When the ultrasound nurse shows a mother and father her baby, they see the head, the arms, the legs, the fingers, the eyelids, the nose, the mouth, and the nurse calls this, “your baby.” She doesn’t call this, “your fetus.” The ultrasound has revealed the obvious, what anyone knew already, but could now see for himself. Darwin saw the cell as only a blob. That’s where he was at that time, but since then, we now know, looking under a microscope, what’s on the inside of the cell, its irreducible complexity. Michael Behe entitled his book, Darwin’s Black Box, because it was just a black box and no one knew what was on the inside, but now they did, and that should be science to scientists. They ignore it, because it contradicts their presuppositions. What I’m saying is that they are not really interested in science. They want the world to be and to be understood like they want it to be. So even though we can see the obvious – that is a person in there – we just act like we’re in the same position we were perhaps thirty years ago, when people did not regularly see a baby in a womb. It was easy to call it a blob, like the view of the cell Darwin had. It wasn’t a blog after all, but still keep treating it like it is one for argument’s sake. The abortion debate has moved, because it is harder now to ignore the so-called science. This is just one argument, but does in part explain the movement.
Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA
A lot has shown up in the news recently about Planned Parenthood because of some undercover videos that were recorded that showed doctors and leaders in the organization, talking about selling body parts of aborted babies for profit. Why are true, scriptural believers settled about abortion? The Bible exposes abortion as murder. How? First, murder is wrong. Even before it was part of the ten commandments in Exodus 20, God commanded the death penalty for murder to Noah in Genesis 9, right when he got off the ark. The New Testament also condemns murder. Unrepentant murderers will find their place in the lake of fire, in the torment of eternal punishment. Genuine believers oppose murder. Supporting murder characterizes an unbeliever. At the root of civil or judicial law is protection of life, life for life at the root of equal retribution, of justice itself. There is no justice if there is no protection of life. The second part of the argument is when life begins. Do we know from the Bible that life begins at conception, in the womb, or is it at the moment of birth? We know that it starts at conception because of passages like Psalm 139 and even Psalm 51, which reports that David was conceived in iniquity. He was a person at conception as seen in his sin nature from the moment of conception, he was a person. Abortion is murder of a person.
When I was a child, in church we would sing a particular chorus. I’m not giving a full endorsement of this chorus as worship or even this kind of singing or music ministry with children. I did grow up with it. The song was “Everybody ought to know.” The music and the words do stick in my mind. I think God could be worshiped through the music and the Words – they just shouldn’t be the best or the regular; more the exception. As I was singing that song as I child, I would not have known the irony of the importance of the message. My take as a child would have been that people had not heard at all, not so much that the name of Jesus was all over, but people still didn’t really know Him. It’s true that “everybody ought to know Who Jesus is.” If I went through the general description of the chorus, what it said about Jesus, it was all true. He is the Lily of the Valley. He is the Bright and Morning Star. He is the Fairest of Ten Thousand. That’s all true, but my point is this. People don’t know Who Jesus is, in many cases because He has been reduced to a pop Jesus represented by Jesus junk. He’s an icon now, one upon Whom everyone can apply their own definition and make Him mean what they want Him to mean to them. Everybody ought to know – it’s true – but they don’t. They don’t because the impostor has been presented even to ones who know the song.
Idolatry is a major theme in scripture. All unbelievers are said to be idolaters, who worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. In a sense, every unbeliever is building his own kingdom on earth and rejecting the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ. He is not giving up His life for God’s sake. If someone is a believer, he has done that. He doesn’t want to be an idolater. He wants to worship God alone. So that means we’re not idolaters here at Bethel, right? It must be right as a characteristic, as a lifestyle. We are true worshipers of God, who worship Him in spirit and in truth. That is all true. Even for believers at Corinth, Paul wrote that they should flee idolatry, and John wrote to little children to keep from idols. You say or think, I don’t worship an idol, and you consider the carved wood or stone. No. That’s not it. You know that too. What occurs is rather than plan your life around God, let God have His way, complete control, you do what you want especially as it relates to material things. You commit to a lifestyle that has a certain car and place of living, and work a job for that, and start making decisions that conform to that. You put God, His Word, His people something third or fourth. It takes on the nature of not tithing or giving, or planning your future around a house or checking off your bucket list. That is idolatry.
How does someone celebrate this country now? To start, we never have relied on this country for our joy and fulfillment. We shouldn’t consider ourselves to be citizens of this world, but citizens of heaven or the kingdom of Jesus Christ. We’ve never said everything in the country is right, but there is plenty to celebrate—less so, but a lot still. I still love this country. What a country this still is! I’m so happy that next week I will go out evangelizing door-to-door with no threat of imprisonment. We’re meeting today with a church service and we’re not going to go to jail for what preach. I’m not saying that we will continue to have these freedoms, but we have them. I’m grateful for the security and standards and work and sacrifice that has left us with what we have in this country. People are still trying to get in. Even those who are leaving, in many cases are leaving with the benefits they received from this country and living off of those benefits. I don’t think that is a good reason to leave, that is, because the money you take from entitlements will go further in another country, but people are doing that. Many of the things we celebrate are those qualities that we are giving up and what will bring down the country, but no doubt we can still celebrate what was done, what God has given, and the many great principles that bring us what we have today here.
