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An Eternal Thanksgiving

AN ETERNAL THANKSGIVING

MIKE CUNNINGHAM

NOVEMBER 18, 2006

I can’t help chuckling whenever I think about a question and comment one of my daughters recently entered in my web page guest book concerning my last sermon. I really appreciated it because hers was the first of several internet feedbacks I received concerning that particular one. You may recall it was the one in which I suggested some college professors are intellectual schizophrenic’s. I also made other attention getting remarks in that sermon, one of which prompted my daughter to ask: “We’re surrounded by animated dead people??? Yikes! You scare me a little bit sometimes, but I love you. Sleep well, your daughter.”

I responded by reminding her that I was speaking about people who are spiritually dead, folks who are unable to understand spiritual truth, nor do they have any interest in acquiring it. I suggested she give serious thought to everything I said in that sermon including statements such as: “All Christians live in a world which I like to describe as being “The Planet of the Living Dead.” I went on to conclude my sermon by making what I know is a very politically incorrect statement. “…all non-Christians, including intellectual Schizophrenic professor’s, are spiritually dead fools.

I realize these are rather bold statements and that the vast majority of people in our country would label me as being an intolerant fundamentalist Christian fanatic. Nevertheless, I cannot retract or waver on anything I said for one reason; I spoke the truth. For instance, concerning non-Christians, the inerrant divinely inspired Word of God insists that every one of them without exception, “cannot understand spiritual truth,” and I added that they can’t understand it “any more than the pew you folks are sitting in right now can.”

It isn’t only Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, Buddhists and other non-Christian’s who are spiritually dead, but also many real nice religious people who call themselves Christians. These are the ones who have developed the habit of attending church regularly. They find the service to be nostalgic and comforting, and appreciate the nonthreatening environment. It’s a rather relaxing change of pace. These folks really enjoy the singing and preaching and the praying and the fellowship. They know about God, but they don’t know Him personally. Intellectually they know that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but that’s about it. These folks don’t have a hunger and thirst or any desire to acquire the knowledge to truly get to know their Creator.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting they don’t believe the Bible. They do, but all too often it’s only where the Bible coincides with their preconceived convictions, but certainly not anything they consider nonsense, such as the Bible insisting that homosexual behavior is a sin which, unless the homosexual knocks off, will prevent him or her from entering into God’s heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9).

Please don’t misunderstand me on this point either. I’m not suggesting that anyone who has come to a different conclusion about this issue isn’t a Christian. I’m not infallible and I don’t have a corner on all truth. I’m also not too old to learn and I am willing to be corrected, but it must be by the light of God’s Holy Word. As far as the professed Christians I’ve been speaking about are concerned, to them most of the Bible is irrelevant, and it shows in their disinterest in reading and studying it. They are not on God’s wavelength nor do they want to be because they are spiritually dead. The Apostle Paul addressed this issue in his letters to the Corinthian and Ephesian Christians.

1 Corinthians 2:14 (AMP) 14 But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.

Ephesians 4:17-18 (AMP) 17 So this I say and solemnly testify in [the name of] the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the heathen (the Gentiles) do in their perverseness [in the folly, vanity, and emptiness of their souls and the futility] of their minds. 18 Their moral understanding is darkened and their reasoning is beclouded. [They are] alienated (estranged, self-banished) from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the ignorance (the want of knowledge and perception, the willful blindness) that is deep-seated in them, due to their hardness of heart [to the insensitiveness of their moral nature].

“If we don’t remember this fact we are apt to frustrate ourselves and become discouraged, especially whenever we attempt to lead them to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” We must constantly remind ourselves of the Biblical fact that all human beings are born spiritually dead and, unless there is divine intervention, will doom themselves to living their life wallowing in sin in this world and the one awaiting them. There will also come a time when all Christians will sing an eternal thanksgiving for what Jesus has done for them through His death and resurrection.

Ephesians 2:1 (AMP) 1 AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins

Ephesians 2:5 (AMP) 5 Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation).

Romans 3:23 (AMP) 23 Since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives.

Romans 5:15 (AMP) 15 But God’s free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man’s [Adam’s] falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God’s grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.

