Sunday, June 11, 2017

Biblical Sexual Ethics are Confusing Many

Sunday Sermon: Biblical Sexual Ethics are Confusing Many
By Pastor Ed Evans
Scripture: Romans 8:28
”And we know that God works all things together for those who love God, for those who are called according to His purposes.”

Charles Spurgeon is quoted as saying, “This present age is so flippant that if a man loves the Savior he is a fanatic and if he hates the powers of evil, he is a bigot.”
No doubt about it, there are many things in this present age that are confusing. But it has been that way in every age. Yet men and women of God need not be confused, for they are given explicit and direct guidance in the word of God regarding how to conduct themselves.
Nevertheless, the number of professing Christians who reject the traditional Biblical sexual ethic has been steadily increasing over the last few years as men and women succumb to the societal pressures of “political correctness.” Except that such deliberate ignorance of God’s word is neither politic nor correct.
Many of those once submitting to the Bible’s clear condemnation of homosexual behavior now propose that theologians have long been off base in their interpretation of the texts addressing this issue. They don’t believe the Scriptures speak ill of loving, monogamous same-sex relationships, but only homosexual activity in the context of rape, child molestation, and idol worship. They may believe that all they wish, but none of it is supported by scripture.
The word of God is very clear – “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." (Lev. 18:22 & Lev. 20:13). And since this is neither a civil nor a ceremonial law but a moral law in Leviticus, there is no expiration date. It still stands today. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Now, no one should misunderstand this as a demand that we judge and ostracize those who disagree with God. The Almighty gives each of us free will, and we are free to hate God if we so choose. And some of us do exactly that in order to serve ourselves, and not God. God will do the judging, although some of us think that’s our job.
However, there is a big difference between judging someone, and discerning evil. The two are not the same at all. In the Bible, the word "judge" is often a poor translation of the Greek word "katakrino." This word literally means "to judge against." In other words, it really means "to condemn." But there is another Greek word, "krino," which is often translated "to discern." "Krino" literally means "to separate." Or, to put it more clearly, it means "to separate the good from the bad."
The word of God calls for us to have a fine balance between head and heart. Biblical Christianity means loving God and others fervently, from the heart; but also, such love is in line with God’s truth as revealed in His Word. Exercising such love is what leads us to Christian maturity. Love for God or others that is not based on truth is just deluded emotionalism. But truth devoid of love leads to arrogance.
The signpost we are looking for leading to the true love of God is true knowledge. Since God cannot be known except as He has revealed Himself, such true knowledge of God can only be obtained through His Word. Since God Himself is love, to grow in the true knowledge of God is to grow to understand what true love is.
Now, this true knowledge of God as revealed in His Word is essential if you want to grow in love. We can’t know love by looking at our society, our culture. We can only know what love looks like by studying the character of God, especially as revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ, God in human flesh. And as we study Him, we see in Matthew 23 where He lashed into the Pharisees, we may even be a bit shocked as He takes whip in hand to clear the filth from His Father’s temple. And yet our Jesus is the epitome of love. Not a clay mask that one puts on to please others, or to get what our free will desires, but a love that loves even the unlovely, that wades into the mud to pull a sinner free, or empties his own pockets so an unregenerate shyster can eat this day. The love of Christ applies itself to the person, to the situation. The need does not twist itself around to fit the requirements of our version of tough love. That’s the short-sighted love of political correctness.
It seems as though today if you criticize someone else’s doctrine or personal life, no matter how unbiblical either might be, you are not loving, you are a “hater”, and you are arrogant to be judging that person. The well-known words of Jesus, “Judge not, lest you be judged” from Matthew 7:1 are twisted out of context and misapplied. But if you keep reading, Jesus goes on to say, in Matthew 7:6, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine”. And yet, how do you determine if someone is that dog or that swine if you don’t make discerning judgments? Later on in Matthew 7:15 Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets who come as wolves in sheep’s clothing. If we are discerning we see this isn’t a fellow-sheep before us whom we need to embrace, but a ravenous wolf we need to avoid!
So we see that Biblical love cannot be divorced from the true knowledge of God and from the discernment between truth and error, between right and wrong that comes from a careful knowledge of Scripture, that Biblical love is inextricably bound up with discernment, not with the judgment of men, but with God-given discernment.
I leave you with the wisdom of Philippians 1:9-11: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Closing Prayer:


