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by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, October 13, 2019

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9; p. 1313 Scofield).

God calls the Christians “a peculiar people.” When you hear the word “peculiar” today you think it means “weird” or “strange.” I’ve been called that. One man said to Dr. Hymers and I, “You guys are weird.” I know that man, and he’s the one who’s weird! The same man told me there was something wrong with my mentality. I know that man, and there’s something wrong with his mentality! But maybe you too have been called weird or strange by someone who sees you are different from weak new-evangelicals in Los Angeles.

The Greek word translated “peculiar” means “a people chosen by God.” A modern translation of this verse says, “a people for God’s own possession” (NASB). Bible Christians are a special people who belong to God. Yes, we are different from the world. We are different from the many weak new-evangelicals who live like the world. We are “a people for God’s own possession,” chosen to be different from the crowds. I’m proud to be peculiar!

Jesus said that Bible Christians are different from the world. They don’t love the world, and the world doesn’t love them. The Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15; p. 1322). Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19; p. 1137). Don’t be surprised when people are against you! And the Bible says, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God... whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4; p. 1309). Bible Christians are different from the world. We live in this world, but we don’t belong to it. I’m glad to be different, chosen for God’s own possession!

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Bible Christians don’t follow the world. They have something more important to do! The Bible says that they are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13; p. 1301). We don’t belong here. Good Christians are not “mindful of that country from whence they came out” – this world here (Hebrews 11:15). They “desire a better country, that is, an heavenly” (Hebrews 11:16). We live here, but we don’t belong here!

The people who ran away didn’t think of Heaven. I’m not just talking about the apostate Chan and his followers. I’m talking about all the people who ran away over the last 44 years. They didn’t think of the Judgment. They didn’t think about God. They didn’t even think of their own future! They just ran away.

Last week Dr. Hymers preached a sermon titled, “The Third Heaven and the Holy City.” He talked about the New Jerusalem where true Christians will dwell. Were the runaways thinking about that city? No, they just ran away to get something here on earth. Two weeks ago Dr. Hymers preached a sermon, “The Coronation of Ileana.” He spoke of the many crowns that Mrs. Hymers will receive from Jesus in His Kingdom. Were the runaways thinking about crowns in the Kingdom? Did they live to please Christ? No, they ran away to feed their flesh on earth.

People who love this world follow “the god of this world” – Satan (II Corinthians 4:4; p. 1232). They follow Satan and his demons. All through the Bible God warns us not to have anything to do with demons. In the Book of Leviticus God told the Jewish people, “They shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils” (Leviticus 17:7; p. 149). The Hebrew word translated “devils” means “goat demons” (NASB).

There really is a goat demon! He was worshipped all over the ancient world. The Greeks called him “Pan.” The goat demon had the upper body of a man and the legs of a goat. On top of his head there were the horns of a goat! He played on a flute or on pipes to entertain people and draw them into sin. His followers filled their bellies with food and wine. Pan had wild sex with women, and his followers did the same. The Apostle Paul spoke of people “whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:19; p. 1260). Those people don’t think of God, or Heaven, or even their own future. They live for their “belly,” for “earthly things,” their human feelings and lusts. They follow the goat demon. But I will follow God!

The goat demon does a lot of piping here in Los Angeles. That’s why we live in a sea of Antinomianism. Most of the people listen to the piping of Pan. Most of the so-called Christians here are Antinomians. We’re a minority, in a sea of the false cult of Antinomianism. We’re a peculiar people, for God’s own possession. I’m proud of that!

What’s an Antinomian? Antinomians think that the law of God has nothing to do with them. They listen to the piping of Pan. The goat demon plays his flute and says “You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” One woman said that to me. She listened to the goat demon of Antinomianism. The goat demon blows through his pipes and says, “They’re too strict over there. Go where you can have it easy.” People listen to the goat demon. He’s good with the flute. His music is pleasant. And they follow him!

That’s what the people who ran away did. The goat demon played his music. He told them, “Go and have an easy time.” And they did. No thought of God, or Heaven, or the Judgment for them! No, they followed Pan for an easier life.

Why did people follow the apostate Chan? The goat demon offered them a soft and easy pastor. He offered them an easy church. He offered them lots of fellowship time. He offered them girls to date. They could fill their “bellies” – their fleshly lusts – if they listened to Pan. And so they did!

