Part 1/2 (see part two of this two-part series)
Transcribed and edited from a recorded sermon by Dan Fisher on December 6, 2020.
Well, good morning church. Today’s message is one that’s part one of two. And it’s one that we need to strongly consider because we may be coming to a day where Christianity is no longer free in America. That really shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus said, in this world, we would in fact suffer affliction. The world system hates Christ and hates Christ-followers. We have enjoyed the exception to the rule for these last 200 years. And in particular, these last 50 or so. Well, I pray, and we are still working to see revival and God does his greatest work when the hour is darkest, things could turn round
We may see a great awakening again, and that’s what we’re working for. But if not, if conflict arises, should we just sacrifice our closely held belief systems for peace at all costs? Well, what is the answer? Well, quite frankly, we may need to start thinking outside the box just a little bit. That is the point of this message, to get us to begin thinking outside the box, outside our comfort zones perhaps. Please strongly consider the depth of this message. And as it’s continued next week, part one and part two on the subject irreconcilable.
I want to begin a message today that is intentionally in two parts. The first part is entitled Irreconcilable. The second part is entitled Irrevocable. Now, the irrevocable will have a question mark behind it, but we’ll not get there today. I want to begin by talking about irreconcilable. What does that mean? I think all of us have come to the very difficult but clear understanding that our culture is deeply divided. Now, we already knew that, right? I mean, we all knew that we were deeply divided, but I don’t think any of us probably wanted to accept though, we suspected, that we were as divided as we are, so much so that one side is willing to lie, cheat, steal, and do everything that is possible, at least in my opinion.
I think our problems are incredibly deep and I don’t think that we can just wave a prayer over them and hope they’re going to get better because I don’t think frankly, they will. Now, it could be that we are in the beginnings of the very strong discipline of the Lord. I mean, we may be. The Bible clearly teaches that sometimes God will allow a country to choose evil leadership as a way of punishing them. This could be what is happening to us. It’s kind of odd that we’ve never seen as many people vote for what is right and lose in American history. We’ve never seen that.
So, in the midst of that, with that as a reality, how should Christians think? How should we go forward understanding the kind of government that most of us have lived under most of our lives? For many of us, we revere our framers. We believe that the form of government that we were given at least initially is superior to all other kinds of government that had been tried through the centuries. It’s provided the greatest amount of liberty and prosperity more than likely of any people who have ever lived.
A few other countries have played around with a republic, even Rome did, but typically republics being as fragile as they are, tend to devolve into something terrible because republics and keeping that republic, you see, they’re contingent on the involvement of the people. And I will tell you that the church back in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s was asleep at the wheel. Now, I don’t know whether the church is asleep at the wheel today. I suspect still a large portion of it is. Although I’m fearful that much of the church is not necessarily asleep at the wheel, it has simply embraced wrong thinking.
You have very well-known pastors who came out just a few days before the election, as you know. People like John Piper and Tim Keller and others who said that we can’t advise Christians to vote for either candidate because President Trump is arrogant and Biden is a socialist. Well, that seems to me to be comparing apples and monkey wrenches. I don’t know about you. I mean, granted, I don’t want an arrogant president, but I’d much rather have an arrogant president who believes in liberty than a socialist.
The generation of Americans in the 1770s understood their situation. Kind of like the sons of Issachar, they understood the times. They knew what they had to do. It appears to me that the citizens in Germany in the 1930s didn’t. So in our early beginnings, in 1770, you see the Americans, primarily led by Christians, kind of make preparations and they were ready to defend what is right. You see, the Christian church in Germany in the 1930s, folding into what became the Nazis. And we know what happened there. So I believe it’s vital for American Christians to begin to think properly about where we are now and where we need to go, because I am convinced we cannot continue where we are now. We cannot, every four years, try to get our guy in to try to hold back the barbarian hordes while every four years, they try to get their guy in to force feed stuff down our throats that we don’t agree with. This is not tenable.
I mean, there’s been times in America where we’ve disagreed, we battle back and forth and we argue and we debate, but never over things that we disagree about now. And when we’ve disagreed about tax policy, we’ve disagreed about the space program, we’ve disagreed about how to carry out foreign policy. We’ve debated those things back and forth over the decades. But today, we’re disagreeing over the most basic of issues, the very basic issues that will determine whether or not you and I, and certainly our children and our grandchildren will have basic liberties.
