Tonight I'm going to finish my sermon from this morning that was entitled, "Buddhism in light of the Bible." I didn't get through all of the material in my notes, so I want to finish that tonight. Just a quick review of this morning, just super fast. First of all, we talked about the fact that Buddhism has 500 million followers in this world. It is the fifth largest religion in the world. It's mainly people living in Asia that follow Buddhism. We talked about number one, that Buddhism is a religion that denies the existence of God. They do not believe that there is any Creator.
We talked about all the idolatry in Buddhism. We talked about the fact that their goal is to achieve nirvana, which is basically just to die and never come back. It's basically a worship of death and a seeking after death. We talked about everything involved with that. Then we talked about the practice of Buddhism, the three elements that they follow to try to achieve this goal of nirvana, the middle way, et cetera, et cetera.
Tonight I want to talk about something completely different. In addition to laymen in Buddhism, there are also multitudes of Buddhist monks. This would be the clergy of Buddhism. They practice a much stricter form of Buddhism. They follow a stricter set of rules. We talked about the five rules this morning, but they follow a set of 10 rules. Now, one of the things that struck me a lot as I looked at this was just the similarities between Roman Catholicism and Buddhism. You wonder where these strange doctrines of the Roman Catholic church come from, because they certainly don't come from the Bible.
You wonder, where does this stuff come from? Then you realize that Buddhism has been around since 500 B.C. and Hinduism even before that, and that Catholicism shares the same false teachings with these Eastern religions. See, it's the same devil that's behind Roman Catholicism and Eastern mysticism. You see, these Eastern religions were demonic. We showed it conclusively this morning and last Sunday morning with the sermon on Hinduism, that it's demonic. That is where these strange teachings of Catholicism are coming from.
What are some of the similarities? First of all, both Catholicism and Buddhism have monks, nuns, monasteries, pilgrimages, to shrines where there are relics of saints and corpses of saints and they want to just touch the hem of the garment of some dead body in order to get some kind of a blessing. These things are very similar. Now, the first thing I want to point out tonight, though, as I get into this ... As I said, there are five additional rules. I want to go through these rules that these Buddhist monks follow. The first one that they follow that's different from the layman is celibacy. Of course, what does that remind you of? The Roman Catholic clergy is also celibate. The priest must be celibate.
Now look down at your Bible where we started with the qualifications of the Bishop in 1 Timothy Chapter 3. The Bible uses the terms bishop, elder, and pastor synonymously. It says in verse number one, this is a true saying, "If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth of good work." A bishop, then, must be blameless, the husband of one wife. Vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach. Now that right there says that a bishop must be the husband of one wife. Yet the Roman Catholic church would teach the opposite. They would teach that a bishop must not be the husband of one wife, that he must be unmarried or celibate.
Where did they get that from? Where did they get this idea from that it's such a virtue and it's so wonderful to be celibate? That did not come from the Bible. The Bible says let every man have his own wife and let every wife have her own husband. The Bible said in Genesis it's not good for the man to be alone. I will make him an help meet for him. This teaching of extolling the virtues of celibacy comes from Eastern false religion. It comes from Hinduism. It comes from Buddhism. This teaching that says, "Oh, if you want to be really holy and really spiritual, then you're going to practice celibacy." That's not a biblical teaching.
You see, inherent in that is the teaching that there is something wrong with the relationship between a husband and wife within marriage. Yet the Bible says marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whore mongers and adulterers God will judge. This teaching that somehow what married people do with each other physically is sinful that the Catholic church teaches, by the way, is a false wicked teaching. It does not come from the Bible. The Bible teaches that it's good to be married. Who so findeth a wife, findeth a good thing and obtaineth favor of the Lord.
God is pleased when we get married and when we, as married couples, have a physical relationship with one another that he designed to be enjoyed by us. That's not something that, as the Catholics would say, is venial sin. No, it is not sin. It's a sin to do that before you're married. It's a sin to do it outside of marriage, but it is not a sin within marriage. That is a false, wicked teaching. Let's keep reading here in 1 Timothy Chapter 3, where he gives these qualifications. He says in verse number 3, he says not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient. Not a brawler, not covetous. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how should he take care of the church of God?
