Monday, July 28, 2014

False Teachers - An Exposition of 2 Peter 2:1-22

 (I gave this message at Pines Baptist Church in Pembroke Pines on July 27, 2014. You can listen to the message online or download it here.)

Peter begins verse one of chapter two with the transitional word "but," indicating a contrast between what he has just written, at the close of chapter one, and what follows in chapter two.

In chapter one Peter reminded his readers of several things. He reminded them that they had become partakers of the divine nature through a work of God's grace. He reminded them of the importance of spiritual growth. He reminds them to "be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election."

As chapter one comes to a close he points out that our Christian life and experience is grounded in God's revelation of Himself in the person of Jesus Christ and in the written Word. Peter writes, "we did not follow cleverly devised myths." Rather, he makes the case for the historicity of Jesus Christ and the authenticity and authority of the Scriptures.

He insists on the reliability of the Scriptures because they were not "produced by the will of man, but men spoke as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." Then comes the contrast, chapter two, verse one, he writes,

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you."

And so chapter two begins with a warning regarding false teachers. When I first began to study this second chapter, I was taken back at what I observed with regard to Peter's description of the false teachers of his day. I realized the characteristics he identifies very accurately describe false teachers of our day.

In other words, his warning regarding false teachers is as relevant in the 21st century as it was in the first century. It's as though he was writing to a 21st century church audience. Which of course, we know, in a manner of speaking he was!

In this chapter, Peter does not focus as much on the content of the false teacher's teaching as with what is perhaps, even more valuable to us, the characteristics that identify false teachers. He does not provide us with a compendium of their teaching as much as the distinguishing features or marks of false teachers.

Pastor John McArthur, speaking of chapter two, says

"...this is the core of the letter. The letter is a warning about false teachers and their teaching and here in this middle chapter of these three brief chapters he describes the false teachers. He wants us to know what they look like. He wants us to know what they act like. He wants us to know what they talk like. He wants us to know how they function and operate."

So notice first of all, nine characteristics or distinguishing marks of a false teacher. Now understand that all nine characteristics are not necessarily found in every false teacher.

First of all, note their place of work. Their sphere of influence, if you will. While this might surprise some of us, Peter is writing to Christians. He says they are at work "among you" verse one, "there will be false teachers among you."

I have a small commentary from my Dad's library, entitled "The General Epistles" by Charles Eerdman, a commentary on the books of James, 1,2 Peter, 1,2,3 John and Jude. 2 Peter is one of the "general" epistles, that is a letter not written to a specific church  like the book of Ephesians written to the church at Ephesus, or the book of Romans Paul's letter to the church at Rome, but to a broader or undisclosed audience.

Though Peter writes to a wider audience "the among you," still refers to the church as opposed to the world at large. The sobering warning here, is that the church is the workplace of the false teacher. The environment in which false teachers operate! That's not to say there are not false teachers in the world. It is saturated with them. But here Peter is determined to instruct us regarding the false teachers operative in the church of Jesus Christ.

Secondly, notice their method, the method of their work. Again verse one, they "secretly bring in destructive heresies." In other words, the false teacher does not announce his presence. He doesn’t parade around the church with a name tag identifying himself as a false teacher. On the contrary, the modus operandi of the false teacher is one of subtlety, secrecy and deceit. Very similar to Jude's warning, with regard to false teachers, in verse 4 of his letter, "For certain people have crept in unnoticed," or "certain men...have secretly slipped in among you." (NIV)

They're like a stealth bomber designed to remain unseen, undetected by the enemy.
These false teachers fail the test of full disclosure. They are experts at cover-up and concealment. Perhaps Peter had Jesus' warning in mind, Matthew 7:15,

"Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

The false prophet is a master of disguise. He is not what he appears to be. The wolf masquerading in sheep's clothing is not inwardly what he appears to be outwardly. Therein lies the danger to the unsuspecting. And it is interesting that Jesus says the false prophet is clothed in sheep's clothing. Sheep are harmless and helpless animals. Whereas a wolf is a natural predator of sheep. A natural enemy of sheep.

And a ravenous wolf is a vicious wolf. He is a danger and threat to the safety and very life of the sheep. Do you see the seriousness found in the imagery Jesus uses here?

Similarly, in his second letter to the Corinthians the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15a described false teachers this way.

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguise’s himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness."

Did you get that? Disguised as an apostle of Christ? Disguised as "servants of righteousness?" Yes, they follow the lead of Satan who disguises himself as an "angel of light."

You see a false teacher merely imitates his father. Jesus said as much when he said, in John 8:44. "the devil...has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Here's the point Jesus, Peter and Paul are making. False teachers never come to us as false teachers. They are masters of deception, wolves in sheep's clothing. They appear to be men of God. They appear to be men of the Gospel, even disguised as "apostles of Christ," "servants of righteousness." They associate with the people of God, and are comfortable in the house of God. They don't come as servants of Satan, but as servants of God just as Satan disguises himself as an angel of light! In reality they are agents of Satan on a mission to destroy the lives of men and women and the work of the Gospel. We cannot take their threat lightly.

Thirdly, notice the nature of their message. Still in verse one, "they secretly bring in destructive heresies." The word "destructive" means damnation. Heresy doesn't bring life. It destroys your faith. It brings death and destruction. In verse 17, Peter says of the false teachers, "These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm."' The value of a spring is that is satisfies your thirst. False teaching will leave your soul thirsty and the clouds you look to for a refreshing rain will be blown away leaving you spiritually dry and barren.

