Sun, Aug 31, 2008


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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Leviticus chapter 10 as we look at Nadab and Abihu, the two sons of Aaron. I have titled this message, Does It Really Matter? and the focus here is how we approach God, does that really matter. You see, many today feel you can approach God any way you want, it really doesn’t matter. In regards to the truths of God found in the Word of God, many have become apathetic to them, indifferent to them. They feel as long as some good comes out of a false teaching, a heresy, what is the harm?

            Let me ask you this. If I gave you a clean, pure glass of ice-cold water and put only a few drops of cyanide in it, would you drink it?  Of course not and you would warn others not to drink it because of the poison that is in that glass, it could kill you.  Yes, the majority of what is in the glass, the water was clean, it was pure, but it has now been polluted, contaminated with the cyanide, that which is false.

            And yet, in the church most don’t want to warn others of the danger, they don’t even want to know of the danger, and I guess by not knowing they feel that is better.  If there is false doctrine mixed with truth, that is a deadly combination that does not bring people to God, it drives them away from the true and living God! In fact, most people today are drinking these polluted waters and they don’t care.  They are indifferent, they are complacent, they are apathetic to what is going on around them and what they are taking in.  Listen to this story and it truly is what we see happening today in the church.  Charles Swindoll wrote:

            I every time I hear the word apathy; I remember the words of a friend of mine who taught high school just long enough to realize he shouldn’t have been teaching high school. He was assigned to teach a course filled to the brim with students who did not want to learn. In fact, it was one of those classes where you had to arrive very early to get a back seat. A couple of fellas got there so late, they were stuck in the first row. They couldn’t care less what the subject was.

            The teacher finally got fed up with their apathy. He grabbed a piece of chalk, whirled around to the chalk board and began to slash away in big, foot-high letters,

“A-P-A-T-H-Y!” He underlined it twice, then slammed an exclamation point on it that broke the chalk as he hammered it against the board.

            One of the dull students up front frowned as he struggled to read the word. Unable to pronounce it, he tilted his head to one side as he started spelling it aloud then mispronounced it. Then he leaned over and muttered to his buddy, “What in the world is ‘a-paythee’?” His friend yawned back with a sigh, “Who cares?”

- Charles Swindoll, Living on the Ragged Edge

            You have to feel for that teacher!  My prayer for this study is that it would truly stir your hearts, that you don’t leave here with the idea of “Who cares?” You see, we have been called to earnestly contend for the faith that has been entrusted to us but if you are apathetic, you won’t contend for the faith, you just won’t care and that is a dangerous place to be.

            Let me set the stage for our study this morning. The tabernacle is completed. Aaron and his sons have been anointed as priests, Aaron as the high priest. They offered sacrifices before God for themselves and for the nation.  And we are told in Leviticus 9:22-24, Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.  God accepted their sacrifices as His holy fire not only consumed the sacrifice, but it also lit the fire on that altar, which was never to go out!

            As the people witnessed this holy fire consume their sacrifice, they shouted, knowing that God had accepted their sacrifice and forgiven their sin, which caused them to fall on their faces before their holy and righteous God, worshiping Him. They respected His authority over them, and out of that reverence of God it lead them to worship Him!

            Can you imagine all the excitement, all the joy going through the camp of Israel as their sin was forgiven and God was dwelling with them? That is where we will pick up our study this morning, in Leviticus chapter 10, starting in verse 1 and let’s see what the Lord has for us as we study His Word.


            Now this seems very unfair, did God just have a bad day and He took it out on Nadab and Abihu? I mean really, all they wanted to do was to worship the Lord, so why did the Lord consume them in His Fire of judgment? First of all, no, the Lord did not have a bad day, He never has a bad day. But do you see what the problem is here? They came to worship God, which is great, but they were doing it the way they wanted instead of the way that the Lord had instructed them, and they were judged for their sin.  In other words, you can’t approach a holy and righteous God any way you want, just because you feel it is right, Nadab and Abihu found that out and so did the nation of Israel as they were witnesses of this event.

