Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WHEN KIDS DRINK THE KOOL-AID”

First John 5.19

 

My text for this morning’s message from God’s Word is First John 5.19: “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

The title of this morning’s message is “When Kids Drink The Kool-Aid.” Though it is no longer as popular a saying, young people used to describe behavior they thought was gullible and naive as the result of “drinking the Kool-Aid.” They would say, “She’s just drinking the Kool-Aid.” Let me give you some historical background so you will know what “drinking the Kool-Aid” refers to.

Let me read an article that seems to fit my own impressions of the events surrounding the tragedy of the People’s Temple and the drinking of the Kool-Aid in the late 1970s:

 

“This was a Christian destructive, doomsday cult founded and led by James Warren Jones (1931-1978). Jim Jones held degrees from Indiana University and Butler University. He was not a Fundamentalist pastor as many reports in the media and the anti-cult movement claim. He belonged to a mainline Christian denomination, having been ordained in the Christian Church/Disciples of Christ. (At the time of his ordination, the DoC allowed a local congregation to select and ordain a minister on their own. However, ordinations conducted without denominational endorsement were not considered valid within the rest of the church.)

 

The Peoples Temple was initially structured as an inter-racial mission for the sick, homeless and jobless. He assembled a large following of over 900 members in Indianapolis IN during the 1950’s.

 

“He preached a ‘social gospel’ of human freedom, equality, and love, which required helping the least and the lowliest of society’s members. Later on, however, this gospel became explicitly socialistic, or communistic in Jones’ own view, and the hypocrisy of white Christianity was ridiculed while ‘apostolic socialism’ was preached.”

 

It was an interracial congregation -- almost unheard of in Indiana at the time. When a government investigation began into his cures for cancer, heart disease and arthritis, he decided to move the group to Ukiah in Northern California. He preached the imminent end of the world in a nuclear war; Esquire magazine listed Ukiah as one of nine in the U.S. that could survive a nuclear attack. They later moved to San Francisco and Los Angeles. After an expose during the mid 1970’s in the magazine New West raised suspicions of illegal activities within the Temple, he moved some of the Temple membership to Jonestown, Guyana. The Temple had leased almost 4,000 acres of dense jungle from the government. They established an agricultural cooperative there, called the “Peoples Temple Agricultural Project.” They raised animals for food, and assorted tropical fruits and vegetables for consumption and sale.

 

Jones developed a belief called Translation in which he and his followers would all die together, and would move to another planet for a life of bliss. Mass suicides were practiced in which his followers pretended to drink poison and fell to the ground.

 

During the late 1970’s, Jones had been abusing prescription drugs and appears to have become increasingly paranoid. Rumors of human rights abuses circulated. As in most high-intensity religious groups, there was a considerable flow of people joining and leaving the group. Tim Stoen, the Temple attorney and right-hand man to Jones left to form a group called Concerned Relatives. They claimed that Jonestown was being run like a concentration camp, and that people were being held there against their will.

 

These concerns motivated Leo Ryan, a Congressman, to visit Jonestown in 1978-NOV for a personal inspection. At first, the visit went well. Later, on NOV-18, about 16 Temple members decided that they wanted to leave Jonestown with the visitors. This came as quite a blow to both Jones and the rest of the project. While Ryan and the others were waiting at Port Kiatuma airfield, the local airstrip, some heavily armed members of the Temple’s security guards arrived and started shooting. Congressman Ryan and four others were killed; three were members of the press; the other was a person from Jonestown who wanted to leave. 11 were wounded.

 

Fearing retribution, the project members discuss their options. They reached a consensus to commit group suicide. Most appear to have committed suicide by drinking a grape drink laced with cyanide and a number of sedatives, including liquid Valium, Penegram and chloral hydrate. Some sources say it was Kool-Aid; others say FlaVor-Aid®. Other victims appear to have been murdered by poison injection. The Guyanese coroner said that hundreds of bodies showed needle marks, indicating foul play. Still other victims were shot. A very few fled into the jungle and survived.

 

In all, 914 died: 638 adults and 276 children. Some sources say 911 died. Their bodies were in a state of extensive decay when the authorities arrived. There was no time to conduct a thorough investigation. TV station KTVU in San Francisco CA has a collection of photographs of the “Peoples Temple Agricultural Project.” Some are quite disturbing. Unfortunately, their web site implies that all of the dead committed suicide.[1]

 

The point that I seek to make is that there is a disturbing parallel associated with the Jonestown tragedy. More than 900 people drank the Kool-Aid. Lest anyone think such a thing could not happen to you, I would challenge you. I submit that it is the rule, rather than the exception to the rule, for people to drink the Kool-Aid. I also assert that you public school students drink the Kool-Aid every day you go to class.

