Monthly Archives: April 2015

WORLD | Whence and why? | John Piper | Sept. 4, 1999

As shared by Mindy Belz at World Mag:

So many of us have questions about why bad things happen. I suppose most everything that happens should be leading us to God: the good and the bad.

Here is a post by John Piper from the earthquake that hit Turkey back in 1999 when 18,000 people lost their lives.

WORLD | Whence and why? | John Piper | Sept. 4, 1999.

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Homosexuality Part II & III

Title: What does the Bible have to say about Homosexuality?

Text: Leviticus 18.19-23; Romans 1.18-32; Jude 7; Gen 19.1-22; 1 Corinthians 6.9-11

CIS: Our people are being pounded everyday by the world to embrace homosexuality. But what does the Bible teach us about this?

Introduction: Last week we began with a video from FRC. Then I presented to you a few introductory statements:

My Audience: you – Calvary Baptist Church

My Purpose: to prepare you to take a public stand for the Biblical View of Marriage.

My Goal: to arm you with Scripture and give you a clear understanding of the Biblical View of Marriage

My Text: my standard is the unchanging Word of God.

A Word of Caution: I can’t cover everything in this limited time.

Our Outline:

  1. The Biblical View of Marriage
  2. Man’s Perversion of God’s Design

III. Why We Cannot Endorse Homosexuality in the Church

Let’s begin with a quick review. We started with what we call The Biblical/Traditional View.

I.     The Biblical View: Marriage is between one man and one woman.

  1. The Design of God: Genesis 1.26-28; 2.18-25;
  • Jesus Taught this View. In Matt. 19:4–6 and Mark 10:6–9 Jesus teaches the principles found in Genesis 2, specifically v.24.
  • The Apostles Taught this View. Acts 15 James, the brother of Jesus, Simon Peter, Paul and Barnabas, Silas. Ephesians 5.22-33; or 1 Corinthians 7; Note: The terms husband and wife are used for the English, but the Greek is very explicit with the use of man for husband and woman for wife and to intensify this, personal possessive pronouns are used (i.e., her own husband, his own wife). Peter in his 1st Epistle has a similar passage with similar wording identifying one man and one woman in a marriage.
  • The Scriptures are consistent with this View: We’ll look at a few more in just a moment, but usually at this point, someone would comment that the Biblical record on Homosexuality is rather small. And that would be true, but it is larger than most assume.

Scriptures: Genesis 9.20-27; 19.4-11; Judges 19.22-25; Leviticus 18.22; 20.13; Ezekiel 16.50 (and possibly 18.12 and 33.26); Romans 1.18-32; 1 Corinthians 6.9-11; 1 Timothy 1.10; Jude 6-7 and 2 Peter 2.6-7. But there are more when you consider homosexual cult prostitution (Deuteronomy 23.17-18; 1 Kings 14.24; 15.12; 22.46; 2 Kings 23.7; Job 36.14; and Revelation 21.8; 22.15).

  1. Historical Tradition
  • The Westminster Confession of Faith proclaims: “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman.”
  • King Alfred the Great first established the English Common Law in 890 AD. He basically assigned his men the responsibility of delineating the Scripture into English Law.
  • In the 13th Century Henri Bracton wrote On the Laws and Customs of England. He basically put into writing the judicial laws and practices of the English that had been in use even before King Alfred established the English Common Law.
    • Sabbath-Breaking, Public Exposure, Fornication and Adultery, Incest and Homosexuality, Polygamy, Arbitrary Divorce, Prostitution, Gambling, Drunk and Disorderly Behavior.

Transition: What I was saying is that God’s perfect design fulfills all that he requires. Sin entered through the rebellion of Adam and Eve and everything has been affected. Man’s variation of God’s perfect design breaks it down somewhere along the way. Meaning: it’s no longer perfect because we pervert it. This is the definition of sin: when we take God’s perfect design and create variations of it to fulfill our own selfish desires. That in essence is rebellion – sin.

Transition: So we have God’s perfect design for marriage in Genesis 1. But we see sin enter the world in Genesis 3. As early as Gen 9, we see sex being perverted. We see it again, this perversion taking place, in Gen. 19.1-22; And that brings us to the 2nd pt:

II.     Man’s Perversion of God’s Design

  1. Sodom and Gomorrah: The Perversion of God’s Design. Genesis 19.1-22; Instead of taking time to read all of this, let’s turn to Jude 7;

I have come across two arguments on this text:

  • Their argument is inhospitality and not homosexual partnerships. And, there is some truth to that in this story. I agree; however, inhospitality wasn’t the only issue. There were many sins Jude is placing emphasis on here. The context in Jude is one of perversion and sensuality. Rd 3-5; so we see a perversion of what God ordained with what is detestable. Rd v 6-7 now; they perverted God’s authority; they perverted the natural sexual relationship designed by God to pursue fleshly lusts.
  • There are those who say that this doesn’t apply to God’s design, because the issue here deals with gang rape and not consensual, life-long, monogamous homosexual relationships. The argument continues that these men in Sodom wanted to have sex with angels – and that was there perversion, that was their sin. But the text clarifies for us that… rd 7… Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding… God destroyed these other cities that indulged in sexual immorality – not just sex with angels – or even the desire for sex with angels.
    • He destroyed the other cities, too.
    • 2ndly, they didn’t even know they were angels – they thought they were men!

