We Have A Message for the World
June 14th, 1992 @ 10:50 AM
WE HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE WORLD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-14-92 10:50 a.m.
We are preaching through the Book of Romans and this will be the fifth message, entitled Our Message for the World. Romans, chapter 1, beginning in verse 14, "I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians" [Romans 1:14]. The Greeks called everybody who was not a Greek a barbarian:
I am a debtor to both of them, to the wise and to the unwise.
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: it is – the dunamite, the dunamis, the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, to the Jew, to the Greek.
For in it is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The message to the whole world: it is addressed to all creation. Isaiah begins, "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord God hath spoken" [Isaiah 1:2]. The message of God is addressed to the continents, to the isles of the sea. It is addressed to the families and leaders of the whole human race. And it has in it a glorious hope and a marvelous promise. As Isaiah avows, God says, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, All the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is none else" [Isaiah 45:22]. All others are feeble and frail in their message; they don’t know where to turn or what to do or how to say.
But there is no hesitancy in the message of God. It was born in tribulation and trouble and blood, and it has in it an everlasting overtone of victory and redemption. It looks not to earth, but it looks to heaven. It is centered not in man, but in God. It finds its heart not in materiality but in spirituality. It moves not in the thoughts of human mind but in the omnipotent purpose of God. Therefore in trouble and in turmoil, there is power in the word and promise of the Lord. In the darkest of nights, Christ shines the brightest. And in the bitterness of the experiences of life, there is a sweetness in Christ beyond description; God’s message for the world.
We turn now to the world in which we live. I sat in a subway train car, and I looked at the band of advertisements up there on the wall, all the way above the heads of the people. And I took a pencil and I wrote down those advertisements, there in the subway train. The first one: "cigarettes," and extolling all of the virtues and happinesses and joys of smoking nicotine; that was the first one. The second one: "Pregnant?" Question mark, "We can help," and gave the address of the abortion clinic and avowed, quote; "Private and confidential." The next one: "Lottery, one dollar and a dream. Pay the mortgage," and all the other things underneath. And the next one, "Male bonding," I had never heard the expression before, "Male bonding: if two males in sexual intercourse use our condoms," just infrequent intercourse can procure AIDS. "Call our AIDS hotline: 312-616-8000." That is modern America.
Now, my avowals: first of all, you are dealing with God when you deal with sexual promiscuity:
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot?. . .
Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her?. . .
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
[1 Corinthians 6:15-18]
That’s why disease, claps, gonorrhea, syphilis, AIDS, are a judgment of Almighty God. And the day in which we live, I do not recognize it. I remember when, if you used the word "condom," you said it in a dark alley under your breath. Today? I listen to the news in my car when I drive to the church or drive to the hospital; I punch the button and the radio comes on. And day before yesterday, listening to a radio broadcast – they were describing, with hilarity, seemingly – a band that gave a concert for children and the favors were: each child was given a condom. Then, the broadcast went on. They had a group of boys. Now look at this age; they were ages seven to twelve, a group of boys, age seven to twelve. And the master of ceremonies said, "How many of you boys know what a condom is?" And they all raised their hands. And then he asked, "How many of you have used them in sexual intercourse?" Seven to twelve! And three-fourths of them, the radio broadcast said, raised their hands – children from seven to twelve! And that is why there is a floodtide of AIDS that is spreading over this entire world, and includes us.
God has an answer; and the most beautiful and precious answer that mind could imagine or heart could desire; I’ll read it later in the message. But to speak of it now, God made one man for one woman, and all the days of their lives, they are in each other’s embrace and love and arms. And sweet people, if we listen to God, and did what God says, you would never hear of an infectious disease like AIDS or syphilis or the rest.
And may I make an aside? There’s not anything sweeter in all the earth than a young fellow falling in love with a precious girl, and they live together in a beautiful harmony all the days of their lives, incomparably precious and incomparably beautiful.
Daisy, Daisy, give me your promise true.
I’m just crazy all for the love of you.
We can’t have a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage,
But you’ll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.
[from "Daisy Bell," by Harry Dacre, 1892]
Ah dear! Nothing in the world as sweet and dear as a boy falling in love with a girl and the rest of their lives living in sweet joy and embrace together.
Our avowals: you are dealing with God when you deal with your body. Reading from the Word, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him," judge him. "For the temple of God," your body, "is holy, which temple you are" [1 Corinthians 3:16-17]. What a beautiful word; this is God’s omnipotent Word. And this is God’s holy temple; and I am to keep it and dedicate it to the Lord in His holy name.
