Month: January, 2016

“Why Does The Devil Want Our Soul?”

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

Originally, this sermon was going to try and answer the question, why is there sickness and death. However, talking to other’s led me to change the question. I believe that the Holy Spirit works through all of us, so I listened and was led to try and answer a more in depth question.

Sickness and death are here because of sin. It’s the cost of our disobedience. When man brought sin into our perfect world, sickness and death became a byproduct. But why does the devil continue to work so hard to drag us down into the depths of sin? Why is he so intent to reinforce this old Adam within us? Why has he worked so hard, for so long, to steal our souls?

I say steal our souls because at conception, we are God’s creation, made in His image to be in relationship with Him. Ezekiel 18 quotes God as saying, “Behold. All souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son.” Our souls have always belonged to the Lord, yet the devil is dogged in his attempts to steal them away.

In my research I found that the answer to the question we’re trying to solve is not an easy one. There is no real consensus as to why the devil is so intent on his goal to win our souls. Many see it as a competition. Other’s see it as an attempt to discredit God somehow. Still others don’t think it’s the devil at all.

In a recent YouGov poll asking the question, “Is there a real devil?” it was shown that only 57% of Americans believe that Satan exists, more Republicans than Democrats, more Women than Men. This has been a clear trend in recent decades. So, I think it is proper that we first see what Scripture has to say about the existence of a real Satan.

In our Epistle lesson in 1 John, it clearly speaks of an individual saying, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

So does 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around you like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

And Ephesians 6: 11-12, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

The devil is real. Satan is still at work to steal our very souls. It’s clear in Scripture and, if we’re honest, it’s clear in every one of our lives as we continually have to fight His advances.

So, if the devil is real and if he is still fighting for our souls, what is His motivation. Why does he work so hard to turn us to him?

Well, if we go back to Scripture, we see His motivation. We find it in Isaiah 14 where it says of the devil:

Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.

Two New Testament readings allude to this section in Isaiah, giving further proof that Isaiah was talking about Satan himself:

In Luke 10:18 Jesus tells his disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” In Revelation 9:1 we read, “I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit”

If we take these Scriptures as truth we find that Satan is motivated by his desire for power and his desire to be worshipped at the same level as Almighty God Himself.

 

From the very beginning of human existence, the devil has been at war against God for our souls. In the Garden of Eden he blatantly contradicted God, essentially calling Him a liar. He accused God of withholding vital information. He wanted us to have to make our own decisions and he sold that right as a gift but, as most of us know, it has been anything but, because through the devils deception and our own weaknesses, sin was brought into the world. Simply put, Satan accused God of being an unfit Ruler and Father, and implied, that he, Satan, could do a better job. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve took the bait, just as we continue to do from time to time when we yearn for the same independence the devil promised them.

The devil craves power and His adversary will always be God. Therefore, being made in the very image of God, we are the prime targets for His ruthless deception. The devil hates God so much that he works on us constantly to turn our worship from God to Him and any time we let sin play a part in our lives, it’s a form of worship because you are bowing to the darkness and not to the light.

Satan knows he has a short time before this whole issue is settled in the last days. We read of those last days in Revelation 12:

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

 

 

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

His time is short so his focus is sharp. He knows that in the end he will be defeated, so he wants to take as many of us along with him before that fateful day as he possibly can. In the meantime, we have to decide if we’re going to let him have his way with us or not. He prowls around looking for his chance. He’ll try to convince you that his way is best. He’ll also try to convince you that God’s way is not in our best interests.

He attacks families and pits one member against another. He’ll constantly whisper in your ear in an effort to draw your focus away from the truth.

With the Pharisees, he convinced them that the law would bring them salvation and even in our churches today, he tries to take our minds off the things of God that bring us salvation to the things of the law.

We miss the message because we’re worried about how it’s being presented. We’ll focus on form but miss the beauty of the Gospel. We’ll become upset because someone did something they weren’t asked to but miss the loving intent behind it. We’ll lose ourselves on something we perceive as a problem and focus so much on that, that we can’t properly focus on our faith and worship. It’s not the big things that destroy a church, it’s the little whispers the devil plants in our ears. Even here at Redeemer I have seen too much evidence towards this.

So we have to decide who will be victorious in our lives, Almighty God or Cursed Satan. Who are we going to bow to? It’s easier just to let Satan have his way with us because we live in a world afflicted with sin. It takes more to dedicate and live your life as a ministry to God.