Transition: Next, With the perversion of God’s Design for sex within the marriage context of one man and one woman, God establishes his laws for his people. Specifically, we see this in Leviticus 18.

  1. Establishing Laws on sexual relationships: Leviticus 18.19-23; In Genesis, God chooses and builds a nation. In Exodus, he brings them out of slavery to the Mountain of God. In Leviticus, he gives them his standard – his law for them to live by. In the law, He reiterates once again that the only proper design is between one man and one woman in the 1st vs 6-8; vs 9-18 covers every form of incest – the familial relationships; Now, in v 19, God outlines perversion by a certain type of growth in degradation. Or, maybe I should say a dissension by degree as the sin mentioned gets further away from God’s intended design. V 19 is sexual sin in selfishness; v 20 is sexual sin in selfishness through adultery; v 21 is spiritual, sin through spiritual adultery; v 22; is sexual sin through homosexuality, then bestiality; note the words God uses: abomination (22) perversion (23); unclean [24, (vs. clean)]; he repeats them;

Review: So Genesis 1-2 outlines for us the traditional view of marriage. By Genesis 19 we see the corruption and perversion of God’s design. A commentary of this is found in Jude 7; In Leviticus, God outlines for the Jews how they are to be distinct from the other nations. Specifically, in chapter 18, God describes for his people what is perverted, abominable and unclean when it comes to sexuality.

Transition: at this point, there are many who argue that those laws are all OT laws and we don’t abide by them anymore. If we were to follow the OT laws, then we couldn’t eat catfish or get tattoos! There is some truth to that – why don’t we follow the OT laws to a T?

  1. Christian confirmation of God’s standard: In Acts 15.28-29 it was ruled that Gentiles did not need to become Jews first to be saved; however, it was decided that they must abstain from
    1. from what has been sacrificed to idols, and
    2. from blood
    3. from what has been strangled, and
    4. from sexual immorality.

Gentiles who committed their lives to Christ didn’t have to observe the OT Laws. They could eat bacon! And catfish! However, there were these four large areas – topics that needed to be observed. The 2nd one mentioned here is sexual immorality. The Gk word is πορνεία. You see it in the English used as porn – pornography. It is no doubt that the Apostles Decree was based upon the Levitical law, specifically, chapters 17-18.

  • Leviticus 17.1-9 deal with sacrifices. The command is given: 7So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations. Idols – other gods; they were to no longer offer these outside the camp and bring them into the camp – that is to eat or whatever;
  • Leviticus 17.10-16 deal with blood. God states that life is in the blood and the blood is what makes atonement for your souls. A reminder that the sacrifice takes our place and pays the penalty of death sentenced against us. So, do not ingest blood.
  • Leviticus 17.13-16 – deal with the way animals are to be cared for when hunting and when coming upon dead animals.
  • Leviticus 18 deals with sex. And, we’ve already discussed this in detail.

The word used here for sexual immorality is πορνεία is used to describe all types of sexual misconduct. Let me show you what I mean.

Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon:

1 illicit sexual intercourse.

1a adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

1b sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18.

1c sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12.

2 metaphor: the worship of idols.

2a of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols.

  • In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul uses this word to describe an incestuous relationship between a man and his father’s wife.
  • In Revelation it is used to describe the great Prostitute;
  • John in 8.41 uses it to describe Adultery or even fornication; the list goes on.

There are two passages I want to close with:

I think the strongest passage in the NT against Homosexuality is Romans 1.18-32; read and comment;

