Thursday, August 06, 2015

Buddhism in Light of the Bible

Buddhism in Light of the Bible
April 19, 2015

Last Sunday morning I preached a sermon called Hinduism in light of the bible, and this Sunday morning, I'm going to cover another major false religion of the world, and that is the religion of Buddhism. Now, just a quick review of what I said last Sunday morning about which religions are the most popular in this world, or which religions have the most followers. First of all would be number one, Christianity, with about 2.3 billion followers, and of course that's counting all branches of Christianity, not just truly saved bible believing Christians.

Secondly would be Muslims at 1.6 million, er, billion, I'm sorry, 1.6 billion, and then atheism has about 1 billion followers. That would be number three. Number four would be Hinduism, what we talked about last week, 1 billion followers, and then Buddhism has about 500 million followers, the vast majority of which are, of course, in East Asia, but it's becoming more and more prevalent here in our western world as well.

Now the first thing I want to point out about Buddhism is that number one, it is a non-theistic religion, meaning they do not believe in a creator God. Now that's why we turn to Romans 1 to start with here, because I feel that this passage describes Buddhism very well.

It says in Verse number 18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has showed it under them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made. Even his eternal power and [God head 00:01:42] so that they are without excuse, because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

The bible often uses the word 'fool' or 'foolish' about the person who does not believe that there is a creator, God. Now, one of the most famous verses in the bible, Psalm 14:1, says, "The fool had said in his heart, there is no God," but most people don't usually quote the entire verse there. This is the whole verse.

It says, "The fool had said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none that do it good." That's the full verse, and that ties in perfectly with what we see in Romans Chapter 1, how the belief that there is no God, the denial of our creator, leads to corruption and abominable works and all manner of wickedness as we see in Romans Chapter 1, but notice, picking up there in Verse 22 of Romans 1, it says, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the uncorruptable God into an image made like the corruptible man, and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things, wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves, who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator who is blessed forever. Amen."

What do we see here? A denial of the creator, the fool saying in his heart that there is no God. This is what the 500 million followers of Buddhism represent. Now, not only that, but it talks about the fact that they then would make an image of man as a replacement for God, or even an image of animals and four-footed beasts and creeping things. This is what we would know as idolatry. Go back to Exodus, Chapter Number 20, Exodus Chapter 20. See, idolatry is a major feature of Buddhism. They don’t just deny that God exists and deny the creator, but they also have a lot of idolatry in their religion.

The most famous idolatry associated with Buddhism would be the image of Buddha himself, and you often see those statues that are usually made out of metal, a molten image, where you have Buddha sitting cross-legged lotus style, and he's got a big smile on his face or a very stoic look on his face or all the different styles of Buddhas that you see. Often you'll see Asian people that will wear a jade Buddha around their neck at the end of a necklace as well.

This is a huge feature of Buddhism. You go to restaurants that are owned by those who are Buddhists, you go into the homes of Buddhist people, you'll see all manner of idolatry, molten images, graven images. This is a big part of the religion. How does God feel about idolatry? Look what the bible says in Exodus Chapter 20, Verse 4. This is one of the Ten Commandments. The Second Commandment, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous god, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."

Now isn't it interesting that those who make graven images and molten images are associated with those who hate God? Why? Because of the fact that people don't want to acknowledge God. They don't want to believe in the true God of the bible, so they form and fashion their own god, and that's why those two things are associated there in Exodus Chapter 20.

You don't have to turn there, but in Isaiah Chapter 30, if you would, you turn to First Corinthians 10. You go to First Corinthians 10. In Isaiah 30, Verse 22, God uses very strong language in his condemnation of idolatry, graven images, molten images. Listen how God speaks about idolatry. He says in Isaiah 30, Verse 20, "Ye shall defile also the coverings of the graven images of silver and the ornament of thy molten images of gold. Thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth. Thou shalt say unto it, 'Get thee hence.'" I mean, that's pretty strong language condemning idolatry in the book of Isaiah.

It says in First Corinthians 10, Verse 14, in the New Testament, "Wherefore my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." Jump down to Verse 19. "What say I then? That the idol is anything or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God. And I would not that you should have fellowship with devils. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils. You cannot be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils."

Even though Buddhism denies, the first point is that they deny the existence of the creator. All types of Buddhists, all denominations of Buddhism deny a creator god, non-theistic religion, but although they do deny the creator, they do believe in various deities or basically demons that they will worship and things like that, although they don’t believe that any of them is really God or the creator, and so they worship these devils.

That's what the bible says about idolatry in First Corinthians 10, that idolatry is the worship of devils. It is the worship of demons. Now, secondly, about Buddhism, besides the fact that they deny the existence of the creator … and by the way, that's why Buddhism is becoming so popular in the United States today. That's why amongst a lot of those who live an ungodly and wicked life, Buddhism is appealing to th-. They don’t want anything to do with the God of the bible, and as our country becomes more and more atheistic, and as children are being brought up in school with atheism and agnosticism, well, Buddhism's a perfect fit.