The goat demon Pan keeps on piping after people have gone to an easy church. Before the apostate Chan there was the apostate Olivas. Pan piped then as he pipes now. Pan offered them an easy church which met on Sunday morning only. Pan offered them an easy life, with no hard work and lots of rest. Hundreds of people listened to the piping and followed Pan. But Pan kept on playing his music. Almost all of them listened to him even more. They went back to the world and don’t go to church now. One man there said, “This church is just a way station on the way back to the world” – and so it was. The people went into the world – and so did he. Only a few of the people who went out still go to any church at all. That’s what listening to Pan will do.

It’s the same way with the apostate Chan. Pan went on with his piping. He piped to Chan, who was eager to listen to him. The goat demon offered him a church of his own. He grabbed for it, even though he has never won a soul to Christ. Then Pan and Chan piped together and other people followed. But we haven’t seen the end of it all. Pan will keep on piping, I promise you that. Wait and see what those people are doing five or ten years from now! Most of them will be piped right out of any church. Their children will be lost in the world. They won’t have a good church. They’ll have nothing. Maybe one or two of them will want to come back here! If someone says that, give the name and phone number to Dr. Hymers. He’ll know what to do!

What about you? Don’t listen to the piper! You may not follow the apostate Chan, but the piper will come back later and play you a different tune. He’ll call you in another way. I say, think about what’s important. Think of God and Christ and Heaven and Hell and the Bible. That’ll keep you from following Pan!

Think about your children. Even if you don’t run away, think about your children. Children don’t automatically follow in the footsteps of the good Christians in the church. They don’t automatically follow their parents. How could they? They’re sinners, born in sin, with a sin nature they inherited from Adam just like you! Everything in society and everything in their heart is against them becoming Christians.

Children look lovely when they’re small. They’re wonderful to play with. A good father or mother loves his children more than his own life. It’s easy to think, “Of course my child will become a Christian.” But will he? Will she? So many children raised in church don’t. Some day your child will be sixteen or seventeen. Then you will see what a sin-nature can do. Your son, your daughter, will be thinking differently. “I don’t have to be like my parents. I want to do what other young people are doing. I want to go away and live my own life.” Without your prayers, your careful attention, and God’s grace, that is what will happen. It’s happened over and over again. Don’t be naïve. Don’t be stupid. Don’t think it won’t happen to you, for it will.

I remember a couple that had a little girl. She was so lovely as a child. She was her parents’ joy. But then she got older. She started listening to the piping of Pan. Soon she was fooling around with boys. Today she doesn’t go to church. She is living in sin.

I know a man with two children. He loved them and he still loves them. They were bright and happy. They were so promising. But they listened to Pan. Oh, what a tragedy! Will that happen to your children? The children you love so much? The children you prize and cherish? Very likely it will. Why should they be different from other sinners? Oh, be sure you trust Jesus! Then be sure you are very careful with your children. Don’t protect them from God. Listen carefully, live carefully and pray.

Think about your own future. What will you do with your life? Will you be a Christian or will you lose your soul? Will you be a disciple? Just what will you be doing ten or twenty years from now? Where will you be? Will you follow God or the goat demon? What kind of a life will you show to Christ? Will He reward you, or not? Don’t think about your belly. Don’t think about fun and friends and an easy life. Don’t think about your own flesh and your own desires. Where is your life going? What does God think of you? What will Christ do with you? Will you be proud of yourself, or ashamed?

A young man in our church asked Dr. Hymers to explain what a hymn meant. The hymn is “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks.” It says,

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye
   To Canaan's fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie.
I am bound for the promised land, I am bound for the promised land;
   Oh, who will come and go with me? I am bound for the promised land.
(“On Jordan’s Stormy Banks” by Samuel Stennett, 1727-1795).

What does that mean? The Christian is looking beyond “Jordan’s stormy banks” of death. He is looking at Heaven, which is called “Canaan’s fair and happy land.” It is in Heaven that his “possessions lie.” There he will receive rewards from Christ and live forever in the New Jerusalem. That’s what matters to him, not what he has here on earth. The Christian says, “I am bound for the promised land.” That is, “I am going to Heaven. This earth is not my home. I am looking at Heaven.”

Then the song says, “Oh, who will come and go with me?” What about you? Oh, look at the Promised Land of Heaven! Turn away from the piping and the tempting and put your mind on the Promised Land! Make Heaven the goal of your life! Make Christ the purpose and meaning of your life! Put your attention, your mind, your will, your strength, your time, your choices, and your life, not on earthly things, but on heavenly!

Some of you have not trusted Jesus. You are not going to the Promised Land. You are going to Hell. But I ask you, will you come and go with me? Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sin. He shed His Blood to wash your sin away. If you trust Jesus you will be saved. If you would like to speak with us about trusting Jesus, please come and stand at the front of the room now. Amen.