Heavenly Father, we find strength and boldness in the knowledge that You have not abandoned us to the machinations of this world, but continue to teach us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, ensuring we have the knowledge of scripture available to us with which to employ the wisdom of discernment in dealing with others, and through our knowledge of the love of Jesus Christ. Thank You, Father, that as Your own we are able to draw others to You, by the blessed and incomparable love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2016

History Is Happening Right Before Our Eyes

By Pastor Ed Evans

With all we see going on in America today, those of my generation decry the college crowd with buttercup brains and butterfly hearts, and wonder about the future of America as they come of age. 
I submit we are watching, in our own time, the disintegration akin to that of the Roman Empire. Same criminal graft, same selfish guilt, same meltdown of male and female roles, same paucity of discipline in the military armed forces. Our enemies simply bide their time. If you read Revelations in your Bible, you will see that America is not there when Christ returns. We are watching the reason.
Of course, for those who already have a relationship with Jesus Christ, this is all the more reason to constantly share the Good News of Jesus Christ at every opportunity, For 2nd Timothy 4:3 tells us, "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..." Oh wait, it's here and once again we see it happening right now, don't we. History continues to ramble on right before our eyes. Ethical and moral walls fall, "understood" rules of behavior crumble before social depravity and ravenous hungers of strange types.
Everything of which the prophets of old warned us is coming into being as mankind reveres and fawns before the fleshly creation, rather than the Creator. Right before our eyes. With all the modern advances and such industrial wisdom and intelligence being displayed for the betterment of mankind, who would have thought the moral and ethical ground upon which society stands would begin to disintegrate so easily, and so soon. Who would have thought it. God did. And He told us so.
There is a remedy, an answer, and we've known it all along. But then, the truth of 2nd Tiothy 4:3 is in motion, and the axe is falling.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Born in a Barn? Close the Door to Evil!

By Pastor Ed Evans

As America draws closer to the November 8th Presidential election, many forces for and against the two leading candidates are becoming more active, more accusatory, more divisive.
Among the voting population there are those who say they will vote for Hillary Clinton, those who say they will vote for Donald Trump, and those who say they cannot vote for either so they will vote for one of the several lesser known candidates.
You, as an American voter, have every right to vote for whom you wish. I and many others have and most probably would again, fight to guarantee you that right. In the same spirit that it has been said that the U.S. Constitution is fit only for governing a God-fearing people -- yes, I am aware not all Americans are going to be God-fearing people – the action of performing as a responsible voter rests only with those concerned, as I am at this critical juncture in our nation's history, with the future of our nation.
Any due diligence applied, any critical thinking, will reveal that only Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump have a reasonable chance at becoming President. I am not nearly as concerned about what Trump says as I am about what Clinton has not only done, but promises to do once imbued with the power of the Oval Office. There can be no compromise, there is no alternative choice. The nation-saving choice rests in keeping evil out of the Oval Office, away from the power of the Presidency, completely away from the nuclear football, or codes. Evil must also not be allowed to pack the Supreme Court over the next eight years; must be kept from continuing to strip the U.S. military of not only new weaponry but also necessary maintenance programs (F-18s are "falling out of the air" due to lack of required maintenance); cease coming up with more PC social experiments in our military that merely degrade the most effective military in the world; stop teaching the next generation that how to make more money is better than learning productive ethics and morals.

As with the rest of life that I have lived and observed in my 75 years on this earth, I have no doubt about the sovereignty of Almighty God; God will do what God intends to do. And while His Son's Sermon on the Mount provides excellent guidance for how we should live into His vision, at no time does God instruct us to open the doors for evil. But as with most everything else, opening those doors or closing them is an individual choice. Choose well. The future of your children and my grandchildren depend upon keeping evil out.  I urge you not to allow them to be caught on the wrong side of evil.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Strangeness in a Strange World