Hey, you can be spiritual, but without God, without believing in God, without acknowledging the God of the bible, or really without believing in any god, no creator. This is why Buddhism is on the rise in the west in the last century, and especially in the last few years, but secondly this about Buddhism.

The goal of Buddhism is to achieve what's called nirvana, which literally means extinguishment. That's what it means in the original language, the word nirvana. Now basically, the goal of Buddhism … you're not going to believe this … the goal of Buddhism is to die and never come back, just to be dead, just to be gone. That's the goal. Now a lot of people misunderstand this thing. Oh, nirvana, that's heaven or that's this wonderful place or a wonderful state that you get to and it's so great.

No, no, no, it's just to die and never come back. That's the goal. Now, I'm not going to re-preach my sermon from last Sunday morning where I covered Hinduism, but I want you to understand that Buddhism comes out of Hinduism. Hinduism goes back a lot further. Hinduism goes back to at least 1,000 or 2,000 B.C., whereas Buddhism came around 500 B.C. Nobody knows the exact date. It started in India, so it takes a lot of the same things from Hinduism and carries them forward into Buddhism.

They also believe in the concepts that we talked about last Sunday morning with karma and with the reincarnation and the constant cycle of being born and dying and coming back and so forth, all that stuff that we talked about, and that's why I preached the Hinduism sermon first, because that's the basis of Buddhism. That's where this comes from.

You have to understand that the goal of nirvana, and if you would turn to Proverbs Chapter 8, Proverbs Chapter Number 8, the goal of nirvana is to basically die and never come back. The goal is to escape the cycle of keep on coming back. Now, I don't know about you, but that's not really aiming very high. The goal is just to die. It's just to be gone. You say, "Why in the world would somebody have that as their goal? Just to die and be gone and cease to exist?" Because Buddhism teaches that all of life is suffering. All of human life is suffering. Everything about our li- … everything that we do, everything that we experience, is all suffering.

The best thing that we could do is just be gone, just to die and never come back, and that's what nirvana is. Now, inevitably, when I preach about this … Let me just stop and say this before I get any further. Inevitably, when I preach about thi-, g-, here's what people will say. "You just don't understand Buddhism. You just don't understand Hinduis-." No, I understand it and I reject it.

Whenever you preach against false teaching and expose lies, people will just try and say, "Oh, you just don’t understand." No, I understand it and I reject it as false and think contrary to the bible, as being contrary to everything that is righteous in this world. I reject it. People will say the same thing when you talk about the big bang and evolution, and you talk about how ridiculous and foolish they are and how contrary to science they are. "Oh, you just don’t understand the big bang." No, I understand it and I reject it.

There's the thing. I don't go around claiming that everybody who rejects Christianity doesn't understand it. I believe that are many people in this world who understand the gospel perfectly well and choose to reject it, but it seems that people who want to prop up these false religions of atheism and the big bang or whether it be Hinduism or Buddhism, just like this, "Oh, you just don't understand." No, I do understand it. This is what Buddhism teaches. They teach that the goal is to never come back, to stop this endless cycle of reincarnation, which, by the way, doesn't even exist.

They believe that Buddha today has ceased to exist, I mean, the person Buddha, who started this religion. He's gone. He died and he said, "I'm never going to be born again." By the way, that's a bad thing to say, when the bible says you have to be born again. That's the first thing according to Buddhism, according to the legend, the first words out of his mouth as a child were that he is the greatest person in the world and that he will never be born again.

Now that's a wonderful thing to say. I'd prefer 'mama' or 'dada' out of my kid's mouth as the first words, but according to legend, that's supposedly the first thing that he ever said.

This is what they teach. Everything is suffering, and so the way to end suffering is to enter this state of nirvana. Now they can enter nirvana in their lifetime, as Buddha supposedly did, where he just didn't suffer anymore, but then he didn't reach the full nirvana until he died and never came back. That was the ultimate goal.

Now what does the bible say about that? You're in Proverbs 8, but let me read to you from Job 3. This verse is the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard this. Job 3:20, "Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life under the bitter and soul which long for death." Are you listening? "Which long for death and it cometh not, and dig for it more than for hid treasures, which rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they can find the grave." I mean, that's Buddhism right there in the bible.

Anyway, look at Proverbs Chapter 8, Verse 32. "Now therefore harken unto me O yea children, for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me. Watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors, for who so findeth me findeth life and shall obtain favor of the Lord, but he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me love death."

That's the goal. Now what does the bible, on the other hand, teach as the goal? What is our goal? What do we receive when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior? People say, "Oh, you know, heaven, nirvana, whatever." There's even a place called … help me out, Zsuzsa … Teavana? Is that what it's called?

Zsuzsa: Yes.

Steven: There's a tea shop, a place where you to go drink tea, and it's called Teavana. I guess you just go in there and die and you never come back. You go in there and all desire for tea is extinguished. I don't know how they make any money, because you walk in there and you go to buy the tea and then your desire is completely extinguished as you reach that nirvana and then you just die and you never come back.

Anyway, people have a mistaken concept of what this nirvana is. It's death. It's death worship. "You don't understand." I do understand it and I reject it as false and satanic and I'm going to expose more of it as we get into the sermon. We're going to get to the band Nirvana. Just sit tight.

