Q&A: State of the Church – Part Two: 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The following are suggested answers to the Message Based Discussion Questions for the message presented on January 5 as part of the State of the Church – Part Two. The answers follow the outline for the message. The answers are designed to stimulate thinking, not replace it. Continue reading

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MSG: State of the Church – Part Two: 2 Timothy 3:16-17

This message was presented on January 12, 2014 as the second part of the State of the Church message.

Two weeks ago, we began looking at the most fundamental issue in the Christian’s life. (See part one, which is essential to understand this message.)  It is something that is also under the greatest attack by the world and often within God’s church. What is the issue? The issue is God’s authority. Does God have the right to have authority in life? Moses said, “Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the LORD Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” (Deuteronomy 4:39) Continue reading

Sequestration: The Government is not God

Sequestration

Sequestration is the latest ping pong ball played in Washington politics. It is designed by some to gain greater control and resisted by others as the needed medicine for America. Yet the actions have opposite results. The Administration is dramatically using this crisis for securing loyal allegiance from the sheeple (people who act like sheep that don’t care about truth and won’t stand against socialistic tendencies to future control measures).  The Republicans, however are resisting compromise with the intent that the defense complex not be destroyed by additional Democratic sequestrations.  I know I don’t have the total picture, nor the easy answer.  Let’s look at several thoughts.

The problem isn’t the political wrangling. The problem is the cocaine spending addition America has on seeking comfort rather than holiness before God. The political wrangling is merely government’s puny efforts to address a spiritual issue through economic and political ploys.  Is God laughing as the nation rages on without seeking Godly counsel (Ps. 2:1-3)? Are we so foolish that we think we can resolve this apart from divine wisdom?  Do we think we can get another cocaine injection of spending so we don’t have to face reality of monetary idolatry addictions? Do we value comfort and long life more than we value the holiness of God? Do we think we can keep kicking the can down the road and continue putting a larger burden on our children, while we enjoy the high life? What is sequestration?

Dr. Paul Johnson defines sequestration as,

a legal term referring generally to the act of valuable property being taken into custody by an agent of the court and locked away for safekeeping, usually to prevent the property from being disposed of or abused before a dispute over its ownership can be resolved. But the term has been adapted by Congress in more recent years to describe a new fiscal policy procedure originally provided for in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act of 1985 — an effort to reform Congressional voting procedures so as to make the size of the Federal government’s budget deficit a matter of conscious choice rather than simply the arithmetical outcome of a decentralized appropriations process in which no one ever looked at the cumulative results until it was too late to change them.1

He’s basically saying you take a property for safekeeping so it isn’t disposed of or squandered inappropriately.  The Deficit Reduction Act was designed to impose greater accountability, which every American person and company already is required to have, on a cocaine monetary addicted government.  The automatic cuts are employed when the Administration and Congress won’t agree.

Sequestration is a series of automatic, across-the-board government cuts, totally $1.2 trillion over ten years.  It would be primarily shared by defense and domestic discretionary spending.  The attempt is to initiate steps dealing with national debt, which exploded in 2007 and continues to increase by over a trillion dollars for the last four years.  Let’s be realistic, cutting $1.2 trillion over ten years is peanuts when the budget deficit is equal to that annually!

The standoff started in 2011 when the Republican demanded spending cuts in exchange for Administration obligations. Supposedly one trillion was dealt with, but the second trillion became the fiscal cliff if Congress and the Administration couldn’t agree to spending reductions. Certain programs, like Social Security and certain Defense programs are exempted. 

