Personal Recipes For Reaching GodErwin W. Lutzer | November 8, 1987
Selected highlights from this sermon
Wicked spirits have many strategies for enslaving humanity, one of which is the New Age Movement. It promises success, health, wealth, and claims that real science is behind it. But while it may pay off for a while, the end result is slavery.
I want you to visualize with me for just a moment that you are a wicked, evil, powerful, intelligent spirit, who has the desire to enslave and ensnare the United States of America. What strategy would you devise to pull it off? How would you go about marketing your ideas to capture the American mind? From what you know of the United States and the way in which Americans think, what would you do to ensnare, to enslave, and to deceive?
We’ve learned that there are three different ways of viewing God. There is theism which says that God is independent of the universe, God is the creator of the universe, a personal God. There is also atheism which has never survived very well in any country of the world. Atheists simply find that they are outnumbered, because there is something within the human heart that says, “I must believe in God.” But atheists believe that final reality is matter, that there is no spirit world.
Pantheism, which is the third view, which is being pawned off in the United States today, says that “All is God, and God is all.” Pantheism says that God is “the force.” God can be a god. He can also be a goddess. There is mother earth. Pantheism says that basic reality is not matter at all. Final reality is spirit, and it is in the realm of spirit that we find fulfillment. That’s why the atheists are critical of the New Age Movement.
And when the Apostle Paul stood on Mars Hill so many years ago and he preached, he was preaching to atheists (the Epicureans) and he was also preaching to the pantheists (the Stoics). And Christianity today is on Mars Hill preaching to both, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But back to my original question: How would you enslave people if you were Satan? What methodology would you use? You want to get people to believe in the spirit world and one of the ways that you can bring that about is to teach them about the tremendous potential and the abilities that exist in the human mind. Because the human mind is spiritual, and because Satan is spirit, there can be a connection there, so if you were Satan you’d want to say to yourself, “What we have to do is to teach Americans to go inward. What we have to do is to recognize that normally Americans are a little bit skeptical of the spirit world, so we have to clothe our message in ways that Americans will gobble it up and say it must be true.”
What I’d like to do today is to give you seven principles, seven strategies, that Satan and his demons are using in the world today to deceive the United States. You see, if you had Hinduism, which is basically based on pantheism, if we had a course entitled “How to become a Hindu,” or “How to Get into Eastern Thought,” people may not accept it. But if there is some way by which we can enable people to believe that you can accept it and be consistent with what Americans value, your sales job is much easier.
What are those seven basic principles of salesmanship being used today in the New Age Movement? Number one, the principle that you promise people success. You promise people success. “Think and Grow Rich,” says Napoleon Hill. Americans are interested in money. You show them a dollar bill and they’ll say, “It must be right.” “Think and grow rich.” Napoleon Hill says that whatever the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve, and he said that he received this revelation from spiritual entities who have become his friends. So Americans say, “If it helps me get rich, it must be good.”
There’s a woman by the name of Helen Schucman who says that she received a revelation from Jesus Christ dictated to her, and this revelation of one-half million words says that there is no such thing as sin, but that miracles are possible if you learn to access the latent power of the human mind. One hundred and eighty thousand Americans testify to miracles because of their involvement in her book. And one woman says that as a result of studying this, “There has been steady improvement,” she says, “in my life. The problems of the world don’t bother me any longer.” She says, “I am now in touch with my spiritual self.”
Did you know that according to Newsweek Magazine, Pacific Bell, Proctor and Gamble, TRW Ford, and Polaroid all now have New Age consultants? Because of the belief that if we could only train people to access the tremendous potential of the human mind, if we could only train them in the ways of being able to go down deep inside and find within themselves all the resources that they need, we’re going to have a more productive company. So the New Age Movement today is based and sold on the promise of success.
There’s a second principle, and that is mixed truth, mixed truth with error. Is it true that Americans don’t eat well? Is it true that we eat far too much fatty foods? I think that that’s true. So what Satan says is, “Americans are interested in their health. They will give anything to feel well. I mean they think that it is immoral to have a headache, so the way you do it is this. You take a legitimate need that they have to eat better, and you package that with an eastern flavor of Spiritism, and you pawn the whole thing off and you call it holistic healing.” And I have in my files (incidentally I have files now five or six feet long with articles on the New Age Movement) and I have files that talk about holistic diets and they accompany it with acupuncture, spiritual energy, biofeedback, body oils, transcendental meditation, reflexology and on and on and on and on. And people say, “I want to be well holistically.”