I think also the most encouraging passage is 1 Cor 6.9-11

III. Why we cannot endorse homosexuality in the church:

  1. Because the Bible clearly condemns same-sex behavior. God warned the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4.2: You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.
    1. Addition is Legalism – Can someone say that you have to go to Sunday School? Anyone who isn’t enrolled in Sunday School is breaking the 4th That’s legalism.
    2. Taking away is Liberalism – Let’s take the same commandment: Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. (Deu 5.20). Can someone say, ‘I don’t have to go to church, I’m out here fishing in God’s creation? This is my church!’ Is that keeping Deu. 5.20?
  2. Sexual immorality is to be confronted in the church. The church is to police itself. We’re not to be taking lawsuits against each other in civil courts. We’re supposed to go one on one and lead the brother to repentance.1 Cor. 6.11 clearly communicates that we all are sinners and many of us have come out of just such a lifestyle. Which brings me to my 3rd sub-point.
  3. Because the church is a place for repentant sinners! We say we’re all sinners. And we are! But the church is a place where sinners come in repentance. We’re called to hate our sin and repent of it. Repent is the call…for everyone. We don’t pull out certain sins and say, k. You don’t have to repent of that. Please note the difference:
    1. All sinners are welcome. Period. Any and all sinners are welcome to come and worship. Participate in Bible studies, etc.
    2. Membership requires repentance. It begins with acknowledging that Jesus died for our sins. All of our sins are placed on him through faith and his perfection is received in faith.
  4. Because our faith isn’t based upon feeling, but rather commitment. We don’t look at God’s commandments through emotions. Yes, it can be emotional – but that emotion doesn’t drive us. I’d like to look at three emotional statements:
    1. I was born that way. I can find no factual evidence for anyone being born Gay. Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Jeffery Satinover. Nature vs. Nurture; my environment made me this way! Again, even if science could prove that someone is born gay, and mind you now, I find no such evidence, the Bible still condemns it. My answer is: what does the bible say? There are men who have unusually high levels of testoterone and are driven to adultery or rage to satisfy their desire. We don’t condone that. We don’t find that an excuse to say ok.
    2. Why can’t I just love whoever I want to love. There is nothing wrong with love between two people of the same sex. I think we’re supposed to love each other. Men, you should have a friend who is closer than a brother. I think it’s perfectly natural to have a David and Jonathon relationship. Satan perverts that relationship.
    3. We’re all born with sexual desires. I think we’ve been called to live as disciples to walk in purity. All of us have been called to restrain and practice discipline. There are examples of where couples have had to go through struggle with strokes and cancer and other illnesses that left one of the partners unable to have sex. We don’t make excuses. We see God’s standard and we live by it. Another example of this is a man who has more testosterone than other men. His drive is intense. We don’t make excuses for him to live in adultery because his testosterone is high anymore then we do for men who are effeminate.
  5. What’s at stake here? Marriage, children, health, a slippery-slope in what is moral. So, why hold to a Biblical View?

This is difficult because this is real. You and I know people who are gay. They are our family members, our brothers and sisters, our parents, our children. They are our cousins and relatives and friends and co-workers. There are faces before us. That makes it rather difficult. So what is at stake?

  1. We will lose what God has established. We can see this already. Marriage has lost it’s value. God’s Word is no longer held in high esteem.

Ill.: from Denny Burk, professor of Biblical Studies, Boice College; Quotes Luke Timothy Johnson: I think it is important that we do in fact reject Scripture and accept another authority. I have little patience with efforts to make Scripture say something other than what it says, through appeals to linguistic or cultural subtleties. The exegetical situation is straightforward: we know what the text says. But what are we to do with what the text says? We must state our grounds for standing in tension with the clear commands of Scripture, . . . I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us.

App.: If we choose what to obey and what to cast away, we lose. It will then become a slippery slope. Eventually God’s Word will be removed and we’ll become just a civic organization doing good things in our community. Our sermons will be ‘feel good’ stories to motivate you.

  1. So, how are we to act outside of the church? So, we don’t endorse same-sex marriage in the church, what about out there? What if a friend invites you? What if you’re asked to participate?
    1. 1st, it is my personal opinion that when two people enter into sacred matrimony – it is just that…sacred. It is holy. You’re in the presence of God. You shouldn’t be a part of that. Your presence endorses their sinful behavior. I know this is a struggle. We take what God has made holy and make it unholy.
    2. 2nd, I think you should love those you serve – to the best of your ability. So, in business, sell everyone your goods, just don’t endorse their events. That’s my take. One last word on that…
    3. If this becomes the law of the land and Rome tells you, you have to do this – that is cater their weddings, or be their photographer or do their flowers – well, if you are forced to, then you have to make a decision. I can’t tell you what to do.

Ill.: there is a faulty illustration passing around the Internet. If someone asks you to bake them a cake, bake two. Matthew 5.38-48; The context is retaliation. Retaliation is what’s evil.

  1. Our Witness. We’ve been called to be distinct. Not haters, but rather those who love. If we embrace what the world is offering us now, we will in effect loose our witness as a lighthouse in a dark and dying world. – You’re no different than me.
  2. Our Message. If we remove sin, what will our message be? It will no longer be “repent”. We’ll have no more authority to speak into anyone’s life. No discipline – we’ll become like the people in the time of Judges when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Sin will become relative to one feels.

Sin is not relative to what others think or feel. Sin is real and it is rebellion against what God has defined. I’m calling for you to take a stand today.