The word heresy comes from a verb that means to choose. As William Barclay points out, originally it meant, "a line of belief and action a man had chosen for himself." 
(W. Barclay) It has also been translated by the word "opinion." Someone pointed out that it came to mean "a self-designed religious opinion" or "chosen beliefs" (NBC)

That's what heresy is. It's not based on transcendent or revealed truth. It' an      opinion someone has chosen to embrace. In contrast, writing of his ministry, chapter one, verse 16, Peter declared that,

"...we did not follow cleverly devised myths [or invented stories - NIV] when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

So a false teacher is someone who chooses for himself what he will believe without regard for Biblical truth.

Fourthly, their denial of Lordship, verse one, "denying the Master who bought 
them." This is, perhaps, the defining characteristic of false teachers. It is the root of all that characterizes them. They deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Remember the words of Jesus, Mark 10:45. "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Simply stated Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death. He purchased our freedom by shedding His blood on the cross. The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death." We have
forgiveness of sin, freedom from the penalty of sin, and freedom from the power of sin for one reason and one alone. He purchased our freedom when He shed his blood. He paid the ransom that set us free from the curse of the law.

And by that ransom He has a claim to be Master and Lord. Paul explained it this way to the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

"Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." This is the theological basis for the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the life of the believer.

The word translated "master" or "Lord" is the word despotyn, from which we get our word "despot." A despot is a ruler who has unlimited power and absolute authority. As Master or Lord, Jesus Christ has the right and the claim to absolute control of the
believer's life.

False teachers, are "denying" present tense, that is, they are continually denying "the sovereign Lord who bought them" writes Peter.

As someone has pointed out, denying, means to say no. It means to be unwilling. It means to refuse. It's a strong word, to say no to." (J McArthur)

In verse ten Peter notes that they "despise authority." At this point Peter is saying you can identify a false teacher by their denial of Christ's lordship in their personal lives. In other words, they refuse to submit themselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They are accountable to no one but themselves.

And as we will see in a moment this has considerable moral and ethical implications and consequences. You see, a false teacher might be orthodox in his doctrine, that is, say the right things, use the language of the church, even proclaim the gospel while not living in personal submission to the Lordship of Christ. And that will eventually come to light in their personal conduct.

Number five, notice, their success verse two. "And many will follow their sensuality."
There are two things I want to point out from this statement, the size of their following and the reason for their popularity. Their success or popularity is measured by the number of those following them. "Many will follow them." False teachers have large followings. That defines their success. It speaks of their popularity.

The fact that they are successful should not surprise us. Perhaps Peter is echoing the words of Jesus. Again Matthew seven, just prior to his warning about wolves in sheep clothing Jesus he says, Matthew 7:13,

"Enter the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

The way that leads to hell has a wide gate and it's an easy way. And many enter 
the wide gate. In contrast, the way that leads to eternal life, has a narrow gate and the way is hard, and few find it.

What does Jesus mean, by a "narrow gate?" Salvation is through Jesus alone. On another occasion, Jesus said, John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." That is Jesus' unambiguous truth claim. Peter understood the exclusivity of Jesus' claim. He boldly proclaimed to the religious authorities who had arrested him (Acts 4:12) "...there is salvation in no one else for here is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

What does the "hard" way look like? Again, Jesus' words, Luke 9:23,24 "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up is cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

Do you see the Lordship of Christ in those words? Elsewhere, Jesus, speaking of the end of the age, said, Matthew 24:9,10,

"...you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away... And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray." Sobering words!

Do you see the direct relationship between persecution and the many who fall away and follow false prophets? Especially In this day with the popularity and proliferation of mega churches and media driven ministries, please remember that size or numbers have never been the test of sound teaching or Biblical orthodoxy.

The success of the church has never been measured by size, prominence, prestige or power. God's people have always been a remnant, a minority. You have just heard the words of Jesus to that effect.

Please do not misunderstand me at this point. I am not saying or even insinuating that
there is a relationship between mega churches and false teachers. I'm simply pointing out the obvious truth of this text with regard to false teachers. They have a great following. Both Jesus and Peter are clear on that point.

This should dispel any notion in the church that bigger is always better. This is the principle I take away from Peter at this point, with regard to the "many" that follow false teachers. If there is a large following be sure you know why there is a large following. It might be because the Word of God is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. Or as Peter suggests there might be another reason.

Characteristic number six, given to sensuality, verses two, ten and fourteen. "And many will follow their sensuality," verse two. That is, the sensuality of the false teachers. "Sensuality" is also translated "licentiousness," or "lasciviousness" (Analytical) or "shameful immorality" (NLT).

Michael Green says it is, "a strong word for reckless and hardened immorality." William Barclay, "The word...describes the attitude of the man who is lost to shame and cares for the judgment of neither man nor God."

Peter paints a very troubling portrait in this regard, adding in verse ten, that false teachers are "those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion" or "those who 
follow their own twisted sexual desire" (NLT). There is even the suggestion in the Greek here of sodomy.

In verse 12, Peter says false teachers are "like irrational animals, creatures of instinct." An animal cannot think. He is not a rational being. An animal is governed by instinct, not reason. Similarly, Peter says the false teacher responds instinctively in passion and self indulgence. William Barclay writes, "The evil men are like brute beasts, slaves of their animal instincts."

Verse 13, "They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you." Then in verse 14, "They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin." According to a lexicon, (A&G) literally this is how the text reads, "eyes that are full of an adulteress, in other words, always looking for a woman with whom to commit adultery." Peter continues, they are "insatiable for sin," or "they never stop sinning" (NIV).

Again, John McArthur, "It's not their theology that unmasks them it is their morality that unmasks them."

Remember what we have already noted. These are false teachers who look like, act like and in many instances speak like men of God, but all the while are master's of disguise, not being inwardly what they appear to be outwardly.

Peter continues, still in verse 14, "They entice unsteady souls." Here's the tragedy. Not only does this immoral behavior characterize the false teacher, but it directly impacts the "many" that follow the false teacher. The many follow their sensuality.