And God knows this. That’s why He gave us His Son. Most of us know John 3:16, but it’s what comes after in our Gospel lesson that shows us more clearly our path towards salvation:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

The devil wants our souls because he wishes to be worshipped at the same level as the Father. Fortunately for us, the devil cannot overcome the Father. God placed His stamp on our souls when He allowed His only Son to pay the price for our sin. The devil, therefore, has no power over us other than the power we give him ourselves.

Our sins have been washed away in the blood of the perfect sacrifice. For all those who believe and place their trust in Christ, the devil has no power over them. Oh, he’ll still keep whispering in your ears, but in repentance for those times we broke down and listened, we come back to our right standing with Christ.

 

 

For those who only see themselves as God, the devil will continue to work his strategy. He will keep them away from Christ and use them to influence others to do likewise. He will convince them to deny their faith and He will guide them away from any fellowship with Christ by making Christianity into something evil in their eyes. We have but to open our eyes to see evidence of this in the world.

But Jesus Christ has won for us a better way. We no longer have to accept the temptations of Satan. Through Word and Sacrament we have the weapons to defeat the devil and through God’s blood we have achieved everlasting life with Him in heaven, away from any influence the devil might once have had. In grace, God has forgiven us for our failings and in love, He has chosen us to be His children.

Yet, the war still rages. The devil will work overtime to try and lead you away from the truth, especially if you have surrendered your life to Christ. For those who haven’t done so, his victory is already won.

He will continue to try and distract you. He’ll try and convince you to major in the minors so that your priorities might be out of alignment with God’s. He’ll try and discourage you and try to make you feel all alone in the battle for your soul. But God will never surrender you.

Our God will never stop fighting for you. He will never turn away from you or leave you to your own devices. He has promised us this and He is always good to His promises.

I’ve used this section of Scripture a lot lately but it works so well here that I’m going to use it again. It comes from John 10: Jesus says:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Are you looking for an abundant life? That’s something the devil could never give you. An abundant life can only be found in Christ. Christ again says in Matthew 16, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? In other words, why listen to the devil’s whisperings when all he can offer you is worldly things? Our soul belongs to God who has promised us heavenly things. The devil’s ultimate goal is to undermine your faith in Christ, thus dividing us from the only Savior who can save us from His tyranny so I urge you to keep fighting the good fight. Do not bow to the darkness when the light is yours for the taking.

Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) Put your trust and faith in Christ who has already won the battle for us.

Surrender your life to the only one who can make your paths toward heaven clear. Decide today to believe in Him who came to save us, Jesus Christ, the victor over sin, death and the devil. Amen.

Why is Homosexuality a Sin?

Redeemer Lutheran Church

Lev 20.10-13

Rom 1.22-27

Mark 10.1-9

 

Why is homosexuality a sin?

 

 

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Usually, when the Gospel lesson for this week is read in the Church, God’s people instinctively prepare themselves for a sermon on divorce. Divorce is a problem in the Church! And Jesus does address the subject. But if you were listening to the other two readings picked for today, or paid attention to the Prayer of the Day, you will most likely get the feeling that maybe the subject at hand is something other than divorce. And you would be right. The hard question Pastor wanted to address this Sunday isn’t the question about divorce, but the question about homosexuality. What does the Bible say about homosexuality?

 

Well, it really does not paint homosexual activity in any kind of positive light. Our first clear passage on the subject is in Genesis 19 where we see the men of Sodom surrounding Lot’s house demanding that Lot bring out his two visitors (who were angels, in human form) so that they (the men of Sodom) “might know” them. That’s “biblical speak” for “have sex”. We understand that is what the term means because of what Lot says to the townsfolk. “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them as you please.” Now there is a whole lot more going on in this story than simply the unacceptable homosexual behavior of the men of Sodom. We could spend a lot of time talking about Lot! But did you notice what he begged the men of Sodom not to do? “Do not act so wickedly!” Their desire to have sex with the two visitors is spoken of as wickedness.

 

We next encounter two Old Testament passages in Leviticus that are pretty straight forward. Leviticus 18.22 says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” And in our OT lesson today, Leviticus 20.13, “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination, they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” Both of these passages are located in a laundry list of unlawful sexual relations (Lev 18) and punishments for sexual immorality (Lev 20). It is clear that when the Old Testament speaks to the subject of homosexual activity, it considers it to be sinful.

 

Does the New Testament say anything about homosexuality? Yes it does. As we heard in our Epistle reading from the book of Romans today, Paul writes that homosexual activity is “contrary to nature” and “shameful.” When you read this whole section of Romans (1.18-32) you see this reference to homosexual activity lumped together with such things as idol worship, self-love, covetousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit, etc. Paul concludes this section with, “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” This is a direct reference to the “decree” we read about in our Old Testament Lesson for today. There is no possible way for idol worship, self-love, covetousness, envy, murder, strife, deceit or any of the other things Paul lists in this passage to be practiced in a “God pleasing way”! Neither is it possible to practice homosexual activity in a God pleasing way.

