Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, chaplain of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and author of over 100 books, booklets & Bible studies. His radio broadcast, The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, can be heard on more than 1,300 US outlets daily and in more than 130 countries.

you see many of us the problem of us

getting along with other people is our

inability to get along with ourselves

everything visible and physical is

preceded by something invisible and

screwed the consequences we are dealing

with in our lives in our homes in our

culture we are dealing with them because

there is a gap between where God is and

where we are she wants to know that you

want him and not just will it stuff till

I default go to church to gets God stuff

but who don’t want the God who gives it

so if you’re in distress don’t let that

drive you away why you need when you get

close and want to live for him want to

please him want to honor him want to

exalt him want to draw near to Him then

happen opens up and he lets you find

I want to begin our time by going over

today how the world works because many

Christians do not understand how the

world works because we do not understand

how the world works we approach issues

in an illegitimate way because we’re

operating on a faulty frame of reference

it is an understanding how the world


that allows us to be able to approach

the struggle stresses needs in an

appropriate way many of us are trying to

mop up messes in our lives and every

time we try to mop it there’s more mess

to mop up because we haven’t gotten to

the root of the problem if you will

understand the theology I am going to

attempt to communicate to you today of

how the world works then it will shift

how you approach living an especially

shift how you approach challenges in

living in second chronicles 15 we’re

told in verse 3 for many days Israel was

without the true God without a teaching

priest and without law verse 5 says in

those times there was no peace to him

who went out or to him who came in for

many disturbances afflicted all the

inhabitants of the land’s nation was

crushed by nation and city by city for

God troubled them with every kind of

distress it says there was no peace to

him who went in or to him who came out

no peace means they were living in


there was conflict it says first of all

there was personal conflict no peace to

him many of the problems of coping today

are people unable to live with

themselves that’s why they often go to

devices to help them to cope that’s why

they become dependent because they can’t

live with themselves and so they are

dealing with inner conflict but not only

was there no peace to him it says there

was no peace to him who came out all who

went in that way that is when he left

home and when he came back home so there

was conflict in the family when you look

at the amount of divorces when you look

at how many times people have been

divorced when you look at the way people

talk about each other the way couples

curse at each other the way they demean

one another then you see the

parent-child conflict and it goes on and

on while the mops keep swinging and

swinging and that was conflict not only

when the individual left but he says

when he came back in when he entered

back into his home there was more

conflict or disturbances it says city

rose up against City and nation rose up

against nation there was cultural

conflict will say city urban conflict

international conflict many disturbances

that was the situation ah but here’s

where it gets interesting the into verse

six says for God trouble them for God

trouble them with their de-stresses into

verse six now wait a minute I would have

thought with all that chaos it would

have said the devil trouble them I would

have thought with all this confusion

verse six within by saying the devil

trouble them with every kind of distress

but it says

god trouble them so now we’re going to

mess with your thinking a little bit

because a lot of things you’ll blame it

on Don the devil is God there was no

peace in the family disintegration

conflict urban conflict international

conflict and God says if you’re gonna

blame somebody blame me see a lot of us

are blaming the wrong person because

here’s how it works in the world if God

is your problem only God is your

solution if God is the cause only God is

the Cure you say but wait a minute how

can all this evil be given over to God

because God uses the devil to carry out

his dirty work cuz even the devil is not

the devil the devil is God’s devil

because the devil can only do what God

allows him to do so even if the devil is

messing with you it’s by divine

permission for God trouble them with

every kind of this stress let me put it

another way the spiritual always

precedes the natural the spiritual

governs the natural the heavenly

determines the earthly so if you have an

issue on earth that has been caused by

heaven trying to solve it on earth is a

waste of time if it’s an issue on earth

caused by heaven god trouble them then

you need heaven to come to earth to fix

the issue on earth that heaven is

responsible for even if it’s a problem

because they were living in distress

what most people do is spend all their

time on earth trying to fix earth when

the problem didn’t originate in earth or

on earth for God trouble them with every

kind of distress in the Old Testament

you ran into the active wrath of God

when God would directly bring pain about

he would rain down fire and brimstone on

Sodom and Gomorrah he would flood the

earth with water he would open up the

earth and swallowed up rebellious people

that would be the active wrath of God

when God directly addressed things on

earth bringing about distress when Jesus

died on the cross God’s relationship to

the world shifted the Bible says that

with the death of Christ the world was

reconciled to God

so some people believe the God of the

Old Testament has to be different than

the god of the New Testament because the

god of the Old Testament they say seems

so mean and judgmental why the god of

the New Testament seems so nice and full

