Pastors, Let's Equip

dvc.jpgThis weekend, the much-anticipated The Da Vinci Code hits theaters. Pastors, let’s take this opportunity to equip our people. I believe we have a chance to instruct our people on church history when they are actually interested in it. We have an opportunity to talk about the true identity of Mary Magdalene. We have an opportunity to ponder things about Christ and His work. We also have an opportunity to equip our people to able to give an answer for the hope that lies within them.

In January and February of this year, Brian McCrorie and I did a six-week teaching series on The Da Vinci Code. Our attendance jumped 50 percent for the series. Our people were very interested in the topic, and we had a great time exploring the Scriptures and the truths that fortify our faith. I have included the last article presented by Brian where he challenged our people to use the release of the movie as an opportunity to spread the truth.

We have been featuring Kevin Bauder’s articles here on SI for the past several months. I would encourage pastors and church leaders to print these out and to have them ready for your congregations on Sunday. You can link to the Central Baptist site here. Dr. Bauder has also written a book that you can access via their main page. I publicly want to thank him for taking the lead and for publishing something useful for local churches.

The Truth Behind The Da Vinci Code


by Brian McCrorie

SYNOPSIS OF THE DA VINCI CODE

While in Paris on business, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Near the body, police have found a baffling cipher. Solving the enigmatic riddle, Langdon is stunned to discover it leads to a trail of clues hidden in the works of Da Vinci…clues visible for all to see…and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Langdon joins forces with a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, and learns the late curator was involved in the Priory of Sion—an actual secret society whose members included Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Da Vinci, among others. The Louvre curator has sacrificed his life to protect the Priory’s most sacred trust: the location of a vastly important religious relic, hidden for centuries. (from http://puzzles.about.com/library/weekly/blvinci.htm)

The question we want to answer is “So What?” There are hundreds and even thousands of errant religions and philosophies in the world. Why be concerned with this one? Well, the simple reason is because we have opportunity.

What is the opportunity we have with The Da Vinci Code? We have the opportunity to use our knowledge of an element of culture to direct people to the truth. And, as Martin Luther discovered, while entangled in a religion full of errors, the truth is what sets us free.

Are we content to sit back as millions of people around the world are confronted with the errors of the Da Vinci Code? Can we let this passing fad just pass by without speaking up? The answer should be a resounding NO!

So…how do we go about confronting the lies of the Da Vinci Code? The answer is: the same way we confront every error, with truth. What are the lies which need to be confronted?

1) Jesus was not the Son of God, did not do miracles, did not die on a cross and did not rise from the dead.

2) The Bible was created by man and deliberately altered to make Jesus deity.

Now, are these the only lies in the book? Hardly. However, consider this: if Jesus had married or even had children, would it have necessarily changed the Gospel? Is it true? No. But it is not essential to the Gospel. We know there are scores of historical errors as well in the Da Vinci Code. They may be challenged as you have opportunity, but they will not convert souls. THAT is the work of the Gospel.

What is the truth about Christ?

1. Jesus IS the Son of God. (Matthew 16:13-17)

2. Jesus DID do many miracles with the intent that people should believe on Him. (John 20:30-31)

3. Jesus DID die on a cross to pay the penalty for the sin of the world. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

4. Jesus DID rise the third day, assuring us of His power to grant eternal life.

What is the truth about the Bible?

1. All Scripture is God-breathed. It is the Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2. The canon of Scripture was recognized by the early church as being the Word of God. It was not altered in any way by Constantine or anyone else to make Jesus something He was not.

Now, there are two obstacles that lie between each person and the truth. They are knowledge and faith. No one can be forced to repent of their sins and believe in the Gospel. It is a matter of the heart. It is also a matter of the ear. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” “How shall they hear without a preacher.” As a result, we are called to preach the Gospel to every man, woman, boy and girl on the planet.

There are two primary ways to preach, or herald, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are language and life. We must speak the Gospel, whether through voice or writing. We must live the Gospel through our relationships. Hopefully, you are already living a Spirit-filled life so that the lost can see the “hope that lieth within you” and be convicted about their own sin and their need for a Savior.

When that opportunity comes, you will speak. What will you say? Maybe the opportunity will take another form. Perhaps it is you who will take the initiative. How will you turn the conversation away from the lies of the Da Vinci Code and onto the truth of Jesus Christ?

I am going to suggest several practical ways that you can “preach the Gospel” by using the cultural phenomenon which is the Da Vinci Code.

1) Read the book.

I like what Cal Thomas says, “Every morning I read my Bible and the New York Times. That way, I know what each side is up to.” We need to be culturally alert and knowledgeable to be to address the issues that arise in society. Sticking our heads in the sand will not do.

2) Read the Book.

Be ready to talk from the Bible about the deity of Jesus Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, the sacrifice for sins, and the hope of eternal life. Know where to direct people to find the truth. Know the chapter. Know the verses.

3) Speak up.

If you hear someone discussing the Da Vinci Code movie coming out in May or see someone reading the Da Vinci Code, take that as your God-given opportunity to speak up for the Lord Jesus. You have been prepared. Don’t let opportunities pass you by.

4) Talk about Mary Magdalene.

Mary Magdalene may not have been the wife of Jesus, but she certainly was a disciple of Jesus. Tell the truth about Mary. Tell how Jesus cast 7 demons out of her (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). Tell the story how she came to Jesus’ tomb that Resurrection morning, expecting to anoint a corpse with spices and instead met a living Savior. Tell how she ran to find the disciples and announce the resurrection of Christ.

5) Talk about the Last Supper.

The famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci is a snapshot of an incredible event, when Jesus talked to His disciples before His crucifixion. Tell about how Jesus spoke of offering His body and His blood for sins, establishing a New Testament, a new covenant with man. Tell about His love for His disciples and how He was prepared to give His life for His friends. Tell about the place Jesus described to His disciples that He was going to prepare for them.

6) Speak of the hope that lies within you.

People that are convicted about their sins and are looking for answers will not them in the Da Vinci Code. In fact, if anything, the Da Vinci Code will rob them of any assurance that Christianity might be true. Think of the devastation in your own heart if you came to believe that it was all made up. Paul addressed this specifically in 1 Corithians 15:12-19:

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.

But thank the Lord for verse 20:

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

We HAVE a hope, a confidence, an assurance to share with the world. This hope blasts clearly and brightly through the fear that is spread by error and sin. To be forgiven of sin and reconciled to God is such a wonderful gift—let’s not hoard it to ourselves.

7) Speak of the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

Lenin claimed that if Communism was implemented there would be bread in every household, but he could never say, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

Buddha taught enlightenment, yet he died seeking more light. He never said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will the light of life” (John 8:12).

Sigmund Freud believed that psychotherapy would heal emotional and spiritual pains. But he could not say, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

8) Direct the lost to the Word of God.

Give people a challenge. If they refuse to acknowledge the truth about Jesus Christ and the Word of God, ask them to try something. Buy a whole bunch of Gospel of Johns. Give one to such a person and ask them to read one chapter a day with an open mind. There really are only two options regarding Jesus Christ: that He was a lying lunatic or the Son of God. Watch how the Spirit works through the Word to bring faith and salvation to men and women. The Word is powerful. (Hebrews 4:12)

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