A person who does not have a wife and children is not qualified to be a pastor. Not even just having a wife, but having a wife and children because of the fact that that experience of ruling the house is what gives you the ability to be able to rule in God's house. If you cannot rule your own house, how can you take care of the church of God? The celibacy is a false teaching. This is one of the things that these Buddhist monks will practice. Celibacy. Here's their other rule, because we're going to go through the other five rules that they tag on to Buddhism. Rule number six is to refrain from eating at the wrong time. For them, the wrong time to eat is anytime after noon.
To these Buddhist monks, the only acceptable time to eat is from sunrise until noon, and that's it. Now if you would, flip over to Ecclesiastes chapter 10. Ecclesiastes chapter 10. While you're turning there, let me explain to you what's going on with this, because this morning, I don't know if you remember, but we talked about the fact that to cease from activity is the goal of human life. That's what the Buddhists believe. Let that quote sink in. To cease from activity is the goal of human life. Remember the great goal is to make nothing from something. The goal is to get to the point where you don't care. Then you cease to exist. This is a religion that seems like a lazy person's religion. I mean, think about what they're saying.
It's funny, I was talking to Brother Jay this morning. He's from Korea. Buddhism is really big in Korea. He said he remembers the Buddhist monks over there coming and begging for food and they are idle and they don't do anything. He said that they're basically a bum. That's basically what it means to be a Buddhist monk. You know what? If you look at what at Buddhist monk does, that's basically what he is: a lazy bum. It's not what the Bible teaches. You know, the Bible teaches that we're supposed to work. You remember this verse? Six days shalt thou labor. I mean, God's teaching us to work. Even in the verse that we just read about being a bishop, it said if a man desires the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
If you're going to be a holy man, or a man of God, or a member of the clergy in Christianity, you're going to be a worker. You're going to be somebody who does a lot of work. You're going to be a minister. That's what we call it. A minister. What's a minister? A servant. Somebody who works and serves and gets things done, whereas in their religion, the holiest thing you can do is not work and sit around and be a Buddhist monk. Now here's what these Buddhist monks do: They wake up in the morning and they all have this bowl. It's called a begging bowl. This is their symbol of being a monk. It says, "Hey, everybody. I'm a monk," besides the clothing that they wear and the shaved head and whatever. They have this begging bowl.
They get up real early in the morning, because if you can't eat after noon, you're going to get up early and go get some food. They get up real early in the morning, right when the sun's coming up, and they go to people's houses and they beg food. Instead of working with their hands and earning their food, as the Bible says of pastors, that the workman is worthy of his meat, that the laborer is worthy of his hire, that the laborer is worthy of his reward. No work, it's just a begging for free food. They just show up with the bowl and they get the food from the people who support them. You say, "Why would all these people give them free food?" Because they're taught that that's going to give them good karma, and they're going to get a better reincarnation and everything like that.
They're told, "Give a lot of money to the monastery. Give a lot of money to the monks. Put a lot of food in their bowl. You're earning merit that's going to get you a better reincarnation." This Buddhist monk shows up, he gets the free food in the bowl, and he takes it back to the monastery. He eats it, and then what does he do at the monastery? Oh, just sits and meditates. Just reads and studies and meditates and whatever. This is not anything like what Christianity teaches. The Bible teaches nothing about monasteries in any way, shape, or form. A bunch of dudes getting together and living in a building? Not something the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches man being married to their wives, having children. The pastor being someone who is married with children.
You say, "What about the apostle Paul?" Apostle Paul was not a pastor, first of all. Now the exception proves the rule. He clearly stated that all of the other apostles were married except for him and Barnabas. Out of at least 70 apostles, because the Bible clearly teaches that first he ordained 12, then he ordained another 70. Out of all these men, only two of them were not married. The rest of them are all married. By the way, the apostle Paul was not a pastor. John was called an elder or a pastor. Peter was called an elder or a pastor. They were both married. Both had children. Both had families. The Bible demands that of a bishop or a pastor.
Now the apostle Paul, he was an apostle. He went around and evangelized and started churches, but he specifically talked about not wanting to baptize people and he did not stay as the bishop or pastor or overseer of a church. Why does God want the pastor to be married with children? Because if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? How can a man lead a group of people who are all married with children, how can he teach on marriage, how can he teach on child rearing, if he's never been there and experienced it himself.
Marriage and child rearing are a big part of life. Having a pastor get up and teach you that has not experienced those things is not going to be sufficient for you in your spiritual growth. You need somebody to teach you and guide you who's actually been through those things. Go to 2 Corinthians chapter 5. No, you're in Ecclesiastes, right? I'm sorry. Let's look at Ecclesiastes before we get off that. Look at Ecclesiastes 10:16. Woe to thee O land when thy king is a child and thy princes eat in the morning! Now is the Bible praising man, just get up real early and start eating, but whatever you do, don't eat after noon. Is that what the Bible says?