One pastor put it this way, "Why will they be so popular? Why will so many follow them? Because they can have Christ and they can have sin." (J McArthur)

The Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3, wrote the young pastor Timothy, "...people will not endure 'sound' teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves, teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."

False teachers pander to the desires of their audience. You see, a church can grow in numbers because the audience hears what they want to hear, a message that suits "their own passions." Or, it can grow because of the transforming power of the Gospel, proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit. It can grow because its message and methods appeal to the sensual, worldly visceral nature of man, or because the truth and grace of the gospel are taught without compromise in dependence upon the Spirit of God rather than appealing to the passions and self indulgence of the audience.

As Michael Green points out, "purely emotional religion leads, often enough, to immorality."

This inevitably leads us to the seventh characteristic. Notice, they shame the cause of Christ, verse two, "and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed." William Barclay translates it this way, "And many will follow the way of their blatant immoralities and through them the true way will be brought into disrepute."

The ministry of false teachers inevitably undermines the gospel witness of the church. It defames the cause of Christ. This is one of the reasons for their impending judgment we will note in a moment.

The eighth characteristic is perhaps one of the most prevalent in our day; their motive is greed, verse three, "And in their greed they will exploit you with false words." Here Peter discloses the underlying motive of the false teacher. If a denial of the Lordship of Christ, is the defining characteristic, of the false teacher, greed is the defining motive.

The Greek word translated greed is made up of two words; the word for "more" and the verb "to have." It means, "the desire to have more" (Barclay). As William Barclay points out, it can represent an honorable desire. But here, he writes, it "...comes to mean the desire to possess that which a man has no right to desire, still less to take." He continues, "So it can mean covetous desire for money and for other people's goods; lustful desire for someone's person; unholy ambition for prestige and power."

In verse 14, Peter adds, "They have hearts trained in greed." The word translated trained" (the verb "gumnazo") is the same word used of an athlete training 
for competition. Here it is used of one who trains his mind in this matter of greed for what belongs to others. In other words their greed is intentional. In fact they work at it.

Again, William Barclay, "These people have actually trained their minds to concentrate on nothing but the forbidden desire. They have deliberately fought the conscience until they have destroyed it; they have deliberately struggled with their finer feelings until they have strangled them."

Back to verse three, Peter says, "in their greed they will exploit you." The Greek word translated "exploit" (emporeuomai) literally means "to make merchandise of." We get our word emporium from it. An emporium is a place of trade, a commercial center. Edwin Blum, "religion will be commercialized--they will 'buy and sell,' ...and exploit people." he writes. To put is simply, they're after your money and the power, prestige
notoriety and prominence that accompany their success!

The communication technology available today has provided false teachers with incredible media exposure through which to exploit their audience in this regard.

Notice the method used to exploit the audience. Still in verse three, Peter says, they use false words" or "phony arguments" (Green) Literally it reads, "with fabricated words." The word "fabricated" or "false" is the Greek word "plastois" from which we get our word "plastic." It comes from the verb "to mold"  (Vine) and is used metaphorically here of something that you make up, in other words, it's not genuine or real.

Some of you remember when a chrome bumper or trim on a car, was actually made of chrome. Now it's made of plastic molded to look like chrome. It's fake chrome. That's what the word means. Merriam Webster, the adjective "plastic" means, "capable of being made into different shapes."

You see, false teachers go for your wallet with phony words, plastic words. With something they've made up. Quite simply, they manipulate their audience with lies!
They distort the truth to get your money.

Two weeks ago, The Christian Post reported that a pastor and self proclaimed "popular television personality" emailed a newsletter to ministry supporters soliciting a donation of $229. The pastor wrote, quote,

"I feel strongly that a seed of $229 in accordance with 1 Chronicles 22:9 is 
a breakthrough seed for the month of July. It's a turnaround, God ordained, 
demon slaying, abundance bringing seed." The pastor continued, "Not only will this seed defeat your enemies, but I believe it will bring about an unexpected abundance of miracles. Do not hesitate to follow a prophetic instruction."

The recipients of the email were offered a three part teaching series and a book in return for the $229. However, the Post reported that, "If recipients of thenewsletter 
are unable to 'produce' the 1 Chronicles-inspired 'seed' or 'offering' then they are told, 'get a seed of $31 or more for the 31 days of July and 1 Chronicles 22:9 (22+9=31).'"

On June 26 of this year an Atlanta newspaper published an article naming eight pastors  whose net worth was 200 times greater than the people who lived in their local communities. The net worth of the eight pastors ranged from 5 to 50 million dollars; the size of their congregations from 15 to 40 thousand. Two of them preach in countries where over half of the population survives on two dollars a day. One pastor's annual salary was reported to be $900,000 and he lives in a ten thousand square foot Beverly Hills mansion while most of his congregation are reportedly from an impoverished part of the city where the annual medium income is just under 28 thousand dollars. "In their greed they will exploit you."

The ninth characteristic. They prey upon the weak. Peter says, the false teachers "entice unsteady souls," verse 14. They "lure to their ruin" (NEB), "they seduce the unstable" (NIV). The word "entice" comes from the world of fishing. It literally means "to catch with bait." Remember that bait always hides the hook. In other words, while the bait is effective in enticing the victim it hides the danger from the victim. And those at risk are described by Peter as "unsteady souls."

Michael Green comments, "They were easily toppled over because they had not planted their feet firmly enough in Christ. That is why the false teachers represented such a danger to them."

Verse 18, "they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error." They go after those young in their faith. Those still learning to walk like a toddler still unsure of their footing and balance.

Do you see why Peter emphasized spiritual growth in chapter one? Remember, he wrote verse 10, "if you practice these qualities you will never fall."