  1. Repent from your sins and be saved. It doesn’t matter to me what you’ve done or where you’ve been. What matters is where you’re going. Jesus calls you to turn from you sin and follow him.
  2. Take a Stand against what the world is trying to make you do. I know there are those who stood as racists in the 60’s and 70’s and have been persuaded to change their minds. Preachers who preached for segregation and against integration. I stand here today as one who is preaching against the immorality of homosexuality and I stand on God’s Word. Will you stand with me? It will cost you.
    1. Last week I showed you a video. The bakery Sweet Cakes was fined Friday $135,000.00 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. Just like the people we saw in the video, your jobs are at stake, your businesses. I’m not asking you to discriminate or prejudice yourselves against the homosexual community. Not at all! Serve them when they come into your businesses, love them with kindness. But, when you are called to celebrate their sin and rebellion as holy in God’s eyes – then, you must take your stand.
  3. Pray…Tuesday our Supreme Court is hearing these cases before them. They will render a judgment and it will become the law of the land. Pray for these men and women to follow God’s leadership. Ask God to accomplish his desire in the court.
  4. One final word: This is not our home. Those streets out there are not ours. We drive on them because we abide by those who make the rules. We get insurance. We stay on the same side of the road. We go below the speed they set. We get inspections and we register our cars. We abide by their rules. And so it is with the laws that are passed. That is until it goes against the laws of God. And when that does…

Does this sound familiar?

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Are we there yet? I don’t know, we’ll see. You be in prayer this week and in the coming weeks as the judicial branch makes it’s decisions.

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What does the Bible have to say about Homosexuality?

Title: What does the Bible have to say about Homosexuality?

Text: Romans 1-2

CIS: Our people are being pounded everyday by the world to embrace homosexuality. But what does the Bible teach us about this?

Introduction: Introductory Video (FRC)

Audience: I’m fully away that this sermon is being recorded and therefore will not stay here with us today. However, with that said, I want to let you know my target audience today is my church – Calvary Baptist Church in Tyler, TX. There will be those who find this message via the Internet and, that’s ok. I’m sure there will be some who disagree with what is shared. That’s okay, too. What is important for you to understand is that I’m sharing Biblical principles from God’s Word. I will cite outside sources at times; however, if you’re listening to me today, you need to understand this message was prepared to help my congregation. They are the ones for which I’m responsible to God. I tell you this, so you’ll understand the tone and passion in my message.

Purpose: There has been a tremendous onslaught of information moving about the world: On the news, on the Internet, in the papers. There are many who desire to make you feel a certain way. My purpose today is to prepare you to take a Biblical stand against the world when that world tells you to ignore what God’s standards are for you. This message today is more about intellect than emotion – although I hope to engage the whole person.

Goal: I want to arm you with what God’s word says about homosexuality and what it means for you, for your family and for your life as a Texan, an American, and a Christian. I want you to know that God has a standard for the Christian and that standard hasn’t changed – no matter what other well meaning individuals might tell you.

My Text: The Word of God. I know there are other sources you can use. The American Journal of Medicine, or just about any medical school or school of Psychology has a publication or journal. Their views will differ. Their views differ from what has been published over the last 50 years. This book is the same and has not changed over the centuries. It is my judgment that this book is authentic and true. It is therefore trustworthy in advice, counsel and commands. The Bible is the standard by which we, as Christians, have been called to live up to. From it we can know God’s heart and intention for our lives.

Caveat: As we begin, I want you to know that this is not a message to encourage discrimination or prejudice. This is not a message of hate or bigotry. The message remains the same: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. If you leave this room today with hatred or bigotry in your heart, I’ve failed to communicate God’s Word clearly.

Furthermore, there is way to much information for me to deal with every topic concerning homosexuality. I can’t do it in one message. I’m not sure it could be done perfectly in one series. I’m pressed for time as it is. So, when I’m finished today, and you approach me and say: you didn’t cover such and such. I want to refer you to my purpose mentioned above: to prepare you to take a stand.

Our Outline: (I’ll only get through point #1 this today)

  1. The Traditional View of Marriage
  2. Man’s Perversion
  3. Why We Cannot Endorse Homosexuality in the Church

Let’s begin with the passages of Scripture we have. We start with what we call The Traditional View or the Biblical View

  1. The Biblical View: Marriage is between one man and one woman.
  • The Design of God: Genesis 1.26-28; 2.18-25; there are different types of flesh created – each one unique. Within the context of man (ish), God creates a ‘same, but different’ companion, or helper for him – one that is suitable for him (ishah). They compliment each other in their differences yet, they are Equal. God commands them to procreate and fill the earth.

So God’s design isn’t any two persons coming together for sex, but rather: one man becoming one flesh with one woman. That is God’s design. We call this the Traditional View of marriage because it has been this way for thousands of years. Let’s begin with the teaching of Jesus.

–  Jesus Taught this View. There is another reason in understanding this to be God’s design and that’s because Jesus taught us so. In Matt. 19:4–6 and Mark 10:6–9 Jesus teaches the principles found in Genesis 2, specifically v.24. The Pharisees want to test and trap him by asking him about divorce. Jesus confirms the Biblical model.

