Sunday, June 28, 2015

Redeemer Pulpit: Did God actually say marriage is between one man and one woman?

Several months ago one of my elders suggested I do a short topical sermon series between book studies.  So I planned four sermons to bridge between finishing 2 Corinthians and starting Isaiah in August.  The series is based on the four hottest cultural issues I could think of.  The purpose is to alert my congregation about a biblical response to alarming matters that impact us.

This particular sermon is on Scripture's teaching about marriage, the rapid change in our culture concerning marriage, and how Christians should respond.

The sermon is meant for my congregation but applies to any Christians committed to God's Word. When planning the sermon I had no idea the Supreme Court would legislate same sex marriage two days before I would preach it.

Listen Here to "Did God actually say marriage is between one man and one woman" By Pastor Tony Felich 

Schaeffer foretold the dynamic that has come to pass

In light of the historic legislation passed by the Supreme Court (yes, I know this isn't the Court's role, but it accurately describes the effect of their decision), legalizing same-sex marriage, I thought revisiting prophetic words from Francis Schaeffer would be enlightening.  Below is an excerpt from a lecture Schaeffer gave in 1982, and also part of his "Christian Manifesto" published the same year.

Schaeffer displays what happens when a society replaces Christian truth (which is actual truth) with humanism.  Remember, this was written over thirty years ago, at a time when it seemed "conservatism" was on the upswing.  As Schaeffer was fond of saying, conservative humanism is no better than liberal humanism. 

So, Humanism is the absolute certain result, if we choose this other final reality (instead of Christianity) and say that is what it is. You must realize that when we speak of man being the measure of all things under the Humanist label, the first thing is that man has only knowledge from himself. That he, being finite, limited, very faulty in his observation of many things, yet nevertheless, has no possible source of knowledge except what man, beginning from himself, can find out from his own observation. Specifically, in this view, there is no place for any knowledge from God.

But it is not only that man must start from himself in the area of knowledge and learning, but any value system must come arbitrarily from man himself by arbitrary choice. More frightening still, in our country, at our own moment of history, is the fact that any basis of law then becomes arbitrary -- merely certain people making decisions as to what is for the good of society at the given moment.

Now this is the real reason for the breakdown in morals in our country. It's the real reason for the breakdown in values in our country, and it is the reason that our Supreme Court now functions so thoroughly upon the fact of arbitrary law. They have no basis for law that is fixed, therefore, like the young person who decides to live hedonistically upon their own chosen arbitrary values, society is now doing the same thing legally. Certain few people come together and decide what they arbitrarily believe is for the good of society at the given moment, and that becomes law.

Now, compare what Schaeffer said to what Romans 1 describes:

Romans 1:[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. [19] For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. [20] For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. [21] For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. [24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. [26] For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; [27] and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. [28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Tragedy of Alex Rodriguez

Being a Yankees fan doesn't stop me from being rational.

I find Alex Rodriguez to be one of the most tragic figures in the modern sports era, especially since the MLB World Series was cancelled in 1994. It seems MLB's declined popularity after the strike of 1994 was a contributing factor for the league's lax oversight of performance enhancing drug usage. To be sure, Alex Rodriquez is one of hundreds of players who likely cheated over the past twenty plus years. In his case, however, it is very difficult for common man to understand why a person of such God-given talent would resort to PED's. Yet he did just that, lied about it multiple times, and did it again. I hope he has a great year for the sake of the Yanks and the $25 million they're paying him this season, but I find him to be a sad player that's hard to like.

Yesterday he reached the 3000 hit milestone, a feat accomplished by only 28 players (out of 18,000) in MLB history.

Yet, it feels somewhat fake.  Wallace Matthews with ESPN captures my sentiments on A-Rod-

"Again, no matter what you think of steroids, there can be little dispute over another contention -- that the athlete who resorts to them feels that in some way he or she needs them to perform.

The sad fact is the tragedy of Alex Rodriguez has less to do with a failing of character than a failing of confidence.

At some point in his athletic life, A-Rod stopped believing in himself.

And as a result, none of us can ever fully believe in him -- or what he did on a baseball field."

 - Wallace Matthews (ESPN)