Well, how will God deal with these false teachers? Note the promise of their judgment. You'll remember that Jesus was very straightforward regarding the outcome of those who choose the wrong gate. It led to destruction - to hell.

Likewise Peter warns of the destruction that awaits the false teachers. In verses 4-9, Peter gives us three reasons for the judgment of false teachers. He cites three historical precedents. The judgment of angels who sinned, verse 4; the great flood of Noah's day, verse 5; and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, verse 6-8. He describes the certainty of what God will do in the future based on what He has done in the past. He says, "If God did not spare the sinning angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell,"verse 4; "if God did not spare the ancient world" in Noah's day but "brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly," verse 5; If God turned the "the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes," and "condemned them to extinction," verse 6 "then the Lords knows how to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment," verse 9. Verse 6, what he did to Sodom and Gomorrah is "an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly," he writes.

Peter's words are graphic, even brutal and ruthless. These false teachers, verse 
12, "like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed...will also be destroyed in their destruction."

If you wonder why Peter uses such forceful language, remember he writes as a pastor, a shepherd attempting to protect his flock from predatory, ravenous wolves intent on their destruction.

In closing, a concluding challenge. You don't have to be a false teacher to heed Peter's words. Remember Jesus' warning about false prophets who come to us as wolves in sheep's clothing in Matthew 7:15? Jesus goes on to explain how you recognize false prophets, verse 16, "You will recognize them by their fruits." That's essentially what chapter two is all about. Peter has exposed the fruit of false teachers. But then Jesus continued with these sobering words, verses 7:21-23,

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."

This conversation fits perfectly with what Peter teaches in chapter two! Jesus could very well be talking about false teachers here. But I'm sure it has application beyond false teachers. It certainly is a warning to those who are presumptuous in their faith. In fact, the depth of deception underlying the presumption Jesus identifies here is frightening.

Here's the danger of deception. If you are deceived, you do not realize that you are deceived. And the danger of presumption is that you think you have something that you don't have. In other words, presumption of salvation is a form of deception that should concern each of us. That is why assurance of salvation is one of the reason why spiritual growth matters. Peter made it an issue back in 1:10-11, when he wrote, "brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling, and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you entrance into the eternal kingdom."

I hope you see the urgency of Peter's words in light of Jesus' warning. If you are a professing Christian and do not have assurance of your salvation Jesus and Peter's words should be an incentive to, as Peter wrote, "confirm you calling and election."

If you don't know Jesus Christ this morning, Jesus' and Peter's words place you in a perilous place spiritually. Not only are you vulnerable to the deception of false teachers, as described by Peter, but your soul is in jeopardy with regard to eternity. Jesus words, "I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness" are serious words, which we cannot afford to take lightly.

Do you know Jesus Christ? You've heard the gospel this morning. He came to serve and give His life a ransom for many. Are you one of the "many"?

In Peters' first sermon (Acts 2:21) he quoted the prophet Joel who wrote, "everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." If the Lord is speaking to your heart this morning, call out to Him for salvation, and He will save you!

© James P McGarvey All Rights Reserved      



Monday, July 21, 2014

False Teachers

On Sunday, July 20, 2014, I preached a message entitled "False Teachers," from 2 Peter 2:1-22 at Riverside Church in North Lauderdale. Peter identifies nine characteristics of false teachers. Here is a portion of what I said in dealing with characteristic number six, false teachers are given to sensuality, "And many will follow their sensuality," verse 2.
"Sensuality" is also translated "licentiousness," or "lasciviousness" or "shameful immorality" NLT.
…Peter paints a very troubling portrait in this regard, adding in verse 10 that false teachers are "those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion" or "those who follow their own twisted sexual desire" NLT.
...Then in verse 14, "They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin."
...Peter continues, still in verse 14, "They entice unsteady souls." Here's the tragedy. Not only does this immoral behavior characterize the false teacher, but it directly impacts the "many" that follow the false teacher. The many follow their sensuality.
...The Apostle Paul warned (2 Timothy 4:3) the young pastor Timothy,
"...people will not endure 'sound' teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves, teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."
False teachers pander to the desires of their audience. You see, a church can grow in numbers because the audience hears what they want to hear,
a message that suits "their own passions," or it can grow because of the transforming power of the Gospel, proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit.
It can grow because its message and methods appeal to the sensual, worldly visceral nature of man, or because the truth and grace of the gospel are taught without compromise in dependence upon the Spirit of God rather than appealing to the passions and self indulgence of the audience. As Michael Green points out, 'purely emotional religion leads, often enough, to immorality…'"
You can listen online or download the message at the Riverside Church link here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Anatomy of Temptation - Understanding and Overcoming Temptation

This message was given on May 25, 2014 at First Baptist Church of Oakland Park  Florida from the text James 1:13-18.

Monday, May 19, 2014

"Power to Endure and Mature - Understanding & Responding to Trials" on YouTube

My message, "Power to Endure and Mature - Understanding & Responding to Trials," an exposition of James 1:1-8,12, given at First Baptist Church of Oakland Park Florida on May 18, 2014 on YouTube.


"The Sanctity of the Unborn" on YouTube

My message, "The Sanctity of the Unborn," given at First Baptist Church of Oakland Park Florida on May 18, 2014 on YouTube.


You may view fifty seven PowerPoint slides that accompany this message via Microsoft OneDrive at here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Remember the Triangle

(I had the privilege to officiate the wedding of my son Christopher and his wife Paola on Sunday (May 11) in Winter Haven. Here is the message I brought, followed by a blessing I was asked to give Christopher on behalf of his mother and I. Paola's parent's, Drs. Roberto and Lyvan Cabrera each gave a blessing to Paola later in the ceremony.)