The Bible teaches the opposite. The Bible says woe unto you O land when thy king is a child and thy princes eat in the morning. Blessed art thou O land when thy king is the son of nobles and thy princes eat in due season for strength and not for drunkenness. By much slothfulness, the building decayeth and ... watch this ... through idleness of the hands, the house dropeth through. The Bible teaches that we should work. Go to the ant thou sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise. Do not be slothful. Do not be idle. Get to work. He says you don't wake up first thing in the morning and just start filling your face. You wake up first thing in the morning and you get something done. You get some work done, then you eat.
It's like Pastor Coleman said. "No Bible, no breakfast" was the rule in his house when he was growing up. They at least had to read their Bible before having breakfast. I know that when I first wake up in the morning, I get some work done. I get some profitable labor done, then I start eating. I don't just wake up and just start eating. Now, this is what these Buddhist monks are doing because they're totally idle. Roll out of bed, eat some food, beg for it, don't earn it, and then stop eating at noon for some bizarre, unknown reason. You know what, if Buddha said it, I believe it and that settles it I guess for these people. I just wanted to show you that in Ecclesiastes.
Flip over to 2 Corinthians chapter 5. I just wanted to show you quickly another scripture on working, then we'll get off that point about how they think that to cease activity is the goal of human life. It says in 2 Corinthians 5:8 we are confident I say and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord, wherefore we labor that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. Whether we're present in the body or whether we're absent from the body, we labor. Even in the eternal state after the millennium, the Bible says of God's people that his servants shall serve him. We're going to be working forever. We're never going to cease from activity. We're always going to have something to do, always to work.
Work is not a bad thing. There's a name for people who don't like working: Lazy people. People are just always, "Oh, hey! How are you doing?" "Ugh, it's Monday," or "Oh, it's Friday. Thank God." You're lazy. You should love work, especially as a man. You should desire work. Then as a lady, there's work that's associated with being a lady. You know, my wife works hard as a homemaker. Those who hate work are lazy people. The next thing that they teach for these monks, aside from celibacy, which is a false doctrine. Aside from this thing of, "Hey, don't eat after noon. Go around begging before that and fill up before that." Next, they teach, rule number seven, to refrain from dancing and playing music, wearing jewelry and cosmetics, attending shows and other performances.
Now go if you would to Psalm 150 and let's see if this jives with the Bible. According to them, the spiritual goal is to refrain from dancing. You know, if you're really going to be holy, according to these people, refrain from dancing and playing music, wearing jewelry and cosmetics, and attending shows and other performances. Look what the Bible says in Psalm 150 verse 1: Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts. Praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet. Praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance. Praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals. Praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.
Is the Bible teaching a spiritual standard of saying refrain from music. Refrain from dancing. Refrain from enjoying that. You say where is this coming from, this idea of just not having any fun and suffering for the sake of suffering? The next rule, number eight, is to refrain from soft beds and soft chairs. You know, these Buddhist monks. They show up somewhere and the bed has a mattress, they'll take the mattress off the bed and just sleep on the metal springs because they must refrain from sleeping on a soft bed. Rule number nine, to refrain from the use of garlands, perfumes, ointments, and from things that tend to beautify and adorn the person.
Where this comes from is this idea that we cannot have any fun, this asceticism or punishing the body is somehow virtuous or gaining of merit. This is also taught in Roman Catholicism, this same thing. Again, the idea of self-punishment and going through all this pain just for the sake of pain. Go to 1 Corinthians chapter number 9. While you're reading from 1 Corinthians 9, because remember they're saying, "Hey, stay away from garlands, perfumes, ointments." Now, here's the thing. There's a little bit of truth in this because the Bible does teach that women should not be adorned with broided hair, gold, pearls, or costly array but that they should be in modest apparel. When the Bible says modest apparel there, it's referring to the price tag. It's saying don't be in costly apparel, costly array, gold, pearls. It said be adorned with modest apparel.