So, I’m seated in a cab and the driver says he is a Coptic Christian, an Ethiopian. And I have been all through Ethiopia. So I talk to him and visit with him. And he says to me, "I drive my cab through the city in the daytime. But when nighttime comes, when the sun goes down, I take my cab home. For I’m afraid to drive my cab at night. For," he says to me, "on the streets of this city, there are twenty to thirty thousand drug addicts, and I’m afraid." So, I’m in the cab and he stops at a red light, and a man comes over there and knocks on the pane. And the cab driver lowers the window, and he gives that man money and rolls the pane back up again. And I say to him, "Now, that is the funniest thing I ever saw! Who is that man and why do you give him money?" And he says to me, "I have no idea who he is,drug addict,and if I don’t give them money, they will destroy me and my cab." What has happened to America? My body used for drug addiction!
A young man in a T-shirt approached an older man. There was a quick flash of folded bills, something exchanged. Both men walked away quickly. It took seconds on a sun-drenched street in the early afternoon of an August day: a crack deal. Crack is a monster on its own – cheap, available, instantly addictive – it is a hydra with many heads. And the latest to rear its head is AIDS. The vehicle is not needles as with heroin, crack is almost always smoked. Crack is very intertwined with AIDS because the kids, in order to get crack, in desperation sell themselves –
Now, I’m reading –
On the eastern side of America, we find that the people on the streets are constantly mixing substances together, to get a better high.
"Since then, has there been anything new in the processing of crack?"
"Yes, it’s being made in microwave ovens. They can make it in ten seconds."
"Is there anything new about the use of crack?"
"It is smoked in regular cigarettes."
"After forty years of combating street drugs, are you discouraged?" "Yes"
"Is it getting better?"
"It’s getting worse, three hundred billion dollars a year are spent on drugs."
Dr. Weinberg calls crack the worst public health problem he’s seen. You can’t do a good job, no matter what you do. I don’t see it getting any better. "In a seventy-two hour period," by the way, this is on the other side of the nation I’m reading from. This is from Oakland, California:
In a seventy-two hour period last winter, all five hundred patients in the medical emergency room, regardless of age, were given urine tests. And forty-five percent proved drug addictive. In the psychiatric emergency rooms, doctors variously estimate that between sixty and ninety percent of their patients are cocaine users. Sermonizing about such ill-gotten wealth is not particularly effective. Dr. Cornell once found seven hundred dollars on a teenager hurt in a car accident. The teenager said he was a bookkeeper at a crack house. When the doctor challenged his career choice, the boy said, "I’m not going to work for a chump, like you. I make two thousand dollars a week, tax-free. What do they pay you, sucker?" And the doctor gulped. Virtually every doctor in the hospital made less than that.
And in another section of our great nation, on a quiet summer day, a twelve year-old boy sat on an upturned milk crate at the corner of a street selling crack. His mother stood beside him, drinking from a bottle of beer, and patting his head.
And the article about Texas:
Eastern Texas, major marine smuggling, rural banks laundering money; northern Texas, where we are, crack rising, Jamaican drugs flowing everywhere; southern Texas, wholesale distribution area for much of the United States; and western Texas, remote airstrips rife with imports, Mexican families in control –
And the last sentence of a long article here –
It now appears that crack is spreading from big cities to small towns and to rural areas.
Increasingly, our entire culture is being dominated by drug addiction. And the overtones that are carried with that are impossible to describe, every kind of violence and every kind of robberies, and thefts, and rapes, beside the floodtide of venereal disease. This is the future of America.
God says such an opposite thing. "You are to love Me with all your mind, and with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all the strength of your body" [Deuteronomy 6:5], all to be dedicated to God. And I have one other avowal in the brief time that I have: you are dealing with God when you deal with home and with family. The first chapter of Genesis:
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
And God blessed them, and said, Be fruitful and multiply; and fill the earth and subdue it:
Then, the next chapter, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took," you have it translated in every one of the Books, "He took one of his ribs." There’s not a syllable of that in the Hebrew, in the original; God took from his side, from near his heart. God took from near his heart and closed up the place:
And from that part that He took from his side, God made a woman, and brought her to the man.
And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Ishah, Because she was taken out of Ish. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
And they both were naked. . .and were not ashamed.
That’s God. And today, in our culture, embezzlement among women under eighteen jumped five hundred percent. Arrests for drug abuse violations, overall, increased sixty percent for men and seventy percent for women. And again, drugs and pregnancy and divorce, not exactly the stuff of childhood, but today, these evils seem to menace our children at a younger and younger age. Sweet people, I don’t live in that kind of a world. They always accused me, and have because I’ve been a preacher ever since I was a child, that I live in a protected world; I don’t recognize it.