Think of marriage as a triangle. A triangle with two equal sides connected at the top, like an isosceles or equilateral triangle you studied in your sophomore geometry class.

Jesus Christ is at the apex, the top of the triangle, while you, Christopher, the husband and you, Paola, the wife, are in the two corners at the base of the triangle.

Both of you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, pictured by the two sides of the triangle connected at the top. At the same time you live in relationship with each other, pictured by the two corners connected by the base of the triangle.

Let me make three applications from this illustration. First of all, Jesus Christ is the key to fulfillment in your marriage. Therefore, make Christ the head of your marriage. In other words, let Christ be your first love.

For years I have been praying a very specific payer for my children with regard to their future spouse. "Lord may they find their fulfillment first and foremost inYou."

Why haveI been praying that prayer? Because it is from our relationship with Christ that every other need or desire in life will be met. Our love relationship with Christ will ultimately shape every desire, ambition or hope we ever have.

And I believe that one of the reasons we have seen the hand of God bring the two of you together, is because both of you have put your relationship with Christ ahead of your desire for each other.

But today is the beginning of a new life, life in the triangle! And just as in the courting or dating years, there is the temptation to find fulfillment in another person than the Lord, that same temptation can follow you into marriage.

Please don'tmisunderstand me. You should and will find fulfillment in each other. That is built into God's design for marriage.  After all, after creating Adam the Lord said, "It is not good for the man to bealone." In other words, the Lord recognized as far as Adam was concerned someone was missing! The Lord continued, "I will make a helper suitable for him."  (Genesis 2:18) And He created Eve from Adam's rib. And the Genesis account says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh."

That's the beauty of marriage. You become one flesh, sharing an intimacy that is not just physical but emotional, and spiritual - the bonding of two people into one. And of course that will bring fulfillment to your marriage relationship.

Back to the triangle. Notice secondly, as each of you move up the sides of the triangle, growing closer and closer to the Lord, you inevitably will grow closer to each other. The distance between you narrows. As you find fulfillment in the Lord, you will find greater and greater fulfillment in each other.

That being said, even in marriage, there will be the temptation to seek your fulfillmentin Paola or in Christopher rather than Christ. Remember the triangle. Jesus Christ remains at the top of the triangle, seeking to have first place in your lives, yes, even before your spouse.

And here's why that's so important. Inevitably there will be occasions, or even seasons of your life together, where the road gets rough, times when you respond in sin to each other rather than with the gospel.

When your spouse disappoints you, when you feel he or she has failed you, remember life in the triangle. When your fulfillment is in Christ your joy will not depend on your spouse treating you right. Your fulfillment in Christ will allow you to love them and forgive them even in their sinful treatment of you. 

Back to the triangle one last time. Thirdly, the closer you draw to Christ, the more you become like Christ. I'm sure you understand why this can be so valuable in marriage. Just a few weeks ago, Pastor Brian Brookins said, "Eventually you know your spouse in a way you don't want to."

So growing in Christlikeness will bring God's grace into your marriage perhaps when you are most aware of your own sin and selfishness.

The Apostle Paul put it this way, writing to the believers in Galatia, "I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you." (Galatians4:19 ESV) or "until Christ is fully developed in you..." (NLT).

What does that look like? I think part of the answer is found in the next chapter, verse twenty-two. As you think ahead to your life as husband and wife, and the challenges that will invariably come your way, listen to what Christ wants to form in you.

"..the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Notice it is the fruit of the Spirit, Spirit with a capital "S." This is what Christ grows in our lives as we yield to His Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is perhaps the greatest gift God can give to a husband and wife.

Remember the triangle. The closer you come to Christ you will find fulfillment in Christ and each other. The closer you come to Christ the closer you come to each other. And the closer you come to Christ the more you become like Christ. May these three truths enrich your marriage. Remember the triangle. 

I have been asked to bring a word of blessing to Christopher from his mother and I.

Christopher, as you join Paola in marriage today, a new home is being formed. And as you take your position as the head of this home, I want to bless you with these words from King Solomon, as recorded in Proverbs 3:1-12.

A numberof years ago I encouraged you to memorize these verses. I know of no other passage in Scripture that covers as many contingencies of life as these verses do. Each instruction is followed by a promise that can be applied to most every challenge you will face in your new life as a husband and head of your home.

Instruction regarding God's Word in your life, "My son, do not forget my teaching, butkeep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

Instruction regarding your character, "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."

Instruction regarding your relationship to the Lord, "Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight."

Instruction regarding your relationship with sin, the flesh and the world, "Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil." Paul told Timothy to flee - run from youthful lust. "This will bring health to your body andnourishment to your bones."

Instruction regarding your material possessions, "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing,and your vats will brim over with new wine."

And finally, instruction on how to respond to the Lord's discipline, "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent his rebuke because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in."

We love you son. Lord, fill Christopher with your Holy Spirit. May He walk humbly before You and his wife Paola.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

America's Abortion Crisis & The Gospel of Life

(This was the keynote address I gave at the annual LifeChoice Pregnancy Center Fundraising Banquet held at the historic Ritz Theater in Winter Haven Florida on April 8, 2014. You can view the PowerPoint slides for this message here.)

In his pamphlet, Field Manual for Abortion Ministry, published just weeks ago, Pastor Rusty Lee Thomas posed these two penetrating questions, "What does Christianity look like in a nation that murders its own children? Has the church failed to be prolife or have we failed to be Christian when it comes to rescuing our neighbors scheduled to be dismembered?"

I wrestle with these questions. Do you? Admittedly they are troubling questions. But In light of the purpose for which we are gathered here tonight, may I suggest these are timely questions that we need to wrestle with.

So this evening, with the Lord's help and His Word, I want to begin to answer these questions. America's Abortion Crisis & The Gospel of LIfe.