It'd be like if I talked about a modest income or a modest home. It's something that's not super expensive, fancy, or flashy. That is what the Bible is teaching about women and their ornaments but he doesn't say, "Hey, don't put on anything that's going to make you look good or beautify you." That's not what the Bible's teaching. He's teaching not to show off wealth. That's what's actually being taught there and not to be one who's trying to draw attention to yourself. When it comes to perfumes and ointments? I mean, ointments? Basically here's a translation: Don't put on deodorant. Don't use shampoo. That's pretty much what's being taught here when they're saying, "No perfumes, no ointments. Nothing that will beautify or adorn the person." You just need to look bad is pretty much what this is saying.
Now the thing about this is that the Bible says here in 1 Corinthians 9, I'll read for you from Matthew 6 in verse 16. Moreover, when you fast, be not as the hypocrites of a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward but thou when thou fastest anoint. There's your ointment. Anoint thine head and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto man to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
According to the Bible, we should not put on an outward show of look at me, how I will not beautify or anoint myself in any way, shape, or form. I'm going to publicly go in sack cloth and ashes and not anoint myself and not wash my face just to show you how holy I am. Is that what the Bible teaches? No, it teaches that we should fast, when we fast ... It doesn't say fast all the time, fast every day from noon until the next morning. No, he says when you fast, do it secretly. You don't put on a big show about it and, "Hey everybody. Look at me. I'm wearing a funny outfit." Let's face it. Both the Buddhist monks and the Catholic monks wear a funny outfit. Why? To be seen of men.
When you go to the airport, you can spot the Catholic priest or the Catholic monk or the Muslim imam or the Buddhist monk a mile away because they wear a funny outfit to just show everybody look at me, how holy I am, and it's an outward show to be seen of men. That is not what the Bible teaches that we should do. We should dress normally. Not with costly apparel, gold, jewels, pearls, but we should dress normally. He's not saying, "Hey, go in sack cloth and ashes." He's saying wear normal clothes. Wash your face. Anoint your head and be a normal person so that you don't appear unto men to fast, so that you're not putting on a big show about your spiritual growth or your holiness or whatever you do for the Lord. It's not supposed to be something to be seen of men.
Look at 1 Corinthians 9. Here's what the Bible teaches in verse 24: No ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize. So run that ye may obtain and every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I, therefore, so run not as uncertainly so fight I not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
When it comes to this idea of punishing yourself and just suffering for the sake of suffering and just no enjoyment, no soft bed, no enjoying food or music or dancing or singing. When it comes to that, that's not what the Bible teaches. Contrary wise, the Bible teaches that our life is similar to the life of an athlete except we're not doing it to get a corruptible crown. We're not doing it to get earthly glory or to get that gold medal or that trophy. He says we're doing it for an incorruptible crown. Just as an athlete is temperate in all things, so must we as Christians be temperate in all things and we must keep under our body and bring it into subjection, meaning that our body should not be in charge. We should be in charge and we should be telling the flesh what to do, not the flesh telling us what to do.
Now, if you think about this illustration of an athlete, do athletes just punish themselves and go through suffering for the sake of going through suffering? No. They're going to abstain from certain foods, only because they know these are the foods that I need to be eating that are going to help me train effectively. These are the foods that are going to harm that training. It's not just, "Well I'm not going to eat that because that tastes too good and I don't want to enjoy that too much. That's going to slow me down." That wouldn't make any sense, would it? Or to sit there and say, "Well, you know, I'm just not going to have any fun because I need to learn how to suffer."
No, an athlete is going to follow certain rules and guidelines and schedule and training and be temperate, but it doesn't mean that he's just going to not enjoy life and suffer for the sake of suffering. However, when you look at other so-called versions of the Bible, all these modern perversions of the Bible, they will change this scripture into something perverse. See, the King James Bible says the very reasonable thing of, "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection." What does that mean? If it's under and if it's in subjection, that means that the body is not the boss. The boss is taking orders, not giving orders. That's what it means to be under and to be in subjection, whereas the new versions will all pretty much say something like, "I beat my body." They'll say something like, "I punish my body. I chastise my body. I whip myself." All these weird things.
The NIV says it that way, both the old 1984 NIV and the new 2010 NIV. Both teach beating yourself in this verse, and that is a Catholic practice, to beat yourself. You say, "I don't think so." It's funny, in the New World Order Bible versions movie, I was talking to James White, and he said, "Oh, man. Catholics don't do that." It's funny because we edit the movie then. There's all these images of just hundreds of Catholics in the Philippines and in Mexico walking down the street beating themselves. He's saying, "Oh, yeah. Maybe a few people, but they don't really do that." There's just hundreds and hundreds of them doing it. Not only that, you don't have to go far my friend. How far is it from here to Guadalupe? Two miles? Two miles from here, in Guadalupe, Arizona, they do this around the time of Lent and Easter where they walk through the streets and whip people. There is a beating fest that goes on every Easter. That's why they have signs up all over Guadalupe.
