Saturday, July 28, 2012

The War Against God, by Pastor Ed Evans

Scripture:  Psalm 14
14:1  Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is no one who does good.
14:2  The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.
14:3  They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.
14:4  Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord?
14:5  There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the company of the righteous.
14:6 You would confound the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
14:7  O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad. 

          There used to be a TV series called "Evening Shade" starring Burt Reynolds, with Charles Durning as the philosophizing old Southern doctor who would often shake his head and declare, "The world's gone noouuts."  I heard his voice in my head this past week, observing the hue and cry and calls for boycotts over words the CEO of Chick-Fil-A never said.  Supporters of the same-sex marriage idea went ballistic after CNN reported that CEO Dave Cathy came out publicly in an interview against same-sex marriage.  But transcripts bear out that isn't what he said.  In answer to an interviewer's question, Cathy stated he believed in traditional family values.  The story went on to allege that meant Cathy refused to support same-sex values.  Since the company has always closed on Sunday their Christian values were no secret, but now homosexual supporters called for a nationwide boycott.
          Roseanne Barr announced those who eat at Chick-Fil-A "deserve to get cancer."
This past Friday the Chick-Fil-A corporate VP for PR died of a heart-attack, and already Chick-Fil-A's opponents are mocking his death.
           On the Internet, discussions about Chick-Fil-A have turned into a blatant attack on God, on Jesus Christ, and Christianity in general.  But it has not stopped with trashing Chick-Fil-A, it was if a dam of hatred and evil invective had burst.
          Foul-mouthed TV host Kathy Griffin viciously attacked 17-year-old Willow Palin, clling her a "dirty whore and future porn star."
          The founder of gave $2.5 million to fight for same-sex marriage.
          Actress Ellen Barkin denounced conservatives, sending out hate-filled rants about the death of Internet guru Andrew Breitbart, a devoted husband and father of four.
          When the CEO of Chick-Fil-A was recently asked on a radio interview if he was against same-sex marriage, he said he was for one-man, one-woman marriage.  Now organizations supporting homosexuality have announced a nationwide boycott of Chick-Fil-A, and the mayors of Boston and Chicago announced they don't want Chick-Fil-A in their cities.  Even the ACLU came out against those statements.
          Again I could hear the old doctor on Evening Shade, intoning, "The world's gone noooouuts."
          Sometimes you have to wonder how some of these people found their way out of the birth canal.  But as I was reminded, some didn't, they were pulled out.
          But where does all this hate come from?
          And if you are thinking it all comes from liberals and leftist idealogues, you would be wrong.  There are those claiming to speak for God who spew hatred, as well.  But whether it comes from the right or left, it originally comes from the Father of Lies.  For Satan gives away the game when those he influences to hate their brother also misrepresent God while arguing for or against homosexuality.
          As I have often said, there is no good way to do a wrong thing.  You cannot hate your homosexual brother, or sister, and love God.  Even holy scripture says you can't do that.  It's in 1st John 3:15 that we find, "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
          But this hate-filled war against Biblical ethics and morals is not just a war against Christians or their beliefs, it is a war against God, against Jesus Christ, against the influence of the Holy Spirit.  To rebel against God is to war against Him.  This becomes even more obvious when those who support same-sex activity claim the Bible is an out-of-touch book written by 40 different authors with lots of contradictions, or it was written by the "Illumanati", or it just has no bearing on our life today because we don't sacrifice animals to God, or we meet on the wrong day, or all religion is just a crutch.  All are shallow misstatements that say more about the claimant than the Bible.
          Almighty God is as clear in His words to us about the issue of same-sex as he is about pre-marital sex, about thievery, about murder, and more; "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?  Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."  (1st Cor. 6:9-10)  We will not see the unrepentant in heaven.
          We who follow Jesus Christ need to be very concerned about those who practice such as this.  Not because they might convince us of their argument, but because they will not convince themselves of the reality of the Living God.  They have put themselves on His throne in their lives, convincing themselves, as verse 1 of Psalm 14 says, "There is no God," and all the perversions and ill-behavior mentioned in Psalm 14 become theirs.
          They remind me of a TV commercial seen recently, where one guy is telling another that he is 99.99% certain of whatever it was he was telling the other one. The first guy says, "So you don't know."  And so it is with most honest people.  We just don't know in a scientific demonstrable way, what is certain and what is not.  It is all probability.  In a court room, a person is found guilty or innocent on a preponderance of evidence.  Within Christianity we believe in our Redeemer based on a preponderance of evidence. My faith in God cannot be proven scientifically.  If I tell you I had lunch alone on a certain hillside yesterday, at 12 noon, there is no way to scientifically prove it, yet I was there.  And so is My Lord and Savior.  He was there.  And He still is, and is still with me, as well.  Given all the evidence in favor of the infallibility of the Bible we believe in it beyond all ancient manuscripts.  For it has the most evidence for reliability and being what it claims to be. Yet I can't prove it above that 99.99% of certainty.  Rather, the amount of evidence produced allows us to rely upon it's trustworthiness, as a matter of faith.  God, in His love for us, has given us the highest probability possible that we may believe.  If we had proof positive of the Bible's reliance, of the presence of God, it would not be a matter of faith and belief.
          This conflict over same-sex issues is not just a matter of different ideas, but a matter of different ideals and goals.  Those who rebel against God want to satisfy their own desires, despite what God has said.  They have a problem with His authority.  And as do many who are centered on self, who want what they want, regardless, men and women tend to resort to bullyism to demand they get their way.