As most of you know by now, the Supreme Court of the United States, by a 5-4 vote, changed the definition of marriage in the United States to include same-sex marriage. A man can now marry a man and a woman can now marry a woman. Many national leaders support this, including our president. Also, as most of you know, if not every one of you, that the Bible repudiates homosexuality. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God, we know, as a major reason, because of its acceptance of that lifestyle. We know this. Sodom and Gomorrah are even defined by that acceptance. What I am saying is that we are becoming something like Sodom and Gomorrah. Romans 1 tells us that this is the judgment of God, because God turns people over to their own lusts as part of His judgment on them. They act this way, and participate in this destructive lifestyle, as part of God’s judgment on them for rejecting God.
God is still on the throne. Almost all of the churches in scripture operated in places with similar cultures as ours now is. We will still believe and preach and practice the same. Jesus will still rule in His kingdom and we still are headed toward an eternal state with the Lord. Whatever this country does might affect us physically in the short term, but it won’t change us at all spiritually. To God be the glory!
Stay with me for a few moments on leadership and our church. Spiritual leadership in a church revolves around the authority, the Bible, and our ultimate Leader, Jesus Christ, and His mandate for His organization. The Bible and that Person, Jesus, are our Leadership. The institutional flowchart has the pastor taking care of that responsibility on the ground and with the full support of the church, which by definition are believers. They believe in this. If they don’t believe in this, it won’t work. You can’t get people who don’t really believe to have bought in to this. They actually have to believe in this as a base, as a fundamental. Is that the case? Does everyone believe this? I think for sake of argument, we should say, “Yes, everyone here believes this; everyone is a believer.” Despite that, we have to help people be a part of fulfilling that thought. We’re saying they believe and we have to make sure there is a follow through, because the nature of the flesh tends toward not accomplishing what we say and think that we believe. I’m assuming we believe, but as one responsible to make sure people do in fact believe, I want to help us through those challenges. It would be good for us to at least first acknowledge that we do believe. That’s not difficult to do, that is, acknowledge something. Then we want to be sure we know what belief looks like. Jesus said what it was.
As I write this, I have something I can’t see, except for the symptoms, but I know I have it, because of the symptoms, starting with a burning sensation in the back of my nasal cavity, somewhat into my sinuses. I knew what it was, but that wasn’t all the evidence. That night I didn’t sleep so well because I felt uncomfortable. The next day my nose started to run and my body ached. Two days later, my nose was Yosemite Falls during rainy season. Sure, you already know. I have a cold as I write this. I changed my behavior in a pretty drastic way based upon the symptoms of something I couldn’t see. I couldn’t even see when I got the cold virus. I have it though. I know. I had touched a lot of different people between Friday night and Sunday, probably didn’t use enough hand sanitizer, and again, I couldn’t see it. I still know I have it. Some of you might have guessed what this is about. You’re thinking and that’s good. We can’t see God, but we have the visible symptoms of God all around, mostly scripture, that say that He’s here and He’s working. We know we have a cold. We know it. We know even more that God is here and working. When I got a cold, I changed my lifestyle. How is your lifestyle adapting to the truth that God is here and working? The greatest truth that we live regards what we can’t see. This is living by faith and that pleases God.
You’ve heard the term, life goes on. It doesn’t. It actually ends. Everyone knows this and thinks about it on a regular basis. People are trying to do things to insure that life will go on, knowing that it is futile. Because life doesn’t go on, they choose to not think about life not going on, and instead say, “life goes on.” I can say, “I’m Albert Einstein,” and that doesn’t make me Albert Einstein in a very, very similar way as saying, “life goes on,” doesn’t really make life go on. If I keep saying “I’m Albert Einstein,” won’t make it more so. Most people would say that I was just insane, but they think differently about “life goes on.” Life doesn’t go on and there is only one trustworthy place to find out what to do about that. It isn’t cryogenics, where they put your dead body on deep freeze until medical science can solve death or whatever killed you. It isn’t some religion. It isn’t a man, like Buddha. The only place you can trust to find out how to escape death, once you’ve got there, is the Bible. The Bible is authenticated. It is validated. It is confirmed. It is sure. It is documented in more ways than are necessary to believe anything else. The reason people don’t believe it isn’t because of the nature of the Bible as a book, but because people are rebellious in their sin, so they don’t like it. They rebel against God. Since life doesn’t go on, we need the message of the Bible.
As we enter the summer season, I suggest you think about fulfilling eternal projects that won’t waste your summer. This short time on earth isn’t about you, isn’t about us, but about God. If you are saved, you believe that. If you don’t believe that, you’re not saved. If you’re not saved, there is much more to be concerned about. However, whatever God is doing in the way of saving you, you should be, and will be cooperating with if you are saved. You must cooperate, because you are born of God. As always, being eternal means three aspects: one, God, two, the Bible, three, the souls of men. The three aren’t, one, vacation, two, sleeping, and, three, play. I know you’ve got to be challenged in this. I understand that it is a time that some of you especially need to get some rest. You rest up for the very much busier school year period. I know that, so this isn’t anti-rest. As a Christian, we understand this life is work. As Jesus talked about, work for the night is coming for the night cometh when no man can work. To put it in farmer’s language, it is to make hay while the sun shines. Since time might open up in the summer, we can get some projects with people done. You might need to get some housework done too. That’s understandable, as well. I say the same thing about December. You won’t like looking back at a summer that you’ve wasted, so plan on not wasting it.