THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-14-01
LESSON TITLE: SOCIALLY ACCEPTED SINS OF TODAY: "THE LACK OF RESPECT FOR LIFE."
Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to be with us as we commit this time to the things of God.
It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps in making the Living Word Program possible. The Rogersville Church of Christ in Rogersville, Missouri, is a congregation which has been with our work for many years. We are really happy to have them as a part of this effort and we appreciate this fine congregation for their desire to see God's Will carried Out.
Please take advantage of the opportunity to meet with this family of God - even this morning. Today they will assemble for Bible classes at 9:30 a.m. This is followed by a worship service at 10:15. Again on Sunday evening these brethren assemble for worship at 6:00. A mid-week Bible study is also offered at 7:30 every Wednesday evening.
If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their minister brother Nathan Adams. Or you might choose to call, their phone number is 417-753-3126. Again, we thank this congregation for their involvement.
This morning we want to begin our songs of praise by singing a song which reminds us of the power of God, which we have as Christians. So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "Power in the Blood."
(SONG # 1)
Some of the most exciting times in life are when we are rewarded for something we have done well or accomplished. Often we are given trophies, medals or even certificates, which all acknowledge our achievements, and honor us for a job well done. I think this is the same idea we are reminded of in Jude 1:20-21, where we read, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Here we see that we are doing certain things, "unto eternal life." You see we have a reward coming for a job well done. We have the ultimate gift awaiting us of eternal existence with God, forever and ever!
However, if you also notice in these verses, there are things to do in order to receive the reward of eternal life! Let's face it, is anything in life really free? Don't we have to do something for anything that we get. Anything in life that is worthwhile, that makes a difference or improves us - takes a lot of time, effort and usually money! So, why would it be any different in Christianity?
Notice back in our text where Jude clarifies for us some of the things necessary for eternal life! First he mentions the need to "build ourselves up in the most Holy faith!" Faith if very important to one who is following God. In fact, in Hebrews 11:6, we find that without faith it is impossible to please God. James further helps us to understand faith by stating that "faith without works is dead," James 2:26. Faith is necessary to receive eternal life!
The second thing mentioned in verse 20, is prayer. Prayer is such an important part of the Christians life, because it is the avenue by which we are able to talk to our God! In prayer we can praise God, thank Him and ask Him for what we have need of. Good communication with God is necessary to receive eternal life!
Love is the next thing brought to our attention in relationship to our reward. How important is love, well, as we see here it is necessary to receive eternal life. Isn't that why Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," Matthew 22:37-38. Furthermore, Paul said, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love," 1 Corinthians 13:13. So, you tell me, is love necessary?
Finally, we see that we are to "look for mercy." How wonderful it is to know that God is merciful and forgiving. In fact, mercy is one of the very reasons that God has done so much for us to make sure that we can achieve our reward. Without God's mercy we would not receive eternal life!
Are you living for God in such a way that you know the reward is waiting, prepared for you? Isn't eternal life worth the effort?
We mentioned the Rogersville Church of Christ earlier in our program this morning. Well, today we are happy to have their minister brother Nathan Adams with us to present the message from God's Word.
This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Socially Accepted Sins Of Today!" Our specific topic today is, "The Lack Of Respect For Life!" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together brother Adams will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "This is My Father's World!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Nathan Adams
Many, many years ago, there was a great, great nation. It was the superpower of its day. It was the greatest nation in the world at the time that it existed. The people of this nation were rich and they were very consumed with their own pleasure. They did a terrible act though. They would take great pleasure in going watching hundreds of defenseless people die in a Coliseum. I'm sure that many of you have already guessed that I am talking about the Roman Empire. During their decline, they had become completely preoccupied with their own lusts and their own desires. Outside of their own personal life, in many areas they had very little respect for life at all. The sin became socially acceptable to them and because of that it caused many terrible things to take place in their history.
Today, our nation as well is the greatest nation in the world. Yet we, too, have become as a nation in many respects the same type of people having little respect for life, for God-given life.