Anyway, what does the bible teach, on the other hand? The bible teaches in Psalm 16:11, "Thou wilt show me the path of life. In my presence is fullness of joy. At thy right hand, there are pleasures forevermore." That's what the bible teaches. Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

First Corinthians 29 says, "But as it is written, I have not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Thank God for heaven. Thank God for all the blessings that we will enjoy as Christians. Thank God that we don't live a life where we just say, "It's just all suffering and the goal is just to never come back, just to be dead." That's what we seek. What a bizarre religion, when you think of it in that way, and that's really what it's teaching.

Basically, you've heard the saying, 'life sucks and then you die'? This is like life sucks and if you're lucky, you die. That's the goal is to die. It's bizarre and wicked, but on to the band Nirvana. Now, like I said, the word nirvana in the original language literally means extinguishment, and what they mean by that is that all desire is extinguished. You don't care about anything because they claim that the reason why you keep getting reincarnated and coming back is because you want to come back. You have all this desire that's unfulfilled, so you got to get to where you just don't care and then you won't come back anymore. Once you realize that nothing matters and yourself doesn't really even quite exist, and blah blah blah, then you won't come back.

It means extinguishment. Isn't it interesting, and who knows who the band Nirvana is? Let me just say this. When I was a teenager at Victory Christian School, every single kid listened to Nirvana. This was one that was just universal. If you asked for the top three bands out of virtually any student when I was a teenager, Nirvana was in the top three. It was usually number one. I mean, this was the most popular band.

Who's about my age? I'm 33 years old. Am I telling the truth about when you were a teenager? I mean, this band was huge in that era, in the '90s. It's amazing how in his suicide note, and we're going to talk about suicide in regard to Buddhism, in his suicide note, he put this quote, "It's better to burn out than to fade away." Now a lot of people would look at that and say, "Oh, he's just talking about as a musician. He wanted to end his life while he's at the pinnacle. He doesn't want to fade away and become this burned out old rock star or whatever."

He said, "Better to burn out than to fade away." No, this is actually the teaching of Buddhism, to burn out, extinguishment. You see, his suicide note, there's an image of it online. You know what it says at the top, who the suicide note's made out to? To Boddah, B-O-D-D-A-H, and this was his imaginary friend, Boddah. Sounds like Buddha. He's talking to this demon named Boddah. He's naming his band Nirvana and he writes a suicide note that says better to burn out, which would be extinguishment, than to fade away.

At his funeral, a Buddhist monk chanted. This was a Buddhist funeral for Kurt Cobain and his daughter, Frances Bean, scattered Cobain's ashes into McLane Creek in Olympia, Washington. He maintained a constant interest in Buddhist philosophy. The band name, Nirvana, was taken from a Buddhist concept which Cobain described as freedom from pain, suffering and the external world, a concept that he aligned with the punk rock ethos and ideology.

Cobain would regard himself as a Buddhist during different points in his life, so when you're going to go out and say, "Oh, I'm going to listen to Nirvana," you're listening to some satanic music by a guy who committed suicide and who followed the wicked teachings of Buddhism.

Now, what is the relationship between Buddhism and suicide? Well, let me give you a quote from a very popular Buddhist. This is a Vietnamese Buddhist; he's very famous. His name, and I'm sure I'm going to pronounce this wrong because I don't know Vietnamese, Thich Nat Han, is the best I can do with it. This guy, Thich Nat Han, he's 88 years old, vegan, buddy of Martin Luther King, Jr., author of 100 books, etc. Turn to Matthew 17 while I read you this quote. Here's the quote from one of the great, most popular Buddhist teachers of our day, this Vietnamese Buddhist, author of 100 books, famous popular well-known Buddhist, and he's referring to all these Vietnamese Buddhists who were committing suicide by throwing themself into the fire.

Let me read for you his quote. "To express will by burning one's self, therefore, is not to commit an act of destruction, but to perform an act of construction." It's very constructive to throw yourself in the fire, according to this wonderful, wise budd- … "You just don't understand Buddhism, Pastor Anderson, you ignorant uneducated fool. That Thich Nat Han is so much smarter than you'll ever be."

See, it's very constructive to throw yourself in the fire. Let's finish his quote here. "To suffer and to die for the sake of one's people." No, somebody already did that. His name's Jesus. You don't need to throw yourself in the fire. That's not going to help your people at all, and why don't you throw yourself in the fire, buddy? You're 88 years old eating a bunch of vegan food. You haven't thrown yourself in the fire yet, but you like it when other people do it.

Here's what he said. "This is not suicide. Suicide is an act of self destruction. This self destruction is considered by Buddhism as one of the most serious crimes. The monk who burns himself has lost neither courage nor hope, nor does he desire non-existence. The monk believes he's practicing the doctrine of highest compassion by sacrificing himself in order to call attention of and to seek help from the people of the world."

