me Matty. Hey, Matty. Now I stopped, I turned, is he talking to me? Number one, usually don't get your name called, it's usually a number called, inmate three one four five two five. But number two, that's the last thing you want to be seen doing is talking to the warden. And all of my peers in the big yard, hundreds of them, are now stopping to see, one, what's the warden doing here? Two, why is he calling Matt? So I walk over the gate, I stand behind the line. Thankfully, he began to speak loudly so everybody could hear, he's almost yelling. He goes, I want to thank you for the work that you're doing with little John. That was his introductory statement, and I find that funny because as a former pro soccer player, I used to work with little kids. And after a training session, a mom and dad would come up and be like, coach Matt, we just want to you for the work that you're doing with little Johnny, and now the warden is saying that very same thing to me in jail. I want to thank you for the work that you're doing with little John. And then he said this, pointing to his peers, because if these, and he cursed, bleepity bleeps, and they, pointing to the inmates, if they knew who he was, talking about little John, they won't even look him in the eyes. I remember dawned on me, who is little John? It this guy like Hannibal Lecter or something, people are terrified of him. The other thing that hit me was, the warden was making an observation because he knew John from jail, and a new John's reputation from the street. And what the warden was essentially saying to me, he knew little John was coming to the Bible study, thanking me for taming, little John. But more importantly, he was saying this guy, I know him, his present looks nothing like his past, and that is the best way to describe the biblical concept behind transformation. For if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, old things have passed away, behold, all things become new.

Matthew Maher: 30:57 You see the gospel doesn't just bring people together, that's why we lead with the gospel, the gospel of Jesus Christ also puts people back together. People that are broken, people that are lost, people that are morally bad, people that think they're morally good, all of them are welcomed to the cross. That's the leveler of God, he levels the playing field. As Ezra Taft Benson said, this quote, I love this quote. "The Lord works from the inside out, the world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums, Christ would take the slums out of people, who then take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment." Now, let me stop. How does the world mold men, rehabilitation, military, take them out of their environment, we try to mold them. But Christ, he changes men, who then change their environment. Christ changes human nature, while the world attempts to shape human behavior.

Matthew Maher: 32:08 So what is the Christian's response to 2020, it’s Second Corinthians chapter 10 verses 3 to 5, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." First and foremost, the only way to take your thoughts captive is to be captivated in your thoughts, by the Word of God. If you let your thoughts wander, and you let the culture, and the news, and media, and young ones, your social media scrolling through, it's never ending. If that's only the thing that's teaching you, you're going to have an improper perspective on the world. You must start with the Word of God, you must allow this book in my hand to inform your perspective. And when you let the Word of God get inside of you, that's when you put on Christ, that's how you put on the armor of God. That is how you war against the enemy in the spiritual realm, that is how you cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Everything in our culture exalts itself against the knowledge of God, every ism, progressivism, secular humanism, liberalism, I mean the list goes on, socialism, Marxism, communism. Do you know what these terms mean?

Matthew Maher: 33:46 Don't let anybody convinced you that socialism is a good idea, just to let you know, that's what we're up against in this election. You know that right? No, I don't think you do. I think too many people, too many Christians are so blinded by the hate for the president, that they're currently missing what's unfolding in the present. Let me say that again, too many Christians are so blinded by their hate for the president, that they're completely missing what is unfolding in the present. What's unfolding in the present? Is that our constitution, which is God given, which is the reason why the United States of America is the most powerful, wealthiest, glorious, and most liberated country in the world. Why? Because Liberty is the DNA of God. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, life as God defines it, from the womb to the tomb. Liberty, as only God can give it, and happiness and or property as God bestows it.

Matthew Maher: 34:57 Ronald Reagan said in 1984, that was the year I was born, at a prayer breakfast. "We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship, we mandate no belief, but we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society, and without God, democracy will not and cannot endure. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, we will be a nation gone under. Christianity will always thrive and survive without America, but America will not survive without Christianity."

Matthew Maher: 35:39 I just wrote a blog about my faith votes, thoughts from a pastor's heart, biblically based counterarguments are always [inaudible] I think the other side has biblical principles too, and they list these very admirable and honorable things, but none can ever articulate the policies that that party has forth for that particular demographic, smoke and mirrors. What are you saying, pastor? I'm saying it is our civil responsibility to vote righteously, and if you want to talk about what that means, I'd love to have conversations personally, with anybody. Come with facts though, this war will not be won by ballots, that's not an excuse not to vote. This war will not be won by bullets, try as you will, human effort will not accomplish it. This war will only be won by biblical boldness, not ballots, not bullets, biblical boldness. Biblical boldness is only born by spending time with Jesus, the true Jesus, to be biblically bold is to be free of the fear of man. If you abide in my word, Jesus said, you are my disciples indeed. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Free from what? Free from sinfulness, number one. Free from worldliness, number two. Free from fearfulness, number three.

