On Monday, I watched with great anticipation and joy as hundreds of Christians testified before a committee of the Texas legislature on behalf of the preborn in support of a bill to end abortion. (You can view the entire hearing here. It starts at the 3 hour mark.) It was such a blessing to watch men and women stand firmly on the word of God and tell civil magistrates to do their duty. I believe there is a revival happening among God’s people around the country as many people, both pastors and laymen, are awakening to the duty of the Church to instruct civil magistrates and to intercede on behalf of those who have no voice.
As encouraging as this hearing was, it was discouraging but not unanticipated that the committee chairman with support of prolife professionals would seek to kill the bill. It is discouraging because we are hoping that these civil magistrates would do their duty before God. To have supposedly “prolife” politicians refuse to stand for the preborn is maddening. But I also said it was not unanticipated. That is, we must expect opposition. Abortion is the sacrament and crown jewel of Satan. He will not let it go quietly without a fight. He will scheme and he will work to turn what should be allies into foes. He and his minions will lie abut the work every step of the way.
That all said, I want to encourage all of those who spoke on behalf of the preborn, who spent time in prayer, or gave of their resources. We must fight this battle with a sense of urgency and yet recognize that we are also playing the long game. This hearing was just one step in the right direction to end abortion. If God’s people will continue to cry out to God and fill his throne rooms with prayers and supplications for justice, God will respond. If God’s people will continue to speak boldly to the civil magistrates and continue to fight, the abolition of abortion will happen. If faithful civil magistrates will continue to put forth abolition bills and Christians continue to push for this, Texas will not be the only state to give the bills a hearing. Then eventually there will be a committee chairman who will allow a historic vote on the bill. Be prepared for when that happens. Be prepared for it to not pass right away. But eventually a state will allow it out of committee. Each of these steps along the way are hard fought battles. But with each step, ground must be taken without compromise.
The point is that brothers and sisters be encouraged by what has happened this week and do not give up. Fight for the victory, knowing it is already ours in Christ Jesus. But also be prepared. The battle to end abortion like all spiritual battles is one in which the enemy rages from within and without. Therefore put on the whole armor of God and press on in Jesus Name.
Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
There has been a paradigm shift that has occurred and is occurring in the battle to end abortion. I would summarize the focus of this shift to be about three primary aspect. First, we have begun speaking the blunt and hard truths of what abortion is. Instead of speaking of it as a healthcare issue or with euphemisms, we have begun to expose this murder for what it is in all its graphic and barbaric forms. We have used graphic images and videos of abortion. We have called it murder. We have refused to talk about it as healthcare.
Two, we have refused to compromise with the slaughter of children. There can be no compromise in any way with the intentional murder of children. There are no exceptions. This means that groups that pass bills compromising on the issue are being exposed as compromisers and are called to do what is right. We do not support exceptions for rape, incest, or health issues. Abortion is murder, period. We don't support measures that regulate abortion or say its ok to murder your baby if the abortion doctor can't find a heartbeat that they really won't be looking to find.
Thirdly, we are acknowledge that there is no such thing as neutrality. You will either submit to and obey God or you will rebel against him. The Supreme Court is not neutral nor are they God. The paradigm shift is pushing the “prolife” movement to acknowledge that either Christ is our God or the Supreme Court is our God. These three things, no neutrality, no compromise, and no flinching from the truth, are enabling those who battle this evil to do so with the power of God through faithfulness to him. This is having no small effect. There are and have been many haters and many difficult battles to make this shift but God is working and will be glorified. We are seeing because of this shift a change in the conversation nationwide even among those who are still operating under the old paradigm shift. Even those who are pro-abortion are having to acknowledge that this shift is happening.
This same paradigm shift must occur in the church’s battle with sexual immorality and the protection of the family. We must realize that there is no such thing as neutrality. The LGTB alphabet soup mafia does not believe in neutrality on this issue. They want to eradicate any and all opposition to their views. They readily acknowledge that they want to indoctrinate children and are doing so in the public library, public schools, and entertainment media. We in the church must recognize that there is no neutral ground on this issue. You will either celebrate this evil or you will hate it. You will either bow to the Supreme Court on this issue or you will obey God. We cannot give pretense to neutrality. We must call men to repentance and faith in Christ on this issue.