This is actually a wonderful … it's not suicide. "You just don't understand Buddhism." Lighting yourself on fire is constructive? It takes great courage? Okay, look what the bible says in Matthew 17:14. "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man kneeling down to him and saying, 'Lord have mercy on my son for he's a lunatic and sore vexed, for oft times he falls within to the fire and oft into the water and I brought him to thy disciples and they could not cure him.'" Then Jesus answered and said, "O, faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me," and Jesus rebuked the what? Audience: Devil. Steven: The devil, and he departed out of him and the child was cured from that very hour. You see, the bible associates throwing yourself in the fire with being demon possessed. That's what we see here and so that ties in perfectly with everything else we've seen.

Now, these Eastern religions of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, they're all technically against suicide, but they make exceptions, like for example, if you're these Vietnamese Buddhists throwing yourself in the fire, that's fine. That's great, actually, but also, they all make an exception for starving yourself to death, like that's okay. I'm going to explain to you a little bit later why it's okay, according to them, to just sit there, not eat, and starve yourself. That's fine. That's not suicide. I mean, that's constructive, once again.

Not only that, the Buddhists today, because right now on this point, because remember, point number one was the fact they deny the creator, they deny God, and as a result, they have abundance of idolatry. Point number two is that nirvana is the goal of basically dying and never coming back. It's a death worship. It's a love and pursuit of dea-, and they can call it whatever they want. That's what I'm calling it.

That is what it really comes down to, but in regard to that, the Buddhists literally worship Buddha's dead corpse, literally. You see, when Buddha died, or as they would say, he reached pare nirvana, complete nirvana, when Buddha died, they actually cremated his body and they made sure to divide it up into as many small pieces because they wanted to put it in all these different shrines where his dead corpse could be worshipped in as many places and by as many people as possible so that they could literally bow down and worship the dead corpse of Buddha.

Thank God for the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I serve a risen savior. He's in the world today. I know that he is living, whatever man may say. (singing) Sing it! (singing)

Okay, or you could worship the dead corpse of Buddha and you know what? Just go to Sedona, because there's a place in Sedona where they have one. Now, I don't know if you can worship literally the dead corpse of Buddha in Sedona, but it will be the dead corpse of some Buddhist saint, some famous Buddhist monk, because they have these things all over the world that are called stupas. You can't make this stuff up. It's called stupa; that's stupid, but anyway, these things called stupas, and the closest one that I could find, and no, I didn't go there, and no, I'm not going to go there, but there is a stupa in Sedona.

It's funny. Here's what somebody wrote online about the stupa. "I believe that it should be a requirement that if you come to Sedona, Arizona, you have to visit the Amitabha stupa before leaving. No matter what your faith, religion or beliefs in a higher power may or may not be, this is a place to reconnect with yourself and others and it is a sight to be seen and felt." This stupa in Sedona. This is what a stupa is. A mound-like or hemispherical structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the ashes of dead Buddhist monks, and it's used by Buddhists as a place of meditation.

If you're lucky, you can go to one of these really cool stupa … the 'supah stupa' over in East Asia. Okay, I made up that term. It's really not called that, but I call the 'supah stupa' the one where it's actually Buddha's dead corpse that you're worshipping. Then there's the lesser stupa in Sedona where you're just worshipping some other dead corpse of some Buddhist monk of bygone era.

That was number one, the denial of the creator God. Number two, this seeking after nirvana, which we saw play out so well in the life of the lead singer of Nirvana, but let me give you some other scripture before I get into the third point. Let me give you some scriptures on Christ's resurrection. The bible says, if you would turn to Romans 8 … this is such a great scripture … in Romans 8, and then we're going to go to Hebrews 7 after this.

This is what sets apart Christianity from Buddhism, from Hinduism, is that we're not worshipping a dead corpse, and when you look at the Catholic church, they parade around a dead corpse. That's what they bow down to and worship, a molten image of a dead corpse. We serve a risen savior, and so we worship the Lord Jesus Christ. He's alive. He hears our prayers. They worship Buddha, but they don't believe Buddha can hear their prayers because they realize that Buddha is dead. That's the goal.

Look at Romans 8:31, "What shall we say then to these things? If God before us, who can be against us? He has spared not his own son, but delivered him up for us all. How shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifies it. Who is he to condemn it? It is Christ that died. Yea, rather that he is risen again who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword?"

"As it is written for thy sake, we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us, for I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

This is the truth. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ as opposed to this false religion of Buddhism where you go to Sedona and bow down and worship a literal dead corpse.

Hebrews Chapter 7, Verse 22, the bible says this. "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." I was thinking about, when we were filming Marching to Zion, we talked to these different rabbis and we talked to Rabbi Mann. This is one of those wonderful things that ended up on the cutting room floor just because there's only so much you can pack into a movie, but Rabbi Mann thought he was so clever because he said, "You know, what you Gentiles call the Old Testament, we call the Only Testament." Pfft.

I got one for Rabbi Mann. What you Jews call the New Testament, we call the Better Testament. It's what it says, right? Hebrew 7:22, "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament, and they truly were many priests because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death, but this man, because he continueth forever hath an unchangeable priesthood, wherefore he is able also to save them to the ever most that come into God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Flip back just a few pages to Hebrews Chapter 4, starting in Verse 12. "For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing and sunder of someone's spirit and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all things are naked and open under the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast our profession, for we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was at all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

That's the God of the bible. That's our Lord Jesus Christ. That's what we believe in as Christians.