The Ten Commandments state that "Thou shalt not kill." Paul in Romans chapter 13, verses 9 through 10 reiterates this when he says, "For this thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet." And if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh not ill to their neighbor." Therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. What is killing, as he is mentioning it here? And what is this love that is able to prevent those type of things? Jesus Christ said when asked what the greatest commandment was, He said, "It is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." But He said, "The second is this, to love your neighbor as yourself." He went on to say that "the whole of the law hangs on these two." These two will prevent this sin of having no respect for life. When we think about what is killing and what is being prohibited in that statement, we need to understand that it is not the killing of animals for food. The Bible makes very clear in Genesis chapter 9 and verse 3 as God speaks to Noah that "every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you. Even as the green herb have I given you all things."
Paul told Timothy in the New Testament in 1 Timothy chapter 4 verses 4 through 5, "for every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving for it is sanctified by the word of God through prayer."
Second, the term "You shalt not murder" does not mean that it is wrong for a soldier or a policeman to do his right duty. Paul states in Romans chapter 13 and verse 4, "For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid for he beareth not the sword in vain for he is the minister of God and a revenger of God to execute wrath upon them that doeth evil."
There are many instances where God ordained soldiers to carry on defense of the nation of Israel. We see men such as Gideon and Joshua and David and others who were considered holy men and were soldiers and fought in wars. Therefore, the execution of duties by soldier or a policeman when justifiable are not to be considered acts of sin.
Third, "You shalt not murder" does not mean that capital punishment is wrong either. By God's own direct command as he set up the national laws for the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, we find that many laws went broken and were to be punished by death. Those included those who served other gods, homosexuality, those who committed adultery, murderers, and even others. It is God's will that those who commit murder are to lose their lives.
Genesis chapter 9 and verse 6, God states, "Who so sheddeth man's blood by a man shall his blood be shed. For in the image of God made He man." Therefore we see that it is an inheritance for God's will for someone to lose their life as a result of committing murder.
Now we've talked about what murder is not. Now let's think about what it is. Jesus told us that "murder was more than just a physical act but that it had it's root also in hatred," Matthew chapter 5 verses 21 through 22. Murder is defined as the unlawful, malicious and intentional killing of one human being by another. The prohibition of murder in the Old Testament carries through to the New Testament in Galatians chapter 5, verses 19 through 21 where He lists many sins including murder and He says those that commit these things shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven or inherit the kingdom the God.
In addition to this common definition of murder, there are three other acts that would fall into this category and would be considered murder as well. Those would be abortion, euthanasia, the so-called mercy killing of the elderly and those that are helplessly ill, and suicide or in other words, self murder. But I want us to spend the remainder of our time this morning in our lesson dealing with abortion.
Thinking back once again to the Roman Empire. There is another very despicable act that is maybe not as well known as the bloody events that took place in the coliseum. Those days and times women had very little value to the world. To have a girl in your family was to just to have a mouth that had no way of providing for itself really, so often times when parents would have a daughter, they would take her out and leave her in the woods to die of exposure because they did not want the burden that she would bring to their house. Sounds very eerily familiar sometimes.
Some dictionaries define abortion as a miscarriage produced artificially. Why is abortion wrong? Abortion is wrong because life is a gift of God. Genesis 1:27 points out that "God made man in His image and He placed the spirit of man in him at conception." Therefore, to take that life deliberately would be murder. You may ask, "Well, how do we know that life begins at conception?" There's a great deal of debate in our world today about exactly when does life begin. The Bible tells us that it begins at conception. There is a Greek word called Brethos which is found 8 times in the New Testament. Thayer's Greek Lexicon says that this word refers to an unborn child, an embryo, a fetus, a child in the womb, as well as a child outside of the womb. It makes no difference whether the child is in the womb or out of the womb. This word is what it uses to describe a baby.
In Luke chapter 1 and verse 15, John was said to be "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb." The text states, "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord and he shall drink neither wine, nor strong drink, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb."
Mary and Elizabeth were both told several things that they would conceive of sons and that those sons would be great. The conception of those sons were obviously in the scriptural text there in Luke chapter 1 stated very clearly that those were living beings within their mother's wombs. In verse 41 of chapter 1, it even said that "John leapt in his mother's womb when he heard the voice of Mary."