Look at this advertisement here: “Psycho-immunity and the Healing Process.” There’s a seminar going on. “This seminar will speak to the issue of healing.” I should have mentioned this earlier when we were talking about the promise of success. It says, “We will ground our discussion in an understanding of psycho-immunity. Our capacity to unite mind with body in the transcendence of disease states. We will access our own innate abilities to achieve health and balance in our lives.” And who is this? This man who was giving the seminar is a healer, a holistic health activist who knows in his heart that AIDS can be healed. And when you show up at the seminar there is also a channeler present, a trans-channeler that was used by Shirley MacLaine. And where is this seminar being held? Would you believe it–in a Chicago church.
So people say, “What we really need to do is to access all of the resources that we have down inside, and we can be involved in healing. And so you mix truth with error. There is some truth to positive thinking, some truth. If you think positively it may help you, especially if you think positively about the promises of God. But when you begin to think that you have within yourself, as Terry Cole-Whittaker says, “Worship yourself because you are light,” you know then that it’s 99% error and 1% truth. But Satan has mixed the two, and Americans will buy it. And buying it they are.
Thirdly, sell your product under the guise of science. Those of us who live in the United States are impressed with science. You take, for example, crystals. Crystals have been used since the beginning of time for occult practices. The Japanese refer to them as white light. Crystals date back many, many years. They were used to induce trances. They were used to bring about healing. Now Americans are becoming so fascinated with crystals that in San Francisco recently there was a crystal convention, and there are some stores in some states that cannot keep them, they are being purchased so quickly.
There are books entitled, “Crystal Enlightenment”, “Crystal Power”. They are tools for healing. I was listening to a television program in which an expert in crystals said that crystals are able to magnify your moods so that if you are in a good mood they will magnify that mood and they will bring about joy. He said that there are certain crystals that you can purchase, and these crystals will erase all self-incrimination. You don’t need God to get rid of your guilt. You need the right crystal.
Now, will Americans accept this? Well, Americans are not into magic, so what happens is it is sold under the guise of science. It is said that these tiny little crystals have sub-atomic particles. And your body continually gives off waves and waves of energy. And these sub-atomic particles plug into that energy, and that’s the explanation for the magical power of crystals. And Americans are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the right crystal.
What about horoscopes? Look at this ad:
Introductory Offer: Astro-flash
Let the computers and the stars work for you.
More than a horoscope!
A complete astrological study developed by a world-famous astrologer.
Get $100 value for only $19.99!
Includes a six-month forecast
Science: The blending of the ancient wisdom with computers. Harmonic convergence. People say, “We were out on North Avenue Beach and we were trying to get in tune with the force. We were lining up because those planets were all lining up in a certain sequence.” Mind you, the astronomers say that that wasn’t right, but that’s beside the point. “We were in tune with the force.” And when you are in tune with the force, you know that you’re getting plugged into God.
Now really, we all are God. Everything is God. The force is God. But we’ve got to somehow lose our identity and become one with the great ultimate. And Americans look at it and they say, “Well, it sounds as if it could be right.” Pseudoscience.
Fourth, you must make the most of word games. Make the most of word games. This game is always played. I have a quote at home regarding someone promoting transcendental meditation, and what the quote says is this: “If the mood of the community is a religious mood, then pass it off as religion. If the mood seems to be political, then say, ‘It is politics.’ If people are interested in health, then use it as a means by which they can gain greater self-confidence and relaxation. Pass it off as a health technique.” Bottom line: just call it whatever seems to work.
Now you just think about this for a moment. Can you imagine one of our major networks spending seven hours in a mini-series to promote the values and the teachings and the basic concepts of Christianity? Can you imagine that? Can you imagine the storm of protests? People would say, “Separation of church and state!” “Equal time!” “Fairness doctrine!” All of these things would be heaped upon such a network. And yet Shirley MacLaine had seven hours of primetime television giving us the basics of Hinduism. And it was passed off as sort of a scientific experiment in altered states of consciousness, and millions of people bought into it. Word games.
