Sermon delivered October 2, 1999

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted. KJV - King James Version; NLT - New Living Translation

The New Dark Age

I'm glad God watches over us. We are children of the light. We are not children of the darkness. The world is getting darker, folks. I think we are about to enter a new dark age. Our freedoms are disappearing. You know, we have shootings going on. We have earthquakes. We have terrible things that are happening. There was a shooting in Columbine High School in Colorado. Thirteen were murdered by at least two youths who were children of the dark. Those two also died. Some folk planted fifteen trees to remember the fifteen who died. People got all upset that there were fifteen trees instead of thirteen. "Why should we be honoring the two families of the youth who were the murderers?" And so they cut down two of the trees. The next day two fresh trees were planted in their place and will be there until some child of darkness cuts them down.

We get all upset, don't we, about things. Why can't we just turn the other cheek and go on? Why do we have to get so upset aggravated about circumstances? Take the matter of school prayer in America. If somebody goes to a school and tries to pray, or they bring their Bible to read it, all sorts of bad things happen. Even if you hang the Ten Commandments in a wrong place. I don't know why people get so upset. If an atheist goes to a baseball game and hears a prayer, he is offended. That prayer almost kills him. He sues for a million dollars because he has been damaged for life because of a thirty second prayer. He can't stand that. Isn't that awful?

What is going on here? What is the world coming to? If I went to a baseball game in Baghdad I would expect to hear a thirty second prayer to Allah. Is that going to offend me and hurt me for the rest of my life? I think we need prayer. Let's give each other a little bit of freedom.

I saw something interesting: I saw a sign: "God, why didn't you stop the shooting in our school?" And a message from God that said: "I wanted to, but don't forget, I am not allowed in your school anymore."

In America, Christian churches exceedingly outnumber others. I don't see anything wrong with a short prayer to God. Let's give others freedom. Let us stop litigating and cutting down trees! Jesus can give us self control.

James 1:19,20 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. I believe that we are entering a new dark age where everybody seems to be flying off the handle just prior to the second return of Jesus. The darkest hour is just before the arrival of the Sun... the Son of God.

The world is ready for the end. Sin is ripe. Disasters are rampant. In some earthquakes, we are now seeing tall buildings going down... sky scrapers! We are seeing reactors melting down. We are seeing sinners going down to the depth of sin.

I am going to speak to four concepts this morning that describe our times.

1) MADNESS

We're entering a mad age, an age when we fly off the handle too easily. We have school shootings, and drive by shootings. We have a holocaust in Rwanda and Kosovo and killings in Indonesia. Do you know how bad it is? It didn't used to be like this. We get used to it and we think, "Well, I know." But this is awful, what we're living in. Do you know what this reveals to us? The secret agenda of Satan, his stealth formula is nothing short of mass world extermination of the population of this world. That's what he's trying to do.

You can see madness erupting everywhere. In Fort Worth Texas a lunatic walked into the Wedgwood Baptist Church and started shooting. You need to know what was happening at the time. They were not having a Bible Study or their Sunday morning worship service. It was not a prayer meeting. It was a "Christian" rock group performing. The pews were filled with, not parishioners, but with "Fans." Steven Curtis Chapman and members of the "Forty Days" group and the "Garland Band" were on the stage when Larry Gene walked in and started shooting.

The music was so loud that at first they didn't recognize the shots. They thought some of the sounds were malfunctioning speakers. Finally people recognized what was happening, it was stopped abruptly, mayhem started everywhere. Performers fled in terror tripping over drums and amplifiers and cords while the special effect floodlights illuminated the whole thing.

This brings us to point number #2

2) - MUSIC - This is why some of you should not be here today.

Perhaps the killer had some hatred for contemporary "Christian" music? He turned to madness. He was out of control. And we seem to get very upset about music. People are on two sides. I think the way our Seventh-day Adventist Church is headed, we're headed for a split over music. I'm afraid of that.

A man was about to jump from a bridge to his death. A second man happened along and saw what was about to happen and said, "Can we just talk here a little bit before you jump. Maybe I can talk you out of it. We must have something in common."

"No, we don't have anything in common."

Well, the good Samaritan said, "Do you believe in God?"

"Yeah, I believe in God."

"Well, we have something in common. We can talk. Are you a Protestant or a Catholic?"

"I'm a protestant."

"Well, that's neat. I'm a Seventh-day Adventist."

"Well, I'm a Seventh-day Adventist, too!"

"How about that! Are you a biological Adventist or a convert?"

And the were both biological Adventists.

"Are you a second or a third generation Adventist?"

Both were third generation Adventists.

"Do you sing from PowerPoint or from a hymnal?"

"Well, we have drums in our church. We sing from PowerPoint." said the jumper.

The good Samaritan said, "Well, if that's your worship style, you'd better jump. We don't need you."

