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by C. L. Cagan, Ph.D., M.Div., Ph.D., Deacon

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, June 12, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Young people by the millions are rushing to see "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." The movie has broken box-office records, taking in over $70 million on its first weekend! This film is the last of the six "Star Wars" episodes. I bought the book and read it. There was nothing really good about it. I've read a lot of science fiction, but this time I have to say, "Star Wars stinks!"

The story didn't have what old science fiction fans called a "sense of wonder." It had a lot of battles, and a lot of clones and robots and androids, but they weren't exciting! They didn't seem real! One battle was obviously borrowed from the chariot race in the movie "Ben Hur." There were a lot of sword fights, like in those old movies with Errol Flynn - but using lightsabers instead of swords. There wasn't any creative thought. "Star Wars" stinks!

What about the characters? There weren't any! The main character, the young Anakin Skywalker, gave pouty and whimpery speeches like a spoiled child. He wasn't good enough for me to like him - and when he turned bad, he wasn't bad enough for me to hate him! And the others weren't any better. I think "Star Wars" came out for what it really was - a movie made just to bring in money, with no acting talent or artistic thought. In fact, today Hollywood in general has three flaws: no imagination, no talent, and no class. Hollywood is run by a bunch of God-hating drug addicts whose only "artistic" motive is greed. That's why I say, "Star Wars stinks!"

But people are so starved for entertainment that millions will see it. It's the story of a spoiled and ungrateful young man named Anakin Skywalker. He doesn't listen to the counsel of his older and wiser advisors and teachers. Instead, he wants to do everything his own way. He wants to be mean and angry and self-willed. He wants to kill people who have done him wrong, or who stand in his way. He wants power for himself. He wants to be a great "Master." He wants to be the most powerful man in the universe.

And so Anakin listened to the voice of evil - the voice of a bad guy named Darth Sidious, with slick words - and offers of great power and high position. This bad guy tempted Anakin Skywalker to join his side, the "Dark Side." He talked to Anakin just like the Devil talked to our first parents in the Garden of Eden. He told Anakin not to listen to his old wise teachers. He told him that if he joined the side of evil, he would achieve great power and become a ruler of the galaxy - and he could have anything he wanted and not have to listen to anybody. In fact, he lied to him and promised him the secret of eternal life!

But the whole thing was a lie. The Devil is "a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). That was one point where this story agreed with the Bible. In "Star Wars," the bad guys were always lying - even to each other - and always betraying each other. There was one sentence from the book that I can still remember, "Treachery is the way of the Sith." They got that one right - the Devil is a liar!

Chancellor Palpatine (Darth Sidious, the bad guy) tricked some people into starting a war - so he himself could look like a good guy. And then he betrayed the rest of the people he had tricked into starting the war. Then he got Anakin Skywalker to join his side, and Anakin became the evil Darth Vader. The Chancellor told Darth Vader to attack the good guys. At the same time he used his army to turn on everyone who stood in his way and shoot them in the back! Then he proclaimed himself the Emperor of the universe.

But Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader), started planning to betray the Emperor and take over the galaxy himself. His pregnant wife wouldn't join him in this evil plan and in his anger he attacked her. She died in childbirth and their twin babies were hidden away from him. About the same time he got into a duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of his old teachers, on a planet covered with lava. In this fight he got his legs cut off and was so horribly burned that his body and face were ruined and he couldn't breathe or talk on his own. The evil Emperor came and rebuilt his body with machinery so he could serve in his empire.

The young man Anakin Skywalker didn't get what he wanted. He lost his friends. He lost his wife and children. His body was almost destroyed. He was constantly in pain! At last he was left to smolder and burn in his evil - with no true friends - alone, alone.

I do not recommend that you see "Star Wars." The violence in the story is too intense for children. The whole movie, well over two hours long, is an exploration of the depths of evil. And it isn't even a good story! The dialogue is poorly written and the action is boring. "Star Wars" stinks!

And yet millions of young people are going to see this film. Many will see it because they are bored and looking for something to do with their time. Others will see it because they are lonely and have nothing else to do.

I've been thinking about "Star Wars" and its message. This morning, I want to tell you some things we can learn from this story.

I. First, what's wrong with "Star Wars."

There are many things wrong with "Star Wars" and its message. First of all, "Star Wars" teaches a false view of God. In the "Star Wars" movies, there is no real God at all! Instead, there is only an impersonal something called "The Force." The message is that you can get all kinds of super-powers by coming in contact with "The Force" through meditation or by learning from your teachers. Through "The Force," you can become an expert in the martial arts. But this doctrine is nothing new at all. It's just a rehash of Buddhism and Hinduism - the New Age weirdness brought in by the old Hippies! And "The Force" is not the God of the Bible!

The Bible teaches that God is personal, and not a "force." You can't even pray to "The Force" of Star Wars, because no person exists - only a "force." But the Bible tells us from cover to cover that God the Father is a Person who cares for you and loves you. Jesus taught us to pray,

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread" (Luke 11:2-3).

How could anyone ask this kind of prayer of "The Force"? You can't! But the Bible tells us, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find" (Luke 11:9). God is a Person, not an empty force!

What's more, "Star Wars" is wrong about the relationship between good and evil. True to its Hindu roots, "The Force" of Star Wars has two symmetric and equal sides: the good side and the "dark side." The two sides are eternal - present for ever in an unending battle - and both sides have followers who fight for ages without end. "The Force" has a good side and an evil side.

But the God of the Bible has only one side. There is no evil in God - only goodness. The Bible says, "God is love" (I John 4:8). The Bible says God is "rich in mercy" (Ephesians 2:4). Jesus said, "There is none good but one, that is, God" (Mark 10:18).