Who's been to Guadalupe? Yeah, it's down the street. It's two miles away. It's in Tempe. It's right next to Tempe. It's right over here on Priest Road. You just take a right and it's Avenida Del Yaqui. You go down there, and they have all these signs up that say, "Please do not film during religious ceremonies." They don't want to be on You Tube with all this beating and stuff that's going on down there. I've been out soul-winning and talked to young people that were Catholics and they said, "Oh, yeah. I participated in that and I got flogged," and everything and so forth. This is something that they do.
I just believe that by His stripes we're healed.
He took the beating. He took the flogging. I don't have to be flogged, or flog myself, or flog anyone else in order to somehow achieve salvation. In Roman Catholicism, self-beating has historically been a part of the religion. Maybe a lot of Catholics today don't participate in it, although you don't have to go far to find it. Throughout history, it's been a part of Catholicism. Even in England. Even amongst our type of Anglo culture where they did self-beat and self-flagellate. It's all coming from this warped, perverse idea of just punishing yourself and suffering for the sake of suffering and the less enjoyment you have, the more spiritual you are. The more you suffer, the more spiritual you are.
I've even known Christians who have this mentality and this attitude of not knowing how to enjoy life at all. I don't believe in it.
I don't think it's a scriptural doctrine. Let's look at some scripture on it. Go to Nehemiah chapter 8. There are all kinds of scriptures that we can turn to on this. Nehemiah chapter 8. Then we're going to go to Ecclesiastes chapter number 3 next after we go to Nehemiah chapter 8. Then the last rule of these Buddhist monks, the 10th rule, is that they can never touch gold or silver. They're not supposed to touch any gold or silver. That's another one of the rules. Nehemiah chapter 8 verse 9 reads, "And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites taught the people and said unto all the people, this day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Here the Bible's teaching that it is a virtuous thing to do on a holy day, to feast and eat good, rich foods and give gifts and sing songs and be happy and rejoice. God says over and over again rejoice in the Lord. He said, "And again I say rejoice. This is the day which the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
Look at Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1. The Bible reads, To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. Now this right away goes against the teaching of Buddhism, which teaches you never want to kill or harm anything for any reason, to the point where many of them will even be vegetarian or even vegan because they don't want to harm animals. They think that animals as sentient beings somehow need to be respected and we don't want to harm them or hurt them. Whereas the Bible says slay and eat.
That's a whole sermon in and of itself. That sounds like a good title for a sermon. Slay and eat. It says here that there is a time to kill and a time to heal. A time to break down and a time to build up. Look at this in verse 4, a time to weep and a time to laugh. Is it just always weeping time? Always suffering time? No. It says a time to mourn and a time to dance, whereas Buddhism would say if you're going to be really holy, if you're going to be a monk, totally refrain from dancing. No fun. No enjoyment. No happiness allowed in that sense. It says in verse number 5, a time to cast away stones. Of course, they would say, "Happiness is allowed because we just enjoy meditating and sleeping on a metal rail and whatever." Anyway, that makes us happy.
Anyway, it says in verse 5, a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get and a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to cast away. A time to rend and a time to sew. A time to keep silence and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate. Again, Buddhism would just say, "Oh, all hate is bad. Just only love, love, love." Well, that's not what the Bible teaches. It says there's a time to love and a time to hate. A time of war, and a time of peace. Go to Matthew chapter 9. According to the scripture, our life is going to contain both times to mourn, times to laugh. Times to rejoice and dance and be happy, and other times when we need to be afflicted and mourn and weep.
You say, "Oh, it's the middle way." No, it's not the middle way. Here's what it is: It's that there's a time when suffering is necessary. God says that if need be, you're in heaviness for a season and you're going through trials and tribulations, then so be it. Rejoice and be exceeding glad. The Bible does not teach us to go out and seek persecution, or seek pain, or seek suffering. We should be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
The Bible does not teach us to go out and seek suffering. The Bible teaches that it is something that God has given us and that God has ordained for us, to enjoy pleasure in this life. To enjoy our wives, to enjoy your husband, to enjoy food, to enjoy rest and to enjoy feasting and fellowship and friends and family. God teaches us to enjoy our life and not to live an aesthetic, self-punishing life. That is not a Biblical doctrine. Look what the Bible says in Matthew 9 verse 14. Then came to him the the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. Here we see a time to fast, and a time not to fast.
