Fight Against All Sin

Tim Challies’ had a great post over the weekend from Charles Spurgeon in which the great preacher notes that we can’t be “single issue” Christians when it comes to our sins. It is far too easy to focus on only one sin in our lives and use that as a spiritual barometer for how we are doing with the Lord. The problem is that, all too often, we attack one sin, think we are fine once we begin to experience some amount of victory, and then ignore a whole host of other issues simply because they aren’t the “one sin” that we focus upon. No, we must wage war against any and all sin that we find. Here’s how Spurgeon puts it:

“If you only throw down Baal to set up Ashteroth, what progress have you made towards God? Little does it signify [matter] which of the false gods is set up in the temple of Jehovah, for he hates them all. The right prayer is, ‘Let not any iniquity have dominion over me’.”

Read the rest here.

Abortion

I was absolutely shocked and heart-broken to read the news about a senior official with Planned Parenthood casually discussing the best way to perform an abortion so that the baby’s tissues and organs could be “donated”/sold for medical research. Even that first sentence seems too shocking to be believed, doesn’t it? But the story has appeared in numerous places and has even been confirmed by Planned Parenthood themselves (sidenote: as always, you should take all news from all sources with a grain of salt and be aware of whatever “spin” might be present, but even this video aside, abortion is a horrific practice that we need to spend some time reflecting on this morning).

I’m at a loss for words as to how despicably heinous, evil, and wicked this is. Al Mohler provides the particulars:

“Yesterday’s release of a video showing the senior medical director of Planned Parenthood casually discussing the sale of organs from aborted babies is a moral challenge thrown right in the face of all Americans.

The video reveals Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services for Planned Parenthood, discussing the intentional harvesting of organs and other tissues from babies aborted in Planned Parenthood clinics. While reaching with her fork for salad, Dr. Nucatola openly tells a group she believes to be medical researchers that there is a great demand for fetal livers, but ‘a lot of people want intact hearts these days’.”

So, where should we land on this? Clearly, Planned Parenthood disagrees with what the video itself is claiming. Specifically, their president (see link above), claims the following:

“Recently, an organization that opposes safe and legal abortion used secretly recorded, heavily edited videos to make outrageous claims about programs that help women donate fetal tissue for medical research.”

Talk about doublespeak and ad hominem attacks. So an organization who does an undercover investigation simply shouldn’t be listened to? I’m all for knowing your sources, but simply disagreeing with them doesn’t magically sweep their argument away. “Ahh…” supports of Planned Parenthood will say “…they shouldn’t be listened to because they edited the video.” Yes, let’s talk about that, since the entire conversation has been released in unedited form. Sure seems pretty clear to me. Including the parts where the official speaks about the payments involved for such “tissue” donations as well as how to best to perform an abortion for the sake of being able to donate tissues and organs.

Bottom line: this is a massive moral issue in our country and around the world. And what doesn’t help is the fact that there is a giant smokescreen of politics and deception over everything Planned Parenthood does (and I would add that this same “fog” shouldn’t be limited simply to Planned Parenthood, but applied to all abortion providers). It seems that anytime an organization like Planned Parenthood is challenged on what they actually do, they quickly deflect the conversation to whatever services they provide that are least offensive. Cancer screenings, basic health care, etc. As if that makes it any better? Isn’t that a bit like showcasing how the military does relief projects during disasters so that we can pretend that they don’t fight wars? The entire purpose of Planned Parenthood is right there is their name.

This is also why we always hear about how Planned Parenthood is all about “women’s rights” and “women’s healthcare.” Of course, that needs to be defined, since the nearly 28 million girls who have been aborted since 1973 certainly didn’t receive “care” or have “rights.” Not to mention the boys. And of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg about how Planned Parenthood and their advocates carefully select language and redefine it to confuse. George Orwell would be pleased with such double-speak.

To be frank, I’m sick and sickened of how our nation – and many around the world – tolerate what amounts to nothing less than killing the most defenseless and helpless human beings in our society. What does that say about us morally and ethically? And now we find that – whether intended for profit or simply for “research,” the result is the same – killing babies can be made into something “good” because, after all, their tissues can be used in labs to help others. The amount of moral equivocation here is absolutely horrendous.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I could care less about the politics surrounding abortion. My issue has nothing to do with either “side of the aisle.” No, my issue has to do with the fact that we as a nation – and your and my tax dollars – are directly supporting this sickening enterprise of murdering babies. Murder is condemned in the Scriptures (Exodus 20:13), the Bible calls us to protect the weak (Psalm 68:5, Psalm 82:3-4), and Christ Himself shows great value for children and infants [same Greek word as used for an unborn baby in Luke 1:41] (Luke 18:15-16).