Let's talk about the practice of Buddhism. What's Buddhism all about? How do these people think that they're going to get to this state of nirvana? That's the goal, remember, nirvana. Now in order to understand this, one thing that I've heard Buddhists say is that we Christians believe in a god who created something from nothing, and that's the truth.

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth, and we believe that he created it from nothing by his own word, by his own power, that God is the creator. The concept of Buddhism, on the other hand, is to make nothing from something. Isn't that great? Instead of making something from nothing, their goal is to make nothing from something. Oh, so deep, so wonderful.

Now they say, "You Christians, you value great creativity and you value going out and creating things and making something," starting a business or writing a book or just building family, whatever, just going out and making something out of your life and being creative and building something and making something from nothing.

You're not going to believe this stuff. This is what Buddhism teaches … to cease activity is the goal of human life. To cease activity is the goal of human life, according to Buddhism. Okay, so let's get into the three categories of the practice of Buddhism.

First of all, they have their moral precepts that they follow, the rules by which they're going to live their life, but they're not really rules. These are just suggestions. With God, it's the Ten Commandments, and then Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments," but with Buddhism, these are not imperatives. They're not really rules or commandments. These are just things that you can do voluntarily that are going to help you live a happier life and things are going to go good for you.

There's the moral precepts. Then there's the mental concentration that they work on, which we would know as meditation, and then of course, there's wisdom, gaining wisdom, which is to finally come to grips with the fact that there is no self. That's their ultimate wisdom. We'll get into that.

Let's start with these moral precepts. They give the actual layman of Buddhism … the layman just pretty much has five moral precepts that he needs to follow, not to be the monk, but just to be the layman. These are the five. Number one is not to kill. Okay. Number two, don't steal. These sound familiar. Number three, refrain from sensual misconduct. Of course, that's not defined, so that's, I guess, open to interpretation, whatever you think that means, unlike God's clear commands to flee fornication, thou shalt not commit adultery, not to look on a woman to lust after her and so on and so forth.

Number four would be not to lie, and number five would be to refrain from intoxicants which would lead to a loss of mindfulness, specifically drugs and alcohol. These are their five moral precepts. Now it's interesting that some of them are similar to the Ten Commandments, but what's missing? Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise that it 'may be well with thee and thouest may live long on the earth'.

There's no shadow of the first five there. They're just taking the second part about basically doing right by your neighbor. That's pretty much the only part that they seem to retain. Now a major teaching of Buddhism is what's called the middle way. Now go to Revelations Chapter 3. The middle way. This is what Buddha figured out on his path to enlightenment or awakening.

While you're turning there, let me just tell you who Buddha was, okay, just so you can understand this. His real name was Siddhartha Gautama, and supposedly, legend has it that he was the son of a great king in India, so he was a prince, and he had all these prophecies and all these signs and wonders about his birth. I told you about his first words a little bit earlier in the sermon, but he had these wheels imprinted on his hands and on his feet and so forth, and some Hindu prophet had said that he's going to become a great religious leader, or he's going to become a great warrior king, one or the other. Obviously he took the religious path.

This guy, Siddhartha Gautama, he basically decides one day that he's going to go outside the palace; his parents had tried to keep him a really sheltered life. They didn't want him to go the holy man route. They wanted him to be a great warrior conqueror, so he decides to go out of the palace and he goes out and he sees these great four sights of a sick person, an elderly person, a dead corpse, and a wandering holy man ascetic.

When he sees these four examples of human suffering, he decides that he's going to renounce everything and seek after a spiritual goal and become a wandering ascetic holy man himself. He leaves the palace, renounces everything, shaves his head and goes out wandering as a poor, begging mendicant.

He goes out and he does this, and at first he tries this route of just extreme asceticism where he's just going to just suffer, and so he got to the point where he's not even eating anything and he just keeps getting skinnier and skinnier, and he's eating so little and he's starving himself, and he becomes completely emaciated, but he doesn't reach his goal. He's not awakened. He's not enlightened.

A child offers him a bowl of rice pudding and he decides to take it, and survive. He eats the rice pudding and he continues his quest for awakening and enlightenment. Finally, of course, to make a long story short, he sits under the great fig tree and he's not going to get up until he's enlightened. He achieves this great awakening under the fig tree where he realizes that all of life is suffering and that the greatest goal is just to realize we can't hang on to a-, and he just let go, just died, just be done with it. There is no self, whatever.

He's sitting under there and he has this great awakening, and he's tempted to just sit there and never get up because he's there. I mean, he's at nirvana. Might as well just starve to death under that tree, just sit there, totally at peace, no desire, no suffering, and just slip off into pare nirvana, but no, he must teach the people.

He's like 40 years old, approximately or whatever, so he gets up and he goes out and he finds all these wandering messed up Hindus that are already worshipping Satan and mixed up and punishing themselves and living this bizarre ascetic life, and he goes and he starts to teach them and he spends basically the next 40 years until he's about 80 years old gathering disciples and teaching them all this garbage that culminates in, today, 500 million people being deceived by Buddhism.

