Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"From evolution to abortion ... to same-sex 'marriage' ... to riots ... "

WARNING!  What you are about to read will not be considered "politically correct" ...

... but I have a much higher authority to which I must answer and therefore I pray that what I share here is nothing but truth from God's Word.  My only desire is to be faithful to what HE says and to thus speak with the authority of the prophets when they said, "Thus says the LORD!"  Since MY word is not "God-breathed" (II Timothy 3:16), I must rely on what God reveals in His Word, the Bible, and it is my desire to share that with you here and so to attempt to point out the real issues that lie at the root of the problems we are facing today in our society and throughout the world.

As we approach the National Day of Prayer next week the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments concerning same-sex "marriage."  I put the word "marriage" in quotes because the Supreme Court has no authority to overturn GOD's definition of true marriage as between one man and one woman.  There has never been same-sex "marriage" in God's eyes and there never will be.  Individual states may pass laws and the Supreme Court may "re-define" marriage, but God's truth never changes.  Consequently, the clear answer to what is going on in our society and throughout the world is much simpler than most people can possibly imagine:  people have rejected the one true God, our Creator AND His commands!  The result is what you see around you, including what happened yesterday in Baltimore.

President Clinton quoted Proverbs 29:18 back in the 1990's ... or should I say, misquoted it.  He stated, "Where there is no vision the people perish."  He believed, as do many today, that all people need is a vision of hope and they will choose to do what is good and right.  President Obama promised the same thing when he was running for President in 2007 and 2008.  It was as though "change," ANY change, would accomplish something that men and governments have been unable to accomplish since the beginning of the human race:  bring about heaven on earth by overcoming the depravity of the sinful human nature ... a nature turned away from God.

What Proverbs 29:18 actually says is, "Where there is no prophetic vision (literally - 'no commandment' or no word from God) - the people cast off restraint, ... BUT blessed is he who keeps the law."  It would have been good if someone would have given the people of Baltimore that message yesterday.  When the preacher at the funeral of the young black man who died while in police custody shouted, "NO JUSTICE ..." and the congregation responded, "NO PEACE!" ... they revealed what lies at the bottom of what's wrong in Baltimore, in large cities all over our nation, in every state and region, and elsewhere all over the world:  the rejection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the substitution of the man-made message of social justice that relies on the will of men to change circumstances rather than the power of God to change hearts!!  True social change comes through the preaching of the Gospel.

Without God's truth and without God's Spirit, people cast off restraint ... they do whatever they want. And where does that begin?  By rejecting God as the Creator!  The teaching of evolution in our schools decades ago began the rapid downward slide of our society.  I challenge anyone to deny the truth of that statement.  Legalization of abortion soon followed, then the trend toward living together without marriage, followed by the approval of a homosexual lifestyle and the protection of pornography by the first amendment (really??) ... and now same-sex marriage, transgender becoming an option for more people and on it goes.  Even things like lotteries and casinos promote destructive behavior that is contrary to God's revealed will, to His commands.

If you do not believe God is your Creator and you reject the Bible as the Word of God you have effectively removed the only restraint for the sinful nature with which we are all born.  The "story" of Adam and Eve is more than a story!  Satan's rebellion against God, his temptation of the first man and woman and God's plan to redeem some through the work of Jesus Christ all point to our need for a Savior, for forgiveness, for reconciliation with God, for new life by the power of His Holy Spirit.  Apart from that we are spiritually dead, lost and without hope!  Those who claim to be Christian but whose message is focused only on the things of this world do not know Christ.  Is social justice part of the message?  Yes!  But it is not ALL of the message.

As I watched the news last night and again this morning, one speaker after another, from politicians to clergy to news people pointed to the poverty and hopelessness of those who were rioting.  This is a city that is 40 miles from the nation's capital.  So what have these people been doing for the past fifty years??  What have the politicians who now say, "Something needs to be done!" been doing?  They have created a system that rewards teens for getting pregnant and having children without fathers.  Police brutality?!  Millions of dollars paid out over the past few years to those abused by police?  One former leader in Baltimore blamed it on the drug laws ... the laws that allow police to check a person for drugs and put them in jail.  Are all the laws "fair?"  Perhaps not, but the simple answer would be: "Don't break the law!"  The young man who tragically died had broken the law.  The police officers are attempting to keep order in a city where there is none.  Could it be that the city has paid out so much money not because there is so much abuse by police but because some see antagonizing the police and resisting police as an opportunity to get a lawyer and get a settlement?

There is undoubtedly some inequality in our larger cities, but there are also opportunities than ever before for education and peaceful coexistence IF there is a common foundation.  The teaching of evolution removes the very heart of what people need to know in order to respect life, beginning with their own.  You are either an insignificant accident in an endless universe or a special creation of God.  Which gives you a greater sense of the value of your life and the lives of others?  People are continually saying that we shouldn't mix religion and politics, but the truth is, once you understand the depravity of the sinful human nature that is in rebellion against God and against all authority - parents, schools, employers, government - you realize that government needs GOD's authority in order to control the nature of mankind.