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

–  The Apostles Taught this View. I’ve mentioned Matthew and Mark above in quoting Jesus; you can add Luke to that when you discuss Acts 15 and the decision to the Gentile Churches. We might call this the Apostles Decree. I’ll share a little more about the Apostles’ Decree later on. for now, note that at that 1st church council were men like: James, the brother of Jesus, Simon Peter, Paul and Barnabas, Silas. With Paul we could reference Ephesians 5.22-33; or 1 Corinthians 7; The terms husband and wife are used for the English, but the Greek is very explicit with the use of man for husband and woman for wife and to intensify this, personal possessive pronouns are used (i.e., her own husband, his own wife). Peter in his 1st Epistle has a similar passage with similar wording identifying one man and one woman in a marriage.

–  The Scriptures are consistent with this View: We’ll look at a few more in just a moment, but usually at this point, someone would comment that the Biblical record on Homosexuality is rather small. And that would be true, but it is larger than most assume.

Scriptures: Genesis 9.20-27; 19.4-11; Judges 19.22-25; Leviticus 18.22; 20.13; Ezekiel 16.50 (and possibly 18.12 and 33.26); Romans 1.18-32; 1 Corinthians 6.9-11; 1 Timothy 1.10; Jude 6-7 and 2 Peter 2.6-7. But there are more when you consider homosexual cult prostitution (Deuteronomy 23.17-18; 1 Kings 14.24; 15.12; 22.46; 2 Kings 23.7; Job 36.14; and Revelation 21.8; 22.15).

Transition: At this point, I’d like to move away from Scripture and give an historical basis for the Traditional View of Marriage. So, what we have so far in our outline is:

  1. The Traditional View of Marriage
  • God’s Design
  • Jesus taught it.
  • The Apostles taught it.
  • Scripture verifies it.
  1. Historical Tradition

Written in the 1640’s, the Westminster Confession of Faith proclaims: “Marriage is to be between one man and one woman.” I state that to show that for hundreds of years, this has been the traditional view of marriage within the church. Basically, I go back to the Westminster Confession because it was born out of the Reformation. There were pre-reformers in the 1400’s. Martin Luther launched the Reformation in 1517. A Contemporary of Luther was John Calvin, who with his body of work, Institutes of the Christian Religion, established a document that would impact all non-catholic denominations in one way or another. His work in the 1500’s molded and shaped theological works, as well as secular laws and standards.

But we need to go back a lot further to find the roots of our laws concerning marriage between one man and one woman. King Alfred the Great first established the English Common Law in 890 AD. He basically assigned his men the responsibility of delineating the Scripture into English Law. In the 13th Century Henri Bracton wrote On the Laws and Customs of England. He basically put into writing the judicial laws and practices of the English that had been in use even before King Alfred established the English Common Law.

So even though the United States has been in existence since 1776, our foundation comes from our English founders. And, the basis for their laws goes back more than a thousand years. The English Common Law has mirrored the Judeo-Christian Moral Code of Morality closely. Behaviors that were consider unlawful even until very recently included: Sabbath-Breaking, Public Exposure, Fornication and Adultery, Incest and Homosexuality, Polygamy, Arbitrary Divorce, Prostitution, Gambling, Drunk and Disorderly Behavior. Over the past 50 years alone, we have seen each of these being moved into the tolerant zone and in many cases even become legal to practice. (Go back over them and identify practices today)

Ill.: an 18 year old woman is marring her biological father; They are moving to New Jersey where they can live together because it is not illegal in New Jersey. USA Today, January 16th, 2015;

Now, Before I move on from this, let me state further that the laws we’ve had for really more than a 1,000 years were not just behavioral laws, but also laws to help and protect the poor and the sick. These laws are taken from God’s law and are the foundation for our welfare system. (Now, I’m starting to move off task, so let me stop there and just let you know that the laws we have are biblically based and have thousands of years of success behind them.)

Transition: The laws, which governed our nation for hundreds of years, are not new. Specifically, we’re discussing the traditional view of marriage. It has not just been in existence since 1776. Furthermore, the law of marriage being between one man and one woman predates our country and our heritage. Our law is thousands of years old.

Now, there are some who would argue that the Genesis account is not about legal purposes, but rather for the purpose of Man’s aloneness. God created the heavens and the earth. He saw that everything he made was good. He saw that man was alone and that was not good. Therefore, two men or two women can still fulfill this purpose of God. But let me disagree, because what makes them “one flesh” is their coming together. And, the result and purpose of their coming together is to ‘fill the earth and subdue it.” So I think the purpose of God isn’t just companionship (it is not good that man is alone; I will make a helper), but there is the issue of procreation that results in the coming together of these two. That is something two men or two women cannot do.