 

In 1 Corinthians 6.9-10, Paul sheds more light on this subject. Here he writes, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” Again, we see homosexual activity lumped together with other sinful lifestyles. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Is there any way one can be caught up in a life of sexual immorality and be said to be living a life pleasing to God? Is there any way one can be “a drunkard for God?” Is there any kind of thievery or swindling that is approved by God? Paul is very specific with his language in this passage, using four (4) different words describing different sexual sins. The “sexually immoral” are the ‘pórnoi’ – a term originally ascribed to prostitution, it came to be used of any kind of unlawful sexual intercourse; the “adulterers” are the ‘moichoì’ – a term specifically for those who are married having sex outside of their marriage; and for the phrase, “men who practice homosexuality”, two terms – ‘arsenokoîtai’ which means “male man bedder”; and ‘malekoì’ which means “soft/effeminate” ie: one who lets a man bed him (both the one who initiates the homosexual activity, and the one who participates along with it).

 

And just in case one still doesn’t get it, Paul makes his final comment on this subject as clear as it can possibly be in 1 Timothy 1.9-10. “…understand this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral (pórnoi), men who practice homosexuality (arsenokoîtais), enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…” It doesn’t get any more clear than this my friends. Homosexual activity is disobedient, ungodly, sinful, unholy and profane!

 

Some will be willing to say, “OK, it looks like the Old Testament and Paul are against homosexual practice, but Jesus never said anything about it! If it was wrong, certainly Jesus would have said so!” People who use this line of reasoning usually intend to imply that since Jesus never directly spoke about homosexual practice, He must either be accepting of it, or at least willing to tolerate it. When you hear arguments like this you need to be aware of two things. First; they are correct, insofar as it goes, that Jesus never spoke directly to this subject. But Jesus’ silence does not automatically equate to His approval. Jesus never spoke, for example, about beasteality or incest (both of which are mentioned in the wider Levitical passages that we read earlier), and no one is going to argue that Jesus was accepting of either, or willing to tolerate them. The reason Jesus didn’t address these topics is that He didn’t have to! These were not issues among the Jewish people! They were issues with the Gentiles! The second thing to keep in mind when you hear such arguments is that they are trying to pit Jesus against Paul. Paul addresses this kind of nonsense in 1 Corinthians 1.11-13 where he writes, “For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ or ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Cephas,’ or ‘I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” In the Gospel of John, Jesus promised his Apostles that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance everything that He taught them. Paul says in Galatians that he was taught by direct revelation from Jesus, and made two trips to Jerusalem to visit with the Apostles to be sure that what he was proclaiming was the truth. Nowhere in Scripture do we see any indication that what Paul preached was in conflict with what Jesus taught. With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at our Gospel lesson.

 

Jesus has a habit to getting to the heart of the issue. Whether it was the rich young ruler who came asking what he must do to inherit eternal life, or these Pharisees coming to attempt to trap Jesus on the question of divorce, Jesus gets to the heart of the issue. The issue isn’t divorce. It really isn’t homosexual practice. This issue is hardness of heart, and denial of God’s word. Jesus takes the Pharisees back to Creation when “God made them male and female.” God didn’t make two males. He didn’t make two females. He made us male and female. According to Jesus, when a man leaves his father and mother (not two daddies, or two mommies) and is joined to his wife “they are no longer two but one flesh.” It is significant that Jesus uses that picture. Where did woman come from? The side of Adam! Becoming “one flesh” is a “reuniting” of what was separated at the creation of woman. Only a man and a woman can truly become “one flesh.” Not two males; not two females; one man, and one woman. Jesus does, my friends, address this issue. Just not in the Pharisaical way you expect him to!