Consider three things related to this idea of drinking the Kool-Aid:

 

First, TO DRINK THE KOOL-AID YOU MUST SUSPEND RATIONAL THINKING

 

You may think you are reasonable and rational in your thinking. You may imagine yourself to be logical. Nevertheless, there are some questions you need to consider before you judge yourself so favorably:

First, is it rational to openly defy the one true and living God? Do you realize that the entire government school establishment is committed to removing all consideration of God from public consciousness? Do you understand that the teaching of social studies, the teaching of biology, the teaching of psychology, and who knows what else in government schools conforms to a plan that seeks to impart secular human values to every student in America? Do you realize that it is now required by law in California for students to be taught that same sex relationships are morally equivalent to traditional marriages, and that the words mother and father are terms that have been designated as unacceptable in the instruction of you young people? Government schools are planning to remove the word mother and the word father from the public arena. I am quite sure that you imagine yourself to be capable of discerning when you are being led in this direction or that, and that you know when your teachers are taking you down a certain path. However, the evidence that you have suspended rational thinking does not come from whether or not you think a teacher is trying to influence your thinking, but whether or not you, in fact, have been influenced enough to openly defy the one true and living God. Think about it. Does it make any sense for a thinking person to openly defy the Creator and Sustainer of all things? I submit to you that defying God requires that you suspend your reason. Yet you defy God every minute of every hour in your lost condition.

Next, is it rational to refuse and reject the only Savior of sinful men’s souls? For argument’s sake, let us assume that you are a sinner, and this span of time in which you will live out your life is to be used to prepare for eternity. Let us further assume that should you not properly prepare for eternity by embracing the only Savior of sinful men’s souls you will spend all eternity suffering the torment of the damned. Operating under those assumptions, is it rational to refuse and reject the only Savior of sinful men’s souls? Does it make any kind of sense at all to waste the time you have here on earth, so that you end up dying unprepared for eternity? Yet that is precisely what you do. Jesus Christ said that if you do not repent you will perish, Luke 13.3. Yet you do not repent, therefore you will perish. Does it make any kind of sense at all to take that course and direction in life? Yet you deny that you drink the Kool-Aid?

Here is another one. Is it rational to give credit to mindless atheistic evolution for the beauty and complexity of the living things that surround us, and for our own inherent beauty and complexity? I have a number of videos that I have shown that call into question the views of atheistic humanists who falsely claim scientific support for their theory of evolution. Never mind that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Never mind that evolution denies the obvious intelligence, which is in evidence wherever life is found and studied. Never mind that there are no supposedly intermediate life forms in the fossil record that supposedly bridge the gap between simpler and more complex species. Moreover, never mind that there are different theories of evolution that each claim to prove the other evolutionary views to be false. Still, people whose opinions you respect accept evolution. Is that rational? Is that reasonable? When God’s infallible and inerrant Word tells us that evidence of God’s work is undeniable and all around us, would you not agree with me that believing those who deny what God says about His creation is drinking the Kool-Aid?

 

Next, TO DRINK THE KOOL-AID YOU MUST REJECT LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY

 

There is legitimate authority that comes from God and there is illegitimate authority that does not come from God. Consider the authority wielded by those who are themselves authorized by God.

First, is it not a rejection of their authority to defy and oppose the faith of your parents? It might surprise some parents that several youngsters at camp admitted to me that they were unconcerned about their parent’s faith, unconcerned about their parent’s efforts to serve God, and unconcerned about the damage and heartache to their parents they might cause by going in a life’s direction they knew to be contrary to God’s will. Where do you think kids learn this stuff? Of course, sometimes kids learn such insanity from a crazy mom or dad who is so bound by demonic influences they are willing to destroy their own households out of pure spite. However, kids usually learn that stuff at school, where their teachers and school administrators who were anti-authoritarian rebels when they were your kid’s age now teach those same godless values to kids. How should such rebellion against parental authority be viewed? In the light of scripture. “. . . rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry,” First Samuel 15.23. Do you see the malevolent nature behind the lunacy that justifies going contrary to your parents because of some goofy reasoning that everyone has a right to make his own mistakes? Go ahead and reject your parents. Oppose their faith and undermine their testimony if you must, but at least admit that in order to betray the love and affection of those who are committed to your success and well-being, you have to drink the Kool-Aid.

Next, is it not a rejection of His authority to refuse to obey the gospel the Lord Jesus Christ authorized us to proclaim? Remember, all power is given unto Jesus Christ, in heaven and in earth, Matthew 28.18. Thus, all authority is His. Therefore, when the gospel is proclaimed and you refuse to embrace it, when you reject Jesus you are rebelling against the Lord Jesus Christ’s authority. Excuse me, but on what rational basis does a person refuse the forgiveness of sins, reject the joy of a new life and hope, and turn your back on a real relationship with the most powerful and most loving Being in existence? If you were commenting on any other person’s decision to take this course of action, would you not conclude that he was drinking Kool-Aid to make such a ridiculous decision?