Matthew Maher: 37:10 "Because when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, in Acts chapter 4 verse 13, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men." When they saw the freedom of speech, that's what the word boldness means, unashamed to claim the name that took away their sin and shame. They were freely, fluently talking about Jesus. They didn't care what the coworkers thought, what the friends thought, what the family thought, what their bosses thought, they were going to unashamedly lead with the gospel. And of course, they were astonished, they said these guys, they didn't go to our schools, they didn't go to our seminaries, they didn't read our books, they didn't sit under our rabbinical teachings. These guys don't know how to speak eloquently, yet they're speaking boldly. And here's the conclusion, and they didn't mean it this way, but this is how the Christian takes it, and they realized they had been with Jesus. Does anybody know you've been with Jesus? No, no, not just by your Facebook posts. Does anybody know you've been with Jesus, that you spent time with Jesus this morning? That before you are unleashed on your day, that you spent a moment in prayer with God, because a moment in prayer with God can accomplish more than a lifetime of self-effort without him. One moment.

Matthew Maher: 38:32 A teacher addressing a class of students. She said that it is impossible for a whale to swallow a human, impossible, the whale's throat is too skinny, it cannot happen. A little girl in the back of the class raised her hand and said, excuse me, that's not true. Jonah, he was swallowed by a whale. The teacher, she shot back, sweetheart, listen to me carefully. That is a fable, that is not real, I just got done telling you it is impossible for a whale to swallow a human. The little girl, undaunted said, that's okay. When I get to heaven, I'll just ask him myself. The teacher said, and what if he went to hell? And the little girl said, well, then you can ask him.

Matthew Maher: 39:29 I don't know why I told you that joke, but probably needed some laughter. No, I know why I did, because that little illustration is a perfect example of the way the world is trying to push God out of it. And if the world's trying to push God out of it, the charge for you, don't you dare let it push God out of you. Don't you dare let this culture, and this godless world we live in, to push God out of you. Too many Christians are being sidelined because they are being influenced more by the news than the good news. They're not taking God's Word as a lifeline, so it's easy to get deceived by the deception of every headline. The Word of God needs to be our battle cry, it needs to be the standard lifted high, and it needs to be the standard lived out.

Matthew Maher: 40:18 July 21st, 1861, take you back to the battle known as Bull Run. The first battle of Bull Run was between 35,000 union soldiers and 20,000 Confederate soldiers, this is historically known as the Civil War. This battle in particular became known as the picnic battle because people, spectators, showed up to watch. Literally they came with picnic baskets and opera glasses, they had no idea what was about to unfold before their actual eyes. Politicians were there on the sidelines, why? Because politicians had vested interest in the outcome of the war. Journalists were there, journalists in the 1800s controlled the optics of any given situation? Does this sound familiar? And finally civilians, people that lived down the street showed up to see, to be entertained. And what they all witnessed was not something they could ever have imagine. After the first bullet was fired, the first body went down, and the first drop of blood was spilled, they realized this was not a public spectacle, it got real.

Matthew Maher: 41:42 And I'm saying too many Christians are engaging in this actual war as spectators, sitting off on the sideline, and there is spiritual blood being shed. And that is why, if you are a casual Christian in the midst of this spiritual war, you will become a casualty. Casual Christians always become casualties. This is not about taking a side on the horizontal, this is about taking the one true side, the vertical, the Lord's side. But you need to know the Lord's side, how did Jesus combat the enemy, the devil himself? How did he combat the devil? This was God in flesh. Matthew chapter 4, it is written, devil. It is written, devil. It is written, devil. In other words, the only way for you and I to know it is written, is if we spend time reading what is written, what is written in the Word of God for such a time as this. For men and women to have their spine strengthened with courage. For the gospel banner to be flown over every ministry and every church that names Christ. For the Christians to no longer walk in fear, but walk in faith. For the Christian to have courage to stand up, while the world around us is bowing down. For the Christian to have the courage to stoop down, and not step over those in need. Stoop down to the marginalized, stoop down to those that are calling for justice, get down on their level, don't step over them, come down to them, meet them where they're at, bring them where you're at. Finally, courage to speak out and not hush up. I will not hush up, this pastor in 2020 will not hush up because my conscience is held captive to the Word of God. And since we're not dead, we're not done. We've heard it here today, by God's grace, let us be mobilized and do it.

Matthew Maher: 43:53 Let's pray. Father in heaven, hallowed, holy, consecrated, be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth, in our lives, in our marriages, in our families, in our occupation, as it is already established, fulfilled, ordained in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread, the daily bread of life, your son, Jesus Christ. Forgive us for our sins, our trespasses, against you and you alone, and the consequences that have affected others. Give us mercy to forgive others who have trespassed against us. Lead us not into temptation, because we are made of a sinful nature and we will succumb, and fall, and fail. Deliver us from the evil one, a roaring lion seeking those whom he will devour. Lord protect this ministry, your body, that we would contend for the truth, that we would stand on the gospel and not move. This is for your glory honor and praise, this is to your name. Amen.

Recorded in Ocean City, New Jersey.
Read More
Coastal Christian Ocean City
300 E 8th Street
Ocean City, New Jersey 08226