I believe the battle to end abortion is fought on multiple fronts; efforts in the political and judicial arena, the work of prolife apologists defending life in the  womb, adoption ministries, the ministry of prayer and sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics and of course the thousands of pregnancy resource centers, like LifeChoice here in Winter Haven, strategically located across the nation.

However, foundational to every effort to end abortion we must understand that abortion is first and foremost a spiritual issue, a gospel issue. I do not believe we can address America's abortion crisis while ignoring this premise.

Why is that the case? What is the driving force propelling the worldwide shedding of innocent blood? Who is behind the epidemic of death in our nation and the world?

The Biblical evidence would indicate that abortion is a satanic enterprise. The stage was set thousands of years ago as recorded in Genesis 3:15 (NIV). After Satan deceived Adam and Eve and man was plunged into sin. God said to Satan,     

"...I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."  

With that, the epoch struggle between good and evil began. And Satan has been involved in an unrelenting attempt to kill the offspring of Eve ever since. Jesus, Himself, said as much. John chapter 8 records an encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders of His day. In that exchange this was Jesus' description of the devil, verse 44  (NIV).

"The devil…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."                                                         
        
Here Jesus identifies two roles of Satan: a murderer from the beginning and a liar and the father of lies.
How successful has the Devil been in fulfilling this job description? It is estimated that between forty and fifty million pre-born babies are killed by abortion worldwide each year.  That's about one in five pregnancies. (AGI “In Brief,” October 2007)                                                     
One study released late last year, (2013) revealed that there have been 1.72 billion abortions worldwide since 1973.  That is an average of 117,800 per day for 40 years. (Brian Clowes, director of education and research at Human Life International Lifenews.com 4-1-13) 

Jesus said, as recorded in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." The devil has been very successful in carrying out his agenda to exterminate human life.

But Satan is also a liar and the father of lies. Deception proliferates in the abortion industry. In fact it would be accurate to say that deception characterizes the abortion industry.  

Listen to these words of an abortion clinic counselor:  "Although the test is positive, you shouldn't consider yourself pregnant," she explained. "It's really just cells dividing at this point. We can take care of the problem quickly and easily, and you'll never have to think about it again.”     

She made four statements. Each statement was a lie. Her words embody the mantra of the abortion industry.

Deception also involves withholding the truth. One study of post-abortive women revealed that, "Even though the majority felt rushed and uncertain, 67% received no counseling;  79% were not told  about alternatives to abortion.” ( VM Rue et. al.,  Medical Science Monitor)  

Do you see the critical role LifeChoice Pregnancy Center plays in your community as it communicates the truth about life in the womb and the danger of abortion to those at risk for abortion. We live in a culture of death in which deception on this subject is rampant.

As Pastor Randy Alcorn has pointed out, “In America it is illegal to harm your pre-born child, but it is perfectly legal to kill him.”

You see, spiritual deception leads to moral schizophrenia which plagues our land today.
The devil is “a murderer,” “a liar and father of lies.” These two attributes expose him as the Architect of Abortion.
Look with me at the ancient origin of child killing. We trace it back to Molech worship. Molech was a god of the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot. Molech was a fertility god whose worship included child sacrifice. This is what God said, about child sacrifice as recorded in  Ezekiel 16:20-21.            
"And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols…You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.”
King Solomon built the first high place for the worship of Molech. Subsequent kings continued the practice including King Ahaz and King Manasseh who  sacrificed their own children as they led their nation in the worship of this pagan god.       

Notice the parallel with abortion. In Molech worship a child was sacrificed to gain Molech's favor. In other words, the parents sacrificed something of value, their child, to gain something at a given point in time they considered to be of greater value seeking Molech’s favor for a good harvest, victory in battle or financial well being.

Similarly in abortion, the mother sacrifices the life of her child for something, which at that time is of more value to her than the life of her child. Her education, avoiding personal shame, financial reasons, lifestyle preferences, personal convenience, her career, birth control, and so forth.

Rusty Lee Thomas, (Field Manual for Abortion Ministry)
"Though thousands of years have passed,...The pagan ritual...persists. These ancient rites continue through clinics established by organizations such as Planned Parenthood in the abortion industry. The setting has indeed changed, but he lying message and brutal practice remains the same. Can you hear its voice today?  'You are too young.' 'You have to think about your schooling and career.' 'You cannot afford a baby.' 'It will leave stretch marks.' ...Moloch and Baal still whisper, 'Give your child to me and all will be well with you.'"                                                                                                
Do you see the deception? The Scriptures identify the demonic nature of this child sacrifice in Psalm 106:37,38.
"They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood."  (Emphasis mine.)
Note three parallels with abortion today. When we abort our children we abort our family, our sons, our daughters, our grandchildren. Time does not allow us to explore the Biblical truth that pre-born children bear the image of God and the biblical case for the personhood of human life in the womb.

Suffice it to say, that according to the Genesis creation account God intentionally created man in His image and likeness, with capacities reflective of God himself. The unborn are recognized by God as distinct and unique persons from the moment of conception. Man is not the result of a cosmic accident nor the product of a random meaningless evolutionary process over billions of years as is widely held today. 

Secondly, notice, (verse 38) abortion sheds innocent blood. Leviticus 17:11 says, "For the life of a creature is in the blood...it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life."

This truth is central to the Biblical doctrines of both the incarnation and atonement. Jesus' incarnation was the pre-requisite to His work of atonement. The writer to the Hebrews understood this, writing, (9:22) "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of  sin."

And the Apostle Paul wrote, "In him [Christ} we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins..."  (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)

Theologically you cannot separate atonement, our salvation from the sanctity of human life because the life is in the blood. John Ensor writes (Innocent Blood pg.32)                                   

"Is there anything more valuable than human life and the redemption of human life? By virtue of our salvation, Christians have inherited from God a profound commitment to the sanctity of life and a devotion to make Christ known. Both come from holding blood (life) precious."