The question then becomes, "Which religion?"  The choice should be a relatively easy one.  Christianity is the only true religion because in His Word (the Bible) and in His Son Jesus Christ (the Living Word), God has revealed both the problem and the solution!  The problem is sin (breaking God's law) and the solution is Jesus Christ, who gives new life to those who know and love Him, who are born again by His Spirit.  I grow weary of those who are NOT born again being used as examples to point out how bad Christians are and why Christianity is not the answer.  MANY people who claim to be Christians know nothing about following Jesus and living in obedience to God's Word.  Jesus would never cry out "NO JUSTICE ... NO PEACE!"  Have these people even read the Gospels or any of the rest of the Bible??!!

Then the news people tell us that what is happening in the riots is a distraction from the real issues.  Truthfully, the riots reveal what the real issues are:  the heart of man is desperately wicked.  No matter what the situation, people make their own choices.  Speaking out against injustice, protesting to a point, may be a way to bring about a measure of social change, but breaking the law is breaking the law.  There is no excuse, there is no reason why those in power could not have prevented the poverty of the inner cities and other areas.  Respect for one another begins with knowing God and realizing that you are here to testify to His truth and to live as a witness of healing and reconciliation that extends beyond this world!

JESUS said, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19).  True Christians testify to the truth, confessing our own sin and trusting in Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness and life.  Islam and all the other religions of the world offer nothing but human laws and wars and violence to try to control human nature.  Look at the nations of the world.  People aren't flocking to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia, India, China, etc.  Those who are Muslims here in the United States should ask themselves why they can enjoy such freedom here!  It is because of the influence of Christianity and of Christians who have given time, talent and treasure, who have given their very lives to defend the cause of freedom around the world for more than a hundred years.  If you want to live under Muslim law, go live in a Muslim country.

Now the "Interfaith Movement" declares that the answer is getting all religions together.  The authors of a weekly column on interfaith insights in the local Grand Rapids Press reveal a deep and willful ignorance of true Christianity by thinking that we can or will sacrifice biblical truth in order to all just "get along together."  They actually have convinced themselves that doing so will bring about peace among all peoples and all nations when God says that it is when the Antichrist and the False Prophet appear on the stage of history just prior to Jesus' return and create a false peace that the judgment of God in its fullness will fall on this planet and upon all mankind.

As immorality abounds and the Supreme Court attempts to replace God and people reject authority and life becomes more and more meaningless to countless millions, where will YOU turn for the answer?  The Apostle Paul summarizes it in Romans 1:28-32, when inspired by the Spirit of God he writes, "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness.  They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  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."

Woe to those who claim to be preachers and teachers who twist and distort the truth of God's Word, to their own destruction and the destruction of those who listen to them.  This, too, was foretold in God's Word:  "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power" (II Timothy 3:1-5).

The solution ...  "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:  preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching; but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (II Timothy 4:1-5).

To those of us who by God's grace have come to know the truth, it is our responsibility to speak the truth.  It is the most loving thing we can do, even though the world may call it "hate speech."  One news person this morning (who claims to be a "Christian" but who obviously has no idea what it means), in talking about the Supreme Court case concerning same-sex "marriage" stated that any Presidential candidate who says they would not attend a "gay wedding" should not even be considered for the office.  Such ignorant arrogance is appalling, but increasingly common today.  We who know the one true God through faith in Jesus, the Christ, understand that this life and this world are temporary.  God will send Jesus again to judge all mankind.  But there IS hope!  "Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him" (Hebrews 9:27-28).  Are you eagerly waiting for Him?

Peter writes, "Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  But the day of the Lord WILL come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.  Since all those things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  BUT according to His promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (II Peter 3:8-13).

From the teaching of evolution to the Supreme Court and same-sex "marriage," from abortion to riots in the streets of Baltimore, mankind reveals the rebellion that lies in the heart of every man, woman and child ever born into this world ... except ONE!  God sent His Son to be the Savior of all who would believe in Him!!  "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).  Jesus came to bring forgiveness and life to those who confess their sin and who desire to turn from it.  "God did not send His Son (the first time) 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 by God" (John 3:17-21).

Not one of us is "good enough" to earn God's grace and forgiveness.  Either Jesus paid my debt on the cross or I am forever lost, destined for eternal judgment in the fires of hell.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we (who are chosen, redeemed, forgiven and sealed  - Ephesians 1:3-7) ... for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).  True Christians are responsible for more relief work, social justice and loving sacrifice than all the people of all the other religions in the world combined.  It is our desire to shine God's light and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  May we be found so doing when Jesus returns in glory!

Until then, the truth still sets some people free ... those who hear it and who respond by placing their faith, their hope in Jesus Christ.  Those who have been deceived by evolution need to begin by reading Genesis 1:1.  Those who have no hope can go to the end of the Bible and read Revelation 21-22, to see how it all ends.  There are only two possible destinations, two possible endings to this scenario in which we find ourselves because of our rebellion against God:  eternal life in a new heaven and a new earth, or eternal death in the fires of hell.  Life in God's presence or life separated from God ... forever!

As Moses said to the people of Israel more than 3,000 years ago:  "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days ..."  (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

TODAY Jesus says to you, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).  What will you do with Jesus?  What will you say to a world that is living without hope and without God?  How will you answer those who question you?  Can you explain what is happening?  Can you point to the solution?

To you who believe, be loving, be bold, be honest!  Speak GOD's truth and be ready to bear the consequences.  In the end, JESUS wins!!

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