Ephesians 4:17-18 (ESV) 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

Non-Christians do not accept or welcome or admit into their self hardened hearts the teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God. They have banished themselves from the life of God and have deliberately blinded themselves to spiritual truth. None of these spiritually dead people are interested in finding God. They could care less, even those of them who have been endowed by their Creator with brilliant inquisitive minds. If they were sincere in their quest for truth they would look for it and they would most certainly find it. And that includes all those folks who live in some remote area of the world isolated from civilization who never even heard of Jesus. If they sincerely sought to learn the truth I assure you Jesus would find a way to make Himself known to them.

Matthew 7:7-8 (AMP) 7 Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

Not only are non-Christians spiritually dead but every one of them are also fools, some more so than others. Allow me to explain.

Romans 1:18-25 (AMP) 18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. 19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], 21

Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]. 23 And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], 25 Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it).

Look closely at verse 19. “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.” I can’t help wondering if perhaps Shakespeare had these passages in mind when he had that little elf named Puck who appeared in his play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” say, “What fools we mortals be.”

Listen to how Lloyd-Jones explains verse 19.  “This knowledge of God is available to man. That is his (Paul’s) statement; he says this is something which is universal, and that is why all men are without excuse if they are godless, if they are ungodly and unrighteous. In what ways has God made this knowledge known? The first thing Paul says is that God has revealed it in them (vs. 19).

Here again is a very great statement; which I can perhaps put like this. It is a universal fact that there is a sense of God in mankind. It does not matter where you go, it does not matter how primitive the tribes may be that you come across in the most remote parts of the world; you will never find a human being who has not got within him a sense of a Supreme Being-a sense of God. It is universal in the whole of human nature everywhere, and it is a very important and a very significant point.”

“… anthologists and research workers who have investigated this problem have produced this very vital bit of evidence: the most primitive tribes amongst the pygmies in the heart of Africa, tribes like the aborigines in Australia, and in certain parts of the American Continent, wherever you find the most primitive people imaginable, even there is found this sense of a Supreme Being, of a supreme God. It is universal in human nature. Even the man who tells you that he does not believe in God, and who boasts of the fact that he is an atheist, even he has got a sense of God. He has to argue against it, and that is why he does so. Whether he likes it or not, he has got it, and he does his best to drown it and to ridicule it and to dismiss it, but it is still there. A universal sense of God-‘that which may be known of God is manifest in them’, deep within the consciousness of man’s being. Now this is a way of describing the conscience. There is in mankind universally this sense of right and wrong, this feeling that sin deserves to be to be judged, and that sin will be judged, and that the moral Governor of the universe is righteous and just. …that is something that is innate in the whole of human nature, in the whole of mankind. That, then, is the first way in which God has given this knowledge. It is in us. It is in every man everywhere. It is the first reason for the inexcusability of sin.[i]

The recent cyclone along the coast of predominately Muslim Bangladesh which suddenly snuffed out the lives of at least 1,723 poor people reminded me of feedback I received from a friend about the sermon I preached in January 2002 concerning the more than 300,000 non-Christians who were killed in the Giant Tsunami. This man whom I respect very much emailed me saying: “…God has made every necessary provision for all to have access to Him even if they never have the opportunity to hear the good news from a current or past believer (example- books).  If anyone fails to get into heaven it is because they had no interest in the first place or aggressively fought off all of God’s provisions.”

“I have always had some trouble understanding why some go to hell when they “never really” had a chance.  You have helped me to realize that God has sufficiently revealed himself to everyone so that anyone who has the desire to respond to that revelation has access to heaven.  If they seek, if they question, if they care to receive answers to the questions that all of nature around them ask, God will meet their need. Thanks for sharing! Signed; “In His grip, Wally.”

Other than little children, no one who has just heard or who may read this message later on will ever be able to claim they didn’t understand it. I want you to know it’s my heart’s desire that, if anyone hasn’t already done so, you choose to accept spiritual life which is found only in Jesus and enjoy an eternal Thanksgiving.


[i] Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 1, The Gospel of God. D, M. Lloyd-Jones, © 1985 by Mrs. D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, P,368, 369.

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November 18, 2006 Posted by Categories: Uncategorized Tagged with:
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