            We are first told that they offered up profane or strange fire, which they placed in their censers. Folks, I don’t know where they got this strange fire from, but it was not taken from the brazen altar where they should have obtained it, but it was of their own making. Then we are told that they brought this before the LORD. That tells me that they went into the holy of holies, into the presence of God, which was forbidden for them to do unless you were the high priest and then, only once a year on the Day of Atonement!

            So what was so wrong with this?  They were the priests and they were to represent God before the people and by their actions here they were telling the people that they could approach God any way that they wanted! And that is not true.  David, in a Psalm found in I Chronicles 16:25-30 tells us, For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and gladness are in His place.  Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples, Give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. The world also is firmly established, It shall not be moved.  You see, God is holy and we cannot approach Him any way we want, we need to tremble before Him in reverence of who He is!

            And it also seems that they wanted the glory for themselves, they wanted the attention that is God’s.  In Isaiah 42:8 the Lord tells us, I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.  Thus, not only did they approach God the way they felt was right in their own hearts, but also their motives were wrong in this worship because, by their actions, they were drawing attention to themselves.

            And if you look at Leviticus 10:9 it seems to indicate that they were also drunk, being controlled by another spirit you might say. And God does not want anyone representing Him that is being driven by a false spirit, God does not want anyone drunk before Him who is representing Him.  Thus, God struck these two men dead because He did not want the priesthood corrupted and the people lead astray just as this worship center was getting started!

            And truly, like back then, we are following in the footsteps of Nadab and Abihu, trying to come before a holy and righteous God in our own way, making a god out of the imagination of our own hearts, in accordance with what we want to do and not what God wants.  And if you think about it, if it is not of God, then it is a doctrine of demons! What has my blood boiling now? A new book that has come out by William P. Young and it is called The Shack!

            This book has sold well over 1 million copies and it continues to grow in popularity among Christians. On the USA Today bestseller list it climbed as high as #8 and it is at least that high among all books on In fact, Windblown Media, an interesting name for the publisher of this heretical book, is negotiating with studios to see what the possibility is of making this book into a motion picture.  They also hired a marketing company to help promote this book and whatever else will come out of it.

            Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, another heretical book that is a paraphrase of the Bible, gives this front cover endorsement of The Shack. He wrote, “This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ did for his. It’s that good.” I am sorry to say it will do the exact opposite of what Pilgrim’s Progress has done and is doing in people’s lives. The Shack will not draw you closer to the true and living God by acknowledging that you are a sinner and asking Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life. Instead it will drive people away from the true and living God and into the gates of Hell!

            William P. Young, the author of this book, has been on CBN promoting this garbage, which is also in the bestseller section at Family Christian Bookstores, which is an abomination. When my wife told me that she saw it there in the bestseller section, I was outraged.  She tried to calm me down, watch my blood pressure and said that they do that to sell books and they are not concerned about the content. That even angered me more. You see, as a Christian bookstore you are responsible for what you are selling, you are accountable to God. I won’t have just anyone fill in for me or teach because I am not only accountable to you, but to God for what I am doing, who I am allowing to teach.

            I told my wife that I would love to work at that store so that when someone came up with The Shack book in their hand I would tell them, “Is that how you want to spend the money that God has entrusted to you, buying a book that is filled with blasphemy against the God you are saying that you serve? Why don’t you put that back and pick up something that will bless you, like Pilgrim’s Progress!” I know, I would not last long there but I could not allow someone to buy a book that is not of God but of the Devil! I would have to warn people as I am doing here.

            I do realize those are pretty harsh words against this book, but in a minute you will hear why this is wrong, why it should not be read by anyone, let alone Christians! Others that are endorsing this book are conservative evangelical leader Gale Erwin, Charismatic leader James Ryle, Emerging church writer Jim Palmer, and evangelical celebrity Michael W. Smith. In fact, many people who have read this book are saying that it has revolutionized their faith. What is in the book that has excited so many Christians? I will share with you a few things, but sadly folks, I wish Christians were moved more by the Word of God then by this heretical books, as Paul tells us in Hebrews 4:12-13, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  Folks, God wants to transform our lives while these books keep us in bondage and always searching for something more!

            Let me give you a little background and then I will share with you just a little of what is in this book. And then, if you still don’t see anything wrong, you are either dead or you just don’t care! But, if you have a love for God and a desire to worship Him in truth, you will see these doctrines of demons spoken of by this false prophet flood the pages of The Shack.