          In this most recent outbreak of it, those who support same-sex marriage are attempting to bully those who have a right to their opinion, even if dissenting.  They have that right to an opinion, on both sides of the issue, because this is still America.  And if those against same-sex marriage decide to bully those who are for it, with tactics such as are being seen against Chick-Fil-A and others, we should stand against that, as well.  Bullying for anything changes no one's mind, in fact it just more resolutely hardens opinions so there is no room for open discussion.
          My Christian friends, homosexuality is a selfish concentration on what pleases us, becoming our idol, what we pay most attention to, replacing God on the throne of our life.  Only Christ and His influence, working through those who rebel, can make them see they are nothing, He is all. They need good friends who can tolerate -- not accept or support -- but tolerate their idolatry of self. I am personally familiar with what goes on socially among these folks, and often there is violence involved, as making "natural" what is known in the heart to be unnatural takes a toll on both partners. I know, there will be those here who castigate me for speaking plainly to you, but I urge you not to push them away, but to remain friends, to pray for them, for only Christ and His influence working through them can convince them that they are nothing, as we are nothing, and He is all.  Those who choose to continue in error, in the face of hard evidence that such behavior is a choice, and in the face of a continuing lack of even scientific evidence to the contrary -- with no lack of repeated attempts to prove otherwise, that there is a "homosexual gene" -- merely confuses the issue for others.
          In fact, from a purely scientific point of view, Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion affirms that "To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction; something observable in everyday life, and applicable in this context.  Newton's laws of motion are three physical laws that form the basis for classical mechanics.
          So when we as a people see actions taking place such as the evil of the attack on the people of New York City on September 11, 2001; when we see the massacre of Christian men, women and children, and their homes and churches burned in Africa, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere; when we see the senseless attack of a gunman on theater attendees in Aurora, Colorado, we know that evil exists.  And if the common sense law of Isaac Newton holds any sway at all, then where there is evil, there is good.  And what is observable all over this earth is the ongoing war between good and evil, between Satan and God.  Time to choose sides.
          The book that pre-dates all other books of historical, religious and law-giving precedence, the Bible, tells us this war has been an observable activity since the very beginning of time.  And for the very same reason that a thief kills a drug store clerk and robs the store -- someone wants something someone else has -- that war between good and evil continues in a range from a stolen toy to a the threat of nuclear holocaust.
          On that basis, no one should be surprised that when good raises its hand and says to the community, national or otherwise, that what we are entering into is not good, it is evil, then evil is going to climb on its hind legs and use every weapon in its arsenal to silence that voice.  And that is what is happening now as commercial companies and larger enterprises, for a profit motive, climb on the homosexual bandwagon. 
          These decisions are apparently based on the belief that by coalescing with the homosexual agenda -- which they must believe is gaining adherents -- their customer base will be enlarged and their profits increased.
          I believe they are mistaken.  But I also believe they are more than mistaken, I believe they have forsaken the good of their fellow man and entered into a war against God.
          Practically no companies have come out in support of scriptural prerogatives as has the Chick-Fil-A restaurant chain.  When asked about his beliefs, CEO Dan Cathy said, "I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.'" He continued, "I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about."
          In a statement made following the CEO's remarks, Chick-fil-A reaffirmed its foundation on "Biblically-based principles," but also said that "The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect –regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender." Company officials said that they plan to "leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena" in the future.  However, the fact that the company both hires and serves homosexuals without discrimination has not saved them from becoming a boycott target among those in support of the homosexual agenda.
          In this case, the company's opinion is of little consequence, actually, for God has had His say about the subject of sexual perversion, as well as those who rebel against Him.  When you take a stand against what He has said, it is good to recognize that you as a human being who is here for a short time and then gone like a breath of wind, is taking a stand against the Creator of human life, the controller of wind and seas, and all human life.
          Those who have made a decision to turn their life over to the Son of God, Jesus who is the Christ, and allow the will of Almighty God to work through them, need to live out loud the life God has provided, and step away from those who are at war with God, even as we pray for them.
          Throughout our life we will meet those who believe with all their heart that their narrow view of life and what constitutes happiness is all there is.  But through Jesus Christ we have the freedom to a much more expansive view of life, here and beyond, and the freedom to love even those who hate us.  For no one who hates his brother can love God.  Please, friends, love God.  Make that decision for life, everlasting.  Amen.

Week of Worship
July 29, 2012

Invocation:  O God, creator of all humankind, I  ring to You the cares and concerns of all Your creatures.  Look now to those who cry for help from every corner of the earth, for You alone are able to satisfy our deepest desires.  Amen.

Read: Psalm 63

Daily Scripture Readings
Monday                Genesis 22:1-14
Tuesday               1st Timothy 6:11-19
Wednesday          Psalms 68-10
Thursday              John 10:1-18
Friday                   Matthew 7:1-12
Saturday               1st Peter 5:1-11
Sunday                 2nd Samuel 12:1-14; Ephesians 3:14-21; Psalm 32;
                             John 6:1-15 

Reflection: (silent and written)

Prayers for the church, for others, for yourself.

Hymn: "By Gracious Powers"

Benediction:  And now, my God, as I go to my place in the world, go with me.  May the peace of sin forgiven and the power of your Holy Spirit work in me and through me to Your glory.  Amen.

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