Years ago people used to go to mediums. Nobody goes to a medium anymore. That smacks of the occult. That smacks of witchcraft. Today you go to a channeler. And the ancient witchcrafts, the people involved in ancient witchcraft, knew that they weren’t actually speaking to the dead, that they were actually speaking to spirits, to wicked spirits, but nobody would dare say, “I talked to a demon.” I mean that is awful.
Remember last week I told you about that young woman who said to me, “I don’t like the word demon; I prefer the word ghost?” People today only speak to entities. I have advertisements that have been given to me of people saying, “We will plug you into ascended masters. You can have your own spiritual guide. Well, who of us wouldn’t like to speak to an ascended master and to a spiritual guide? I mean that sounds like something any wise person should get a part of. And what they don’t tell you is that unless it is fake, and some of it may be, they are speaking to demonic wicked spirits. And those are the entities, and those are the ascended masters, and those are the guides that lead you on.
A number of years ago my wife and I were in East Germany, and we went to Buchenwald, one of the concentration camps. Do you know that in Buchenwald and in Auschwitz, that behind all of those ovens were people who were being cremated by the hundreds of thousands? But there were beautiful lawns. One of the persons that was there many, many years ago testified that during those days there were beautiful young women dressed in white blouses and navy skirts, singing songs out on the lawn, not knowing that behind the sign that said Baths, thousands of people were being put to death. Word games. Make it appear as if it’s the right thing, and behind it is the hook, Satan, capturing the minds of people.
Number five, communicate with entertainment. Mix it with entertainment. Look at this quote. “For my ally is the force, and a powerful ally it is. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings we are, not this crude matter. You must feel the force around you, here between you and me, between the rock, everywhere, yes, even in the land.” Well, who said that? Well, you know that that came from a Star Wars Trilogy, but it could have just as easily have come from an eastern pantheist. And it’s all done under clean fun, rated “PG”.
Dungeon and Dragons, a game. It’s just a game, right? Dungeons and Dragons? I have an article here in the Chicago Trib (And you know if it’s in the Trib you can believe it) the story of six young people who committed suicide when they were playing this game. As a result of it one had a curse put on him during the game and he went and shot himself at the age of sixteen.
People say, “Well, you know, it’s just a game. I mean it’s like Monopoly or anything else.” No, it’s not. It’s not. But people say, “Well, it is under the guise of entertainment.” You take hard rock music, oftentimes based on eastern mysticism, based on demonic cults. Listen to ex-Beatle, George Harrison regarding his song, “My Sweet Lord.” He was talking about its success and he says, “I wanted to sneak up on the audience a bit by gradually changing the background chant from ‘Hallelujah’ to ‘Hare Krishna,’” he says, “saying ‘Hare Krishna’ before they would know about it.” He said, “That’s what I wanted them to do, is to say ‘Hare Krishna’ before they knew about it.”
So here parents who say, “You know, we have this young person and he’s into rock music, and we can’t see anything wrong with all of the hard rock music that oftentimes has its origin in occult phenomena. It’s just music.” And they wonder why their child ends up with alternate states of consciousness, violent mood swings. And they don’t understand it. I mean, this is just music. So the New Age Movement is sold under the banner of entertainment, and that is the communication technique that is used.
And then, of course, number six, there is appeal to self. I have so many quotes here I’m going to have to skip them, but many of them say, “You have enough resources within yourself.” What did this man say, this healer? He says, “We will access your own innate abilities to achieve health and balance in your life.” You’ve got it all. You don’t need God. You don’t need to confess your sin. You have within yourself all that you could possibly need, all the resources. And people love it. They always thought that they were great, now they’re being told that they are.