            Mack Philips is the main character of this book and tragically his daughter was murdered and her bloodied dress was found in an isolated shack. Now, four years later he receives an invitation from God to spend time with the Trinity in the very shack where the bloodied dress of his murdered daughter was found. That is the basis of the book, this tragedy and what transpires from this.  The invitation to Mack was this, “I’ve missed you,” it says. “I’ll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together. Papa.” What could it mean?

Doubtful, but drawn to the meeting, Mack heads for the Oregon wilderness and finds the dilapidated old shack. "God" miraculously transforms it into a cozy cottage, and Mack meets his supposed maker:

". . . the door flew open, and he was looking directly into the face of a large beaming African-American woman. Instinctively he jumped back, but he was too slow. With speed that belied her size, she crossed the distance between them and engulfed him in her arms. . . .”[p.82]

"Just as she turned . . . a small, distinctly Asian woman merged from behind

her. . . . He then glanced past her and notices that a third person had emerged . . . a man. He appeared Middle Eastern." [p.84]

"When they finally stopped giggling, the large woman . . . said, 'Okay, we know who you are, but we should probably introduce ourselves to you. . . . you could call me what Nan [Mack's wife] does: Papa.'. . .

 “'And I,' interrupted the man, who looked to be about in his thirties. . . . 'I am Hebrew. . . . '
            “Mack was suddenly staggered by his own realization. “Then, you are. . . .”
     “'Jesus? Yes. . . .'

     "Mack stood dumbfounded. . . . Just as he was about to crumple to his knees,

the Asian woman stepped closer and deflected his attention. 'And I am Sarayu [the Holy Spirit, Creativity].' she said . . .  
     "Thoughts tumbled over each other as Mack struggled to figure out what to do. . .  Since there were three of them, maybe this was a Trinity sort of thing. . . . 'Then,' Mack struggled to ask, 'which one of you is God?'”
     “'I am,’ said all three in unison.'" [p.86-87]

            The god of The Shack, this false Trinity, exercises no authority over man. Thus, man can do whatever he wants, he can approach God any way he wants just like Nadab and Abihu, and how did that work out?  Not too good, they were consumed in the fire of His judgment, they were killed for their actions!

            Listen to what transpires over this idea of God not being sovereign. Mack asks this question:

"Why would the God of the universe want to be submitted to me?"

"Because we want you to join us in our circle of relationships," answers "Jesus."[p.145] Together the "trinity" explains:

"Authority, as you usually think of it, is merely the excuse the strong use to make others conform to what they want. . . . We carefully respect your choices. . . . [p.123]

"'Are you saying I don't have to follow the rules?'. . .

"'Yes. In Jesus you are not under any law. All things are lawful.'

"'You can't be serious! You're messing with me again,' moaned Mack.

"'Child,' interrupted papa, 'you ain't heard nuthin' yet.'. . .

"'. . . enforcing rules [says Sarayu] . . . is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. And contrary to what you might think, I have a great fondness for uncertainty. Rules cannot bring freedom; they only have the power to accuse.'" [p.203]

Isn’t that great? No sin, thus, no separation from God because of sin, it doesn’t exist. If sin doesn’t exist then we don’t need a Savior, we don’t need Jesus!  That is a lie of the Devil! Listen to what Jesus said in John 8:24, and in this verse He makes two very important points that contradict what He supposedly said in The Shack. He said, Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am [He], you will die in your sins.  So our sins have separated us from God, Jesus tells us that we are sinners and in Isaiah 59:1-2 we are told, Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. So our sins have separated us from God and thus, if we do not confess before Him that Jesus is God, that He is the Savior, that we are sinners in need of His forgiveness, we will die in our sins!

And listen carefully to what Jesus says in The Shake on page 182 and you tell me if this is the real Jesus or a counterfeit Jesus that is speaking in The Shack! "Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims. . . . I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters.”

                                                                                    - The Shack's "Jesus." [p.182]            

Do you know what this is, even if the author does not agree, because his words speak for itself? It is what is called Universal Reconciliation or the belief that the sacrifice of Jesus allows Christians and non-Christians to spend eternity with God. That is another way to say that all roads lead to God, everybody gets saved, everyone goes to heaven. Does that include everyone? I guess it does if you buy into their false theology, some would even say Satan and his demons would be included in this!