Here we see that when the disciples were following the Lord Jesus Christ for three and a half years, that was not a time to fast. After he was taken from them, there was a time to fast. There was an appropriate time for these things. Flip over to Matthew Chapter 11, just a few pages to the right in your Bible. Matthew 11 verse 18, For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The son of man. Who is the son of man?
Jesus. The son of man came eating and drinking, and they say Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. Was Jesus a self-punishing ascetic?
No, because Jesus was eating and drinking and fellowshipping. They looked at him and said, "Well why do we and the Pharisees fast off, but thy disciples fast not? Why are you guys having so much food and having such a good time? You need to suffer like us." That's what they're saying to Jesus. Here Jesus is being accused of being what? A glutton. Being accused of what? Being a winebibber. Now obviously Jesus was neither a glutton nor a winebibber. Obviously these people are just looking to find fault with him. Because he was living a normal life and eating a normal amount of food, they took that as, "Oh, you're not self-punishing and self-emulating enough. You need to fast and suffer and go through pain."
I'm not saying that we should seek to find a middle ground between living a life of suffering and living a life of self-indulgence. No, we should live a life that follows the commandments of God. We should follow the pattern of life that God has laid out and if we follow the commandments of God, and if we follow the pattern of life that God has laid out, our life will involve both pleasure and suffering as God sees fit to give us pleasure and suffering. You see, if you go through life and you follow the plan of God saying, "You work hard, you work and labor, and then you also take rest." If you look at the Old Testament pattern, in the Old Testament pattern they had one day of rest per week, but then they also had three weeks of rest in the year where they'd rest. What did they do during that time? Feast and eat a bunch of good food and rejoice and eat all the summer fruits and have a good time and enjoy themselves.
Here's the thing. If you live your life and get married, as the Bible teaches. Again, there's the exception that proves the rule. Some people are going to remain single, but that's very rare. If you follow the pattern of life that God lays out and you get married, there's going to be pleasure in marriage. There's also going to be some suffering in that marriage. It's going to be both. You don't just suffer for the sake of suffering. You take the suffering that God gives you. As Job said, "You receive good and evil at the Lord's hand, and you say blessed be the name of the Lord." You say like the apostle Paul, "I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound." Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full, and to be hungry. Both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.
What's he saying? Sometimes I am in prison and going through suffering. So be it. Praise the Lord anyway. Other times, I show up to town. I preach the word of God. People bring me into their homes and provide me with a bunch of good food and things are going well. I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound. I know both to be full and I know how to be hungry. Why? Because I'm going to take whatever God gives me. Whatever God sees to bless me with. Whatever trials and tribulations God sees fit to put me through. I'm not going to sit around deciding am I suffering enough? Am I going through enough pain? Am I enjoying too much pleasure? Am I not having enough pleasure?
No, you just live a normal life and you follow the commandments of God. Here's a key teaching from Ecclesiastes: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
This is the whole duty of man. What does that mean? That there is no other duty outside of fearing God and keeping his commandments. That's the whole duty of man. Therefore, if we are living a life that follows the commandments of God. If we are obeying his voice, if we are not doing that which he tells us not to do, and if we are doing that which he tells us to do, then God will be pleased with us.
We don't have to beat ourselves and no fun and no pleasures and suffer for the sake of suffering. No, we suffer if need be. As need required. As the trials and tribulations come. Do you see the difference between what the Bible is teaching ... You see, this is why we don't make a big deal about talking about you need to suffer more. You know what? If you serve God, you're going to endure persecution. You don't have to go out looking for it. If you obey the commandments of God, there's going to be some suffering.
Here's the thing. We as men, we live our lives and there's suffering in our lives. If we're going to provide for our families and work hard, there are times we have to stay up really late and work into the night and burn the midnight oil or we have to get up super early or we have to skip breaks and skip meals and work our fingers to the bone. There's suffering involved with being a provider. We don't have to go looking for it. Now, maybe some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth or they just have some easy job where somebody goes around giving them back massages in their ergonomic chair in their climate controlled office building.