I think that we’re going to begin to have to have some very difficult discussions. And I think the discussions are ones in which we probably could not have even entered five years ago. So in this message with this week and next week, I’m going to present some things to you that I will admit to you that 10 to 15 years ago, I probably was not thinking. But times have changed. The situation is very, very different. And it’s not just different, I believe it’s critical. So we have to have a biblical backdrop as we move forward and maybe enter, for most of us, will be uncharted territory.
So I want to begin today in talking about this concept of being irreconcilable, because I personally believe that America is irreconcilably divided. Now. That is a big statement, and that’s not a fun thing to say. What does it mean when I say that we are irreconcilably? You realize irreconcilable is a very big word. Well, it looks like that, but it could look far worse than that. and I believe that we have reached a place where it is impossible to breach the gap. Now, I want to present this to you. I’ll make this argument. I want to begin with a definition of the word irreconcilable. You know the definition, but I think it’s important for this entire message to define it. Irreconcilable: ideas, facts, or statements, representing findings or points of view that are so different from each other that they cannot be made compatible.
It doesn’t mean that both sides have to be mean-spirited, although there’s plenty of that. It’s that the ideas are so divergent, there is no way to make them compatible. Someone, I believe, has to begin to say these things and I believe that I’m one of the ones who needs to begin to say them. So let’s begin with this concept that a lot of people have that I believe is a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches, because a lot of people say, “Well, aren’t Christians supposed to be at peace with everyone?” I mean, isn’t that our job as Christians, were to be reconciled to everyone?
It is true that Jesus said in his great sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Every one of us should be a peacemaker. We should have, as a goal, to try to make peace with everyone. No question about it. Paul says to the Roman Christians in Romans 14:19, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” We should pursue, he says, not just to have a heart of peace making, we should pursue peace. I believe that we’ve been doing that.
So yes, Christians ought to be pursuing peace, but the Bible nowhere teaches us that we are to seek peace at all costs. In fact, Paul says in Romans 12, that very same letter to those Roman Christians, verse 18, a verse you’re very familiar with, he says, “If it is possible …” Now, notice, he says that because it is not always possible. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” But Paul’s own life proved that it was not always possible, so much so that Paul ends up being martyred for his faith. Now, I’ll tell you, Paul could have piped down, ratcheted back his preaching, and probably been at some level of peace with the Roman empire. Paul could have probably not stirred up the Jews nearly as much as he did if he had just backed off on the message. But you see, for him, that was a price too high to pay for a peace that wasn’t.
So peace at all costs is not biblical. I mean, think of it like this, even though Jesus is the Prince of Peace … Most clearly early articulated truth of that is found in Isaiah 9:6. That prophetic verse where the Bible says that “unto us, a child is born. Unto us, a son is given. The government’s going to be upon his shoulder. His name is going to be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” So Jesus is the Prince of Peace and yet he actually says he did not come to bring peace. What? Isn’t that a living contradiction?
Because in Matthew 10 verses 34, 35, and 36, he says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Now, is Jesus saying that it is my desire that people be at each other’s throats, it is my hope that people are never at peace and I’ve come to stir everybody up so I can watch each other try to kill one another? No, of course not. What is he saying? What he’s saying is, is if you believe that in this fallen world dominated by sin, that there can be peaceful coexistence between the truth of God and the lie of the devil, you’re crazy. I came to speak the truth and that will never allow peace with the other side. Jesus said, “You’re either for me …” Or you’re what? Right. And notice the word “against me.”
Now, most people would never identify themselves as against Jesus. Most good, solid, somewhat moral Americans, who may not claim to be Born Again Christians, but who have a knowledge of who Jesus is, would never identify themselves as against Jesus. But Jesus says you’re either for me or you’re completely against me. So Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace did not believe in peace at all costs.
Most Christians are characterized by the world as being people who ought to be seeking for peace at any price. Sometimes we’re even made to feel guilty, aren’t we? If we say things that cause strife. And they’ll say, “Well, you shouldn’t have said that.” Well, now, if we’re just causing trouble, then they’re right. We shouldn’t have said that. But if we’re saying something that is true, that needed to be said, and the very truth itself created the division, it should have been said, we should say it.