In his article “The Beauty of Ambiguity” it is William P. Young himself that has this encounter with the Father-goddess. This Father-goddess asks him, “I take it that it wouldn’t bother you if I decided to save every human being that ever lived?” And William P. Young replies, “Nope. I actually hope you’ve figured a way to do just that.” Thus, Hitler, those terrorists that blew up the World Trade buildings will all be there. I do believe they will be all together, but not with the Lord, but in Hell separated from Him. Yes, maybe not politically correct, and not religiously correct, but who cares, it is Biblically correct and that is what counts!

What about the Bible, doesn’t it contradict what he and these false gods, these demons are saying? Absolutely it does so then they must be wrong and the Bible is obviously right! Listen to this complaint that Young has with this Father-goddess:

“ . . . why couldn’t you have made things clear?  People go to the Bible and find all these ways to disagree with each other . . . Everybody seems to want to acquire their little piece of doctrinal territory . . . Some find support for Universal Reconciliation; some find proofs for eternal torment in hell . . .”

How does this Father-goddess respond to his question?  By telling Young that she made much of the Bible ambiguous on purpose! And so, doctrinal confusion is the plan of God? Folks, it is not the plan of God, not at all!  The reason that is being taught is because they don’t agree with what God has clearly said!

In a world that is filled with confusion, that has no idea of what truth is all about, God’s Word is not ambiguous, it is not false, it is the truth! On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed to God the Father for us and this was what was on His heart, this is what He was praying for, Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  John 17:17.

You see, we are set apart from the world by the truths of God. The world does not have a clue, but God is very clear on what He desires of us, what He has for our lives so that we will be blessed, it is what is best for us.  Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 3:16-17, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. And The Amplified Bible puts these verses like this, Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Bible is the Word of God that has come to us from the lips of God and it is profitable to us for it shows us what is right, it shows us what is wrong, it shows us how to get right when we have gone astray and it shows us how to stay right, making us complete for every good work! On the other end, the false teaching, these lies will only confuse people and lead them away from God, it will not make them complete! Listen to what some Christians are saying about this book, The Shack, not the Bible, and how it has impacted their lives. And keep in mind this is a fictional story and yet people are believing this fictional story and ignoring the Word of God, go figure! We are told:

“The character of God in the book is from a point of view I never would have imagined, or thought of. But all the answers and conversations are right on. It really changes the way I view God, and the way I can relate with him. My relationship is so much deeper now.”

“I truly believe that ‘The Shack’ has the potential to shake up and alter the entire Church. This book will seriously mess with your theology -- and you will be GLAD. Yeah, it's really that good.”

“Wish I could take back all the years in seminary! The years the locusts ate???? Systematic theology was never this good. Shack will be read again and again.

With relish. Shared with friends, family, and strangers. I can fly!”

“It has changed me or rather I should say that God has used this book to alter my thinking as to who He is and who I am in His eyes . . . one who is greatly loved by Him. I've discovered that He is quite fond of me and you.”

“Never will I look at the Trinity in the same way again. . . . I have entered the shack and I will never be the same.”

“Honestly, I don't think that there is a book other than the Bible itself that has influenced the dimension of my love for my Father, Jesus, and Sarayu. . . . The visual imagery that the author has been able to convey through the eyes of Mack will forever impact my visions of my Trinitarian guardians.”

- Tim Challies, A Readers Review of The Shack

            How can Christians say things like that? Well, if they are even Christians at all and if they are they are truly deceived and they lack the discernment that God has given to all of us. This is not subtle heresy but bold-face heresy that is so obvious, but because people believe you can approach God any way you want, that is what they believe, and they are dead wrong!

            The Psalmist cried out in Psalm 119:18, Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law. Today people cry out to be entertained, to have some kind of emotional experience instead of just coming before God and asking God to open our eyes so that we may see His truth and then walk in them!

            Paul warned Timothy of these times and he is also warning us as he said in II Timothy 4:2-5, Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

You see, the time is coming and I believe it is here where people do not want to hear the Word of God because there is conviction when it is taught and thus, they want their ears tickled and they seek teachers who will do just that.  But what are we going to do? How can we stay clear of the false teaching that is out there?