Thirdly,  (vs. 37) "they sacrificed...to demons. Roman Catholic theologian, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer writes,

"The spiritual dimension of [abortion] is its systematizing of ritual blood sacrifice to the god of child murder, Moloch.…this demon appears in many forms and cultures through history (Phoenician, Carthaginian, Canaanite, Celt, Indian, Aztec and others) but is always the same blood thirsty beast that demands the killing of children as his form of worship." He continues, "The modern abortion industry offers ritual blood sacrifice to the ancient abortion demon. It is in every way a demonic religion."

Pre-born children killed by abortion are the casualties of the war between heaven and hell. Pastor Randy Alcorn has written,

"As the devil loved the sacrifice of children in the ancient heathen cultures, so he loves the sacrifice of children in our modern culture. Whether children are sacrificed to a heathen god called Molech or to the god of our own convenience, he does not care." He continues, "…there are demonic forces behind child killing. Abortion is Satan's attempt to kill God in effigy by destroying the little ones created in God's image. We are not dealing here with 'one more social issue,' but a unique and focused evil in which Satan has deep vested interests…"

Eric Holmberg & Jay Rogers, in their work, Massacre of Innocence, summarize, “The spiritual heritage of the Moabites and the Ammonites is passed down to our own day through abortion. Today the church is fighting against those same spiritual forces for the very survival of our nation.”  
Lest you think that abortion and the demonic is just ancient history, let me bring you up to date. Modern feminism, witchcraft and abortion.

In December of 1985, an article, entitled, "Feminist Spiritualism and Abortion" appeared in the feminist, Ms. Magazine, written, and I emphasize, by feminists about themselves.

"The feminist spirituality movement began to emerge in the mid-1970s and has become one of the largest sub-movements within feminism....to the women in feminist spirituality, witchcraft had even a more fundamental meaning. It is a woman's religion, vilified by patriarchal Christianity, and now, finally, reclaimed.”
Eric Holmberg and Jay Rogers (Massacre of Innocence) comment on this article, "Much space was given to goddess worship or adulation of the various demons associated with child sacrifice (including Isis and Aphrodite).” 

Let me give you just a sampling of the thinking of modern day feminists. 

Patricia Baird-Windle owned three abortion clinics responsible for 65,000 abortions. In an interview after retirement she said, "Abortion is a major blessing and a sacrament in the hands of women..."(The 'Sacrament' of Abortion: An Interview With a Retired Abortionist.")
Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President of the Episcopal Divinity School in New England said the following in a sermon in 2007.

“When a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to safe, affordable abortion there is not a tragedy in sight – only blessing.”

Episcopal Priestess, Dr. Carter Hayward, told the National Abortion Federation in 1985, "Abortion would be a sacrament if women were in charge. Abortion should be a sacrament even today."

One of America's educators, Psychologist Dr. Ginnette Paris, in her book The Sacrament of Abortion, wrote,                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                               "It’s rare for a woman to choose abortion because in some way she dislikes the fetus. She sacrifices it for the sake of something she judges at this moment to be more important, whether it be her existing children…or her own physical, economic, or psychological survival or the fate of the planet."  

Do you remember what I just shared when comparing abortion to child sacrifice? She continues, “When abortion is necessary, not only should there be no shame but there should be a new consensus that to have a child who cannot adequately be cared for is shameful…It is not immoral to choose abortion; it is simply another kind of morality, a pagan one.”

Father Frank Pavone, commenting on her book writes,

"The fact that some defend abortion as a sacred act should alert us he depth of the spiritual warfare that is going on. Abortion has never been merely or even primarily a political issue. It is a false religion."

He writes of a former abortion clinic security guard who "...after being converted, admitted why he was angry at pro-life sidewalk counselors: You were coming to protest in front of our church. That clinic was where we conducted our worship.’”   

The irony, is that many proponents of abortion understand what many in the church have failed to understand - the spiritual nature of abortion.  

There are many ways the church can respond. We must give ourselves to the first work of ministry, prayer and fasting, in our efforts to end abortion.

We must repent of abortion in the Church. God has called us to live in sexual purity. About 80% of abortions are performed on unmarried women. Why repent of abortion in the church? Forty three percent of women having abortions identify themselves as Protestant, twenty seven percent as Roman Catholic. (AGI, “In Brief” July, 2008) Two hundred thousand evangelical women choose abortion each year (www.heartlink.org Focus on the Family).

Abortion is a complex issue for many, and demands a practical and compassionate response by the Church. This is another reason why the ministry of LifeChoice Pregnancy Center is so critical.
Over fifty percent of all women who have an abortion feel they have no choice. Here are some of the reasons women have abortions; forced by their mother; father opposed having the child; persuaded by husband or boyfriend; no other option given; loss of family support; would have been kicked out of their home persuaded by the clinic. (Frederica Mathewes-Green, Real Choices)
We must also minister to the post-abortive. Here is a short list of the emotional problems faced by the post-abortive: anxiety/panic, grief/loss, fear of losing your child, guilt, self-hatred, depression, and anger/rage. And among the behaviors are: drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, promiscuity, over-protective parenting, eating disorders and inability to bond with children.

For millions of post-abortive in America, the root cause of these destructive emotional and behavioral problems could be an undisclosed and/or unresolved abortion(s) in their past.

I am told that LifeChoice is already at work making preliminary plans to launch an abortion recovery ministry. Funding is critical to making that a reality.