There are some people with whom we cannot reconcile. I don’t like that, but it’s true. There are just people, there are causes with whom or with which we cannot be at peace. As much as we would like to be. We cannot be. The gap is too irreconcilable. And we as Christians have to begin to think about what are those things that we are unwilling to compromise on, even if it causes great division. Because today, the Christian Church seems to want to be liked at all costs. The whole idea of marketing the gospel. Though, I realize for some, it was not ill motive, it was the idea that the gospel’s the most important thing that people are ever going to know and therefore we ought to do our very best to get them to hear that gospel. I get that. But unfortunately, in the process of marketing the gospel, they’ve tried to make the church and the Jesus of the church so likable to a world that rejects everything of God, that the gospel is watered down to the point that it is incapable of saving anybody. Not the gospel they preach.
No repentance, no sorrow, no pain, no apology. God just loves you like you are. Well, actually he doesn’t. He only loves us in the beloved. He doesn’t love us like we are. Like we are we’re despicable and wicked. Isaiah put it like this, “We have unclean lips.” It is only in Christ. The sooner we understand in this in America and in the church itself, the better positioned we are going to be to begin to take whatever steps could ensure for the future. A culture in which our children and our grandchildren can function. Because I’m telling you, the one that we have right now is forever lost. It is forever lost. It is my conviction that there’s not another election that will fix everything. We’re too irreconcilable. And I’m going to show you in just a moment how irreconcilable we are.
But I want you to listen to what Jesus said should be the approach of a believer to someone who rejects critical truth. You remember he sent the disciples out and in Matthew 10 verses 13, 14, and 15, he tells them what to do if they come across someone who rejects the message. Here’s how he says it, “If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it.” Now notice there, peace is not just unconditionally granted. He says, “If the house is worthy. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” He’s saying wash your hands of them, separate from them, have nothing to do with them.
Later on, Paul says, “Come out from among them and be separate. Do not touch the unclean thing.” “Assuredly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.” By the way, this is being spoken by the Prince of Peace. So clearly, Jesus does not believe nor teach that it’s peace at all costs, and that there are times when the gap is so unbreachable and the differences are too irreconcilable that we are to shake the dust off of our feet, wash our hands, separate, and do not mingle. Now, I don’t mean that we’re so holy that we’re too righteous to be able to be around unsaved people. Not at all. We are to love people and recognize that for the grace of God, there go I, you know, the whole deal. Here, he’s talking about concepts and the idea that there are some people with whom you just cannot reconcile. You just can’t. You can’t even co-exist.
Now, we should certainly be known for what we stand for, but we should also be known for what we stand against. And we should not apologize for standing against a large portion of our culture today. We must stand against it. Now, I’m trying to be careful that I don’t get into next week’s second part of this message, because I believe there are some clear governmental principles that Christians need to begin to think through. Maybe we’ll just begin to take little baby steps personally in opening our minds to some ideas that we’ve never been open to before, but we have to first get in our minds this understanding that we are at the place where we are at, as lousy grammar as that probably is. We’ve got to know where we are.
And I’ve labored over this. In fact, to be honest with you, I’ve been laboring over this for years. And I have said things to people in private that they kind of raised their eyebrows, they said, “What?” I said, “Look, I didn’t come by this easily and quickly. But if we are to have any kind of a future that is not dominated by socialists/Marxists, who has they showed us on November the third, we’ll do anything, anything to win.” We better begin to think differently, because we can never act differently if we can’t first think differently. I would suggest to you that it’s really not different, it’s thinking like our framing generation did in 1770s. If you could go back to their period of time, you understand that what they were doing was so revolutionary that it was considered crazy. I mean, just crazy.
The British empire was the most powerful empire in the world. The American colonies were British. People considered themselves Englishmen. That’s why Paul Revere was not saying the British are coming. He was saying the regulars are out. He was an English man. These people had no desire to not be Englishman. And it wasn’t the tea tax per se, it wasn’t the stamp tax per se. I mean, if it just been the tea tax, they probably could have swallowed hard and paid it. It was the whole concept of government without any kind of representation. The idea that we can pass any kind of tax on you we want to pass, or any kind of regulation on you, we to pass and there’s not anything you can do about it. So much so that you have the intolerable acts, which basically the parliament said, “We can do anything we want to do to you, and we don’t even have to make these things apply to us. We can just make them apply to you only.” That was the issue.