 

My beloved brothers and sisters, DO NOT BE DECIEVED! Homosexual activity is a SIN in the eyes of God. If you are caught up in its grip on your life, REPENT! Acknowledge your sin to God and ask for His forgiveness! In 1 John 1.9 we read the words we prayed just this morning, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And David wrote in Psalm 32.5, “I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” When you “confess” you are “saying the same thing” as God says. When you confess your sin (whether it be the sin of homosexual practice…or any other sin for that matter) you are agreeing with God that it is sin. And the reason He will forgive you is because Jesus, God the Father’s one and only begotten Son, has already died on the Cross nearly 2,000 years ago and shed His blood for the forgiveness of all your sin. (Pause)

 

Do you remember what Leviticus said about this sin? Those who commit this sin must be put to death. Their own blood is upon them! (Pause) Jesus was put to death for you. His blood…His life-giving blood was poured out for you. (Pause) Just as the blood of the Passover lamb was spread over the doorposts to protect the Israelites from the Angel of Death, so also Jesus’ blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of your sin protects you from the Angel of ultimate Death. In the waters of Holy Baptism all of your sins were washed away in the blood of Jesus. You are baptized; you are forgiven! There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! Praise be to God! (Pause)

 

I may be preaching to the choir here this morning. I don’t know for sure, but it could very well be that no one in this room is guilty of homosexual behavior. But that does not let you, or me, off the hook. Nestled within these texts we’ve looked at today are laundry lists of other sins that are just as damning as homosexual practice. You know…things like: covetousness, malice, envy, murder (and we know how Jesus defines “murder”), strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boastfulness, disobedience (and we know how well that worked for Adam and Eve!), greed, lying…and the list could go on. My brothers and sisters, you and I are no better off than those “homo’s” that some within the Christian community rail against. You and I are beset by sins that we commit day in and day out; sins that are just as damning to Hell as unrepentant homosexual practice. God does not “rate” sins like we do. To Him, sin is sin.

 

The difference is, you are here this morning, hearing God’s chief Means of Grace, His Word being declared to you for the forgiveness of your sins. You get to leave here this morning comforted by the knowledge that God forgives you all your sins, no matter what they are, for Jesus’ sake. You are washed. You are cleansed. You are free. Not free to sin; you are free not to sin. You don’t have to share that Good News with others…you get to!

 

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

 

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

“Why is Abortion A Sin?”

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

In case you haven’t noticed so far, this year, but for Easter and Christmas, we will not be going off the set lessons all Lutheran churches are given, called pericope’s, which get repeated every 3 years at most Lutheran services. And we won’t be following the seasons as closely, for instance we are currently in the season of Epiphany, and as awesome a season as that is, we are forgoing that this year to be able to speak on topics we might not get a chance to approach as thoroughly through our periscope system.

When I told a few people what I was to approach this week I got a variety of reactions from excitement to shock. Some say it’s a brave thing to approach and some see little need with very few women in the congregation who are of child bearing age. Some, in all their years in the church, have never heard a sermon on this topic ever. To me, that the shocking part.

I believe some people want to avoid it because they don’t want to be reminded just how far in the gutter or society has gone. They don’t want to face the reality of how cruel one human being can be to another human being. Maybe, they have scares from the past they don’t want brought up again.

But avoidance has never been the best option when it comes to topics such as this. We see the dangers of avoidance when we see how very little people have come to care about the subject. It rarely comes up in conversations. We push aside the murder of poor defenseless children because we don’t like to be bothered with such serious discussions. As a society, we have become numb to the atrocities of abortion because we think there is little use fighting it. All the while, the devil rejoices because he knows it’s not just that one child who could have made a difference for Christ in this world, but the generations more after him or her who might have done the same.

We hear of all the lives lost through tsunamis, hurricanes, 9/11, the terrorist attacks and the like and we all say something has to be done. We see 200,000 die in one event like the tsunami in East Asia and we mourn at the death just like God does. He loves every life lost and He grieves along with all of us when events like this happen.

But here’s another number: 53 million. That’s approximately how many have died in America alone due to the holocaust of abortion since it was put into law in 1973. And it’s not just 53 million. It all the descendants that those 53 million would have had. How many of those would have grown up to do amazing things for Christ. How many would have been brilliant scientists, educators, doctors, and on and on.

How many we will never know, because we decided to end their ancestor’s life because we were inconvenienced. Children killed because we just didn’t care. Even by people who call themselves Christians.

In the United States, if you kill a pregnant woman, you are charged with two deaths, the woman and her unborn baby. Yet we have clinics all over America who profit greatly by killing unborn children and even selling their body parts. Some of these children are fully developed and their writhing of pain can be felt during the procedure. These babies with souls, with active minds, with beating hearts are being slaughtered without so much as an outcry from most of us.

God has called us to be their protectors, their advocates. Proverbs 31:8 and 9 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” There is no one more needy than children who cannot defend themselves.

God detests the shedding of innocent blood. In our histories first murder Abel’s blood cried out to God when Cain killed him. The blood of the victims of abortion are the most innocent there is. Who will cry out for them? If someone were to cut off your breathing by wringing your neck, you would fight them until you were free and You would cry out for help. The victims of abortion don’t have that strength and their cries are ignored.