The Administration and the media have attempted to paint a bleak picture of an end-of-the-world scenario, yet many in America are not listening and don’t think it will affect them. The Administration has declared that hundreds of thousands will lose their jobs, will cripple education, will leave America unprepared and cause long lines at airports and shuttered American parks. The only urgent and significant concern is a weak military, for that engages the purpose of government. I’d rather deal with the pain now, than have a much bigger pain several years down the road. “It will be like a rolling ball,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, of the manner in which the cuts will impact the economy, in remarks to reporters this week. “It will keep growing.”2

What will happen on March 1? At 11:59pm, there will be an $85 billion federal cut for the remainder of 2013 and a slash of $1.1 trillion for the next decade.  Most Americans have been doing that for the last five years personally, why can’t the American government do that?  We’re addicted to a comfortable way of life.  Yes, it will affect thousands and thousands of people, many I know personally. Practically,

according to the White House, that means “10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk, and funding for up to 7,200 special education teachers, aides, and staff could be cut”; loans to small businesses would be reduced by up to $540 million; research and development would be stalled as thousands of researchers and scientists would be at risk of losing their jobs; and “up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children could go untreated,” among other impacts.3

Republican plan A is for cuts to social spending, without revenue increases.  The Administration won’t fold here, because it knows it can cut the defense rather than social programs to get many cuts and look like a hero to sheeple.  Democrats want a new tax bill “on those making north of $1 million a year, close tax loopholes, end direct farm payments and delay defense cuts.”4Republicans agree taxes are bad, defense cuts are bad and certain entitlement cuts would be good. They are ready to accept sequestration rather than submit to a socialist agenda.  They are both wrong. 

God never intended for government to be our Savior. God never intended for government to intrude into the liberty of individuals.  However, He did intend that government exist to maintain internal order and external protection. Every people decide what kind of government will rule over them so that God can be worshiped in holiness (Rom. 13:1-7). Each person has a say in what happens in their country.  One voice may not change it, but a movement will.  In the U.S.A. we vote to decide what kind of government we will have. 

Instead of jockeying back and forth, the parties ought to humble themselves before Almighty God and draw people back into His presence, not in establishing a religion, but protecting the free Judeo-Christian expression of liberty in the original charters and writings of our founding fathers. People argue the founding fathers did not intend to create a governmental religion and that is true.  The Judeo-Christian thread was clearly sewn through the fabric of American society, so they did not need to establish any clause. They did understand that the government they established would only work as long as the nation was moral and focused on the God of the Bible:

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31)5

As America loses its spiritual moorings, the government will squander resources seeking to satisfy the cravings for comfort and security of the people. Hence, what we need is governmental restraint, actual budgets and protection from outside nations, not control over freedom-loving people. Hence our need of sequestration or some other form of governmental restraint. Human passions must be brought to order not addictive exploitation of precious resources. Ben Franklin understood this:

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”  Benjamin Franklin

Modern US government has extreme power lust and seeks to control people with man-centered policies, orders and procedures and give a nod to God at best.  Patrick Henry understood this danger of government’s power lust related to the constitution:

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”  Patrick Henry

Which is why Patrick Henry, the great freedom-loving attorney orator declared that a decadent people will become enslaved to the government:

“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”  Patrick Henry

Too often sheeple today believe the lie of the “Savior government” rather than search back to the dust laden writings of the founding fathers:

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”  Patrick Henry

The foundation of the nation is clear. No Christian should ever be ashamed and give up an ounce of liberty to freely worship and spread their faith in Jesus Christ, which was clearly the belief of most of the founding fathers. Their blood was shed for that freedom. Christians today must be willing to shed their blood for continued liberty.

The problem today is not the debt.  The debt is a problem, but not the real problem. That is only a symptom of the real problem.  The real problem is a people hell-bent on pleasure, comfort and personal security. The real problem is that we have forsaken the Lord as a nation.  We as a country are addicted to comfort and are not willing to give up what we have seized as a right.  Instead of denying ourselves comforts for the sake of long-term growth, we become frightened of a “fiscal cliff.”  We ought to be afraid for those who face eternal condemnation.  If you have salvation in Jesus, nothing on earth can take away from the blessing of eternal life in Jesus Christ.  We ought to be afraid and work toward a nation that is settled on one language, one gospel and one Lord. Fear not, “for I am with you, even to the end of the Age,” said Jesus. (Matt. 28:20). Where is your trust?

2http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57571722/sequestration-looms-but-when-will-the-hurt-feel-real/

3ibid

5The following foundling father quotes were obtained from http://www.cancertutor.com/Quotes/Quotes_Presidents.html

 

 

Gun Control – Should be in Your Hands!