Seems to be a strange wave of anti-voting going on. I keep running into posts by people who claim they are not voting for Hillary, and by not voting at all, they claim that will be a vote for Trump. It's nonsense, of course. Doesn't work that way. But that is their story and they are sticking to it, along with the claims Hillary will never be convicted of anything. Like they thought she was royalty.
I have to believe this is all coming from the Democrat's traditional bag of dirty tricks. Otherwise, why the sudden surge of "not voting is a vote for Trump"?
One poster brushed aside all logical arguments ending with a graphic which declared: "The only people I owe my loyalty to are those who never made me question their's." This was my response:
"...owe loyalty...? That would include all those wonderful young men who paid with their lives and futures for your freedom and mine. I know many of their names firsthand, some who died on the four battlefields on which I served, while I survived. And I owe them and their surviving families a better America, which is why I will not roll over and go along to get along. Trump has been helping and assisting military veterans long before he began running for President. Hillary has consistently disrespected and demeaned military members, not to mention the now available email evidence of her deadly involvement in the death of the Benghazi four. If you are free, if you are in this nation speaking English, having access to all the hopes and dreams of any other American, then you owe posterity the same diligence of purpose in protecting freedom that those who came before you sacrificed to provide to you and your family. "Opting out", like the bended knee before royalty, is not the American way.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Life is a Contest

               Life is a contest; sink or swim, succeed or fail, be rewarded or lose out.
               If you are not aborted, you have a chance.  If you are born in America, you have a chance.  If you are born to loving, supportive parents, you have a chance.  Not everyone is.
               At least in our day and age we no longer have to be on the lookout for saber-toothed tigers, deadly raptors and other dinosaurs.   Today most of our dangers come instead from mankind and its machinations.  So yes, sometimes staying alive is a contest that requires focus and concentration.
               The world has been watching the 31st Olympics this past week, and rarely has focus and concentration been more on display.  31-year-old Michael Phelps winning 22 Olympic medals; Simone Manuel celebrated as the first black person to win an Olympic swimming gold medal, followed by a host of exciting stories of Olympic medal wins.
Unlike the other competition that has dominated the world-wide news media this past year – no, not the American political campaigns – the war against terrorism, we have witnessed many poignant moments where battling teams switched in an instant from intense competitors to hugging, hand-shaking congratulatory fans of the winners.
               Maybe it’s just the sports environment that encourages such clean, healthy competition without the base, go-for-the-jugular attacks.  No revenge, no vengeance.  As veteran volleyball champ Kerry Walsh Jennings and her partner battled the Italians for the gold medal, the TV cameras zoomed in on Walsh Jennings left hand, where she had written the word “JOY” to remind her why she played so hard to win.  Competition, yes, but not for blood.  And winners were congratulated and celebrated, not plotted against sniped at.
               Sports does seem to bring out the best in human beings.
               A Little League baseball game comes to mind, where the boys from Warner Robbins, Ga., defeated a team of young boys from Japan.  Even as the winners jumped about with back-slapping congratulations, they noticed that the Japanese boys had broken down in tears.  Without a word the victory celebration stopped and the winning team moved to console the losers.
               Said pitcher Kendall Scott, “I just hated to see them cry, and I just wanted to let them know that I care.  Youthful sportsmanship at its best.
               Some may remember a similar moment that was caught on video at a Special Olympics race a few years ago.  As the mentally and physically challenged children raced down their lanes, one boy stumbled and went down.  One girl stopped, turned around and went back to help him.  The others, as they approached the finish line, stopped, turned and went back to boy being helped to his feet.  All together, they crossed the finished line, winners all.
               Heartwarming moments all, but pointing out that sports – even at its best – is an imperfect metaphor for Christianity.  For in sports, someone always loses.  But when someone is won to Christ, the only loser is Satan.

               The difference is that for Christians, true teamwork is not about defeating someone, it’s about making them part of the team, God’s own team.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Who Is This Crazy Old Lady ..... And Does She Really Know?

Hillary Clinton recently called for raising taxes on the “middle class” while campaigning in Omaha, Nebraska.  She was joined on stage by left-wing Democrat billionaire Warren Buffett, and they both received applause from those in attendance.