While we live our lives tomorrow in freedom, 4,000 more innocent victims will be submitted to capital punishment though they did nothing wrong. There will be no trial, no jury, no witnesses for the defenseless. They will not be granted an attorney and will not even be given the rights of the cruelest offenders in society. They will be treated inhumanely and not even given the anesthetics any vet would give to a hurting dog. Then they will die a tortuous death, ripped apart by forceps and injected with toxins. 4,000 of them while you go about your day because your parents loved you enough to keep you.

It’s time we rise up for those who cannot defend themselves. It is our calling as Christians. In our Old Testament lesson in Jeremiah we here the familiar words, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” These words to Jeremiah tell us all that even before we were born, our God had a plan for us. Each one of us are precious in His sight. Each one of us was worth sending His Son to die for. We all were made in His image, not as useless flesh that we can discard when were bothered they might cramp our lifestyle but as miracles of flesh and blood, born to make our mark in a troubled world.

 

Why is it that when we see a perfectly healthy person take a handicapped spot many of us become enraged yet when a doctor says our baby will be less than perfect we don’t think twice about killing it? Why is it when we see someone with 20 items taking advantage of the 10 items or less line at the grocery store we have to stop ourselves from screaming out, but when we see Christian pro-life advocates praying in front of a planned parenthood clinic, we don’t even think to join them. It’s because our priorities are all askew.

In God’s eyes, all life is sacred and worthy of His immeasurable love. We are made in the image of God and given the task to be His hands and feet in this world. Genesis 1:27, “So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him.

And each one of us is worthy in God’s eyes for His protection and we are known by Him as His own. Job speaks to God in Job 10:12, “You have granted me life and steadfast love, and Your care has preserved my spirit.”

 

 

And from our Psalm this morning, Psalm 139, O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.”

Furthermore, every life, no matter how small, no matter how disabled, no matter how troubled, is valued equally in God’s eyes. God tells us through His prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 49:16, “Behold, I have engraved you in the palms of my hand; your walls are continually before me.” John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” I think that last one really speaks to the problem. When a doctor steals the life away from a child, they miss out on the chance of an abundant life given them by God.

Life is a sacred gift to us, no matter what condition it might be in. I have even said myself, “I’m not sure I would want to bring another life into this broken world.” They are not words I mean. They just come from a frustrated heart. In reality, it will take lives to change the world. Future generations will carry on the task of making this world a better place. Do we want to take the chance that one of them who might have made a kingdom difference could be the one who was aborted?

Life has always been a challenge and it will always be. Instead of the world God intended us to have, we have brought sin in to change it. That is why His Son was sent to be our Savior. He knows there is much work to be done by people who hold the promise of salvation so that many more graduate to an eternal world created in paradise by a loving God. God warned us of the challenges that sin would bring into the world but He also gave us the means to have victory over those challenges.

1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” James 1:2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I say this not only as your pastor but as the father of three amazing children. I look at any one of them and think of how the world would have been a more imperfect one if Cheryl and I had chosen not to let them have life. I look at them and wonder what my life would have been like without them. It’s a picture too terrible to bear.

 

 

Max Lucado tells in his book, The Applause of Heaven, about a sweater that hangs in his closet. He says he seldom wears it — it’s too small, the sleeves are too short, the shoulders too tight, some of the buttons are missing, the thread is frazzled. Logically, he says, he should throw out that sweater since he has no use for it and will never wear it again. It simply takes up space in his closet.
That’s what logic says. But love, he reports, won’t let him.
Why not? What’s unusual about that sweater? To start with, it has no label, no tag telling you “Wash in cold water.” That’s because it wasn’t made in a factory, produced on an assembly line as the product of a nameless employee earning a living. Rather, it was the creation of a devoted mother expressing her love — his mother. That sweater is unique, one of a kind, irreplaceable. Each strand was chosen with care, each thread selected with affection.
And so, even though that sweater has lost all of its use, it has lost none of its value. It is valuable not because of its function, but because of its MAKER. So is each life.
Our Lord placed great value on those whom society has shuffled aside.
While on his knees, the leper begged Jesus to make him clean. The Bible says in Mark 1:41, “Moved with pity, (Jesus) stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, I will; be clean.”

God made our lives to be eternal and those lives existed even before we entered into this material world. Back to our Psalm for today in verse 15-16:

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

This life we have been given is a great gift of God but it is only a prelude to the eternal life we will have with Him in heaven. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” In other words, we can know and be assured of abundant life while on the earth, an everlasting life at the foot of Christ Himself.