I just read it in the paper, "Abortion is the Vietnam of this generation," speaking of a convocation, "Every speaker here asserted popular support for the right of women to choose an abortion." It’s almost universal; there are millions and millions of children that are murdered every year.
God’s answer, God’s answer:
Within the shadow of skyscrapers
There stands this downtown church.
A beacon of life that gives
New hope to those in search
Of something more deep and lasting
Than what the skyscrapers give.
For the inspiration and comfort
Folks need these days to live.
Wherever a stranger walks the streets
Who is burdened down with care.
If he will enter that downtown church,
He can find true refuge there.
So my answer from the Word of God: what of all of this? And the floodtide that will eventually destroy our country, our people, and our nation?
Number one: God would speak of a spiritual commitment on the part of the family, the group in the church – the children brought up in the church, Dad and mother faithfully attending the church – the family worshiping God together.
I love Thy kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode.
The church our blessed Savior bought
With His own precious blood.
I love Thy church, O, God
Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear is the apple of Thine eye,
And graven on Thy hand.
For her my tears shall fall
For her my prayers ascend,
And to her, my toil and cares be given
Till toils and cares shall end.
["I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord"; Timothy Dwight]
God’s answer to the tragedy that is overwhelming our modern world and our modern life: first, as a group, as a home, as a family committed to the house of the Lord, to the church. And second: a personal commitment on the part of each one of us, my own heart, my own soul, my own life, committed to the Lord.
I had walked life’s way with an easy tread.
Had followed where pleasures and comforts led.
Until one day in a quiet place,
I met the Master face to face.
With station and wealth and rank for my goal,
Much thought for my body but none for my soul,
I had entered to win in life’s mad race,
When I met the Master face to face.
I had built my castles and reared them high.
Until they pierced the blue of the sky.
I had sworn to rule in life’s mad race
When I met the Master face to face.
I met Him and knew Him and blushed to see,
That His eyes, full of sorrow, were fixed on me.
I faltered and fell at His feet that day,
While my castle melted and vanished away.
Melted and vanished and in their place,
Naught could I see but the Master’s face.
I cried aloud "Oh, make me meet,
To follow the steps of Thy wounded feet."
My thought, and my prayers, and my life, are now for the souls of men.
I lost my life to find it again.
Ever since one day in a quiet place,
I met the Master face to face.
["Rabboni," S. T. Carter, 1899]
Sweet people, there are no problems we could ever face, and there are no tragedies that could ever overwhelm our lives, but that God would be near and dear, if we would dedicate our homes to Him and find in His love and grace that precious blessing He would fit for His own.
And to the throng of people in this sanctuary, in the balcony round, down one of these stairways, in the throng of people on this lower floor, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, God has spoken to me today, and I’m answering with my life." Accepting Him as your Savior, bringing your family into the wonderful fellowship of God’s people, or answering a call of the Spirit in your heart, make the decision now and when we stand to sing that song, on the first note of the first stanza, into that aisle or down that stairway, and here to the front, to God’s sweet servants who will welcome you in the name of the Lord. Come, do it, and make it now, while we stand and while we sing.
THE WORLD AROUND US
Dr. W. A. Criswell
A. The message of God is addressed to the whole creation(Isaiah 1:2)
B. The message is one of hope, victory, assurance, deliverance and salvation (Isaiah 45:22)
1. Looks to God and not men, heaven and not earth
2. Centered not in time, but eternity; not in material, but spiritual
C. Our modern world
1. New York City subway advertisements – cigarettes, abortion clinic, lottery, and condoms to prevent AIDS between homosexual men
II. When you deal with sexual promiscuity, you deal with God(1 Corinthians 6:15-18)
A. AIDS, like all venereal disease, is a judgment of God
1. Radio broadcast with group of boys, age 7-12 – use of condoms in sexual intercourse
B. We have turned aside from the monogamous will of God
1. God made one man for one woman
2. Nothing sweeter than young boy falling in love with a young girl
a. Poem, "Daisy Bell"
III. When you deal with your body, you deal with God(1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
A. Cab driver afraid to drive at night; gives money to addicts out of fear
B. William Hopkins on substance abuse, use of crack – "It’s getting worse."
1. Worst public health problem
2. Drug cartels in Texas
3. Entire culture dominated by drug addiction
C. All to be dedicated to God – mind, heart, soul and body (Deuteronomy 6:5)
IV. When we deal with our homes and families, we deal with God
A. Creation of man, institution of the home(Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18, 21-25)
B. The evils that menace our children at a younger and younger age
C. Abortion and this modern generation
V. The answer
A. As a family be committed to the house of the Lord, the church
1. Poem, "The Downtown Church"
B. Each one of us make a personal commitment to the Lord