He goes out and teaches all this and so on and so forth. One of the great things that he understood at his awakening was what Buddhists call the middle way, and it's so amazing how this concept has just really permeated into our society today, where everybody wants to be a moderate. Have you noticed that that is held up now as just the ideal? Everything is just moderate, balanced, and these things, and look, of course there's a place for moderation and balance. Don't get me wrong.

Obviously there's a little bit of truth in every lie, but this idea of just everything that's bad is extremism. Have you heard this? Where it's just like, "Oh, you're an extremist. Oh, you're fanatic," or, "Oh, you got to stay away from this extreme-." "Oh, these extremist Christians, these fanatics, these zealots are," … extreme this, extreme that and, "We need to be moderate." Politically, everybody wants to be a moderate and Christian. They want to be a moderate Christian and a moderate this and that.

What does the bible say? Revelation 3:15, "I know thy works that thou are neither cold nor hot. I would thou work cold or hot." Then because they are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, "I will spew thee out of my mouth."

God is not just advocating across the board the middle way, the lukewarm way, the moderate way, across the board, and what they teach with the middle way is they just say, "Well, we don't want to go through a life of extreme self-indulgence or of extreme asceticism," but then beyond that, they say, "Well, even in our doctrine, we don’t want to be too extreme." When we say that there's no self, that we don't really even exist, we don't want to go too extreme with that, but we don't want to go too extreme affirming the self either. The middle way.

Do things exist? Do they not exist? Eh. Half. It's like it's the middle way, and you can see how this doctrine creeps into Christianity as well where people are always looking for the middle way, and the middle way is also known at the Hegelian Dialectic, for those of you who have heard of that. That's the middle way, thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

This middle way is this teaching of alway- … "We don't want to go to these extrem-," but look, God is a god of extremes. Heaven, hell, those are two really extreme places. I mean, think about, and plus, we don’t want to half believe in Jesus. "Well, you know, we don't want to affirm Jesus too much." No. We believe in him with all of our heart, so when it comes to our doctrine, we'll go to an extreme of talking about how we believe in Christ with all of our heart, and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the … not some middle way. No, Jesus is the only way and these other religions are false. They're not kind of false; they're just false.

When we live our lives, we want to live a life that is godly and righteous. We don't want to be half in, half out. We don't want to be like Eutychus in the Book of Acts who fell out the window because he was half in and half out. We want to get all the way in. You've heard a lot of Christians described as having one foot in the world. Have you heard that? Hey, he's living for God but he's got one foot in the world. That's not where God wants us to be.

God wants us to live a life that is hot, that is on fire for God, and not to be lukewarm about our Christianity. Now, of course, are there certain areas of life where moderation is taught by the bible? Yes, but it's taught by the bible. Where the bible teaches, for example, give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me … where the bible talks about things of that nature, but not the Buddhist philosophy of our doctrine being lukewarm, of our beliefs being the middle way, half in, half out.

Or politically, the middle way, or, "Oh, how do you feel about the sodomites?" "I'll take the middle way." "What do you think about freedom and liberty in our country?" "Oh, the middle way." Taxation? The middle way, but this is what our country is like now where the middle way is exalted, and anyone who takes a firm stand and gets firmly on the side of right, of righteousness, of goodness, of godliness, is considered extreme, fanatic, zealot, right?

Audience: Right.

Steven: And condemned for not taking the middle way. This is Buddhism. This is not Christianity that teaches the middle way. When we see their moral precepts, we see a basically halfway moral teaching, because it's not even 'thou shalt not steal'. It's not even 'thou shalt not kill'. It's like, well, these aren't really commands. It's this middle way of, "Well, they're kind of suggestions. They're rules, but you don't have to do them." They'll frequently break these rules and so forth.

For example, the monks are supposed to be celibate in Buddhism, but then they're like, "Well, it's more important to become a Buddha. It's more important to achieve awakening than to follow our vows," so once they get real high up, then they have some illicit you know what going on, and that's just all part of reaching nirvana, folks, and that's more important than our vow to celibacy. This is in Tibet, where that goes on.

This is wickedness. Don't take a middle approach on stealing and murder and adultery. Zsuzsa, I'm just going to take the middle way in regard to my vows to you. I mean, isn't that just ridiculous? "You just don't understand it." Yes, I do. I reject it and the bible condemns it.

That's their moral teaching, is to follow these moral rules, and look, obviously some of these are great. Yeah, don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, refrain from sensual misconduct, don't drink, don't do drugs. I mean, I agree with that. I'm not against that, but just because something has one thing right doesn't mean that the whole thing is not wickedness. Even a broken clock is right twice per day. You could look at that clock and it will tell you the exact right time, twice a day.

Does that make it a functional right clock? No, it needs to be thrown in the trash. It needs to be replaced with a working clock called Christianity, called the Holy Bible, but secondly, besides their moral precepts in regard to their practice, they have this practice of mental concentration, the meditation that they do, and where they just totally empty themself and go through these processes of sitting there and meditat-. You know what the bible teaches about meditation?

