PRIDE GOETH BEFORE DESTRUCTION
THIS WEEK AT LWF!
Don't forget that the LWF Elders and wives will be out of town until Saturday evening!
Kurt Olson visit
Kurt Olson will be joining us this Sunday for our Sunday School hour, teaching on "Finishing the Great Commission." You don't want to miss it! Remember this is in the Sunday School hour, not the service that follows!
“If there be any among those common objects of hatred I do [condemn] and laugh at, it is that great enemy of reason, virtue, and religion, the multitude; that numerous piece of monstrosity, which, taken asunder, seem men, and the reasonable creatures of God, but, confused together, make but one great beast, and a monstrosity more prodigious than Hydra.”
—Sir Thomas Brown
Well, another June is upon us, folks! It's a lovely month (hot as blazes lately), though myself I shall never seem to acclimate to the warmth of the midwest in which I was born and raised...
In the world around us in America, it has also become synonymous with Pride month, and so I thought I would take a break from our usual email topics and give some helpful thoughts (I hope) about how we address these issues that afflict the people of our witness in the world. The first words the Serpent speaks in Scripture are a twisting of language: "Hath God said?" a ploy to redefine God's clear instruction to His people in Eden in a way that sounded positively ... well, positive. He tells Eve that, if she eats of the fruit, she will be like God, in that she will know the distinction between good and evil. This part is true. The lie that makes it so compelling is that there would be no consequence for doing so, that "ye shall not surely die."
Language is among the most fundamental of the Serpent's lies, and it is no different today. In English, we use "be" verbs or "auxiliary" verbs (helping verbs) on their own to describe things that ARE: these include "is" or "are" or "was" or "been," etc. These signal the mind that they are unchangeable, existing in their nature, and are independent of things we DO, or states of behavior.
Male and female are states of being, like being tall or short, black or white, old or young. Some can be chosen, like vocations (I am a police officer), but in themselves, these are states. Adultery is a state of behavior, something you do (or commit), not something you are (or exist as).
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.”
The Church was duped the moment we conflated these two. Nobody would defend adultery by saying "God made me this way" or "Adulterer is how I identify." We recognize these as behaviors, and one sinful in the eyes of God. Why do we hesitate to respond the same way when it comes to homosexuality and like behaviors? We act and speak as if acts are the same as states, and in so doing yield ground to the Enemy.
The Pride movements around us have nothing to do with states of being, or even love. What Biblical text prohibits a man loving another? None? In fact, we are commanded to, because Biblical love is a behavior, a way of treating people, not romantic feelings. That is why the word "romance" exists independently of "love." We are never prohibited from loving the same sex, but from committing sexual acts with them.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
While Jesus spoke often of the heart as the true source of sin, the Scripture often deals with the fruit of it, being behavioral sin which eventually yields death as it is brought to maturation. We cannot know somebody's heart, but we can know if the behavior they exhibit with open embrace is something that separates them from God Almighty, and we cannot be shy about saying so. It is not loving to hand a beer to an alcoholic.
Lest this sound all fire-and-brimstone (which we need, now and then), this is a practical approach to ministry. When you witness to and engage with people who either support (the majority) or struggle with (the minority) such sins of the flesh, the first and central barrier is of language. "Would your God send me to hell for being trans?" a young person recently asked a street preacher. The Serpent's attack here is in that word "being."
To be very, very clear: a man dressing and acting like a woman is not a state of being, but a behavior, no different than homosexuality. He is playing make-believe, dress-up, to the point of self-destruction. We are "sent to hell" for our willful sin, not for being something we cannot change. What the world is claiming is that desiring something is the same as that thing being good.
Some practical questions:
Why do you want your entire identity to be about something you want to do?
How will becoming the opposite of what you were made to be bring you fulfillment?
Tell me your story. I want to hear how you came to believe that this is the right road forward.
What if I, as a married man, desire another man's wife? Does acting on it absolve me of judgment because I wanted it? That would be absurd, obviously, yet we make allowance for the same thing with issues of gender and sexuality. Desire of sinful acts does not make them right. If you want to witness to and reach the unsaved facing or supporting this issue, the first line in the sand is that language control. Do not be fooled, and do not accept the lie. It is a shield the Enemy has placed around the people he currently owns. Do not turn away from it, but bulldoze it, and do so in compassion and love for which we ought be known. These folks are told they are victims, and you know what? They are? They're told they are victimized by society, by traditional-minded people, and ultimately by Christ and His Church; they are actually victimized by lies, sin, and the Serpent, so go set them free!
Onward, Christian soldiers. You are the army of Almighty God. March like it!
Some practical responses:
God made each of us in His image, exactly as we are meant to be. There is pain and a want of belonging in everyone, but none of us will find it by embracing something we're not. We find it in Jesus Christ alone.
He loves you are you are, as He made you to be, not the way the world says will make you happy. You don't have to live with this feeling of being incomplete, and you don't have to stay separate from God to find the belonging you're looking for. You and I both can only find it in Him.
Jesus promised a peace that passes all understanding, but we can't have it by worshiping ourselves and our wants. There is healing for what you're going through, but only in Christ through repentance and faith.
Remember, "The gates of hell (a defensive structure) shall not stand (prevail) against it (the Church). The soul of that person is on the line. The souls of witnesses around are on the line. Do not fear the Enemy nor his lies. You wield the ultimate blade that ever was forged, and not by the hand of man. This month, the tide of embracing sin peaks in public declaration. Our own declaration of Jesus Christ as Lord should not only do likewise, but ought, can, and shall overcome.
They can close the gates against Truth, but God has already proven Himself very adept at sweeping waters over the levies of man ... in some cases, literally. We are not the opponents of people, but liberators of their souls in the name of Jesus Christ as Lord. We are the opponents of principalities, of powers, and we cast down imaginations and every high thing that has the audacity to exalt itself above the name of God.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(other than your Bible, obviously)
God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
You probably know what a fan of John Lennox I am, a wonderful Christian apologist (my favorite, actually, a jolly Irishman, just to make it better, and one who helped me in my homecoming to my faith some years ago. He currently occupies a position in mathematics at Cambridge University. Lennox was the first westerner allowed behind the Iron Curtain prior to the fall of the Soviet Union and played a role in its demise through the preaching of the Word. He has appeared on Eric Mataxas' Socrates & the City (link below) and I highly recommend a watch-through. In God's Undertaker, Lennox tackles the misconceived divide between science and faith. It's philosophical but still very accessible. If you like his work, I likewise recommend his study of the book of Daniel, Against the Flow (Elizabeth and I did a personal study of the book through our Scripture reading of Daniel), or frankly anything else this man writes or speaks about.
“It is rather ironical that in the sixteenth century some people resisted advances in science because they seemed to threaten belief in God; whereas in the twentieth century scientific ideas of a beginning have been resisted because they threatened to increase the plausibility of belief in God.”
― John C. Lennox, God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?
ON THE HORIZON AT LWF:
6/10 | New Day Seminar
On the 10th, from 9:00-10:00 (please note it appears a week late on the calendar), LWF is hosting an informational seminar for New Day Women's Clinic on volunteering and how you can be a part of our support of the Pro-Life cause in Whitewater and the coming partnership with our church!
Summer Bible Study
In the wake of a growing Wednesday night Bible Study, Inheritors' Youth Fellowship, and other events, we are shifting all Wednesday night gatherings to the LWF building. Normally, we meet in people's homes through the summer months (I am very fond of this tradition), but this year, the church is better served to remain where it is for these events. We hope to see you all there!
Until next time! God go with you, brothers and sisters in Christ.