“Because while Warren is standing up for a fairer tax code, Trump wants to cut taxes for the super-rich,” said Clinton. “Well, we’re not going there, my friends. I’m telling you, right now — we’re going to write fairer rules for the middle class and we are going to raise taxes on the middle class!”  And unaccountably, the audience cheered and applauded!
I don’t know which is stranger, Hillary’s words or her audience’s approval!
In another speaking engagement, it was reported that as Hillary was speaking someone in the audience held up a banner about not killing animals.  Hillary stopped speaking.  Apparently it was as if she was stunned; or confused.  One of her Secret Service agents was observed coming alongside of her saying, “Keep talking.”  And she did.  She began to talk about how former President George Bush and his friends like to kill animals.  What?
Now, much earlier I had read one of those tell-all stories from someone who had apparently been on Hillary’s staff, was let go, and was “telling all” as one who had been close to her.  What she was telling was about Hillary’s inability to focus and stay on target.  How she had to be constantly reminded what to do, where to be, what to say.  The implication was a lack of short-term memory.  At the time I filed that away as election-year fluff.  Now I wonder.
If you go to Google and search “Hillary Clinton Seizures”, you find 583,000 results.  Many of those are YouTube videos of her apparently suffering on-camera seizures, and yet beyond what you see, no credible evidence has been addressed or released.  InfoWars.com and others discuss Hillary Clinton as a sociopath who may have brain damage, but again, no real evidence one way or the other.
Here’s the thing.  At this point in the election year, no one is going to state with any competency that the lady is ill or in any state that would remove her from running for President.  Just not going to happen, even were it true.
We all are probably familiar with stories about the old boxing champion or other aging sports figure who has lost their edge, maybe even suffered brain damage, but who won’t quit.  And they are surrounded by a coterie of close supporters who continue to urge that person on.  After all, this is their golden goose.  Without this person they have no money, no job, no future.  Doesn’t matter that the longer this person goes without competent treatment the less grow their chances for a good quality of life, or even survival.
If this were true of Hillary Clinton, could those who have closed ranks around her ensure this nation the leadership it deserves, that it needs?  They would surely answer in the affirmative, behind closed doors.  Others would coach, coax, act for, and keep up appearances for as long as possible; unless the money and rewards ran out.  But no chance of that, by all accounts. 
Still, brain damage or not, disaster looms and the question presents itself, will Hillary be able to cope?  While Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea will do everything in their power to “protect” their cash cow, their golden goose, it doesn’t take even a good detective to see that the Clinton Empire is beginning to fray, crack, and rot around the edges. 
Now new evidence is being investigated about the claimed suicide of close Democratic supporter Vince Foster.  Two others who authorities say were about to testify against the Clintons have also died this year.  News commentators are abandoning their practice of “protecting” the Clintons as “American royalty” and ugly facts about the Clinton Foundation are finding their way into print and TV news, such as how the Foundation benefits the Clintons alone as a “slush fund” but no one else, for example.
The descriptive phrase “house of cards” comes to mind, and again the question, can Hillary cope?
And at the center of it is a now-delightful, now-furiously angry, now-silly grinning elderly lady who has had a good run in politics and now wants her brass ring on the merry-go-round.  And it is to the benefit of many that she gets it, so they are hiding and sliding and helping her.  Possibly.  How will we know?  Camouflage and misdirection are the hallmarks of an election year.  And the bottom line comes down to the question of how that helps the nation.  Should a pity-support vote put her into the White House and we simply hope for the best?  Can we trust those around her to carry on if it all turns out badly?
Still and all, we who have grown up as Americans still retain enough of the remaining true American character to ask the question that is even more bottom line to that.  And that question is how does any of it really help this human being we know as Hillary Rodham Clinton?  What about what is best for this possibly “crazy old lady”?  What about what is best for her?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Darker, Sterner Days of America's Tomorrows

by Pastor Ed Evans

Many of us, whether supporters of Donald Trump, cautious admirers, or die-hard non-supporters, have been watching the TV coverage of the Republican National Convention.  As one who has spent more than 50 years dealing with the American and international news media, I have perhaps paid attention to different aspects of that coverage than have others, and I find great disappointment.
CBS in particular has done a wretched, deliberately I suspect, wretched job.  At a high point in the early convention CBS broke for a several days old interview with Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton.  Here they are promoting gavel-to-gavel coverage of a Republican convention and they switch to a Democratic opponent who is castigating and savaging her opponent, Republican Donald Trump. 