Number seven is multiple ways to reach the divine. I entitled this message, “Personal Recipes on Reaching God” because the New Age Movement says, “It doesn’t matter which technique you use, use whichever one is comfortable for you.” Somebody says, “For me it’s biofeedback. It really helps me get in touch with my inner self and find out who I am.” Somebody else says, “Well, for me it’s automatic writing.” I say, “Fine.” Somebody else says, “Well, you know, for me it’s transcendental meditation. That’s the way I really get in touch with myself and find out who I am.” I say, “Fine. It doesn’t make any difference.” Somebody else says it’s Astroflash. Well, fine. Whatever is good for you, whatever you find plugging you into the ultimate, the great one, whatever it is, use it.
And so the New Age Movement, like a giant sponge, soaks up all the religions of the world, all the different techniques, and says, “There are as many ways to reach God as there are interests among Americans.” It’s health food, it’s yoga, whatever it is, take your pick. And you’ve got this little thing going between you and God, and your own little technique to find fulfillment and to be happy.
Many years ago here in Chicago, not so many years ago, there was a con artist who came to a man who said, “Look, would you give me five-hundred dollars? I have this investment, and if you give me five-hundred your money is going to double in a matter of months.” So the man gave him $500. A couple months later that man, the con artist, returned and gave the man his thousand dollars and left. A little while later the man returned and said, “You know, we have another opportunity for investment.” He said, “This time I’d like to have $2,000 from you and it will double in a few months.” So, the man, having been successfully satisfied previously, gave the man $2,000. And a few months later the man returned and gave the man the $4,000 and left. On and on, they developed a friendship. And every time the man (the con artist) said, “You will get your money back twice over,” he was right. And then one day he came to this man and said, “You know, I’ve got an even a bigger deal, $50,000.” And that man gave the con artist $50,000, and that was the last time they met.
Now, listen, folks. The initial promises were always fulfilled (Why?) in exchange for eventual destruction and bondage. You must listen to me carefully today. I am not saying that psycho immunity doesn’t heal. I’m sure it does. I’m not saying that transcendental meditation cannot lower your blood pressure. I’m sure it can. I’m not saying that acupuncture cannot enable you to endure more pain. I’m sure it can help you. I’m not saying that horoscopes cannot give you good guidance. Sometimes they do. I’m not saying that EST, that mind expanding technique, cannot help you develop your potential. I’m sure it can. I’m not saying that hypnosis cannot help you overcome certain bad habits. I’m sure it can. I’m not saying that crystals can’t brighten your day. I’m sure they do.
What I am saying is that in exchange you will receive the bondage, the power, and the strength of Satan. I’ll tell you why. It’s because all of the things I have listed along with one hundred fifty other techniques that are being used today, all of these things become jumping off points into occult phenomena where you begin to access the spirit world that is out there as you try to investigate it on your own as the New Age Movement encourages us to do.
You say, “Well, wait a moment. Time out. Time out.” Somebody says. I didn’t know that these things were dangerous.” Do you think that that gets you off the hook? Let’s suppose there’s a soldier out here. He’s from Israel. One day, and a very sunny day, he’s going for a walk. He says, “Boy, that feels so great.” And so he goes for a walk and he does not know that when he’s walking, he crosses the border into Lebanon. And there are some soldiers that come and kick him up, just like that. He says, “Oh, wait a minute. Hold it! I was innocent. I was just taking a stroll on a beautiful sunny day. Look, in fact, there was even no border marking.” Do the Lebanese soldiers say, “Oh, well yeah, I know, life is tough. You go ahead. You go back.” My dear friend, he may get back, but he’s in for a hassle.
I’ve had young people say, “Well, I didn’t know that when you played with an Ouija board that a demon may actually appear. I thought it was just a game.”
Did you listen to the radio the other day? There was a testimony of someone who said that he and some young people were in a séance. They were putting their hands on the table. They were going through all the things that people do, and suddenly one of the fellows went into convulsions, and they couldn’t bring him out. And he lived for years and years with an altered state of consciousness, and violent mood swings. And that man later did accept Christ as Savior, and he says, “The demon that came into me, came into me when we were playing around in a séance.” And all the kids were saying, “Oh, but we thought we were just having fun.”
I remember a lady, clearly demonized. Where did this happen? She said, “You know I can trace it down pretty well for you.” I said, “Oh, really?” She said, “It’s when I went into a theater and I was watching ‘The Exorcist.’” She said, “Ever since then life for me has never been the same.”