Gun Control – Should be in Your Hands!

Friends, we are waging a battle of epic spiritual proportions.  There may be little that is done by the Administration to control guns in America, but it isn’t because the government isn’t trying.  Prevention of greater tyrannical oppression will only be because a unified voice of freedom loving people will draw a line in the sand and say, “Enough is enough.”  Government gun control will be stopped because people put their trust in the Lord, rather than in the government and let the government know government only has the right to enforce the provisions of the Constitution and Amendments.  Government gun control will be stopped because people will resist the infractions of our rights to the Second Amendment.  What is the Second Amendment?
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  (Second Amendment)
 
The Second Amendment was written by our founding fathers, who lived during a time of government tyranny.  They knew how a government continued to gain more and more control in oppressive measures that are spelled out in the Declaration of Independence.  Our founding fathers who wrote the Constitution and original Amendments call the Bill of Rights listed 27 grievances against the tyranny of the English Crown who continued to oppress the colonialists.
Most people have read the first few lines of the Declaration of Independence, but forget to read the middle section which lists the grievances and unjust authority of England’s oppressive and tyrannical actions.  The last paragraph is essential to freedom loving people:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
But some will say, we should do what the government says.  My answer is, “What does God say in Scripture?”
Before I begin, let me say unequivocally, the only hope for anyone, including America, is trusting in Jesus Chris as personal Savior.  Unless you are born from above, you will die in your sins (John 8:24).  But even the spiritual rebirth does not establish a transformed society, unless people seek the Lord in His Word in the power of the Holy Spirit by faith.  As a person grows spiritually, he must become a spiritual parent who raise up other spiritual parents, or the country will plateau and begin a descent into a morass of immorality.
Scripture records the words of the Lord, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. (Matt. 10:34) He came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  He came to die for our sins (2 Cor. 5:21).  But He also knew because of sin in the world, there would be horrible conflict between people.  Bad people would and do violate the well-being of good people and they would and do use horrible means to control others and get what they want.  Hence, Jesus told His disciple to secure weapons,
35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” 36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 “For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me:` And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” 38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:35-38)   
Jesus said it was more important to have a weapon, than an extra set of clothes. He did not say to trust in the sword, but to secure it and have it available for yourself.
There are times when you must be able to defend yourself.  God gave natural abilities for animals to defend themselves.  He gave teeth and claws to lions, tigers and bears.  He gave stingers to scorpions and bees.  He gave wings to birds, fast feet to blackbuck antelope, fins to sailfish, strong hind legs for fighting and jumping to kangaroos and poisonous fangs to snakes.  But there are some animals, like sheep, that are pretty helpless without the watch care of another. 
Humans fit into that category of needing additional protection.  Without the defense of someone else, like mothers and fathers for babies, man needs a means to protect himself from oppression.  It used to be a flintlock rifle for protection.  Today the weaponry can exist in many other forms.  As long as they are for defense, they fit under the Second Amendment.  Yet the Second Amendment also implies that the right to bears arms is to be used against the tyranny of the government. 
That line takes great discernment and must be weighed against all the other laws and infringements of freedom.   And remember, Scripture usurps the law of the land if they are at odds. (Acts 5:29)  For example, Jesus admonished Peter to return the sword to its sheath to allow God’s will to be fulfilled.  As Jesus was ready to leave the Garden of Gethsemene, a Roman troop came with Judas with swords and clubs and Peter asked, “Lord, shall we strike them with the sword?” (Luke 22:49).  And before Jesus responded, Peter went into action,

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” 12 Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. (John 18:10-12)

Matthew adds, “But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.”(Matt. 26:52).  The reality is that there are often unlawful times outside of God’s will that those who take the sword may die by the sword. If you pick up a weapon, you risk bringing death upon yourself.  That is why picking up a weapon must be wisely discerned.  That is what the colonialists chose to do, but only after years of working within the oppressive English system without a just hearing.

Some might not agree with this interpretation.  It is interesting, that Jesus dealt with differing interpretations in His day also.