I was so disgusted I switched to C-Span and there I stayed.  Even-handed coverage.
But it was when I switched that I believe I discovered the reason CBS went to a Hillary Clinton interview.  For at the convention, at that very point, conventioneers were hearing from the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, former LtGen. Michael Flynn, on the disastrous amount of damage Hillary Clinton had done with her injudicious handling of her email and classified documents on an unofficial email system she had set up for herself.  And it is disastrous.  For not only are our classified secrets now in the hands of our enemies and detractors, but so are her private emails.  This sets her up for a monumental amount of blackmail, if our enemies wish.  How can one operate in the Oval Office on behalf of America under those circumstances?
So much of the past four years under the Obama administration needs to be corrected.  Operating outside the bounds of Constitutional authority, without Congress holding his feet to the fire, President Obama and his administration have created racial, economic, and national security havoc.  Even the social assistance program dubbed “Obamacare”, intended to meet the needs of so many people, is coming apart and leaving those who need it most in economic and medical jeopardy.  There is so much that needs to be corrected.
And so it is with a cautiously hopeful heart that many Americans, politically affiliated or not, are watching the events play out at the Republican National Convention, placing Donald Trump and Governor Pence in the spotlight of history.  All the while the CBS reporters go on camera discussing the size of the hall, the empty seats, seeking out delegates who will have a targeted bad word to say about Trump.  CBS has studiously abandoned their responsibility to the American people to provide all the facts unfettered with personal agendas.  The CBS reportage team embarrassed themselves when they went onto the Convention floor seeking the Convientioneers’ comments about the similarities between Melania Trump’s speech and an old one of First Lady Michelle Obama.  Responded the delegates on the floor: “We don’t care.”
All of this sadness has sent my mind reeling back to another era, when world leaders were world leaders and the rest of us were glad of it.  And Winston Churchill, he who once termed himself merely the lion given the gift of being the British nation’s roar in victory over World War II, Churchill appeared at the Harrow boys’ school in England to give a speech.  The words still ring out with the bronze bell sound of freedom and dedication to that freedom, today.
A sermon illustration from Pastor Lee Eclov of Vernon Hills, Illinois, best recalls the event, as follows.
There is a widespread myth about a famous short speech supposedly delivered by Winston Churchill. Most versions go something like the one I found in a Christian book:
There's this famous story about Sir Winston Churchill, who near the end of his distinguished career was asked to return and speak at his old school, Harrow (where as a boy he'd almost flunked out)…
The great day finally arrived, and after the school's fanfare and acclamation Sir Winston stood to his feet, acknowledged the introduction, and gave the following address, which is quoted in full: 'Young men, never give up. Never give up! Never give up!! Never, never, never-never-never-never!'"
According to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, the speech was not delivered near the end of Churchill's career (he died in 1965), but on October 29, 1941. And he wasn't Sir Winston till 1953. And what he really said was, "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."
In addition, this familiar speech was not 29 words long, but rather two pages. The famous quote was neither at the beginning nor the end, but hidden away in a long paragraph recounting Great Britain's progress during the first 10 months of World War II. The full speech reads:
Almost a year has passed since I came down here at your Head Master's kind invitation in order to cheer myself and cheer the hearts of a few of my friends by singing some of our own songs. The 10 months that have passed have seen very terrible catastrophic events in the world—ups and downs, misfortunes—but can anyone sitting here this afternoon, this October afternoon, not feel deeply thankful for what has happened in the time that has passed and for the very great improvement in the position of our country and of our home? Why, when I was here last time we were quite alone, desperately alone, and we had been so for five or six months. We were poorly armed. We are not so poorly armed today; but then we were very poorly armed. We had the unmeasured menace of the enemy and their air attack still beating upon us, and you yourselves had had experience of this attack; and I expect you are beginning to feel impatient that there has been this long lull with nothing particular turning up!
But we must learn to be equally good at what is short and sharp and what is long and tough. It is generally said that the British are often better at the last. They do not expect to move from crisis to crisis; they do not always expect that each day will bring up some noble chance of war; but when they very slowly make up their minds that the thing has to be done and the job put through and finished, then, even if it takes months—if it takes years—they do it.
Eclov, in his remembrance of the event, goes on to say, “Another lesson I think we may take ….. is that appearances are often very deceptive, and as Kipling well says, we must "…meet with Triumph and Disaster. And treat those two impostors just the same."

God alone knows how the November election will turn out.  Many of us hope Trump will be the victor and he will keep his promises to America to lead this nation back to greatness, out of a mire of ethical, moral, economic and legal bad decisions.  Out of the darkness, into the sunlight, without failure or obfuscation.  Against that we must never give in.  Never, never, never.