Several years ago I was on Facebook one Sunday afternoon. A pro-life advocate was having an online discussion about abortion. A woman came into the discussion telling us she had three abortions in her past. Listen to what she went on to post,

“The consequences to women who have had abortions (and men as well) cut deep into the soul…The post-abortive women sitting in church on a Sunday morning need to hear about forgiveness for ALL SIN through Jesus Christ,...abortion is not the unforgivable sin so many think it is...women need to know there is healing and hope in Christ that they may also forgive themselves.”                                    

The host asked her about how she was dealing with the loss of her three children. This was the powerful testimony she shared.  
“…the fact of the matter is that I don’t grieve any more. Christ has delivered me from all of the pain through his healing power! I know that one day I'll stand in  heaven finally meeting my three precious children: David, Rebekah, and Grace gope!...when they've asked the Father why they couldn't be with me on earth or why they never knew me here, He’ll look at them with love and say, “I don't remember.”
                                                                           
Do you see why abortion is a gospel issue? The Gospel has not failed abortion. The church has often failed to apply the gospel to abortion.

Romans 3:23-26 "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."

A propitiation is a blood sacrifice that covers sin so that God’s wrath and judgment will be averted! There is only one remedy for the shedding of innocent blood, the innocent blood shed on the cross. Jesus died in our place. He paid the penalty for our sins - your sin and my sin; any and all sin; the sin of abortion; the sin of pushing a girlfriend, wife, daughter or granddaughter into an abortion; the sin of paying for an abortion; the sin of performing an abortion; the sin of doing nothing about abortion.

It matters not what sin it is. We can be forgiven and justified - declared righteous in God's sight, our sin no longer being held against us "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."

You are familiar with Paul's words, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”      (Ephesians 6:12)

This is the conclusion I have been sharing with the church. The Body of Christ, the church, is the only organism (institution) spiritually equipped to engage the satanic forces behind abortion. Therefore the church must take the lead in the efforts to end abortion.

Abortion is first and foremost a gospel issue. What America needs to hear is God’s truth about abortion wrapped in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the church sees abortion as a Gospel issue we will win the battle for life! Christ has already won the victory!       

“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)

Paul goes on to say, verse 15, “...having disarmed the powers and authorities, [God] he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."

How do we respond to forty one years of legalized abortion? Unashamedly proclaim the gospel of life; and respond with compassionate and practical help through ministries like LifeChoice Pregnancy Center.

Tonight you can partner with this ministry in rescuing unborn children literally from the death sentence of abortion, and ministering to mothers at risk for abortion.

The writer of Proverbs says, (24:10-12)

"Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die. Don't try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn't know about it."

I think that's a word for us today! John Ensor wrote, "The commands of Scripture exist that we might be compelled to do what does not come naturally." (Innocent Blood)

In Luke chapter ten Jesus helped a lawyer understand what it meant to love his neighbor. He was evidently hung up on exactly what that looked like. So he asked Jesus, "Who his my neighbor?" So Jesus told the story of a man on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem who was robbed and beaten and left half dead alongside the road.

Three different individuals had the opportunity to come to his rescue, in all likelihood to save his life. Two of the three did not respond to the needs of the man bleeding by the side of the road.

The two that did not respond to the man in distress were the church leaders of that day, a priest and a Levite, responsible for the spiritual care of their nation.

And Jesus points out that not only did they fail to respond, they "passed by on the other side." In other words they distanced themselves from the needs of the dying man.

Jesus then pointed out that the one who proved to be the neighbor to the dying man was the one who showed mercy to the badly beaten traveller. He then said, "Go and do likewise." Friends, tonight in a few moments you will have the opportunity to "Go and do likewise."

John Ensor, in his book Innocent Life, defines "Samaritan compassion " this way,

'Doing right in the sight of the Lord means acting to stop the shedding of innocent blood. The only person in Jesus’ parable who is pro-life according to the demands of love is the Samaritan. Only he was willing to make the nearly dead man’s problem his own. Only he was willing to see the victim’s suffering as his own. Only he was willing to act according to what he would cry out for if their positions had been reversed."  

In Polk County, 1,499 unborn children lost their lives to abortion in 2013. They were your neighbors. That's over 124 children every month, or an average of four every day.

Tonight, through your support of LifeChoice Pregnancy Center, you have an opportunity to respond in a very practical and compassionate way to help stop the violent death of unborn children in your community, and to reach out to women and men at risk for abortion. Children will die unless someone intervenes on their behalf!

In other words, you have an opportunity to "go and do likewise!"

According to Jesus' parable, our salvation has a moral imperative built into it with regards to the needs of those around us - our neighbors.

LifeChoice Pregnancy Center is where the truth about abortion and the gospel of Jesus Christ are confronting the lies of hell itself. It is where the Church, the body of Christ is intervening in the lives of men and women often at a critical time in their lives when they need love, compassion and the gospel of life. At a time when, literally, life and death decisions are being made regarding their unborn children.
Again, John Ensor, "Loving my neighbor will occasionally arrest me, and maybe even require me to help prevent someone from being murdered."                                                             
On January 20, 2011, Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America issued the following statement in a press release. 

"...the time is now, for the Church to rise up and not wait for political parties, or the president, or Congress, or the Supreme Court to take care of the issue. It is our responsibility. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ. Abortion will come to an end, when the Church of Jesus Christ makes up her mind it will come to an end – not a second sooner. The responsibility for ending abortion in America rests squarely upon the shoulders of the Church of Jesus Christ.”

Tonight you can prove him right with your generous support of LifeChoice Pregnancy Center. Remember the two questions Rusty Lee Thomas asked?

"What does Christianity look like in a nation that murders its own children? Has the church failed to be prolife or have we failed to be Christian when it comes to rescuing our neighbors scheduled to be dismembered?"

You can answer that question tonight. Your generous gift and pledge to LifeChoice Pregnancy Center can be your answer to that question.