At this point, the argument would be made that if procreation is really the issue, then what about birth control and what about couples who can’t procreate? They don’t fit the model. In doing this, we’re moving away from my first sub-point: God’s Design. What I am saying is that God’s perfect design fulfills all that he requires. Sin entered through the rebellion of Adam and Eve and everything has been affected. Man’s variation of God’s perfect design breaks down somewhere along the way. This is the definition of sin: when we take God’s perfect design and create variations of it to fulfill our own selfish desires. That in essence is rebellion – sin.

Conclusion: 1 Cor 6.9-11 – such were some of you! That’s us. The difference is the message of hope being accepted. If we embrace the message of the world, we will lose our message: Repent!

So I call you today to repent of your sins and find forgiveness in Christ.

(Part II will be continued next week: The Perversion of God’s Design by men & What is at stake in accepting homosexuality into the church. )

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Where is the hope?

Title: Where is the hope?

Text: Luke 24.13-35

CIT: Two men who had followed Christ headed home after the events of the weekend. They were confused about all they had heard and experienced. But, an encounter with Christ changed it all.

CIS: I wonder if there is some confusion on the part of people listening in this morning. Let me clarify some information for you.

Introduction: We’re in Luke 24.13-35.

This past week Robert Schuller died. He was 88 years old. Cindy Lennon, the 1st wife of John Lennon passed away at the age of 75. Eddie LeBarron, the 1st QB of the Dallas Cowboys also died this week. He was 85. Furthermore, I was reading this week of the death of the oldest person in the world – Misao Okawa. Show pic: My guess is that she is the last person to be born in the 1800’s! Guiness is doing a search for the new oldest person.

What struck me about this article was a comment she made at her last birthday: She commented that her life seemed rather short. What! If 117 years isn’t is ‘rather short’, what hope do most all of us have! Think about this: if God told you today that you were going to die in the next few minutes, would you think to yourself: wow, that went by really fast?

A 5th person, someone you’ve probably never heard of who died last week is Emily Phillips. Emily was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February. She decided to pen her own obituary. The part that caught my attention was: So…I was bon; I blinked; and it was over. Talk about hopeless… BTW: she was 69 years old.

Today, my message is about hope, in light of hopelessness.

Where there is hope vs. where there is hopelessness

Life has a way of squeezing hope out of us. People betray us and let us down. The loss of a job; the fracture of a relationship; the despair from crushing news brought by a doctor; the disappointment we bring to ourselves…I never thought I’d find myself here. Gary Inrig: In any situation in life, Hope is like Oxygen to the soul, but hopelessness is like leukemia to the spirit.

That’s what today is all about: Resurrection Sunday. It is a day that reminds us that there is hope. In spite of all that may attack us, in spite of what may happen in the course of this life, there is hope.

Now, when we get to our text, we find a group of people who are hopeless. Many of them had given up the last three years to walk with him and learn from him. But there was more: their hope was that he was indeed the Messiah.

Let’s stand and read our text together. I’ll read vs13-21a; read;

But we had hoped… let those words ring in your ears for just a moment. My guess is that every single member of this tiny group of disciples believed Jesus was dead. They knew it. Not one of them believed he was alive after many of them had witnessed his death and burial.

When I think about Peter and his despair, how he ran away and wept. Friday must have been the worst day of his life, as he saw it. It was probably that way for all of them! Saturday was probably the longest day of their lives as they waited in silence and secret, for fear of what would happen to them. I don’t imagine Sunday was anything they were very excited about.

Think about this: why were the ladies on their way to the tomb that morning? It was to give Jesus a proper burial. Because back a couple of days, the Sabbath was upon them, they ran out of time. Two men buried Jesus. It was a hasty burial. The women were coming to do it right. This group, called his disciples, was hopeless. Jesus was executed – the death of a criminal – he was dead and buried. Their expectations would be the same as yours and mine – that a dead body would do what a dead body does: lay there and rot. Rd 21b; and now it’s been three days – he’s dead.

I’m sure this was tough on them. I’m not sure how you get over something like this. Peter had betrayed Jesus with his denial. They all had fled when Jesus was arrested. Some, though, appear to be doing their best to move on – to put this behind them: It’s over. Let’s go home. Geographically, Jerusalem is to their backs. Metaphorically, the events of Jerusalem are behind them. They’re talking about all that was to be. What happened? It was just a week ago that the whole city was in a uproar, welcoming him, laying out palms on his pathway and crying out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We thought: this is it! It’s finally going to happen. Where did it all go wrong? How could things change so quickly!

Then, as they’re walking and talking – remembering – a stranger happens along. No big deal, many would have been traveling home after the Passover Celebration. Somehow though, they didn’t recognize this stranger. Their eyes were ‘kept’ from seeing him. The way it’s written here, it sounds as if this was God’s doing.

Now, you might be asking, how is this possible?