Secondly, we must recognize that compromise is unfaithfulness to our Lord. Where we compromise on sexual immorality in our personal lives, families, or churches, we are being unfaithful to God and will find ourselves losing this battle. Compromise on this issue starts with compromising on the distinction between male and female. It starts with women usurping authority and men shirking authority. It starts with failing to raise our boys to be boys and our girls to be girls. We teach our daughters to find their identities in their careers instead of preparing them to be the kind of young women Titus 2 says they should be. We are compromising by ordaining women in the church or having them be the primary leaders of worship.
Compromise happens when we fail to see how seriously the bible takes sexuality. In the very first chapter of the Bible we learn that God made male and female. All throughout scripture, we find that God takes sexual immorality very seriously. Things like adultery, incest, sodomy, and bestiality are considered crimes in the bible and God destroys nations for tolerating them. But we compromise by failing to take things like modesty, chaste speech, and what we entertain ourselves with seriously. We compromise by our pretense to neutrality. We do this by adopting a live and let live mentality. We say “what you do in your own bedroom is none of my business. Who am I to judge?” But this filth is not staying in the bedroom and those who practice it are all too ready to judge. We will either judge rightly or be judged.
Thirdly, and perhaps the hardest for us to to today, is that we are going to have to speak about this with the same blunt and forcefulness as we speak about abortion as murder. Those supporting sexual immorality have spent years working to change the paradigm on the issue. They have couched it all in terms of relationships and love. In turn, many in the church have been put on the back foot. We have started speaking about sodomy as something that just isn’t best for human flourishing. I guess you could say that when God reigned down fire from the sky on Sodom that humans were not flourishing too well that day. But we have began to soften the biblical and historical Christian witness against the sins. We have seen this in terms of relationship instead of abomination.
We have also embraced the terminology of sexual orientation. Many talk about same-sex attraction as if it is some neutral thing. This terminology of sexual orientation is a useful tool for those pushing this sexual immorality. To give one example, it has been used to try and distinguish between men who sleep with men and men who sleep with boys. That is they have tried to argue that no gay man abuses boys. The truth is that every time a man sexually abuses a boy, he is committing a same-sex sex act. That is homosexuality at work. But we have been taught that we can never make this connection.
The use of orientation language is often used to position those who commit sexual immorality as victims. They are victims of something they never chose. It is all God’s fault they are “gay”. The hard truth is that these men and women who give into to sexual temptation are morally culpable. They are not perpetual victims. Even if some of these people have been victims of sexual abuse, they are responsible for how they respond to that abuse. The “LGBT” movement has been good at painting themselves as victims in order to garner sympathy and support for their position.
The sexually immoral have managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the culture and of the church. Our work is going to be the hard and difficult task of pulling that wool off and exposing this evil for what it truly is. The bible commands us to expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness. We are going to have to get over our addiction to being liked and being nice and speak the blunt truths of sexual immorality. We are going to have to work to restore the shame to this evil. We need to speak the hard truths of scripture and call these sins what they are, abomination, perversions, attacks on nature and nature’s God, filthy and disgusting sin worthy of death. We are going to have to expose the truth about the connection between sodomy and child abuse. We are going to have expose how sodomy destroys men’s bodies, minds, and souls.
Why must we do this?
1. We love God. And we want to be faithful to his word and his created order.
2. We love the church. We don’t want to see the church compromise and be stained with impurity. We don’t want it to lose its saltiness. Nor do we want to see future generations of the church facing the consequences of our inaction.
3. We love our children. We do not want to see them assaulted with lies and sexual perversion. We don’t want to see them fall into the destructive patterns of these sins. Nor do we want them to be a part of a nation that experiences the full wrath of God.
4. We love our country. God has placed us here and we are to be salt and light to it. We want to see it fall on its knees before Christ and honor him in the culture and the laws it enacts. We also don’t want to see it continued to be destroyed. We don’t want to see God wipe it from the earth as he has done with other nations that have followed this path.