Don't get the wrong idea that meditation's a bad word. Meditation is not a bad word. In fact, I preached a sermon a while back called 'Thou shalt meditate', but I wasn’t talking about getting in the lotus position and emptying yourself of everything and focusing on your breathing, okay? What I was actually talking about is what the bible talks about where it says, "This book is the law. You shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein, day and night. Then will God make thy way prosperous. Then shalt thou have good success. This book is the law."

He said, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law, that he meditate day and night and he shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water, to bringeth forth his fruit in his season. His leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."

That's the meditation that we need. Have you ever heard this term, 'an idle mind is the devil's workshop'?

Audience: Yeah.

Steven: This is true of Buddhism. When you make your mind idle and empty yourself, you know what they're doing. They're opening themself up to demonic influence. That's what they're doing, because the idle mind is the devil's workshop, and that's why some of them in Tibet, when they go into these meditative states, will often receive all these revelations of lost scriptures and things that demons are giving them, because of this meditation.

No, we need to meditate on the word of God, not sit around and meditate on nothing, not sitting around thinking about nothing. We need to think about the Lord and his word and the teachings of the bible. That is the meditation of a Christian.

When Isaac was meditating in the field, when he first met Rebecca, what was he meditating on? The word of God. That's what we're supposed to meditate … not just meditating, "Ohm." By the way, that is the most magical word of Hinduism. "Ohm." They go, "What does it mean?" "I don't know." They don't know. Nobody knows, but it's magical. It has power. I mean, this is a fairy tale. This is lies that have been concocted. Cunningly devised fables is what they are, but then beyond the mental concentration, thirdly, there's the pursuit of wisdom.

We have the moral precepts, which again are more like suggestions, half in, half out, the middle way. They're not really condemning drugs and alcohol totally. I mean, take a middle way. Take a middle way on murders, stealing, adultery, whatever.

Secondly, the mental concentration or meditation which I believe is demonic. I'm not saying it's demonic in and of itself to just sit there and breathe, but what are they opening themself up to when they're emptying themself and doing all this? Especially when they're sitting in front of an idol and doing it, especially when they're sitting in front of a dead body and doing it, and worshipping these demons.

But thirdly, wisdom … Now, I'm going to close the sermon with this point because I have way too much here to … I might finish this tonight, because there's just a lot of notes here, but go back to Romans 1 and let's end where we began. Let's go back to Romans Chapter 1 where we started.

In Romans Chapter 1, the bible talked about people who reject the God of the bible and it said in Verse 21, "Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened."

Now isn’t it interesting that it says they became vain? Another word that's often associated with vanity is emptiness. Isn't it? When we think about Solomon saying, "Vanity, vanity, saeth the preacher. All is vanity. Nothing matters," that's the teaching of Buddhism, but what does Solomon realize at the end of his philosophical undertaking in Ecclesiastes? He said, "Fear God and keep his commandments. This is the whole duty of man and God's going to bring every work into judgment."

He said childhood and youth are vanity. He taught that seeking after money and pleasure and wealth were all vanity and emptiness, but wait a minute. He said following the word of God is not vain, is not emptiness. The bible says be therefore steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, not ceasing from human activity. No, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. It's not empty. It's not worthless and of no value. It's not vain. It's not empty. It is of great price to the Lord our God.

It says here that they became vain in their imaginations, and think about what's your imagination? It's what you think about. Sitting there just vainly … 'boh'. You say, "Well, I still think it's okay for Christians to take part in this." No, I don’t want anything to do with it, any of this stuff. Yeah, I would just stay away from it. "Well, but you know, there's a lot of good stuff with the yoga and the meditation. You know, it doesn't have to be Buddhist and whatever." Just stay away from it. You don't need this stuff. You want to just relax and focus on your breathing or something, why don't you pray to the Lord or read your bible?

If you're looking for peace and calm and tranquility, you could always read your bible. You can go out and get some exercise, go running, whatever you do to calm down and unwind and relax, but you don't need to go to these practitioners of yoga and transcendental meditation. There are plenty of other ways to get a good stretch, and by the way, stretching's overrated.

This is a story unrelated to the sermon. Many coaches and scientists and athletes are starting to realize that stretching before exercise is actually harmful. It's actually not preventing injury, and so you're like, "Well, I'm going to do the yoga even though it has roots in this weird religion and even though sometimes my yoga teacher's saying some creepy things and so forth," but here's the bottom line though.

It's not even as good for you as people have been trying to make it out. Maybe you just weren't intended to sit in that lotus position. Maybe that's just a weird position for a man to jam his legs into and maybe it's just not worth working toward. I stopped stretching years ago, okay, and I run all the time. I never stretch before I run and I don't have any problems just not stretching. This is not a sermon against stretching, but I'm just throwing that in. You don't need to do this meditation. You can meditate on the word of God. You can pray. You can read your bible. You can quote scripture, and if you want to get a good stretch, read the literature. It's not what it's cracked up to be.