of love well there are two gods but

there are two relationships in the Old

Testament before the permanent solution

to sin was addressed there was only a

temporary solution and God directly

dealt with things in the New Testament

because the death of Christ reconciled

the whole world to God God could now

relate to the world differently not

because he changed but because his

relationship to the world changed but

predicated on the death of Christ which

is why Jesus Christ is the key and the

center of all of life

so now you do not face the active wrath

of God you face the passive wrath of God

now that’s spoken up in Romans chapter 1

verse 18 to the end of the chapter where

it says the wrath of God is revealed

against all unrighteousness of men who

don’t want to retain the knowledge of

God and then Romans 1 verse 24 26 and 28

say the same thing it says therefore God

turned them over therefore God turned

them over therefore God turned them over

that means God released them to life

without him say with me here because

you’ll discover how the world works it

says because they did not want to retain

the knowledge of God God like a dog on a

leash let the leash go so the dog could

run away so when men don’t want God he

lets you not want him and he lets go of

the leash and you can go your own way

but when you do that you also invite in

the space between where God is and be

between where you want to go that space

becomes occupied with consequences and

so the consequences we are dealing with

in our lives in our homes in our culture

we are dealing with them because there

is a gap between where God is and where

we are because they no longer wanted to

retain the knowledge of God it says God

turned them over or released them to the

consequences of their decision to be

separated from him and the built-in side

effects that are the result so the

problems that people were facing on

earth were predicated on what God was

allowing to happen now the question is

why they were in distress in other words

troubles they couldn’t fix

and I know in this house today that

troubles we can’t fix and you know you

can’t fix them because you’ve been

trying to fix them for a long time and

they either stay broke or look like they

fixed but still break he gives three

reasons in verse three for this calamity

for many days that is for an extended

period of time Israel was without the

true God

okay problem number one for many days an

extended period of time

Israel was without the true God one of

the great offers of our Savior Jesus

Christ is life plus abundant life that

means a fulfilled life so many people

are existing because they don’t possess

the life of God if you don’t know that

you possess the life of God let’s get

that fixed right now Jesus Christ is

offering you his life the Bible says he

that hath the son had life so if you

want life not existence the forgiveness

of sins

the guarantee of heaven and having Jesus

Christ involved with your life on earth

all of that is in this package called

life and he’s offering it to you for

free well not a lot is for free today

but this is life for free how do you get

it you simply go to Jesus Christ and

trust him alone for it you don’t work

for it you don’t earn it you don’t you

don’t go to church for they can’t none

of that can give you life only the

person of Christ can give you life

so I’m gonna pray a prayer you pray it

after me you just have to mean it for

yourself well Jesus I know I’m a sinner

I know I can’t save myself

but you’ve offered me the free gift of

eternal life in exchange from my sin so

I place my sin next to your cross

believing you died as my substitute and

I received now the eternal life that you

say you would give me for free if I came

to you for it so I received that now and

thank you for my new salvation in Jesus

name Amen god bless Israel was not

without religion Israel was not without

church attendance Israel was not without

quiet singing

Israel was not without religious

programming it says Israel was without

the true God the key word is the word

true they kept the name of God

they kept praying the God they kept

religious activity they were doing all

of that without the true God so

evidently you can have church without

God the biblical word for a false God is

idle that’s the biblical word for a

false God and idle is any noun person

place thing or thought that you look to

as your source now in third world

countries we would condemn their

idolatry in third world countries and in

backward nations that haven’t come into

the to the 20th of the 21st century they

may worship trees or rocks or nature the

Sun okay we would condemn that but in

the West we have designer idols

we don’t worship trees and rocks we have

American Idols let me look at some of

the idols that we have that every place

to true God we got the idol of all let’s

see race where my color trumps God where

where people get offended when you

correct their blackness with the Bible

we fo get offended when you correct

their whiteness with the Bible because

their race is more important than God’s

rules where they wind up worshipping

black being beautiful or white being

right rather than both having to be

biblical whenever your race is your

source of your ultimate identity your

race is an idol and you are a false

worshipper oh let’s look at another

designer Idol politics is a designer

idol where you think God rides the backs

of a donkey or an elephant politics is a

designer I don’t win you’re more

Democrat than godly when you’re more

Republican than God when God says one

thing but you still talk about what your

party says in a Ezekiel 43 God says how

dare you bring the throne of your king

and set it next to my throne like we

like we are equals when God speaks

elephants got to sit down and donkeys

got to back up

it’s okay to be a Democrat it’s okay to

be a Republican as long as the Bible can

overrule neither or both that’s why

ultimately you should be an independent

cuz nobody should own you but the

kingdom of God let’s see we have another

design Idol let’s see oh yeah

science science is a design Idol because