Pray against this monstrous evil – not simply for these latest revelations, but for the practice of abortion overall, which was evil long before revelations like these even came to light. Speak to friends and family by using this news report as an opportunity to cut through the smoke screen with facts. If you are able, act politically to support legislation that will outlaw abortion. Yes, I realize all the debates will come up about “what about this random, almost-never-happens scenario?” And the answer must always be the same: of the three people involved, the baby is definitely innocent. So how come we ignore the parents and only punish the baby? If you are looking for tips and ideas on how to engage this issue, see Joe Carter’s helpful post here (which, I’ll note, sounds a good warning that the issue of abortion is one which should be addressed regardless of the veracity of this particular video).

Pray with me for an end of this horrible practice. And pray as well for an end of all sin, when Christ our King returns. “Come Lord Jesus!”

Psalm 29

We are working through the Psalms in our Adult Sunday school class and just recently covered Psalm 29 – I love the picture of the Lord’s power shown here: His voice is all it takes to strip the forests bare!

Psalm 29

A psalm of David.

Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon leap like a calf,
    Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
    with flashes of lightning.
The voice of the Lord shakes the desert;
    the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists the oaks
    and strips the forests bare.
And in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
11 The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Questions in Need of Answers

As the second and final part of our coverage and response to the recent Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage, I present several questions from Pastor Kevin DeYoung addressed to Christians who have proclaimed their support for gay marriage. Just as with anything in life, those who call themselves Christians need to have Biblical reasons for their beliefs. What we do and don’t believe about homosexuality is no different.

Here’s just a sample of the insightful questions that DeYoung brings to the table:

“1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?

2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?

3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?

4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?

12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?

25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?

26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?

27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?

Food for thought, I hope. At the very least, something to chew on before swallowing everything the world and Facebook put on our plate.”

Read the rest here.

Resources for Engaging Homosexuality

In response to the recent Supreme Court ruling mandating same-sex marriage as a “right” in our country, Christians who hold to God’s Word as supreme will find the following resources helpful:

1) For starters: what you should know about the Supreme Court’s ruling for homosexual marriage.

2) Opposition to homosexuality is often cited as a reason that younger generations won’t engage with church. For the sake of evangelism, shouldn’t the church just give up on this issue? No, says Russell Moore. And his response is well worth reading.

3) Feel like you’re alone because you stand for what the Bible says regarding sexuality? Think again and be encouraged.

4) Looking for books to read that help give a Biblical understanding on homosexuality, sin, and repentance? Check our Sam Allberry’s Is God Anti-Gay? as well as Kevin DeYoung’s What does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?

5) Read the EFCA’s statement on Human Sexuality and Same Sex Marriage.

6) The fundamental question that those who call themselves Christian must answer: will you believe what the Bible says about all things (including sexuality) or will you not?

7) As was noted in our own service this past week, our church stands with the Scriptures on this and all other issues. We believe that homosexual contact / living the gay lifestyle is a sin just as much as we believe that adultery, theft, and murder are sins. We believe that this is not a political issue, but a spiritual one. And so our loving call to the world around us – to those who identify as gay as well as to those who harm their children, beat their spouses, steal from their employers, and whatever other sins – is to repent, to know and believe that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life. Trust Jesus as the only and perfect Savior from your sin. Then follow after Him as a disciple, according to all that the Scriptures gloriously call us into.

What satisfies you?

A good word from Marshall Segal over at Desiring God

“One of the worst ways God can afflict us is to so satisfy us in this life that we no longer need him, no longer even think of him. It’s the most extreme, most devastating malnutrition. Human starvation — a real, excruciating tragedy today — is light and momentary compared with the spiritual and eternal reality it pictures. Whole nations are so gratified by this world that God is an after-thought or no thought at all. We are eating and eating and eating, and never satisfied.

…Israel’s rebellion and God’s response should fall on us like a grave and spiritual Surgeon General’s warning. We bury ourselves in food, drink, and Netflix, not realizing we are deeply and utterly famished, dehydrated, and bored. Consumption can be a destruction worse than starvation, because it’s iced with sweet deception.

…True fulfillment, then, is found not in frantically (or lazily) tasting all the flavors and pleasures in this life, but in feeding the hunger beneath every other hunger. The secret is not not hungering anymore, but being utterly satisfied — full — while craving food or water or comfort or rest (Philippians 4:12). When a man truly lives, he does “not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3; see also Matthew 4:3; John 4:34).”