Jesus dealt with the darkness of His day and as John says, “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:5)  In fact, the darkness runs from the light:
19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:19-21)

Those who reject the light of truth will not understand the truth.  They cannot understand it (1 Cor. 2:14).   No matter how much logic and reason they bring to the table, they will not understand it.  No matter how many testimonials or emotional appeals they make, they will not comprehend.  They cause greater harm to mankind by their rejection of truth, than by humbling themselves before it.  And all their laws that take away freedom will only cause greater harm.

God allows distortions of the truth, even in the church, to reveal those who want and abide in the truth (1 Cor. 11:19).  Distortion and evil exists and they will use many man-made ideas to control a situation, but unless it is humbly submitted to God’s Word, it will only create greater oppression on people.   Peter understood this when he wrote, “…untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” (2 Pet. 3:16)  Consider what Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword in its sheath.” Jesus didn’t tell him to sell it or get rid of it, even though Peter used it wrongly. If you use it wrongly, you may die.

To whom do you trust for your protection?  Do you trust the Lord, or the government?  We should be able to trust the government.  But when our freedoms are being taken away, then we have to pray to wisely discern the line in the sand.   Yet, passive people have been slaughtered at the gun control commands of evil governments all through history.  Prior to brutal government slaughters, gun control measures and laws were enforced on the people.  For example, gun control laws were instituted in Armenia in 1915; Russia in 1918 under Lenin, Germany in 1921 and 1928, China in 1912 and continued under Mao Zedong and in Cambodia in 1938 strictly enforced by PolPot in the Khmer Rouge.   Governments always impose restrictions with growing control in every situation.

What happened in Newtown, Connecticut was a travesty.  But the lunacy of government to think a brewing civil unrest can be quelled by gun control is the greater deception of hypocrisy and evil.  The criminal will never be controlled by laws.  Laws will only restrict good citizens from defending themselves from criminals and tyrannical governments.

Judge Andrew Napolitano, a former judge on the Supreme Court of New Jersey, wrote this analysis:

The historical reality of the Second Amendment’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms is not that it protects the right to shoot deer. It protects the right to shoot tyrants, and it protects the right to shoot at them effectively, with the same instruments they would use upon us. If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis had, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust.Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/10/the-right-to-shoot-tyrants-not-deer/#ixzz2LefBjtyy

You have the right to protect yourself with sufficient power that you will not be overcome with the current or future weaponry.  If you don’t provide for your family, Scripture considers you worse than an unbeliever.  Paul writes, But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1Tim. 5:8)  The context describes respect and financial need.  I would consider life part of the responsibility of every man for his family.

            Do not be fooled, hoodwinked or deceived.  Trust only what you know from Scripture and use it as a filter for everything you see and hear.  Freedom is precious.  Your right to own and possess firearms is protected by the constitution and Scripture.  All you need is Scripture.

 

 

 

Memorial Day Service: May 28, 2012

Yesterday Grandma and Grandpa took granddaughter Sarah to a Memorial Day Service at the Raymond Road Middle School.  Appropriately, it was in the Ranger Auditorium (my thought considered the US Army Rangers). The sixty member Indianapolis Municipal Band played beautiful patriotic and spiritual numbers for 30 minutes before the service.  We were in the gymnasium, so while it wasn’t air conditioned, it was out of the sun and a stirring remembrance of those who gave their lives for our freedom.  It was a little scary for granddaughter Sarah, because the Timpani drummer was  enthusiastic and she had not been very used to a live instrumental band.  Sarah found great comfort being together with family.

There were probably 250 people there from every age group, but mostly older vets and their families.  It was very moving to think of the young men and women who died that will never enjoy being old men and women.  They gave up their lives, so that we could grow old and see the freedom the Lord provided.
A special recognition was made for Staff Sergeant Wayne Bucy who earned the Bronze Star for actions during World War II.  He had never received his medal, so 68 years late, our nation recognized his heroic actions in the European Theater.

As much as our nation is slipping from the Truth of God’s Word, she is still the most blessed of any nation on earth.  May we never take our freedom for granted and pursue the holiness of God, lest God remove that freedom we enjoy!