Every life is sacred. No life is worthless. By the cruel act of abortion, we have not only broken the first, second and fifth commandments, we have ended the life of a defenseless child who could have grown by the grace of God into someone who could have made a real mark in this world. In the senseless and uncaring act of abortion, we have not just ridded ourselves of an inconvenience, we have murdered one who had been made in the image of God Himself.

 

Join me in standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. It is our duty as Christians to protect the sanctity of life. If this is something you feel you have been called to contact me so that we might find ways, together, to do what must be done.

It is never right to act out in violence, in prayer and Word God will show us a better way. Be informed. Don’t bury your heads in the sand and hope it will all go away if we just ignore it. Ignoring this will never make it go away.

Work and pray that our society and the government that overlooks it will come to the understanding that abortion is nothing other than murder. Pray for others to take a stand with you because we are stronger together.

Teach sexual morality to your children and your grand-children and teach them of the sacredness of life and then stand up before them for what you believe.

Speak out clearly and without apology when approached on the subject. Isaiah 58:1 says, “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the House of Jacob their sins.”

Refuse to be swayed by liberal politicians or a liberal media and “so-called” experts who claim they are doing good by performing such atrocities. And above all pray that God will have mercy on all those who ignore His plea’s and for America that they might come to repentance and bring about a national revival. May God have mercy on us all. Amen

 

Bible Study on Abortion

Bible Study on Abortion

What causes people to decide on abortion?

Is the life inside the womb a human individual? Genesis 1: 11-12, 20-25, 26-30

What does it mean to be made in the “image” of God? Genesis 1:27, 9:6; Romans 8:26-30 (purpose); 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, 4:1-4; Colossians 1:15-20, 3:5-11

Why is it fair to give the fetus this designation?

is it just a part of the mother’s body, or is it a separate and distinct individual from the mother?

  • How does the Bible identify a human being or person? Genesis 25:1-2; 2 Kings 19:3; Isaiah 37:3; Hosea 12:3; Ruth 1:11

 

Why has society claimed the fetus to be part of the mother’s body?

 

When does a mother become a mother and when is a fetus a baby? Numbers 12: 10-12; Luke 1:36,39-45

How do we know that every life is precious to God? Genesis 2:7; Job 10:12; Psalm 100

How is each life a gift?

Although the Bible does not use the terms “abortion” or “pro-life,” does that mean God doesn’t care about abortion? Job 31:15; Psalm 22:9-10, 139:13-16; Isaiah 44:2, 46:3-4; 49:5; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Luke 1:41-44

How is abortion murder? Exodus 20:13

What is our calling when it comes to children in danger of abortion? Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 24:11-12; James 1:27

Is the sin of abortion forgivable? Psalm 51:1-2,9-10; 1 John 1:9-2:1

Why do abortion defenders refuse to use the terms that God uses for the unborn baby (“baby,” “child,” “son,” “infant,”)?

How should we treat an unborn child according to Scripture? Psalm 127:3-5, 128:3-5

What does the Bible say about respecting life? Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 6:16-17; Matthew 15:19-20; Romans 13:8-10; Revelations 21:8, 22:15

What can we do to defend the defenseless?

  • The Bible (King James and other older versions) nowhere uses the terms “human” or “human being,” but instead uses other equivalent phrases. Further, the Bible has no unique word for “person.” When this word occurs in English translations, it is simply an alternative translation for words more commonly translated “man,” etc. We cannot determine whether the unborn is a human individual simply by searching for the terms “human being” or “person,” because the Bible generally does not use these words in this way.

Instead, the Bible identifies a human person by calling it simply a “man,” “woman,” “child,” “son,” “daughter,” “baby,” “infant,” etc. When used regarding the offspring of a human mother and father, these Bible terms refer to a human individual who is separate and distinct from his mother and father. You will not find a more technical name than these for any human, born or unborn, anywhere in the Bible. If the Bible uses these terms for an unborn baby, that will constitute definite proof that the unborn is a human individual.

 

“Did God Really Say?”

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

Today I want us to look at the first two questions of the Bible. When we find the answers to these two questions, we will find the answers to most of the questions of life. Questions are an important way of learning, but they can be good or bad. An older lady gets pulled over for speeding…

Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Officer: Ma’am, you were speeding.
Older Woman: Oh, I see.

Officer: Can I see your license please?
Older Woman: I’d give it to you but I don’t have one.

Officer: Don’t have one?
Older Woman: Lost it, 4 years ago for drunk driving.

Officer: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.

Older Woman: I can’t do that.
Officer: Why not?
Older Woman: I stole this car.

Officer: Stole it?
Older Woman: Yes, and I killed the owner.