science teaches your kids not an

evolutionary theory but an evolutionary

fact a theistic evolution is less

fairytales for adults it’s a fairy tale

for adults because in the name of

science they deny God and they set up a

whole system of divine denial based on

that science so because of that science

man becomes the ultimate definer of life

man becomes the ultimate definer of

meaning man becomes the ultimate definer

of where God should be placed in the

culture when people elevate science

science is a beautiful thing but all

science does is show how God does stuff

he says there were idols their economic

idols the class idols because of a

certain amount of money or where person

lives of a car they drive they have

elevated themselves to the height of

pride where they’re better than other

people who have been equally created in

the image of God so I can come in shapes

and form so you don’t have to be an

overt God denier to be an idolatry all

you’ve got to do is place anything or

anybody in the place or the position of

being the source of your identity then

it doesn’t matter how much you pray cuz

you’re praying to a false God not the

real God because the real God not

listening if you have another Idol now

why why why were they worshipping a

false god what verse 3 tells us because

the second thing that sells us it tells

us is there was not a teaching priest it

was no teaching free it didn’t say there

was no preachers he just said they

weren’t talking about nothing they were

talking smack

a lot of these problems that we have in

our culture is because the church

Christians have not risen to the

occasion to be what God has called us to

be and it’s just showing up in the

public square if your life is falling

apart you’re in personal distress

they’re my responsibility a leaders

responsibility even another believers

responsibility is to take the word show

you what God says about whatever you’re

dealing with then give you practical

steps to apply what God said then ask

the Holy Spirit to take your practical

steps of obedience based on what God

said to bring change in your life but

what we got is a generation of folk will

change books they use this book for some

things they use human understanding for

other things they use popular opinion

for other things and they wind up living

in distress

the third thing it says is there was no

law there was no law you see when

there’s no true God no teaching priests

there are no rules people make up their

own rules see they either have no rules

or they have their own made-up rules you

know people come up with their own you

know they walk around saying I know my


you know your truth know it see the

truth oh it’s not truth but we want to

adjust truth we want to make truth

relevant it’s okay to be relevant as

long as you’re not changing truth and

truth is whatever God says on any

subject about what he speaks that’s

truth so if God says it that is the word

about it

science just has to catch up no rules

wrong rules your own rules no standard

once they’re a solution now that you

understand how the world works the

spiritual governs it if God has caused

it you don’t know anybody who can fix it

unless it’s God using that person verse

4 gives us a solution because versa 4

says but in their distress they turn to

the Lord God of Israel they sought him

and he let them find him keyword

distress in their distress they turned

to the Lord God of Israel that’s the

same word of verse 6 God caused their

distress verse 4 says but in their

distress they turned to the Lord God

which means God will let it get bad

enough long enough till you wake up

because it was in their distress see God

will do that it get what he’ll let us

get addicted he’ll let us get into all

the consequences of our sin he won’t let

he will let you go down and down and

down and down tell the only way you can

look is up he won’t let anybody fix it

any money be able to get you out of it

he will let the distress go down but in

their distress

when things got deep enough bad enough

long enough

it says they called on here this the

Lord God or watch this now when they

return to the Lord God he let them find

him so God created his stress I told you

about you know cyst Evans when when when

when I met and she was not responding at

the rate to which I was a customer a

girlfriend was moving a little slow so I

had to help assist out so in Baltimore

des this amusement park called Gwynn

Oaks amusement park it had a roller

coaster that did this but the roller

coaster would like go out to the end

like it was gonna jump off and turn real

quick I said give me two tickets we got

on the roller coaster for two the wilder

the ride got the closest she got by the

time the ride was over you thought only

one person got on it why did I buy two

tickets I bought two tickets to create

distress because I knew the worst things

got the closest you’d get sometimes God

has to put us on a rollercoaster ride so

that we move over and we slide over we

get a little closer we get a little

closer so if you’re in distress don’t

let that drive you away draw you near

closer so that you like Jacob and say

I’m not gonna let you go until you

answer me when you do that when you get

close and want to live for him want to

please him want to honor him want to

exalt him want to draw near to him then

heaven opens up and he lets you find him

you fine


we often go to earth to fix earth when

things in our physical world begin to

shatter fall apart we look for physical

solutions that’s our natural tendency

since we’re physical beings but we’re

not just physical beings if we

Christians we’re spiritual beings as

well and that means that we have the

privilege and opportunity to contact

heaven in order to see things change on

earth you know what our problem is we

often go to heaven last rather than to

go to heaven first because earth is so

tangible and touchable we can grab it

quickly the spiritual seems to be often

esoteric and we can’t grab it well try

going to heaven first and then let’s see

what happens on earth because heaven is

situated to invade and transform our

physical reality