The Great Battle for God

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The Great Battle for God

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With so much confusion and strife in our world, where is God and what is His purpose and plan for you and all humanity? 

Transcript

[Darris] Today’s world is going through many changes. For some of us, it is an unsettling and confusing time, and it’s difficult to explain exactly what’s happening.

The Middle East is in crisis with nations at war. Islamic extremists push and make threats to overthrow both Europe and America.

Europe is in crisis. Russia makes threats to extend its influence and power. China is extending its power and pushing its influence and control over regions once protected by American power.

America is being pushed back in its historic role as a global power and influence—while within American culture we see the traditional roles and rules of marriage, family and sexual identity going through radical redefinition.

In the midst of this we might ask, “Where is God and what is He doing in today’s world?”

On this edition of Beyond Today we’re talking about, “The Great Battle For God.”

[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely on Beyond Today!

[Darris] I would like a straight talk with you on this program. You are watching Beyond Today to learn about God and to know His purpose for your life. You love God and you serve Him as best you can. Every week on this program we bring you a message straight from the Bible to help you better understand God’s will and His plans for you. You want to know more about God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Beyond Today television is about providing you with help for your life today and a hope based on belief in God and His Word—the Bible—for a better future. What we offer here is information that can help you have a more settled and peaceful life, and help you in your marriage, and help you deal with the challenges that life throws at us.

Coming to know the purpose God has for you in this life is at the heart of what we offer. And that is the most important information we can put into your hands. It begins with God and understanding who He is and what His purpose is for your life.

But you’re like me. You also look around at today’s world and you know something is happening. Our world in recent years has turned a corner and entered a time of change and upheaval. I honestly think that we’re standing at a moment in history like one of God’s prophets named, Habakkuk who looked around at his time and his world and he wondered as he saw scenes that unnerved him.

He saw wars among the nations. He saw the individual wars among people. He saw social inequity and evil on a scale that greatly upset him. Justice for the people had been perverted. Anger and violence filled segments of his world, and the nations were in turmoil. His nation, Judah, a people who felt they were “one nation under God” was threatened. Everything he saw was changing.

As Habakkuk prayed to God about what he saw, God answered him by saying, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it” (Habakkuk 1:5 Habakkuk 1:5Behold you among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which you will not believe, though it be told you.
American King James Version×
).

Those words from God match up to what we see today. Each day I watch and I read the news about all the events in our world. I read three papers a day on my smartphone. I listen to news reports from around the world on the internet. And each night, I sit down and try to watch at least one nightly newscast. I guess you could say that I’m a news junkie. And like you, I see a dangerous world.

And I am worried.

I am worried in the sense that I grieve for the people who suffer from injustice, war and random acts of evil. Like you I worry... but I do not despair. I haven’t lost hope for mankind or our future.

Let me tell you why.

I know that God has a purpose for human life on this planet. I know that all life exists here by the act of a creator God who designed and planned and then brought into existence, by His divine will, this creation. From one man God created all the nations of the earth. And He has set these nations in their boundaries and He alone has determined their rise and their fall on the world stage. God is guiding history to His planned conclusion. The events of our world today, what we see in our headlines from the Middle East, from Asia, from Europe—they are progressing according to God’s plan that’s been laid down before the foundations of the age.

I study today’s world from the view laid out in the Bible and I find it amazingly accurate. Therefore, I take hope that life is not by chance. I see the flaws of human character and I know that it can be changed. I know there is a God who stands watch over the nations of the earth and His purpose is being brought to pass.

Let’s read what it says in the book of Ephesians 1.

“All praise” Paul writes, “to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes...God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth...and he makes everything work out according to his plan” (Ephesians 1: 3-4, Ephesians 1:9-11 Ephesians 1:9-11 [9] Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will:
American King James Version×
, NLT).

I read this passage quite often to be reminded that history has a purpose. Yes, even the evil and the suffering of history between and among all nations and peoples—that has a purpose. I see the same pictures you see. I look at the news and I see things that make me sad and angry.

When natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, and famine break over people without warning, it’s hard to imagine what people go through. Your heart goes out to them and you know there is little you can do. Through relief efforts we might supply money or goods to help. I have done this over the years and likely you have as well.

With so much suffering, distress and turmoil occurring in our world today, there is a key question to which you need a clear explanation: “Who is God, and what is His great purpose and plan for you and all humanity?” To help you discover the dynamic answer, I’d like to offer you a free copy of our Bible study aid: Who is God?