Officer: You what?
Older Woman: His body is in a plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.
The Officer looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.
Officer 2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle please! The woman steps out of her vehicle.

Older woman: Is there a problem sir?
Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.

Older Woman: Murdered the owner?
Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.
The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
Officer 2: Is this your car, ma’am?

Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers. The officer is quite stunned.
Officer 2: One of my officer’s claims that you don’t have a driving license. The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a license and hands it to the officer. The officer examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
Officer 2: Thank you ma’am, one of my officers told me you didn’t have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered the owner.
Older Woman: Bet the liar told you I was speeding, too.
Questions can also be a way to be deceived. The first question of the Bible was this kind of question. It was a question of trickery.

Now, once we understand the author of that first question, we understand the deceitfulness behind it. As Christians we have come to learn that the devil is the source of all lies, even the little white lies we think are ok. He is the master of deception and He comes at you all sly and smooth. He tricks you into believing His lies and He even seems your closest companion while he’s doing it. He tells you it’s for your own good. He tells the addict that they’ll be able to quit but to have one more hit before you end it all, knowing all the while that the next hit will only lead to another. He’ll tell the husband that he’ll be able to get away with the affair, even telling him it will be better for his marriage in the long run. He’ll tell the child to go ahead and take that candy bar, surely the store won’t miss just one.

In the garden, He approaches Eve in deception, getting her to believe His lies by coming to her calmly and with dishonest concern. He didn’t attack Eve because Adam was there to defend her. He’s a coward who never plays by the rules. His only interest is in destroying what God has created and he’ll do whatever it takes, no matter how dishonest he needs to be, to do it.

With Eve, he simply asks the question, “Did God really say…? He creates confusion in her and this leads to the downfall of all mankind.

He still does it today. “Did God really say He’d forgive you every time you ask? Did God really say that He’ll heal you or fill you with His holy Spirit or bless you even when you don’t deserve it?” “Did God really say that He loves you no matter what or that He’ll supply all your needs or that He takes pleasure in you?” He knows that God has promised all these things but then He whispers in your ears and the deception begins.

He’ll put questions in your mind as to what the word of God says, helping you to come to conclusions you know aren’t true to make your sin not to be sin anymore. He’ll help to convince you to believe that God really isn’t saying that a homosexual lifestyle is sin despite all the evidence otherwise. He’ll try to convince you that God’s word doesn’t really say that we must serve others before we serve ourselves. He’ll mix up and confuse all who open themselves to deception and it doesn’t matter who you are or how much your hurting. He doesn’t care about what you need or how much you will be helped. His only will is to destroy you because you are made in the image of God.

 

He knows that if he can get us to question God’s holy Word, to doubt what God has said or to question ourselves about what God really meant, then most of his work has been done because he’s gotten us to trust the deception more than the truth.

This is why it is so critical to us to believe in the whole Word of God and to cling to that truth no matter the questions the devil places in our minds. We need to put our trust in it, preach it, teach it, devour it so that we might say like the Psalmist saying, “Your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live.”

So, I want to ask you all today..

Did God really say that He is the only God…there is none besides Him?

Did God really say that we are to bring Him our firstfruits in worship and honor?

Did God really say that Jesus was the only way to heaven?

Did God really say that Jesus rose from the dead and that because of Him all our sins are washed away?….All of them?

Did God really say that the wages of sin is death – physical and spiritual?

Did God really say that if man dies in His sin that he will be eternally separated from Him?

These are all questions that have gotten to the best of believers. The devil works on all of us to lead us away from the truth, especially the truth that might be harder to imagine.

So where are you? This is the second question of Scripture. In verse 9 God is walking in the garden and He asks Adam, “Where are you?” He didn’t ask Adam this question because He didn’t know. He didn’t need further information to find Adam. When God asks a question in Scripture He does so to come to the truth. He wants to hear your answer, or more importantly, He wants YOU to hear your answer.

Isaiah 6:1-8:

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me!

For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.

And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Here we see Isaiah standing in the very throne room of God, our Almighty, Awesome God, where no other human has ever stepped foot in and God’s question for Isaiah is, “Whom shall I send?” Do you think He asked because he didn’t know? No, He asked so that Isaiah could answer the question to get to the truth. Isaiah says, “Here I am, send me.” He knew that Isaiah had to make that commitment himself. Isaiah had to hear the words that were coming out of his mouth. “Here I am, send me.”