Yes, the Bible admits the existence of evil. I believe in the reality of the Devil and in the reality of demons. I believe in the reality of sin, and in the terrible damage it will do to your life - and your eternal future. But the Devil is not an evil mirror image of the good God! The Devil is a created being and will never be equal to God. He is only an angel, who rebelled long ago, and whose doom is certain. You can count on it - some day soon the Devil and all who follow him will be "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" (Revelation 20:10) and the true Christians will live forever with God and His Son Jesus Christ. The battle will not last forever. God is going to win!

Finally, "Star Wars" is wrong about how to be saved. In "Star Wars," people advance by growing in power through deeper connection with "The Force." You are supposed to give up all commitment and love to other people and merge in with "The Force" - just as the Hindu religion teaches. The story teaches that you can improve yourself to reach some higher plane, because people are basically good. Even the wife of Darth Vader, dying in childbirth because of injuries he has inflicted on her, and knowing he has killed hundreds of people, says in her last agony, "There is still good in him." Hogwash!

The Bible teaches that you are not good by nature. It says that you are "by nature the children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3). It says you are "dead in sins" (Ephesians 2:5). You have inherited a sin nature - a deep root of sin and evil - from our first parents. And you have sinned yourself, over and over again. You are not good by nature and you cannot save yourself.

But God didn't leave you alone! He loves you! That's why He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross to pay for your sins. Jesus shed His Blood to wash your sins away. Jesus rose physically from the dead and ascended to Heaven so you could have life through Him. And all this happened, not because you were good, but because God loves you - even though you're a sinner. The Bible says,

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Yes, "peradventure [perhaps] for a good man some would even dare to die" (Romans 5:7). A warrior on the good side in "Star Wars" might do that, out of duty. But God

"commendeth [shows] his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:8, 10).

Love His enemies? Give His own Son to die on a Cross to pay for their sins? The "Force" can't do that. But God did do that, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Today, I beg you, come to God through His Son, Jesus Christ!

II. Second, what we can learn from "Star Wars."

"Star Wars" is wrong on many points. But there are some things in the story that reflect Bible truths. There are things we can learn from "Star Wars."

First, "Star Wars" shows that you will be forced to choose. The young man Anakin Skywalker was forced to choose between self-control and rebellion. He was forced to choose between listening to his teachers or listening to the voice of evil. You will have to make the same choice. You will either listen to the voice of God or to the voice of the Devil. The Bible says, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Joshua 24:15). In our text, Moses said,

"I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Why listen to the voice of the Devil? Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

Second, "Star Wars" shows that you will be tempted to choose sinful actions and sinful friends. In "Star Wars," Chancellor Palpatine (Darth Sidious) tempted Anakin Skywalker. He offered him great possessions. He offered him great knowledge and power. He offered him a high position in his empire. He offered him the "freedom" to act out his anger and strike at people who had hurt him - or who stood in his way. He lied when he told him that only through the power of evil could he save his wife from death. The worst part of his lie was that he offered him the power of eternal life - but again he was lying! The Emperor was just like the Devil, who said to our first parents, "Ye shall not surely die…ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:4-5). The Devil tempted them to sin.

The voice of the Devil often comes in soft and soothing tones. Darth Sidious talked to Anakin like a lawyer or a politician would, in a reasonable voice. He appealed to the young man's pride. He pretended to be his friend. He told him there was a whole new side of knowledge and power - a whole wonderful world out there - that his teachers hadn't let him experience. The Devil will do the same thing! But I'm telling you - there's nothing out there! Like the words of Darth Sidious, the offers of the world, the flesh, and the Devil are all lies!

Third, "Star Wars" shows that evil always leaves you betrayed and alone. When he chose the side of evil and listened to the man who had lied to him, Anakin Skywalker didn't find happiness. He found only pain and loneliness. He lost his wife. He lost his children. He lost all his friends. Even the Emperor wasn't really his friend - the man only used him, and didn't care for him at all. Finally, Anakin fought so intensely for evil that he was badly injured in a fight and couldn't enjoy life at all, even in its most basic physical aspects. He couldn't walk on his own. He couldn't talk on his own. He couldn't even breathe without a machine. He was in constant pain. And most of all, he was alone.

And that's what will happen to you. You'll graduate from high school - and lose touch with your high school friends. You'll graduate from college - and your college friends will go this way and that. Even the person you marry may leave you. Whatever you do in life, people will leave you. In the end, you will be alone.

That's why you need to come to church! You will find lasting friends here at church. The Bible says that the Christians in the local church at Jerusalem

"continued stedfastly in…fellowship, and in breaking of bread…Praising God, and having favour with all the people"
    (Acts 2:42, 47).

In a few moments we're going to have a meal together and celebrate a birthday party. You'll have a great time. That's the reason we say, "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!" And come back home to church at 6:00 tonight! You'll have a wonderful time! Come back tonight!

And then come all the way to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus gave His Blood on the Cross as a payment for your sins. The Bible says,

"Herein is love…that [God] loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10).

Come out of the empty clatter and flash of this world. "Why be lonely? Come home - to church!" And come to Jesus Christ for His forgiveness of your sins and for the greatest and deepest love you could ever find. "Why be lost? Come home - to Jesus Christ, the Son of God!"

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Deuteronomy 30:15-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "The Love of God"
(by Frederick M. Lehman, 1868-1953).



by Dr. C. L. Cagan

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).

(John 8:44)

I.   What's wrong with "Star Wars," Luke 11:2-3; 9; I John 4:8;
Ephesians 2:4; Mark 10:18; Revelation 20:10; Ephesians 2:3, 5;
John 3:16; Romans 5:7, 8, 10.

II.  What we can learn from "Star Wars," Joshua 24:15;
Deuteronomy 30:19; Genesis 3:4-5; Acts 2:42; 47; I John 4:10.