            Listen to what John tells us in I John 4:1-6, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

What is our spirit tester?  It is the Word of God, the truth of God that is found in the Word of God, from Genesis through the book of Revelation is God’s Word to us and it will show to us the error that is out there, the doctrines of demons will be easy to recognize because God’s Spirit through the Word of God will make it known to us!

            Tim Challies sums this up for us and he really focuses on entering into the presence of God and how we are not doing that as God desires today, there is no reverence for God or His Word. He wrote:

One of the most disturbing aspects of The Shack is the behavior of Mack when he is in the presence of God. When we read in the Bible about those who were given glimpses of God, these people were overwhelmed by His glory. In Isaiah 6 the prophet is allowed to see “the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up” (Isaiah 6:1). Isaiah reacts by crying out “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5)! Isaiah declares a curse upon himself for being a man whose lips are willing to utter unclean words even in a world created by a God of such glory and perfection.

When Moses encountered God in the burning bush, he hid his face for he was afraid to look at God's glory (Exodus 3:6). In Exodus 33 Moses is given just a glimpse of God's glory, but God will show only His back saying “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live” (Genesis 33:20). Examples abound. When we look to the Bible's descriptions of heaven we find that any creatures who are in the presence of God are overwhelmed and overjoyed, crying out about God’s glory day and night.

But in The Shack we find a man who stands in the very presence of God and uses foul language ("damn” (140) and “son of a bitch” (224)), who expresses anger to God (which in turns makes God cry) (92), and who snaps at God in his anger (96). This is not a man who is in the presence of One who is far superior to Him, but a man who is in the presence of a peer. This portrayal of the relationship of man to God and God to man is a far cry from the Bible's portrayal. And indeed it must be because the God of The Shack is only a vague resemblance to the God of the Bible. There is no sense of awe as we, through Mack, come into the presence of God.

Gone is the majesty of God when men stand in His holy presence and profane His name. Should God allow in His presence the very sins for which He sent His Son to die? Would a man stand before the Creator of the Universe and curse? What kind of God is the God of The Shack?

- Tim Challies, A Readers Review of The Shack, pp. 15-16

            Yes, what kind of God is the God of The Shack? I can tell you, a FALSE GOD!Folks, God’s judgment upon a Christ rejecting world is fast approaching and if you believe in the God that is found in The Shack, then you will face His judgment because you can’t stand before a holy and righteous God in your own righteousness, which are like filthy rags. You can’t stand before God any way you want, Nadab and Abihu found that out.  And I do pray for those who are falling into these lies, these doctrines of demons because there is hope as this story shows us. We are told:

Robert Robinson was an English clergyman who lived in the 18th century. Not only was he a gifted pastor and preacher he was also a highly gifted poet and hymn writer. However, after many years in the pastorate his faith began to drift. He left the ministry and finished up in France, indulging himself in sin.

One night he was riding in a carriage with a Parisian socialite who had recently been converted to Christ. She was interested in his opinion on some poetry she was reading: Come thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing thy grace, Streams of mercy never failing, Call for hymns of loudest praise.

When she looked up from her reading the socialite noticed Robinson was crying.

"What do I think of it?" he asked in a broken voice. "I wrote it. But now I've drifted away from him and can't find my way back."

"But don't you see" the woman said gently, "The way back is written right here in the third line of your poem: Streams of mercy never ceasing. Those streams are flowing even here in Paris tonight."

That night Robinson recommitted his life to Christ.

- Adapted from R Kilpatrick, "Assurance and Sin" in RC Sproul (editor), Doubt and Assurance (Baker, 1993)

            Instead of having your ears tickled with fairy tales, have your heart pierced by the Word of God and then, as you are in Christ, you can come before a holy and righteous God, not in your righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed into your life by faith! Does it really matter?  You bet it does, look again at Nadab and Abihu who came to worship God the way they wanted and they were struck dead in the fire of God’s judgment. It does matter folks! Don’t go running to the bookstore to get a copy of The Shack, but run into the arms of Jesus as you open up His Book, THE WORD OF GOD!

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