Say to her, “Lady, what on earth, what on earth are you doing in a theater watching an occult movie?” You want to say, “Don’t you know any better? Don’t you know that that is an invitation?” Folks, when are we going to learn that Satan is not a gentleman, and he doesn’t play by the rules? He doesn’t pay by the rules. No scruples at all. He doesn’t care if you’re innocent. He doesn’t care if you didn’t know. What he’s saying is, “I want an entry point, and I want you, and I will give you benefits, and in the end I will harass you, and if it is within my power, if God doesn’t stop me, I will destroy you.”
And how much power is he going to have? How much power is Satan going to have? It says in Revelation 13:8 that at the end time all that dwell upon the face of the earth shall worship Him, one big grandiose, enthusiastic, exciting New Age movement. Everyone believing Antichrist and his miracles, and everyone seen by Him.
You say, “Well, what do I do?” Do you know that if this is a normal audience (and I think you look pretty normal today frankly), if this is an average evangelical church, and I were to ask, “How many of you have been involved in some aspect of the occult?” 25% of you would raise your hand.
Now, let me say a few things very carefully and you listen. First, to those of you who may be here who have never received Jesus Christ as your Savior, today that is the first decision that you must make. The Bible says that Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. It says that when Jesus died on the cross, He disarmed all principalities and all powers and He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Before Jesus went to the cross, He said, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” The New Testament says that for those who accept Christ as Savior, it says, “He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.” There is victory in Christ who died on the cross as a sacrifice for sins, and first of all, you must receive Him into your life. Whether you’ve been involved in the occult is irrelevant. You need Christ as the only way to God. You can’t have your personal recipe. Christ! “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me,” says Jesus. You must receive Him.
Now, if you are a Christian and you feel that you have been involved in occult phenomena, and those things trouble you, what you ought to do is say, “Oh God, what are those entry points in which I was involved? I want to renounce them in the name of Christ so they no longer have authority over me.” And God will help you to renounce all the evil things that you have been involved in under the guise of something good and neutral.
Many of you perhaps have been involved in the occult and you’re totally free. That oftentimes happens because that’s what the power of Christ is all about, is that He sets people free. And many of you others perhaps have never been involved in anything occult, and for that you ought to give God thanks that in His grace and mercy you were spared the harassment. You were spared the altered states of consciousness. You were spared the obsessions. You were spared the addictions. You were spared the personality disorders that causes people to smash all friendships that they form. You were spared those things in God’s good grace, and you ought to give thanks. For those of you who need help, I’m glad today that Christ is stronger than Satan.
You know that in Central American countries there was so much demonism going on, and when the Gospel was preached and men and women began to believe and people were saved, I am told that when they met one another along the paths of the hills, traveling from one place to another, as people met, their greeting became a phrase in their language. And the phrase was, “Christ is stronger than Satan,” as people were being delivered by the hundreds through the power and grace of God.
If you will, let us pray.
Father, we want to thank You today that Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan. We want to thank You that in Your grace and in Your love, You can break the power of cancelled sin. You can smash strongholds that have been formed against Christ in the lives of people, and we thank You for that. And today we rejoice in the message of hope and deliverance and freedom because Jesus won it all for us. And today I pray for those who may be here who have never received Christ as Savior, they have never believed on Him. We pray that in this moment they shall. And for those who know Him as Savior, that find themselves in bondage, we pray in the strong and powerful name of Jesus that they could be set free. The Word says, “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” Deliver Your people today.
Now I’m going to pause for just a moment and give you an opportunity to pray. If you’re not a Christian why don’t you pray to receive Christ as Savior right where you are seated. If you are a Christian, and there’s something that you have to renounce, renounce it. If you are a believer and there’s nothing that you have to renounce, then pray for those who do have something that they are struggling with. Let’s just take a moment to pray.
Our Father, in the name of Jesus we renounce confidence and trust in ourselves. We renounce confidence and trust in techniques. We have faith only in the Lord Jesus Christ, God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in His Son, Jesus Christ. And we believe in the Holy Spirit granted to the church to bring a message of freedom and hope to a world that is being so seductively deceived.
Thank You, Father, for our faith which guides us in a world of confusion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.