In contrast to the many humanly-designed notions and assumptions about our Creator, only the Bible gives us the vibrant, factual picture. Our free study aid, Who is God? will help you better grasp the inspiring nature of God and Jesus Christ and your exciting future destiny in their coming Kingdom.

To request your personal, free copy of Who is God? be sure to call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv to read or to download Who is God? You are also welcome to write us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].

We have been talking about the great battle for God in today’s world. In our first segment we saw that God is bringing to pass His great purpose and plan for mankind. But the knowledge of God is not well received in many places today.

Let’s read what the apostle Paul said in his letter to the Romans about this subject.

“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:18-20 Romans 1:18-20 [18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
American King James Version×
).

We humans have every reason to believe there is a God. Yet atheism continues to grow in numbers and influence. The more dangerous influence is the erosion of a confident faith within the Christian community. But a detailed and long look at what science knows about the universe inspires awe and great wonder that such a place as this earth could exist without the act of special creation by the great mind and act of God. There are many scientists who admit this obvious truth when they look at the heavens and see the immense scope and design of creation.

“Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:21-23 Romans 1:21-23 [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
American King James Version×
, NLT).

Here the Bible shows mankind’s obstinate refusal to worship God in truth. Idolatry in the ancient world took the form of stone and wooden idols that could neither see, nor hear, nor speak. Our modern world has idols of different forms not the least of which is man himself. We worship ourselves. We worship our own powers, our intellect and abilities more than we do God.

Paul goes on, “So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:24-25 Romans 1:24-25 [24] Why God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×
, NLT).

One key principle of biblical truth is that God has given this world over to its own ends. He allows mankind to go his own way in religion, and government, and philosophy and human culture. Mankind has the freedom to choose from both the good and the evil fruits of physical existence. Nothing has been held back from human culture. This is why we have seen the huge swings in human progress through the ages.

Today we’ve created a marvelous global world with the greatest achievements of science and technology. And great strides have been made to lengthen and to improve the quality of life. In fact, it is the most prosperous period of human history. Yet, the condition of mankind’s spiritual dimension exposes flaws that could quickly escalate to create a time when human existence would be threatened with destruction. Spiritual truth is still at a premium in this world.

“That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved” (Romans 1:26-27 Romans 1:26-27 [26] For this cause God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: [27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
American King James Version×
).

The biblical definition of marriage and family is being challenged before our eyes. With each passing year, morality is redefined and even people who profess faith in the teachings of the Bible are willing to accept behavior and lifestyles the Bible defines as sinful. In fact, “sin” has all but disappeared from the discussion that morality has in our public realm.

When Scripture says “they traded the truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:25 Romans 1:25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×
) you must understand that this impacts the deepest spiritual truth about God.

God is building a family.

Through the human creation, God’s reproducing Himself. Man is created in the image of God with a direction to be fruitful and to multiply. We will return to this thought later.

Paul goes on, “Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful...They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too” (Romans 1:28-30 Romans 1:28-30 [28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, [30] Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
American King James Version×
).

This description of the first century world of Rome is remarkably similar to our own world today. What’s unnerving to consider is this. Paul here describes a completely pagan world that did not know the God of the Bible—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We might expect such a world to develop apart from Christianity or without the aid of revelation from the Bible.

But look at our modern “Christian” culture today. It mirrors in many ways the description of the first-century pagan world of Rome. We still live in a “pagan world,” like Rome, but with modern conveniences! We cannot escape this conclusion!   

The Western world, what is often called the developed world, is on a path desperately trying to throw God out the door, along with the Bible. It’s at the heart of what we see in today’s ongoing culture wars. The question comes down to accepting God into our knowledge and life and basing life on His Word. This program, “The Great Battle For God,” is showing you God from a completely new perspective.

We have an offer today of a Bible study aid that will help you clarify the picture of God in your mind. Once you clearly see God, the next step is to align your life with His purpose.

This free Bible study aid is titled: Who is God? It will help you focus on God in ways you’ve never understood. You can receive your copy by calling right now: 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv and begin reading it immediately. We offer it completely free as part of our efforts to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.

The vibrant truth about God can only be understood through the pages of the Bible. Our free Bible study aid: Who is God? will help make its scriptures come alive! You really need this vital, free study aid. It will help you center your beliefs on the unshakable and marvelous truths of the Bible. So, please, don’t wait! I encourage you to pick up the phone. Call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv and request your copy of Who is God?

And when you order our free Bible study aid, Who is God? we’ll also send you a free subscription to our valuable bi-monthly magazine. This publication is filled with dynamic articles on key subjects that will help you better comprehend the Bible’s critical messages to you and to all humanity. It will also help you sort through the often confusing and conflicting ideas and beliefs of our modern society. It provides understanding, hope and inspiration for you to live a life, a life that is pleasing to Jesus Christ.

To order our free magazine and study aid, Who is God? call: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632 or write to us at the address shown on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254]. Of course, you can read Who is God? and our magazine online right now at BeyondToday.tv.

Let’s go to another question: What’s important for you to understand? We look at our world and we cannot do much about the large problems, but we can do something about our own lives. If we struggle with life in any manner, we can begin to get a handle on the challenges that we face. We begin by understanding the purpose for our lives.

I mentioned earlier that the traditional view of marriage and family is being radically altered today. Marriage and family has long been under attack for a long time on many different fronts.

The sexual revolution of the 1960s broke down many cultural norms. The birth control pill allowed for immorality without consequences. Immorality itself led to rising rates of divorce. In the 1970s, abortion became a legal procedure and a fact of life.

The twin states of immorality and divorce have had long term devastating impact on the biblical definition of marriage. Long before the rising tide of same sex marriage of recent years, the family as God intended humans to enjoy it, has been eroded.

All of this has served to hide from us the true purpose for our lives. Man is created in the image of God to become like God through a resurrection and change to a completely new existence the Bible calls spirit or eternal life. You and I were born with the potential to become a child of God and enter His family through a complete change that Scripture calls a resurrection.

Stay with me on this point and listen very carefully. I know that many of you listening to me feel you are a child of God and you look on God as a Father and desire a spiritual relationship. I am not taking anything away from your concept when I tell you that your Bible reveals much more about that than you have ever been told or thought. Honestly, when you look at what the Bible does say about why you were born and why God has put mankind on this planet Earth, it is unbelievably astounding. It opens your mind to another dimension of understanding that will change your life.

I wasn’t always taught this in my younger years. And even when I began to learn about it, it took a long, long time to sink in and to wake me up. This biblical truth is so amazing and yet not fully understood by people who’ve read the Bible all their lives and try very hard to live by what it teaches.

Let me take you through a few foundational thoughts from your Bible that show in unmistakable terms why you were born and the purpose and the meaning of your life.

In John 10, it says “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, I [have] said you are “gods”’” (John 10:34 John 10:34Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods?
American King James Version×
).

Jesus was talking with the Jews. They thought they understood their own Scriptures. But Jesus was opening another level of understanding to them. He quoted a verse from the Psalms which says, “You are gods” (Psalms 82:6 Psalms 82:6I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
American King James Version×
). And He applied it to Himself calling Himself, the Son of God. They thought that was blasphemy and they wanted to stone Him. Now Jesus challenged them to look at His works and believe that they might know that God was working in Him, in the flesh, on earth. Christ had come as the Word of God and the Father worked in Him and He—that is Christ—in the Father through a divine process that was opening the path of salvation for all humanity.

Here in this little understood verse, Christ shows us the core truth of the salvation process and how we might have eternal life and live forever.

Jesus was the Son of God come in the flesh as the Son of Man to live a life of perfect righteousness. To die as the Lamb of God that mankind might be redeemed from sin to God. And then, to be resurrected back to spirit life at the right hand of God. All this happened that you and I might have the hope of eternal life and live forever in the family of God.

By saying, “you are gods,” Jesus was not making a light statement. It was profound. It’s a life-changing concept when you consider what it can do for your life today.

It means that you and I can become a son of God. And to be a son of God means a full member of God’s family, nothing less. Let me show you another scripture.

The book of Hebrews shows us more about what God as a Father is doing. It says that “in these last days [God] has spoken to us by His Son whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2 Hebrews 1:2Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
American King James Version×
).

Christ’s inheritance is far above the angelic realm. Christ has inherited all things and today He sits at the right hand of God on a throne of righteousness. Jesus was God. He became flesh to become a Son of God that we might share that glory and honor with Him. Angels never had this distinction. Human beings are created for a different purpose. You were created to inherit salvation.

In Hebrews 2, it says: “What is man that You are mindful of him...or the son of man that You take care of him” (Hebrews 2:5 Hebrews 2:5For to the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
American King James Version×
).

The writer here, quoting from a Psalm, is asking, “What is man?” “Why should God have any concern or interest in this lump of physical existence called man?” We could ask, “Why would God be interested in your life or in my life?” Did you ever ask that? Sure you have! You’ve wondered, “What’s it all about?” You’ve asked “Is there really a God and does He know me?” We ask that in the dark moments of life when we’re frustrated or angry with the hand life has dealt us.

Let’s read on in Hebrews: “You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor and set him over the works of Your hands...” (Hebrews 2:7 Hebrews 2:7You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands:
American King James Version×
).

Man is created in the image of God which is different from angels. Man has been set over the earth. Man is here to use this life to prepare for another greater life in God’s family forever.

Again back in Hebrews, it says: “...But now we do not yet see all things put under him” (Hebrews 2:8 Hebrews 2:8You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
American King James Version×
).

Just as Christ has inherited all things and sits as Lord and Master today, there stands before each of us the invitation, the calling, to join Christ in this inheritance.

Let’s read further again in Hebrews: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×
).

Did you catch that? God is “bringing many sons to glory.” Christ is the perfect captain of our salvation and with His help, we can be sons of God. You are created with the potential to become a son of God sharing in the glory Christ has through His resurrection. Your life today, it takes on greater meaning than you could ever imagine because of this truth. Here is the purpose for your life. Here is the meaning of life. Here is the entire enchilada!

Here is the great mystery revealed! Let me give you one more scripture about that: “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named...” (Ephesians 3:14-15 Ephesians 3:14-15 [14] For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, [15] Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
American King James Version×
).

The Father and the Son are a family and they are bringing other sons to glory to share in that family name and existence. That is why the family, the biblical definition of family, one man one woman, bearing children and raising them to adulthood in a loving nurturing family is so important to mankind and the preservation and the progress of human civilization. To alter this design and purpose by any means immorality, divorce, same sex marriage or any other human design hides from mankind the purpose and the intent of human life. That is why we see so much social and cultural distress today. That is why life, even your life, can seem chaotic and confusing.

But you can do something about your life. You can find out more and you can begin to live your life according to God’s will and intent and begin to reap the blessings.

I’d like to remind you once more about ordering your own personal, free copy of our Bible study aid: Who is God? and your free subscription to our bi-monthly magazine. Please call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That’s 1-888-886-8632. Or, go online to read both at BeyondToday.tv.

Remember, all of our publications are absolutely free of charge and offered as an educational service. Please be assured that your name and your address will not be given to anyone. So, please call or write to us.

Also, while visiting our BeyondToday.tv website, we invite you to watch BT Daily. These are 2 to 5-minute daily videos on important Bible topics and breaking news. Join us throughout the week on the Web for BT Daily to obtain additional analysis about the Bible, on prophecy and God’s plan for your future. And, you can watch Beyond Today and BT Daily anytime on YouTube, on our Roku Channel or other streaming-enabled devices.

And, if you’d like to learn even more about the wonderful truths of the Bible, be sure to watch our live, bi-weekly, Wednesday night Beyond Today Bible Studies on the Web. To find them, simply go to our Beyond Today website and click on “Bible Study Tools.”

Plus, the United Church of God has hundreds of Sabbath-keeping congregations meeting on Saturday across the United States and in many other countries around the world. Simply, go to BeyondToday.tv and click on “Find a congregation.” You are welcome to call or e-mail one of our pastors to ask questions or to obtain additional information about the Church.

God is moving through today’s world. If you really want to understand why the nations are in turmoil and why the news headlines report so much unrest, injustice and evil then you must get this picture in your mind. God is measuring the nations and the people of the earth and we are coming up short. We are living in a time of history when significant events are reshaping the world prior to a day when God intervenes to reveal to the world the fullness of His glory.

This is a time for you to consider your life in relation to the great God and His eternal plan of redemption for this world. It is time for each of us to consider our lives before the presence of God. It is a time to align ourselves with God and let Him be the Judge of all life in a time of judgment. God is bringing a judgment to this world. And when He does, the great battle for God will be resolved. God will win and His knowledge will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

God speed that day and may God help you better understand His purpose for your life.

Remember to join in praying “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today, I’m Darris McNeely. Thanks for watching.

[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today’s program, go online to BeyondToday.tv. Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!

Comments

  • Annmaree
    I have been following world events for years. This presentation was not only a re-inforcement of my belief in the coming of Jesus to establish his awesome power on earth and set things right! Fact is its made me more determined spiritually to live the life God wants me too. Thank-you. Thy Kingdom Come!
  • Bert
    ...this reflects my very thoughts and perspective of this changing world... thank you Mr. McNeely, well written... well produced... and well presented... Thy Kingdom Come.
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