Third, is it not a rejection of legitimate authority to purpose to live your life in rebellion against the God and Creator of all things? Some of you unsaved kids do plan to be saved at some future time in your life. However, what does such thinking as that really mean? Deluding yourself into thinking you will certainly be saved in the future really means that you are planning to live your life in rebellion against the God and Creator of all things, at least for a time. Are you crazy? Are you out of your ever-loving mind? You claim to be a functional member of the human race and you are devoted to the pursuit of such lunacy? Think about it, people. What sense can possibly be made of opposition to a God Who is holy, who hates sin, who punishes disobedience, and who condemns sinners to eternal torment who refuse and reject His Son, Jesus Christ? How is that not drinking the Kool-Aid? How is that not suspending logical thought processes? How is that not gross spiritual irresponsibility? What kind of person would you be for allowing your baby brother or little sister to be that foolish, yet you will do the same yourself.

 

Finally, TO DRINK THE KOOL-AID YOU MUST SUBMIT TO ILLEGITIMATE AUTHORITY

 

Is it not submitting to illegitimate authority when you replace God’s values with the devil’s values? Isaiah 5.20: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Yet is that not exactly what you do when, instead of listening to “spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” Ephesians 5.19, you delight in trashy and carnal music written by wicked men for the purpose of enflaming youthful lusts? Is that not exactly what you do when, instead of thinking about “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things,” you give your mind over to trash on the Internet, trashy movies, trashy magazines, and trashy conversation? Why do you think we are warned about such things in First John 2.15-16?

 

15     Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16     For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

 

There are two sets of values, the values of God and the values of the world. There is that which is conducive to holiness and there is that which leads to sinfulness. The values you embrace, the values you advocate, the values you stand for, the values you advance, show whose authority you submit to, either the legitimate authority of God or the illegitimate and usurped authority of the devil.

Is it not submitting to illegitimate authority when you replace God’s doctrines with the devil’s? Consider First Timothy 4.1-2: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” As well, consider Second Timothy 4.2-3: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” In both letters to young Timothy, the Apostle Paul emphasized doctrines, which are simply Bible truths, pointing out the importance of Bible truths and warning about the doctrines of devils, or the false teachings advanced by demons. What begins to emerge here is a pattern of submitting to inappropriate authority figures rather than submitting to divinely appointed authority figures. Gang members who will do anything their gang leader tells them to do, while ignoring the directions of parents. Hollyweird types who will mindlessly submit to Scientology cultists, while refusing to listen to the godly counsel of gospel ministers. Children who will do anything a basketball coach or baseball coach suggests, but who are unwilling to comply with a mother’s wishes.

 

Our text asserts, “the whole world lieth in wickedness.” The definite article in the Greek text suggests that the world lies under the influence of the wicked one, who is the devil. Thus, this entire world system in which we live, which is populated by unsaved mankind, is under the control and domination of Satan himself. He is the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air.[2] No wonder, then, that this evil one who wrenched control of this world from the grip of Adam, and who opposed the plan and purpose of God at every turn, seeks to exert his illegitimate authority over men.

Being a liar from the beginning and the father of lies, Satan cannot expect success from honesty and integrity.[3] Therefore, he weaves a web of deceit and lies through his vast network in the world that he so effectively dominates. He effectively blankets the world with a thick layer of propaganda and half-truths, knowing that the sinful nature of all men makes us all very susceptible to flattery. Thus, there is the nonstop enticement to suspend rational thinking so that you will make foolish decisions, and so you will not see the connection between foolish decisions and tragic results. Accompanying that suspension of rational thinking is the replacement of submission to legitimate authority in your life with the crazy idea that submission to illegitimate authority will serve you better.

Think about it, beloved. The foolish People’s Temple folks were vulnerable to the insanity of Jim Jones because they suspended their rational thinking and exchanged the legitimate authority of the most reasonable government on earth for the dictatorship of a madman.

How is the behavior of the average young person any different, except for the lengths to which they are taken? I submit to you that anyone who rejects the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ can only do so by suspending his rational faculties for the mishandling of truth. I also submit that legitimate and God-given authority ends up being rejected in favor of submitting to illegitimate authority. The end result is drinking the Kool-Aid, and mindlessly rejecting the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What to do, parents? Challenge your child’s thinking. Take him to task for his mishandling of truth, for his unwillingness to subject his thinking to scrutiny, for his reluctance to voice his opinions and reasons for doing what he does.

The gospel makes sense. The gospel calls for submission to Christ’s authority. I urge you to discuss every sermon, discuss every decision, discussion every belief, discuss every opinion. When you come up against an unwillingness to think reasonably and rationally, expose it and argue against it. Involve yourself in the propaganda war Satan is waging for the minds and hearts of your kids. Fight back. Make them discuss things with you. Demand that they engage in discussions with you. Refuse to let them off the hook when they say, “I don’t know.” Purpose to fight for the hearts and minds of your children in the hopes that you may eventually win their hearts to Jesus.



[2] 2 Corinthians 4.4; Ephesians 2.2

[3] John 8.44

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org