We get all upset about music. That's a tough issue. Personally I want our music to be upbeat but without the beat! I don't want "Christian" Rock music, certainly not "Christian" Rap music. I want to be affiliated with the Rock that doesn't roll, and that's Jesus Christ!

Do you know where drums were first used in church? It tells us in the Bible. In Heaven! The choir director did it. How do we know? Look at Ezekiel 28:13 (KJV) This speaks of Lucifer in his pre-Devil days... Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy TABRETS and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. (See note at the end of this sermon.)

Now, do you know what that means? Lucifer could sing in all 4 parts at the same time with his multitude of pipes. Like a small choir. He must have been so proud! Listen to ME! With his voice he could play drums. Tabret is Drum, a percussion instrument that was similar to the (timbrels) tambourine. He caused havoc in Heaven. This was all part of the war in heaven between Christ and Lucifer who represented the war department. The issue was Worship. One problem was "Who are we going to worship?" Another problem was music.

This is the identical issue in the last days. At the end of time the whole world will be divided on the issue of worship. (Revelation 13:12.) I truly believe that HOW we worship can be just as critical as WHEN we worship. Now, we believe the issue will be on whether we worship on Sabbath or Sunday, that's true, but the issue on how we worship is just as strong an issue.

John 4:24 Here is a dual worship mode that we don't want to leave out one half. It says, God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. You don't want to worship just in truth. I want Spirit in my worship. I don't want just Spirit and no truth. I think our worship is more than just praise. These praise services are great, but they need to be more than that. They need to be balanced.

I personally detest Dead music. I want us to sing with spirit. But the Bible says that all worship must be in Spirit and in Truth. True worship is much more than just a praise service. Isaiah 6 illustrates worship and shows that it also includes instruction in the Word, Confession, Repentance, Prayer, Service and Commitment. It includes all those things, not just praise.

Satanic music first appeared in Heaven. God threw it out (see Revelation 12:9). The devil and his musicians landed here, unfortunately. Eventually Egypt became a Mecca for heavy beat, syncopated, devil music . This ultimately spread south to central Africa which became a center for voodoo, and evil, and spiritualism, and witchcraft, and worship. Drums beat wildly with their rhythmic pounding sound. The Devil was in control.

Slave traders exported that African music to the Caribbean and eventually it entered America in the southern states. New Orleans became a hotbed for evil rhythms with their wild tempo. Pentecostal groups took to this babble like ducks to water. It helped them achieve a religious "High" and often led to speaking in tongues.

Look at something interesting about drums: I Chronicles 13:8-10 David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, TAMBOURINES, cymbals and trumpets. When they came to the threshing floor of Kidon, Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the ark, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he had put his hand on the ark. So he died there before God. I think there were several things that upset the Lord.

So the sacred Ark sat for ninety days until a successful move was accomplished. Notice something very interesting about the second attempt to move the holy object. Many things are different, but look at I Chronicles 15:28 So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouts, with the sounding of the rams' horns and trumpets, and cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps. They left the cart out. They carried the ark by hand. Many things were different. Notice what is absent in the list of musical instruments that were used. They did not include the drums the second time! The tambourines are not there. They left the drums out. It makes me wonder if when you really want to be sacred if you should follow the rules and leave out the beat. That's my opinion. You'd better be careful when you use that heavy beat.

An Adventist teacher (Louis Torres) used to be a bass player in a popular rock band. They had a go-go girl who toured with the music group. Often when they played their African chants she would hit the floor with a dull thud in rhythm to the beat. The African chant they were playing had produced its effect. She would go into convulsions, and was writhing and foaming. On occasion she would speak with an unidentifiable voice not her own. What she experienced was devil possession. What brought this on? It was the music. (Reference- Adventists Affirm, Spring, 1999 p 19)

Music has powerful effects on people that we don't realize. Complex syncopations and poly-rhythms that are typical of rock music actually cause brain-cell disorders in the laboratory. I fear for the spiritual implications that we're doing to ourselves. You need to beware of what type of music you listen to. When you're buying CD's, you need to be careful. And let's keep all evil music out of our church, certainly.

Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. I believe a lot of "music" is simply another form of Spiritualism. I tell you, we don't have to bring the world into the church in order to convert the world. Here's a couple true or false statements: "Good music has a power to convert and elevate the mind and lift the soul." True! "Therefore is it not true that bad music has a power to take you down to perdition?" That's true, too! Absolutely!

I Chronicles 16:29 (KJV) Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Our worship ought to be holy.