I’m thinking that if the colonist had had representation in parliament and had been a part of approving a tea tax, then it probably reluctantly paid it. But that wasn’t the issue, the issue was the inability to have any say in your future.
Do we really want to live in a world where we have no say? I’m telling you, we are so close to that, it is unbelievable. But the differences are worse. So I want to illustrate to you by using a magnet. Most of us are familiar with the laws of magnetism and the poles on magnets and how you can’t stick the magnets together if you’re trying to stick the wrong ends together, right? It will just fight you like crazy. And depending upon how strong the magnet is, sometimes you just simply cannot put those poles together. But you can take metal filings and you can throw them down on a sheet of paper and then lay that magnet down and you can see the magnetic field. By the way, the metal filings line up. The poles are opposite. I submit to you today that that’s where we are in America. We are polar opposites and you cannot stick those two poles together. Let me illustrate.
Those of us who are on right believe that rights are unalienable gifts from God. Unalienable means it cannot be harmed, touched, tweaked with, stolen. The left says rights are gifts from a benevolent government. And what the government can give, it can alter or even take away. How do you bridge that gap in thinking? Another example, those of us on the right believe that life begins at conception. That’s a human being at the moment of conception. The left says life begins sometime after birth. The governor of Virginia said it could be hours. We’ll just put that baby on a table, cover it up, try to make it as comfortable as we possibly can till the mother and the doctors decide what to do with it. Would you have ever thought that was possible in the State of Virginia? How do you reconcile those two divergent ideas? You don’t. My point is you don’t.
Let’s consider some others. Religious expression is a right and is protected. The left says religion is nonessential and must be restricted. Now, the establishment of religion is worried that a lot of Americans today go, “Well, I don’t really understand why they worded it like that.” Well, they were talking about the established church of England. That’s what they were talking about. Do you honestly believe that when they said that the government cannot establish a national church, they would have defined that as allowing a Nativity scene on a courthouse lawn? Do you think they would have defined establishing a national church as allowing a prayer at the beginning of a football game? We all know the answer to that. The reason why the left is so against these expressions is because they believe that religion is nonsense and is certainly nonessential.
On the right, we believe that gun ownership is an unalienable right, not to be infringed. This is why the Second Amendment says, “Shall not be infringed.” On the left, they believe guns kill people and should be regulated. How do you bridge that gap? How do you reconcile this? I mean, you can see here what’s going on. This is an unbridgeable gap that exists.
On the right, we believe that private property ownership is a right and capitalism best promotes that concept. On the left, they believe in redistribution of wealth. That’s the goal, and socialism best accomplishes that goal. How do you bridge that gap? Again, you don’t.
On the right, we believe that closely monitored national borders creates the greatest security for the citizens. On the left, they believe open borders create the greatest opportunity for new Democrat voters. How do you bridge that gap? You don’t. My point is you don’t, you don’t. You’ve gone beyond reconciliation at this point.
And then just to kind of cap it off those of us on the right, we believe that weak central governments and strong state governments best protect the people’s rights. The left, they believe weak state governments and a strong central government best promotes the leftist agenda. On the right, we believe marriage is God’s design and is one man, one woman. The left said marriage is man’s to do with as he pleases. And just kind of a general overarching truth, we on the right, believe America is basically good and should be celebrated. On the left, they believe America is bad and should be fundamentally transformed.
So, that’s where we are. It is no longer business as usual. It’s not, well, we’ll try again in four years. Friends, I’m telling you, we’re quickly getting to the place where there won’t be another four years. If the left gets their way this time, there probably will never be another free and fair election. Heck, this one wasn’t fair.
When you control the news, when you control what people know, you can control the outcome. This is the world we live in. You used to be able to run and say, “Well, at least you have Fox News.” No more, no more. And you say, “Well, Pastor, this is just a bunch of negative information.” Well, I don’t mean for it to be, but I think until we realize where we are, we’re never going to be in a position to actually think something differently. And as my opinion, we better start thinking, because we are now divided irreconcilably.
So, what do you do when you’re irreconcilably divided? You admit it, you admit it. As Thomas Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, you start making provisions for a government that will do its job and protect your rights. You say, “Well, Pastor, that’s kind of strong talk.” I understand that. I can’t make it happen. And there are a whole lot of steps to take between today and whenever that might be, but if we don’t begin to think that way, they’re going to think for you, and they’re going to think for the church, and they’re going to think for the Christian. And I promise you, I promise you, the world that you will live in in 10 years, you won’t recognize.