God asks Adam, “Where are you?” but instead of coming before the Father asking for forgiveness, all he can do is come up with excuses, “It’s the woman’s fault.” Man, I wish this wouldn’t hit me so close to my heart. How many times have I made excuses for my failure instead of trusting in God’s forgiveness? How many times have I hid when He has asked me to make account of myself? How many times has this happened to you?

The question is not, “Have I sinned?” for all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. The question is, “Where are you?”

Where are you when I need you to testify in my name?

Where are you when your brother needs you with Christ like love?

Where are you on Sunday while your brothers and sisters are worshipping without you?

Where are you when I need you to defend your faith?

Where are you when I ask you to trust in me?

A very accomplished lawyer finds himself on his death bed when the pastor comes in for a visit. Much to the pastor’s delight, the lawyer is reading his bible. The pastor mentions to him how great it is to see him so urgent in his faith and the lawyer says, “actually I’m looking for some loopholes.”

We must understand that there are no loopholes when it comes to salvation. But there are some questions we must answer.

Our first question, “Did God really say?” How much trust do you put into the Word of God? Do you bend the words to make them fit your lifestyle or do you take them for what they are, the whole truth, so help me God? How much do you mold your life around His Word?

Are you using it as your only model or do you only fit in the parts you can live with? There are no loopholes. God expects you to act like a Christian if you go to the trouble of calling yourself one. That means 100%, no 80/20 split.

Our second question, “Where are you?” Where are you when God needs you? Are you hiding thinking that He doesn’t know where you are? Are you wearing disguises when you are called to stand up for what you believe? Do you hide behind your insecurities when you are attacked in the name of Jesus? Do you come to God for forgiveness or do you hide behind excuses? Where are you when you should be praising His name?

There would be no sin in the world if Adam and Eve had just trusted in God’s word. There would have been no reason to hide if they would simply been honest. Satan waited for them to slip up and he waits for you. In fact, some of you right now are probably listening to him because of some challenge I have made.

Adam and Eve admired the fruit despite the command not to eat. They were swayed by the sly and slithery devil. The best way not to sin is to avoid it and all of the devils requests to pull you off of the narrow path to heaven and onto the wide path that only leads to destruction.

Know what God is saying to you and trust that He has given you His Word in all it truth because He loves you enough to save you from the devil and all his attempts to deceive you.

Eve was in a debate with the devil about what was good and what wasn’t. Don’t fall into that same trap in your lives. Satan knows Scripture much better than you. Don’t let him twist the truth of it to fit your sin. Know the Word in truth, not your truth but God’s truth.

Finally, don’t hide your sin from God. One of the greatest gifts he has given us is the gift of forgiveness. He already knows your sin but He needs you to know it. Trust in Him to lead you in love. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Trust in His Word.

God knows where we are and He knows our weaknesses but He wants US to see where we are. He wants you to hear yourself say, “Lord, I believe you and I trust in you. I surrender all I am to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Please guide me to the truth and keep me from hiding from you.” And He wants you to believe it.

There is no excuses for failure when it comes to your salvation. God has given you all you need. Trust in Him to answer your questions in life and don’t let the great deceiver, the devil, lead you astray. God has a plan for your life. Trust in Him to take you there. Amen.

Bible Study Questions – Genesis 3:1-9

Bible Study Questions – Genesis 3:1-9

Did God and Satan really speak back then? Do they speak today? John 8:43-47

Discuss how our discernment of whom is speaking has to do with how we can avoid or fall into temptation.

How do we know the serpent was satan? Ezekiel 28:13-19; Luke 8:33; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9, 20:2

How does Eve’s answer in verses 2-3 misrepresent God’s command? Genesis 2:15-17; Matthew 15:8-9

How have the serpent’s words distorted Eve’s thinking? Hebrews 11:25

Why do you think the serpent picked Eve to tempt?

What was her first mistake? Jude 9; 1 John 2:16

Do you think Adam and Eve fell “all of a sudden?”

Do you think that focusing exclusively on prohibitions is a trick that Satan uses to tempt us? Explain.

How else has satan undermined God’s Word today?

What aspect did the serpent focus on in Genesis 3:4? Do we still fall into that same trap? If so, how?

What are the three things in verse 6 that caused her to respond in that way? What does this tell us about Eve? How are these three things similar to the temptations that we face today?

Read 1 John 2:15-17 and compare each of the three items.

Was Adam deceived the same way that Eve was? 1 Timothy 2:13-15

Why even have the tree in the garden?

How did Adam and Eve’s sin immediately affect their attitude toward themselves, each other and God? Verses 7-9

 

What is the problem in wanting to be like God? Isaiah 14:12-19

 

In what ways was the temptation of Christ like the temptation of Eve? Matthew 4:1-11