5. We love those who are caught in these sins. We love those who practice these sins that destroy their minds, bodies, and souls and therefore we warn them truthfully, without compromise, and without neutrality. For their sake we cannot pretend there is some neutral ground where God is not to be obeyed, where Christ is not king. We cannot pretend as if the gospel cannot save them if they will humble themselves. For their sake we don’t compromise letting them continue in their pride. For their sake we speak the hard blunt truths that put the shame on what they are doing so that they may be humbled by the demands of God’s law and look to the only hope of forgiveness, Jesus Christ.
It is love that demands we refuse neutrality, refuse compromise, and refuse to speak soft words of peace when there is no peace. Love demands that we have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Church its time for a paradigm shift.
One of the ways that our church works to proclaim the gospel is through distributing gospel tracts and literature. One of our newest pamphlets includes a photo of an aborted baby. This tract is used to expose the evil of abortion and other sins that have become rampant in Clark county. We have received a lot of different responses to this tract. Yesterday we received this message:
Thank you so much for the pamphlet of the aborted fetus that my young child found!
Notice how the person used the word "aborted fetus." That is a clue to what they really think about abortion. I decided to write them a response. This is it:
Greetings in name of Christ,
Ephesians 3:13-19 NASB Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Paul suffered significantly to take this good message abroad. He was despised as a traitor by the Jews and mocked as foolish by the gentiles. The Jews ran Paul out of their synagogues, had him beaten, and tried to stone him to death. Paul proclaimed that Christ is Lord over all nations, Christ is King of Kings. Yet those nations and those kings imprisoned Paul.
The temptation for the churches that Paul had planted was to be ashamed of Paul. They were tempted to want nothing to do with him because they feared persecution.
“Paul, you are doing things the wrong way and you are causing problems for all of us other Christians. If you would just calm down a bit, perhaps they wouldn’t hate you so much and they wouldn’t hate us. Paul, if you were more like Jesus they wouldn’t persecute you.”
Paul knows they will be tempted to be ashamed. In Verse 13 he says, “Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.” Don’t be ashamed of the persecutions I am facing. They are for you. They are so that I can take the gospel to the nations.
Just as bad, they would also be tempted to lose faith when they saw Paul being persecuted. If the one who had planted their church was being persecuted, what could they possibly hope for. How could they possible stand when the time came for them. Paul says don’t lose heart. Don’t lose faith, these tribulations I am facing are for you.
Paul who was mocked, despised, persecuted for Christ, and who the church would be tempted to be ashamed of or lose faith over then says in verse 14: "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. " He bows his knees before the Father. Even though Paul from a worldly perspective had reason to complain, grumble, or rebel, he didn’t. Rather than thinking of himself, in humble submission he bows his knees and prays for the church in Ephesus. Rather than becoming bitter at those who would be tempted to be ashamed of him, he is concerned for them. Rather than focusing on the the tribulations he was facing, his worry was that they would be strengthened. And so he bows the knee.
Those of us engaged in certain ministries that are confrontational, i.e. abortion ministry, often face deep persecution and hatred by the world. As we are persecuted, other Christians often are tempted to despise us, be ashamed of us, or lose faith.
We often feel like the dwarves at the beginning of the Hobbit movie who watched the elves abandon them in the battle.
We cry out to the Lord, "where are all your people?" When grow tired and frustrated at other Christians who aren't involved in the same ways we are or who on the surface don't seem involved in any battle at all.
We can respond in one of two ways. One, we can start despising them, be ashamed of them, and lose faith in them. We can become those who constantly belittle the church. In our minds, all pastors are out to build their own kingdoms. We can complain about the ministry industrial complex. We don't need them anyways, they are just a bunch of ecclesiasticrats.
Or we can bow the knee to our heavenly Father and pray that our brothers and sisters are strengthened by the Holy Spirit so that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith, and that they may know the fullness of the love of God. We can have true concern for other believers who may be called to other battles. We can gently encourage, exhort, and call for our brothers to join in the battles God calls them to. If we love the Father we will love all the Fatherhood that gets its name from him.
Sunday 10:30 AM