Most people's job involves getting cussed out and working hard and getting up early and staying late and working your fingers to the bone. That's life. There's suffering involved with that. We don't have to go looking for it. If we go out soul-winning, that's hard work. There's a little bit of suffering associated with that. When it comes to resisting temptation, abstaining from sin. Some of that can be hard to do as a Christian. Here's the thing: We don't go out and seek to suffer for the sake of suffering. Now, if you look at a lady's life, there's going to be some suffering inherent in that. Being up with the baby all night when he's sick and fussing and crying and whatever.
How about just childbirth itself? There's suffering involved with pregnancy and morning sickness. There's suffering involved with the pain of childbirth and then just the hard work of raising children and then the worrying over those children. When you follow God's plan for life, there's suffering. Now here's what would be wrong: Trying to avoid suffering by violating God's commandments. "I don't want to go through all that hard work, so I'm going to take this other route." See, I'm not going to follow God's commandments. I'm not going to follow the plan. It would be like if a woman says, "Well I don't want to do all that work, so I'm just not going to have kids. I'm just going to use birth control and not have kids."
Well, the Bible commands us to be fruitful and multiply. The Bible says that that's part of life, is in sorrow bringing forth children and yada, yada, yada. This idea of, "Well, I'm just not going to go to work because that's too much suffering. That's just too hard. I'm going to make my wife work too and foot part of the bill." These are all ways to try to escape from the suffering that God has ordained for us. That's different than just going out and looking for more suffering. If we follow God's plan for our life, there's going to be pleasure and there's going to be suffering. We need to take the good with the bad, and say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord." That is the life that God has laid out for the Bible-believing Christian.
Turn to Proverbs chapter 5. Proverbs chapter number 5, and I'll show you another scripture along the same lines. In chapter 5 verse 18 of Proverbs, the Bible reads Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? Again, what's God teaching here? Enjoy being married. Enjoy the wife of your youth. Enjoy pleasure. He's not telling us to abstain from that which is pleasurable. Now another thing, go to Romans chapter 14. Romans chapter 14. Another thing that these Buddhist monks are instructed in is that the Buddha taught them to live as islands unto themselves. Live as islands unto yourself.
See, this religion is a very inward looking religion and you're just an island unto yourself. Well, what does the Bible teach in Romans 14:7? It says for none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. Whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. The Bible says none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. You see, everything that we do affects the people around us. We are not our own, but we're bought with a price. The Bible says we are to glorify God in our body and in our spirit, which are God's. Now, again, how does this tie in with the false teachings of Roman Catholicism?
They have hermits, and really monasteries as well with monks and nuns, where they separate themselves from society and just are an island unto themselves and they're just in their little spiritual enclave, their spiritual cloister, and this teaching of a Catholic hermit is not a Biblical teaching. A holy man that would go off and live by himself out in the middle of nowhere. No, the Bible teaches that we as God's people are to be amongst the people and to go out into the highways and hedges, and to preach the gospel to every creature and not to go hide ourselves and seclude ourselves somewhere. You know, Jesus said that we're not to be taken out of this world but just to be kept from the evil.
I pray not thou wouldest take them out of the world, but that thou wouldest keep them from the evil. We're to be in the world, but not of the world.
We should not seclude ourselves in some compound somewhere or in a distant place by ourselves, but rather we should live amongst our fellow man so that we can win them to Christ, so that we can preach the gospel to every creature. That is what the Bible teaches. All that to say this: The doctrines of Buddhism are false. They're not compatible with what the Bible teaches. When we look at the strange doctrines of the Roman Catholic church and wonder where are these things coming from? I don't see this stuff in the Bible. Monks? Nuns? Celibate clergy? Where is this stuff coming from? Eating blood? Where is this teaching coming from? You can find it all in these false Eastern religions. That's where they got it from. There's no new thing under the sun and the devil just keeps repackaging the same religion and giving it a different name but it is his doctrines, it is what the Bible says are the doctrines of devils.
The Bible says that in the last days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. What are those doctrines of devils? Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats. What does that sound like? Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats. You know, that would apply both to the Catholic clergy and the Buddhist monks both. He said these are doctrines of devils. These are seducing spirits. This is demonic. We need to follow the teachings of the Bible and understand that Christianity is the true religion, and that all of these other religions are false and they are demonic as we showed very clearly this morning. Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much for your word, Lord. We thank you for all the joy that you've given us in our lives, Lord. Joy unspeakable and full of glory. All the pleasures that you've given us in this life, Lord. Father, help us to be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ if need be and help us to let these words sink down into our ears and live a life that would honor and glorify you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.