Ill.: When I was in Cotulla, I organized a youth choir. We were tiny – not really a choir at all. But I had a friend who was taking his youth to Florida on a long Choir tour/Mission Trip. My few grew into a big choir! There was only one problem. I had classes at seminary that interfered with the tour. My pastor was in full support of my schooling and felt I should get everything organized and send them off. Lisa was going to go with them. So, I did. Then I went back to school in Ft. Worth.

During the first few days on their journey, my adults noticed that they were being mistreated. They got all of the ‘dirty job’, the harder meals to prepare and clean up. The other group was getting preferential treatment. As it was, I had no classes the next day and only one on the day after that. I was sad that I couldn’t be there. One of the sponsors decided to buy me a ticket if I could come. Lisa asked and I said yes. Tickets were purchased and no one knew I was coming except my wife and this one chaperone. They wanted it to be a surprise. And a surprise it was!

I remember the flight. It was the first time I saw pacman in a field. I landed and Lisa and this chaperone, Linda, were there to pick me up. We were in Tallahassee/Crawfordville, Fl. They took me back to the church were our kids were in down time. The church we were staying at has a swimming pool and gym. Pretty cool. Anyway, I walked in to the gym and saw a group of men and teens playing basketball. They were from that church and I didn’t know them. My kids were all out playing in the pool. About that time, Donna Van Cleve, a mother of a couple of youth and one of my chaperones, walked into the gym. She saw me standing there with Lisa and Linda, but she didn’t recognize me. She figured I was one of the men from that church. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t say something to me. So I walked over to her and stood beside her watching the game. She just continued watching the game. So, I got closer and closer until I actually touched her shoulder to shoulder. She moved away and looked up to see who this creep was invading her space.

I’ll never forget her reaction. It was priceless. But, I’ll also never forget that she looked right at me and didn’t even recognize me. She said later that she was standing there thinking about me – that if I were there, I’d be playing basketball with those guys. That’s funny, I was on her mind, she saw me with her eyes, but didn’t even recognize me.

App.: I guess it was because she didn’t figure I should be there. That’s what’s going on with these guys: they thought Jesus was dead. They never expected him to be there.

Now, this stranger asks them what they’re talking about. What are you guys talking about as you walk along? The Gk here is so descriptive. Most literally, what words are you tossing back and forth between the two of you as you walk along? It’s kind of playful. Upbeat.

But they are not as he. The text actually tells us that they stop and stand still. Read v 17; And they stood still, looking sad. They actually stop walking. And they’re blown away that someone could be coming out of Jerusalem and not know what has been happening. Cleopas breaks the momentary silence with a question that I imagine he asks incredulously: rd v 18 Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And Jesus answers: what things?

Are you serious?!? What things? Lit.: Things?

“Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.

But there is more: rd 21-24;

If your taking notes this morning, I’ve come to my first point: Hopelessness comes when you are confused.

  1. Hopelessness comes when you are confused (22-24)

exp.: Hopelessness comes when you can’t make sense of your situation. That’s how these guys were. You know, it’s the same today: there are many who are confused over the empty tomb. It doesn’t make sense to them. Here’s the situation: There was an execution. He was dead and buried. But today, The tomb is empty – there is no corpse.

They actually tell us why they’re confused. They don’t know this, but we can see it now. It’s because they don’t understand who Christ really is. To them he is: (rd v 19)

  • Jesus, a Jewish name
  • Nazareth, from a town around Galilee
  • A man – just a simple man, who did great things
  • A prophet – mighty in deed and in word
  • But he was condemned and put to death

Yes, 1st, they’re confused because they didn’t really know who he was.

2nd, they’re confused because they didn’t really understand what he came to do. They said, 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. What they say is right, but their understanding of what it means is different. They are thinking from a human, earthly standpoint. Yes, he’s come to set them free – but not from the Romans, but rather from their sins.

I’ve got to stop here and make an application: could it be that many are confused today because they’ve misunderstood the purpose for which Jesus came? Maybe you’re there today? Maybe you’ve thought that giving your life to Jesus meant that he was going to make everything perfect in your life. You’d never get sick, you’d always have enough money, you’d always prosper in all you do. No! The purpose of Christ’s coming to this earth wasn’t so you’d be healthy, wealthy and prosperous in the physical sense. He came to make atonement for your sin. And not your sin only, but for the sins of the world.

He then speaks to them in v 25; rd v 25-27;

He then takes them methodically through the O.T. and reveals to them just how this was all supposed to happen; rd Ps 22.1-18; Isaiah 52.13-53.12; It is as if these two men were eye witnesses to the crucifixion. It’s like they were sitting there at the foot of the cross, watching and listening in.