3) MARIJUANA (Substance abuse)

This section includes all drugs. You might say that drugs aren't listed in the bible. Does the bible mention drugs? No. How are we going to use this text? Come to Revelation 22:14,15 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who PRACTICE MAGIC ARTS, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. KJV says that those who practice magic arts are the "Sorcerers", however the Greek text says: "Pharamakos", literally a drug, i.e. spell giving potion. Hence, sorcerer. This is the word that we get Pharmacy from. A place of drugs. Here is clearly depicted a prophecy that shows the wide spread use of drugs in the last days. And where are these drug users? On the outside. Dead. Lost forever. Make no mistake, if you persist in using drugs, tobacco and alcohol and marijuana and illegal drugs, can I even say, "caffeine?" any of them to get high that is the highest you will ever get. If you persist in that, are you going to be in or out? These things will prevent you from reaching the ultimate high. I want to get high, way up in the clouds. That's what Jesus gives me. High up in Heaven.

MARIJUANA will prevent you from reaching the ultimate high. But Jesus can set you free from drugs. Jesus can help you be free from Alcohol, tobacco or anything that is harmful to you.

John 8:36 Jesus said, So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. You can be free from drugs. You can be.

Jesus is not coming the second time to import illegal drugs into heaven. When we get to heaven, will there be marijuana plants there? Yes, there will be. Who made those plants? Who made everything? Will tobacco plants grow in heaven? Of course they will. Do you suppose there will be grapes in Heaven? Yes, but no one will make them into wine. In heaven there will be no fear that people will misuse God's creation. Jesus wants you to be free from drug slavery. We need the get used to the heaven lifestyle here. Don't get hooked on drugs. It is very difficult to break free. Many are hooked for life. Avoid Nicotine, Alcohol, Illegal drugs. And dare I say that even caffeine is harmful?? Let us be clean for Jesus. Our mind is the only channel through which God has to communicate with us. I want my mind to be clear.

You're familiar with this text. I Corinthians 6:19,20 (NLT) Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Your lifestyle affects your children. Over here in the Primary Division our children put up some prayer requests. Read some of these prayer requests from this summer:

Please help Mom and Dad to stop smoking.
My mother has a head ache, pray for her.
My daddy has a canker sore, can you help him?
My dad's leg hurts and he smokes.
Pray for me, I fell from a tree.
Dear God, can you please fix the hole in our swimming pool.
Help my Grandpa to know Jesus.
My daddy is smoking and can't quit.
My dog has boo boos.
My daddy does not believe in You, can you help us?
Please bless for our dog, she had puppies.
Help my grand dad to stop smoking.
Pray that my bad dreams will stop.
My cat scratches me, help her to quit.

You know, the kids are praying for you, and some of you have big problems. And you kids know it.

4) Our MORALS ar going down the drain. The world is entering a new dark age.

Ephesians 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No IMMORAL, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Impurity is big on God's list of sins. When you sit in front of your computer screen, do you realize you can import onto that screen things that will keep you out of heaven? You know that, don't you. Are you sitting there doing that type of thing? If so, you are entering a new dark age. You're leaving heaven. You can't go to heaven with that type of thing. It's got to change. Internet can be your direct link to hard-core sin, like an escalator taking you downhill to the bottomless pit.

If you were God would you import immoral people into Heaven? It would soon be worldly and eventually become like hell in the eyes of many. I feel America was a pretty nice place when the pilgrim fathers landed on Plymouth Rock. But look what we have done to it. We have imported sin. We imported Japanese Beetles! With all the imports we buy from overseas, some new bug arrives every few weeks that is not indigenous to America. New viruses infect the once pure land.

Philippians 1:9,10 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, -so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be PURE AND BLAMELESS until the day of Christ,

We are a little bit like America. Born fairly pure. But friend, when you sit at your TV your thumb controls your destiny. That remote control can import immoral filth into your very soul! You can quickly ruin your innocence and goodness in the channel you choose.

Better to turn it off and immerse yourself in something that is known to bring about a righteous character. If you really want to be like Jesus, then get serious. Spend time with your Bible. Pray.

Romans 13:12-14 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Opening Hymn: #82, Before Jehovah's Awful Throne
Scripture: Responsive Reading: #816
Closing Hymn: #600, Hold Fast Till I come

991002Gettys#469

[Editor's note on "Tabret" and "Pipes." -- The Hebrew word for "tabret" is "toph" which means "tambourine". Most modern translations ignore this meaning and substitute the secondary meaning, "setting" or "socket" used in jewelry being understood to fit into the concept of all those precious stones that were being worn. However, the more correct usage would be "tambourine" or "tabret." (See Strong's Concordance of the Bible.) The NIV Exhaustive Concordance uses a secondary meaning of "toph" as "settings" However it does list "toph" as a timbrel as well.

"Pipes" - comes from "neqeb" or bezel used in setting for jewelry. (See Strong's and NIV Exhaustive Concordances.) This is comparable to our modern use of piping used in jewelry and other ornamentation today. However, pipe, piped, piper are all used in association with music. Perhaps a flute.]



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