For years, I’ve been in the pulpit, warning what was coming. And my members would kind of, “Yeah, yeah, yeah.” My leaders would say, “All you want to talk about is politics.” Well, that wasn’t all of what I talked about. It’s not even all I’m talking about today. The concept is far greater than politics. It’s the ability to live out your liberties and your rights and to preach the gospel freely and to ensure some kind of future for your children and your grandchildren. This is not about politics.
So, we’re here. Now, there is one kind of peace that Jesus offers unconditionally. In Romans 5:1, Paul said, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus never promised peace with your fellow man, but he does promise peace with God. So in this midst of division, in the midst of all of this irreconcilable differences, I want to ask you the question, are you reconciled to God? You better make sure you are, because as every week passes, I assure you, you’re going to be less reconciled with your fellow man. They’re going to see to it.
Colossians 1:20, “And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” There is coming a day when there will be a kingdom, where there will be no divisions, where we will not be irreconcilably divided, but everything will have been reconciled and made at peace through the blood of His cross. Are you there now? Do you know for sure that you are at peace with God? Because if you aren’t, friend, when it comes apart, you’re going to be in real trouble. Make sure that you know Jesus today. Make sure that you’re at peace with God. You say, “Well, Pastor, you haven’t given us any answers today.” No, not yet, but at least maybe we understand the problem. If we accept the problem that we might be willing to consider a treatment. But if we don’t believe we have the disease, we’re not going to be interested in any kind of treatment.
I mean, if I don’t think I’m really sick, I’m not going to make any drastic changes. It’s only when I realize how sick I am, that I might be willing to take some pretty drastic measures to correct my problem. It’s irreconcilable.
So, what do we do now? Well, first of all, we make sure that we’re right with God. Secondly, we make sure that we’re right with brothers and sisters in Christ, because we can be reconciled to each other because we’re under the same blood. If you have run infused with fellow believers, you need to fix those. You need to bury them under the blood of Jesus and get that stuff cleared up. Yeah, we’re still human and we have differences of opinion, but they don’t have to be irreconcilable in Christ. God can bridge any gap. You need to bury those. And then next week, we’ll talk about what might be possible solutions to our world going forward that the Christians need to begin to think about, our certain commitments that we’ve made in the past irrevocable. Are we stuck with no way out? We’ll talk about that next time.
Let’s pray together. Father in Jesus’ name, as we close this time, Lord, I know this has been a very different message. I know it has. It’s been different to deliver. It’s difficult to deliver. There’s not one of us in this room wants us to be in the spot where we are, but we’re there, whether we want to be or not. Lord, this world has been racing to this point for a long, long time. I’ve been watching it myself. I’ve been dreading it. I haven’t wanted to admit it and yet in my heart, I’ve known that we were probably already there.
I don’t have any idea how Christians felt in 1770, but maybe I’m starting to get a glimpse. I don’t know how the Christians in Germany felt in the 1930s, but they could see the world coming apart all around them. And Lord, if we do not make provisions, if we don’t begin to make plans, we’re going to end up in the same kind of upside-down, messed-up world they found themselves in. And we will wake up when it’s too late. Lord, I don’t know if there is a solution. There are solutions, I just don’t know, Lord, if we have people who are courageous enough to pursue them. But Father, I pray that you would open our minds to possibilities. And Lord, as we close here today, we want to make certain that everyone who is here is no longer irreconcilably divided with you, but that gap has been bridged.
Lord, help us to walk away from here knowing that we are right with you. If we have any kind of grudge, unforgiveness, bitterness that we bear toward another Christian, I pray that, Lord, today, we would begin the process of doing everything that we can do to reconcile. There is nothing that you can’t help us to overcome. And then Father, give us the wisdom to recognize our circumstances and to begin to take appropriate actions that might spell some type of future for our children and our grandchildren and for the gospel. Lord, we pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.
Dan grew up in western Arkansas and felt God’s call to the ministry very early. He preached his first sermon at 16 and by the time he was 23, he was the full-time pastor of Immanuel Baptist, Poteau, OK. Forty-three years after his first sermon, Dan continues in the ministry as the co-pastor of Fairview Baptist, Edmond, OK. He and his wife, Pam, have been married for 38 years and have two children and four grandchildren.