The Navigator: 2.25.2021

THIS SUNDAY, 2/28

Preacher: Sammy

Part 3 of 3:  Our love for one another

 

THE EQUALITY ACT & FREEDOM OF RELIGION

This is not a political post, but rather a biblical one.

My reasons for including this in the Navigator are:

  1. The local church should never exist in a bubble.  Having basic knowledge of topics that are white-hot nationally will, hopefully, help you better engage in intelligent dialogue about this topic, both, with your class and in the marketplace.
  2. To be prepared, when the time comes, to stand strong for biblical  truth.

I don’t know if I’ll see it in my lifetime.  But it’s only a matter of time until preaching on, or standing up for, biblical sexuality and gender will become ‘hate speech’, subject to prosecution.   Businesses, celebrities and the mindless masses on social media continue to impose their convictions on the rest of us in the name of tolerance.  (I have posted more than once, ‘Those who champion tolerance are, often, the most intolerant, hateful and bigoted.  They want to hear your opinion as long as it’s their opinion coming out of your mouth.’)  Speaking of businesses who’ve buckled under the pressure, recent news is that even Mr. Potato Head is now losing his male gender.  (Yes, I’m serious. Read about it here.)  From the article:

“Culture has evolved,” Hasbro SVP and GM Kimberly Boyd explained to Fast Company. “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists — with the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ — is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

While the Bill of Rights give us Freedom Of Religion, there are many who advocate for Freedom From Religion. This is sneaky, not to mention unconstitutional.  (By the way, should the teaching of any biblical doctrine become a crime sooner than later I will not shrink from teaching ‘the whole counsel of God’ – regardless of the consequences.  Moreover, I will be one of the people leading the way to fight for our rights.)

NOTE: Don’t think for a minute my conviction regarding this topic in any way determines or affects my love for anyone who believes differently.  Just ask my gay friends.

All over the news and social media is what will be the probable passing of the Equality Act.  The policy is convoluted because (1) it is designed to actually amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act which, argued well in one article here, is far different than the Equality Act, and (2) proponents of the policy are bullying anyone who dare question the Act, accusing them of being opposed to equality, which is foolishness.  In short, if you have personal and/or biblical convictions regarding the topics of homosexuality and transgender, you are labeled as a backwoods hatemonger void of compassion. (Actually, science argues for there being only two genders.  The Bible affirms this.  It appears science is trumpeted only when convenient, and ignored when it doesn’t fit someones’ narrative or agenda.)

To no one’s surprise, those who oppose the Equality Act, far from offered respect for their convictions on sexuality and gender, are vilified, castigated, and verbally assaulted in the most judgmental and acrimonious manner.

One of the greatest quotes I’ve read in response to this mindset:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate. – Lee Strobel

Think deeply.  Pray fervently.  Stand strong in biblical truth.

 

HOW TO DEAL WITH DARK TIMES – TIM KELLER

Tim Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, as well as a strong and erudite defender of the Christian faith.  (I recommend his book, The Reason for God.)

Linked here for you is a short sermon by Keller titled, How to Deal With Dark Times.  It’s excellent.  His primary text, Psalm 88, is one I’ve used often when counseling people going through the dark times.

 

A Nugget of Truth from this week’s time of Learning:  John 13 – UnChristian

In John 13, Jesus is one day from completing his mission – the Cross.

The parting words of a dying man are telling.  Some share final philosophies, final affections, final requests.  Less than 24 hours from being executed, Jesus, in John 13, is sharing parting words with his closest friends.

One of those words is this:

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

There are numerous sermons in these two statements, alone.  Permit me to point out just one principle/truth.

In vs 35, Jesus is saying that our love for one another is our distinguishing characteristic.  Not church attendance, or how much we give, or how much scripture we can recite (Satan can quote the entire Bible).  Everything begins with Christ’s love in us being shared with others.  Paul made this crystal clear:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

In his outstanding book, UnChristian, David Kinnamen, interviews thousands of non-Christians about their perception of the Christian faith.  Look at what he says:

“A non-believers most common reaction to the Christian faith [is this]: they think Christians no longer represent what Jesus had in mind… One person made this blunt observation: Christianity has become bloated with blind followers who would rather repeat slogans than actually feel true love and compassion.”

Ouch.

Loving one another, as Christ loved us, is the manifest evidence of a transformed life. Actions really do speak louder than words.  I close with another ‘ouch’ quote by the late Brennan Manning, a recovering alcoholic who eventually became an Episcopal Priest as well as an extremely gifted author.  (I recommend his books, Ragamuffin Gospel and Ruthless Trust.)  Here’s what he said:

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

Never think for a moment that (1) how we treat one another doesn’t matter, and (2) that the lost world isn’t watching.  Watch the entire lesson here.  nw

 

QUOTE of the WEEK

[Because of the Gospel], “the finger of God is at work. Demons flee. The grip is lifted. Satan’s house is plundered, his kingdom is being dismantled.  At the center of it all stands Jesus Christ.”  – Darrell Bock

 

LAUGHTER IS GOOD MEDICINE

You Know It’s Time to Diet When…
  1. You are diagnosed with a flesh-eating virus and the doctor gives you 22 more years to live.
  2. Your drivers license says, “Picture continued on other side.”

 

SOUL FOOD:  Hell Under Fire

No one in their right mind enjoys teaching on the doctrine of hell.  That said, God chose to have his Son talk about hell more than heaven.  So, it behooves us to know what the Bible says about it.  Because once we do, the word ‘saved’ takes on a whole new meaning.  Read the blog here.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick