MOVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
The Holy Week Sermon: 3 April 1997
THE HEAVEN'S GATE CULT SUICIDE AND THE RESURRECTION
Several days ago, 39 poor souls in San Diego, following the instructions of their leader, Doe, packed their bags, committed suicide and waited for a UFO which was travelling behind the Hale-Bopp Comet to pick them up and take them to the next level. The UFO never arrived. Doe was wrong. His message was false. Sadly, they did indeed go on to the next level, but, since they were not trusting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, belief in the Christian gospel tells us they went to the wrong level.
If the "Heaven's Gate" cult had known in their hearts the resurrection story as we celebrate it today, they would not have done what they did. They would have known how to move on to the next level-- the eternal level-- where our Lord resides.
"Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (I Corinthians 15:12-19).
What is a cult? Why do people follow after a "Doe" or a "Jim Jones"? Are there more cults now than ever? Does the approach of a new millennium foster apocalyptic ideas that cause the creation and growth of cultic activity?
A cult is distinguished from genuine Christianity because its followers are committed to a messenger while true believers are committed to a message-- the revelation of God incarnate in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. More specifically, true followers of the risen Christ are committed to five basic tenets:
Everything that distinguishes Christianity from all the false religions and cults centers around what occurred on the first Christian Passover 2000 years ago.
1. The Inspiration and Infallibility of Scripture.
2. The Deity of Christ.
3. The Substitutionary Atonement.
4. The Resurrection of Christ.
5. The Second Coming of Christ.
And if Christ be not risen:
In three days' time we commence another Church New Year. This has, without doubt, been the quietest Holy Week that we have celebrated together as a Church. In fact, it is quite unlike any other Holy Week we have celebrated. Why? Because we are on the march -- we are on the move. Indeed, the Church has only two immediate goals this year -- the publication of the Olive Branch and the move to Kadesh .
(1) Then is our preaching vain.
(2) And your faith is also vain.
(3) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
(4) Your faith is vain.
(5) Ye are yet in your sins.
(6) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
(7) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
We are on the bridge to Kadesh right now and we have been told not to remain. Thus in a little under three months we shall be vacating Kadesh-gesher.
This Holy Week has been a time of few words and so my talk to you today will be equally short. In truth there is not much to say. We have arrived at the point in our lives where we, as a Church, can truthfully say that we are 100% in the Lord's hands and are not relying on the arm of flesh for our support. We have no arm of flesh to support ourselves on! This summer will prove to be either our salvation or nemesis as an organised body.
We therefore commit ourselves into the hands of the Lord God of Israel. May He, in His grace, justify our faith, forgive us for our sins, and help our unbelief when those moments come.
Our eyes are now on the Lord as we await the 1 July. May He look graciously upon us all and upon all those who are honourable Christians everywhere, for the sake of His Kingdom. Amen.
 By the grace of God both goals were realised in the summer of 1997.
This page was created on 10 April 1998
Last updated on 10 April 1998
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