Rd 28-29; the time has passed quickly as they’ve walked together on their way. Jesus has opened the Scriptures to them and explained to them how it is that this has been God’s plan from the beginning. They ask him to stay:

  1. Because it’s practical – the day is far spent, if you keep going, you’ll be out on the road after dark
  2. Because it’s personal – there is nothing like the excitement of someone who knows what he is talking about.

ill.: There are certain scholars I have experienced this with. #1 David Helm. David has a mind for the deep things of God, but uses a vocabulary for us simply folk. He has a gift for communicating in a clear and concise way. I sat under his teaching and was amazed that his hour was up. It felt so short. R. Kent Hughes is another man like that. These men explain things and I’m like: why didn’t I see that?

That’s probably what has happened here: they want to spend a little more time with this stranger. I say this because there is something unusual about the set up; rd v 30; The Jewish custom was pretty particular about this: the man of the house was given this responsibility. He would lead his family in this manner. For some reason, unknown to us, Jesus performs this duty. Rd v 31;

I wonder what it was exactly that caused this.

  • Did he say something in Hebrew to begin the meal, something they had heard before, like:

הָאָרֶץ וְאֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֵת אֱלֹהִים ׃בָּרָא בְּרֵאשִׁית

  • Was it simply the way he said it, the way they had heard him say it before?
  • Or, was it the way he broke the bread as he spoke?
  • Or, did they see the wounds in his hands?
  • Or, was it simply as the Scripture records: 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

I don’t know the answer to that, I only know their eyes were opened – and they knew. It’s him! It’s Jesus!

And the passage reads in v. 31: And he vanished from their sight.

t.s.: I told you point #1 is Hopelessness comes when you are confused. Here is Point #2

     2.    Hope comes when it all finally makes sense (14-16)

exp.: like these guys, I don’t know what that will be for you. Maybe you’ll finally understand his purpose. Maybe for the first time, Scripture will make sense. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll see him for who He is – The one sent to die for your sins.

ill.: It is amazing to me that the Empty Tomb didn’t confirm for these guys that Jesus was risen from the dead. The disciples began to think of physical possibilities. Mary: They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him. And again: “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” The Pharisees, too: The disciples have stolen the body.

Maybe, you’re like Thomas, who said that it was just too much for him to understand. Unless he could see the hands with the nail wounds and the whole in his side.

For these people, it has to make sense physically. But, maybe, just maybe, something is happening to you like happened to these two disciples, Cleopas and his friend. Rd v 32: 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”

I love what happens next: rd v 33-35; They got there, I’m guessing with the hope of telling everyone – but boom: they got upstaged! “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Isn’t that just like Simon Peter!

I love the logical reasoning behind the understanding that Jesus rose from the dead. William Lane Craig outlines them in his Paper – Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We see them in this text:

  1. First of all, there is an Execution that takes place. rd 19-21; He died.
  2. 2ndly, there is the Empty tomb. We see this in 22-25; pretty simple and straight forward. There is so much work that has been done on the historical accuracy of the resurrection. There are so many non-biblical accounts that verify the resurrection.
  3. 3rdly we have the Eye-witness accounts, the resurrection appearances. We this in 33-35; It’s more than just an empty tomb – there are verifiable witnesses to a resurrected Jesus. As Luke says in Acts 1.3: He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
  4. 4thly, we have the Explosion of growth through the early church. What would cause 3,000 men to get saved at a fisherman’s preaching? What would cause 2,000 more in another time of preaching? I love what Paul said to Agrippa and Festus in Acts 26.24-26

24 And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” 25 But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. 26 For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner.

The early church exploded because they were eyewitnesses to these accounts of an empty tomb and his appearances.

I think this is summed up best by an orthodox Jewish Rabbi, who by the way, believes in the resurrection, but denies Jesus as the Messiah. He believes God raised Jesus because of the incredible unjust done to him by his enemies and his followers alike. Pinchas Lapide writes: When the scared, frightened band of the apostles which was just about to throw away everything in order to flee in despair to Galilee; when these peasants, shepherds, and fishermen, who betrayed and denied their master and then failed him miserably, suddenly could be changed overnight into a confident mission society, convinced of salvation and able to work with much more success after Easter than before Easter, then no vision or hallucination is sufficient to explain such a revolutionary transformation.

Souce: William Lane Craig – Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

**Show next screen: execution, empty tomb, eye witnesses, explosion…

Conclusion: Let me ask you this morning: Where is your hope? Do you have hope? Do you understand that your life is like a vapor of steam that appears for just a moment? You are born, you blink, and boom, it’s over! As I talk about these things this morning, is there more confusion than confidence? Is your heart burning within you – is that the best way to describe it? Is there something going on and you don’t even understand it, but you know – for the 1st time or maybe the 1st time in a long time that you know – you really know Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins, that he was buried in a borrowed tomb and that three days later he rose from the dead and is alive today! I want to encourage you to do the same thing: to rise up at this moment. Come on down and tell me about it. There will be others here to help you with just such a decision.

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