They said, "Their foolish heart was darkened," and then it says in Verse 22, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." First Corinthians Chapter 1 says it this way. It says, "For the preaching of the cross is, to them that perish, foolishness, but then to us that are saved, it's the power of God," but then it says in Verse 25, "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

The bible says in Verse 20, "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, so when the Buddhists talk about wisdom as their third path here … I'm just categorizing it into three sections just to make it easier to understand how on one hand, they're following their false morality which leaves out a lot of God's commandments and is a halfway type morality, and they've got their mental concentration of training the mind and so forth, but then on the third one they have wisdom.

But listen, this wisdom is a joke to those of us that are saved because the wisdom of the world's foolishness with God. You know what? A lot of people translate the word 'Buddha' as the enlightened one. You know what the bible calls us as born again Christians? Enlightened. We're the enlightened ones. Now they've changed it … "Well, it's actually the awakened one." No, we're the awakened ones because what did the bible say? He says, "Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober." Watch means to be awake.

He says, "They that sleep sleep in the night. They that be drunken are drunk in the night, but let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and for an helmet the hope of salvation, for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. He says, let us not sleep as do others." What is sleeping? Being ignorant of the word of God.

What is it to be enlightened? It's when you understand the word of God. When you get saved and the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, the bible calls it also being illuminated. He says in Hebrews, "After you are illuminated, you endured a great fight of afflictions," talking about salvation. See, the light bulb coming on, the enlightenment, the illumination comes when you receive Jesus Christ as savior and the Holy Spirit opens your understanding of the scriptures. That is enlightenment, my friend. That is awakening.

When you want to talk about a wisdom, the bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, meaning that Buddhism has no wisdom. They don't have the beginning. They don’t have the foundation. They don't even have the basis, because the basis is faith in the Lord.

Okay, so when they have their wisdom, it's the stupidest thing that you've ever heard in your life. For example, I was listening to this guy talk and he was Ivy League professor. He was explaining Buddhism, and he talked about his wonderful experience when he was at Harvard, how his holiness himself, the Dalai Lama came and spoke to them at Harvard when he was there, and he had the privilege of introducing the Dalai Lama to the student body as he spoke.

He got up and spoke and he spoke on the great truth that Buddha understood, sitting under the fig tree, when he understood that there is no self, because the main teaching of Buddhist wisdom is that there is no self. He got up and expounded a great long speech of the seven reasons why there's no self and just how much happier you'll be when you just realize that you don't even matter. You don’t even have a self. You are no one. This is so great.

He expounds this for like seven long drawn out points as the students hung on every word from his holiness, and soaked in his wisdom, and then he got done with these seven great points and he said, "But if there is no self, then who is it that has just explained this to you?" Wawwwww!

Then he gave this most profound answer. "Just me." Aarrrhh! It's amazing. I mean, just because he's taking the middle way, the middle way. My friend, the bible is true when it says the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. We have an anchor. We have a firm foundation. Blessed is he that heareth these sayings of Jesus Christ and does them. He's going to be like a man that built his house on the rock, and this word of God is unlike anything else in this world.

People say, "Well, how do you know that your religion's the right religion? I mean, what about Buddhism? What about Hinduism? What about Islam?" Look, they're foolish and they even compare the bible to Buddhist scripture. They even compare the bible to the Koran. They even compare the bible to Hindu scriptures or to the Book of Mormon or to the Tao Te Ching? It's ridiculous, because the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, and listen, their rock is not as our rock. Not even close.

The wisdom of this world is truly foolishness with God. "Well, but if 500 million people believe in it," … no. There are 500 million people watching the stupidest things on TV today. There are 500 million people who are watching American Idol and all this other stupidity, and rotting their brains on all kinds of ridiculous nonsense. Just because 500 million people believe in something does not mean a thing. Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in there out because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leads them to life and few there be that find it.

Yeah, there's 2.3 billion Christians, yeah, but half of them are Catholic, and tonight in my sermon, I'm going to go into the multitude of things that the Catholic church has taken directly from Buddhism, and once you understand that Buddhism is from around 500 B.C. and then you see just the crazy amount of similarities, and how whenever we look at stuff in Catholicism and we're saying, "Where did this come from? This isn't in the bible." We're thinking to ourselves, where, what is the basis here?

You know where it's coming from? Eastern religion, and let me tell you something, the reason why all these things are in Catholicism that are also found in eastern religion is because it's the same devil that's behind both. You look at the teachings of Catholicism that kind of boggle your mind, they are straight out of Buddhism and Hinduism, but we'll go into that tonight.

Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for the death [bear 01:00:49] and resurrection of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. We thank you for the wonderful teachings of the bible that we can meditate upon day and night. We thank you for heaven and for the things that you've prepared for us that are beyond our comprehension. How marvelous they are, all the joys and pleasures that await us, Lord. Thank you that we were born in a country where we heard the gospel clearly presented and that we got saved, Lord.

Help people to bring the gospel to those that are steeped in this false religion, Buddhism, Lord, and that they would get a clear presentation of the gospel so that they can stop worshipping death and worshipping a dead body and serve a risen savior and have eternal life in heaven and in Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

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