A TALK WITH SYLVIA
By Larry White
(Originally delivered in Boise, ID. August 12, 2001)
Over 360 different churches got together to sponsor Luis Palau to the Treasure Valley. Isn't that wonderful? Who else could get all those churches to agree to this one course of action? I see the hand of God in that. Don't you see the hand of God in that? Bringing 30 thousand people all out in the hot sun to buy Cokes and hamburgers and listen to the most celebrated rock and roll and rap groups in the country blasting out their praise to the Lord in ultra high-tech P.A. systems with mega-watt speakers? Jumbo-Tron T.V.s were there to broadcast everything.
Then listening to Luis tell some short motivational stories in just under 30 minutes to that Attention Deficit Disorder crowd. And it was all Free! Now wouldn't you contribute to such a wonderful event with your tithes and offerings, the worthy sum that God has laid upon your heart to give to Luis Palau for this wonderful thing?
Dude! Did you check out the skateboard demonstration? Some of the best skaters in the country were there; even Richard Mulder from California. It was reported that God told Paul Anderson, "I want you to take that skateboard and I want you to ride it around for Jesus," One young man in the crowd said that most people there didn't know who Luis Palau was - he personally was just there to have fun and celebrate Christ.
You can't say God is boring -- not after this!
I was talking to Sylvia, a Mexican co-worker Friday, and she said that she was going to the celebration and taking her kids there.
She asked if I were planning to attend.
I said, All that stuff isn't from God.
She said, How do you know? They're Christian like everyone else, they follow the Bible.
I said, If he were from God he would do the things Christ told him to do, he would say the things Christ told him to say. He doesn't read the Bible, he's not listening to God. Neither are all the denominations who are paying him to be here. They don't listen.
Jesus said, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?"
These guys are not spiritual.
She said, But they're worshipping God.
I said, Jesus said that they that worship the Father must worship him in spirit and truth. Luis Palau is just like Billy Graham, he doesn't teach the truth. He doesn't teach what the Bible says. 99% of all the denominations teach that the kingdom hasn't come yet - and that Jerusalem must be rebuilt and Christ sit on a physical throne there, and that all Israel will be saved. None of that is in the Bible. The kingdom is spiritual - it's been here all along. And the Israel of God is the heavenly Jerusalem, the temple the Lord built and not man.
She said, Do you do everything the Bible says?
I said, I try to.
She says, You try to, which means you don't.
I said, It doesn't mean I don't or haven't, but if I say I have not sinned, I would be a liar and the truth wouldn't be in me.
The denominations don't even listen to God. You have to consider that if what my church teaches and practices isn't in the Bible - then where did it come from? If I wanted to create by own religion then I would take what I liked and teach it to people and start the "Great White Faith" a new denomination.
Denominate means to distinguish by different names. The denominations do what they like, not necessarily what the Lord told them to do. That's why they differ, because they each in their own unique way are different from what the Bible says.
Mt.7:21-23 says, "Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will come to me on that day and say, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name - cast out demons - done many wonders? Then I will say to them, I never knew you, depart from me all you who practice lawlessness."
Lawless means iniquity, doing things God didn't tell you to do.
She said, Do you not do everything God didn't tell you to do?
I said, What?
It isn't just doing what he said, but doing only what he said. Then I gave her the example of Nadab and Abihu.
She said, So you guys don't believe in music, is that because God told you not to play music?
I said, We have music, we sing. God didn't tell us to do anything else. So we don't do anything else.
She said, He didn't say not to play music.
I said, But he didn't say to do it.
She said, But they had music in the Old Testament. In the Psalms it says to play music to the Lord.
I said, Yes, in the Law they were to play instruments in worship. But we aren't Jews under the Law.
She said, You don't teach the Old Testament?
I said, Well, yes. But not as something to follow to be pleasing to God. Our law is one of freedom in Christ. James calls it the Royal law.
It was a slow morning. About this time the boss came by and told us to get back to work. He is just one cubicle away and heard everything we said.
We each took a call and when the cue was clear I said, Luis Palau and Billy Graham do not teach the truth about salvation. The Bible says that baptism is for the remission of sins. Billy Graham says it doesn't have anything to do with forgiveness.
The Bible says that we wash away our sins in baptism - Graham says, No we don't.
Peter says baptism saves us, Graham says it doesn't have anything to do with salvation.
Who are you going to believe?
Hopefully she thought about what we discussed when she and her kids were boogieing to the gospel beat at the carnival. We all know a Sylvia, (or a Sylvester if it's a guy). Let's make sure we talk it up when we have an opportunity - and don't be afraid of being the negative heavy by denouncing what is in the world. Let them have both barrels. You don't have to be polite with the devil. Say the truth kindly - but plainly - if Satan or his servants are there, then call them by name.
The more we use our swords, the sharper they become. Just be careful to bring the person you are talking to over to the Lord's side, against the enemy that has him deceived. The person to whom you are talking usually is not the enemy, but the victim.
No doubt the greatest scourge on the faith of Jesus Christ and one of the foremost contributors to unbelief and confusion in the world is religious division. The worst thing Satan could have done, he did, in his disinformation campaign, confusing the world about the truth.
When he found persecution didn't stop the truth, he did the next best thing, he made the church and the truth hard to find. The freshness of the truth is made commonplace by all the counterfeits.
The minds of the world are discouraged and made cynical by all the man-made religions who claim they speak for God and that they represent Christ in the earth.
It is a love of the truth that must be received and held in order to find the truth and be saved. We can help - by speaking the truth in love.
Sylvia asked me if I witnessed the truth to other people like Luis Palau.
I said, Yes, but one at a time as the Lord leads. If a person wants the truth, God will lead them right into someone who knows the truth and is willing to show it to them.
Brethren, let us make ourselves available to show and tell them what we know.
Luis Palau said that his festival was as if Jesus was resurrecting from the dead again. He told people there to receive Jesus into your heart, and those who were willing had a festival worker pray with them.
Is that how to be saved? Show me that in the Bible.
There was a big crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after Jesus really rose from the dead and listen to what they were told then.
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar away, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”
41 Then those who gladly received his word were immersed; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
~ Invitation ~