Maybe the most compelling text is found in a law that God gave to Israel in Exodus, chapter 21 verses 22 through 25. He says, "If men strive and hurt a woman with child so that her fruit depart from her and yet no mischief follow, he shall be surely punished as the woman's husband will lay upon him and he shall pay as the judges determine and if any mischief follow, then thou shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, and stripe for stripe." It says that if she gives birth prematurely as the result of an action of another individual, and yet the baby or as it says no mischief or no harm comes to the baby or the mother and they live, then the person that has caused this will have to pay a fine which the husband and the judges determine. But the scripture goes on to say that if there is harm or in other words, if the mother dies or the child dies, it says that the penalty is life for life. How could there be a clearer passage revealing how God feels about an unborn child? The text does not say that if it happens in the first trimester, if it happens in the second trimester that this is what will happen. The text says if it happens period. No matter when a woman is pregnant, it is life for life. Each child conceived is a living person who is unique and created in the image of God, by God, even at the earliest moment in the womb or however conception may take place since this act can also be done outside the womb with our science of today. So to take that life by abortion in order to end an unwanted pregnancy or even some kind of medical breakthrough is murder by Biblical standards. Therefore it is sin and it is immoral.
Abraham Lincoln stated, "Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war." Abraham Lincoln with those words not only dedicated the cemetery of Gettysburg, but captured the great nobility of the national struggle over slavery which threatened to divide the nation. Never in the intervening century and a half have we faced so grave a moral crisis as the one which we in our generation have become unfortunately so deeply divided over. This battle is abortion.
There are those who are pro-life and there are those who are pro-abortion who do things that are just as evil as the act of abortion itself. They often become the very thing that they despise. They often in their own arguments about life take it and have very little respect for it. I would pray that all Christians would stand with God's will and fight the good fight, not with violence, spite or hate, but by proclaiming the message found in God's word with love. That is what will truly change people. That is what will truly move people from the darkness of sin to the brilliant and beautiful light of Jesus Christ and to the salvation found only in His blood. What is often lost in these very volatile differences is that if we are Christians, we must be Christ-like. I will always believe that abortion is horribly wrong. While I may dislike the sin, I will always love the person and I will always pray that they will come to an understanding of how God feels and what God's commands are concerning this topic.
As I mentioned before, Jesus said that hating another leads to murder. Therefore, if I hate people because I believe they commit evil, then I become the very thing which I hate. I become evil, and I cease to follow in the steps of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells that "because of love, God sent His only begotten son," in John 3:16, "to die for us." But the Bible also tells us that while we are yet sinners, in other words while we are evil and we have all sinned, we've all come short of the glory of God, it says that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly," in Romans chapter 5. Our Lord loved and he loves sinful, evil people. That is the reason why he gives them the opportunity to take advantage of the grace of God and His blood that will wash away those sins through baptism and obedience to God's will. You know, what would the world be like today if some of the great people that have shaped our world had been a victim of abortion?
Mary and Joseph in their day and time, it was not a very convenient thing to be pregnant at that time in their lives. In fact, it was the thing that would have been frowned upon by many of their neighbors. What if they had decided not to have our Lord? What would we have today for salvation?
In WWII there were medics that would run into a hail of machine gun fire because they had seen so much horrible death that they understood the beauty and how wonderful life was. They would put themselves in harm's way to save a life. One story of Iwojimo, in fact it was one of the men that you see when you see that statue of the marines planting the flags there at Mt. Sarabachi. One of those men was a Navy medic and he got the distinguished cross for what he did but he stood in line of machine guns and helped a man that was down and fought off Japanese by himself so that that man could live and that man did live. Others had to be dragged off of the battlefield having been shot three or four times but were still crawling to save life because they understood how wonderful it was.
We need to have a great understanding of how wonderful and great life is. We need to treasure it. We need to know the blessing of having children. We need to know that when we take that life, what have we taken from the world? What have we taken that God has wanted to give us? May God help us to understand the incredible blessing of life and how truly blessed we are to be made in the image of our God.
(SONG # 3 - "Walking Alone At Eve!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
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May we all encourage those of this world to realize the true value of life, so that we may all learn to respect one another more, in this world in which we live.