Times of services:
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
Eighty same-sex couples vowed to remain “spouses of life” in ceremonies at the San Francisco, California City Hall on Thursday. Thus, Mayor Gavin Newsom led the charge to legalize same-sex marriages in San Francisco in an effort to give homosexual couples the legal benefits of marriage. (The San Jose Mercury News, Online edition, Friday, Feb. 13, 2004)
“Homosexual marriage” is itself a non sequitur (“an inference that does not follow from the premises,” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). In other words, the premise that homosexuals can form legitimate marriages is false; therefore the attempt to legitimize homosexual marriages is equally faulty.
Ultimately, it is God’s standard of morality that “homosexual marriage” violates. Same-sex marriage is an open assault on marriage as God ordained it from the beginning of time. Jesus Christ said,
“But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)
God-ordained marriage is a moral relationship between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is a form of fornication (sexual immorality) that abandons God’s moral arrangement for the fulfillment of sexual desire (1 Co. 6:9-10; Ro. 1:24-27). “Because of fornications, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Cor. 7:2). Rather than prevent fornication, “Homosexual marriage” propagates it. Therefore, such unions are not “marriage” in the sight of God (San Francisco marriage certificates, notwithstanding).
God-ordained marriage is not an act of prejudice against homosexuals. In their recent attempt to validate homosexual marriage, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that barring same-sex marriage “is rooted in persistent prejudices against persons who are (or who are believed to be) homosexual…” (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health). The cry of “homophobia” can be heard throughout the land! But, that false charge prejudices minds from the real issue: God designs marriage for a man and a woman, not for two men or two women (Gen. 2:19-24). When the moral restraints of divine truth are abandoned, this fact is viewed as prejudicial instead of what it really is, the Divine will for all of humanity.
God-ordained marriage is a life-long relationship between a man and a woman (Rom. 7:2-3). Homosexuals may vow to each other be “spouses for life” but God’s word still stands: God does not approve such relationships. We call upon homosexuals to repent and obey the gospel, because “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Heb. 13:4).
Hollywood is about to crank out another movie about Jesus. Entitled “The Passion” and produced, written and directed by Mel Gibson, the movie focuses on the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life, up through His crucifixion. This film follows a long line of other productions about Jesus that have made millions for actors and producers and spawned no end of controversy. Some of these efforts have been downright blasphemous, portraying Christ as not much more than a mere man whose most serious temptations involve the romantic designs of female disciples. “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” both fit this category. Other productions have been more noble, some even produced with the goal of being strictly true to the Biblical text. A film produced a few years ago and simply entitled “Jesus” uses as it’s dialogue the word for word text from the gospel of Luke, and a more recent production of “The Gospel of John” sticks strictly to the words of that gospel. Mel Gibson claims that he also tried to follow the Bible story closely, and even has his actors speaking Latin and Aramaic throughout the film in an effort to be authentic (there are plans for English subtitles).
Any theatrical production of the life of Jesus is going to have inherent problems. The clothing, hair length and physique of the actor playing Jesus are all subject to the imagination of the filmmaker, because precious little is said about these things in Scripture. But beyond this, the way the scenes are acted will often convey messages not found in the text of Scripture (even IF the dialogue itself is 100% true to Scripture).
The reality is that any theatrical production about any historical figure will carry the biases and beliefs of its writer, producer and director. It will convey THEIR view of the character. Obviously, caution should be exercised. Christians should ask themselves, “What can the likes of Mel Gibson or Andrew Lloyd Weber teach me about Jesus?” Gibson, for instance, is a Catholic. Would we be interested in attending a Bible study conducted by these men? And if we did so, surely we would not accept everything presented at face value, but we would “examine the Scriptures” to see if “these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
to me that if God had thought that the best way to tell the gospel story was
by making a movie, He would have made one. But God sent forth His Son at
the perfect point in human history -- in “the fullness of time” (Galatians
4:4). He inspired men to tell the story of His Son in words and to record
the words in a Book (2
Are we saying that visuals (including moving pictures) have no place as aids teaching the gospel? Not at all. What we are saying is that we must first consider the source. Second, we must compare what is presented with Scripture. And third, we must be careful not to confuse the media with the message -- a picture may sometimes be worth a thousand words, but no picture can take the place of even one inspired word!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
God has Spoken to Us by Christ (Part 2)
Scripture Reading: 2 Peter 1:12-21
In order to properly understand the Bible we need to accept three fundamental truths.
I. GOD HAS SPOKEN THROUGH CHRIST.
A. The Periods of Time
of God Speaking to Man is Divided into Two Epochs – Heb. 1:1-2; 2:1-3.
II. THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST IS EXPRESSED IN THE WORDS OF THE NT (Jno. 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2:13; 4:6; 14:37; Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Jno. 9).
A. His Authority is
Revealed in a Word (message) that was Delivered - Taught – Learned – Jude 3
(Jno. 16:13); Mk. 16:15; 2 Ths. 2:15; Rom. 16:17; (Eph. 4:20-21).
III. THE NT IS A PATTERN OF TRUTH TO WHICH WE MUST HOLD FAST.
A. Divine Revelation
is a Pattern of “Truth in Love” – Eph. 4:15; 1 Tim. 3:14-15; 2 Tim. 1:13;
Acts 15:24; 1 Cor. 4:6.
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Works of the Flesh: Sins of Sensuality (Part 2)
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
1. God’s will
for His children is moral purity & holiness – 1 Pet. 1:13-16.
I. FORNICATION - (immorality, NASV).
intercourse in general,” (Thayer, 532). General, inclusive term for
all sexual immorality.
II. UNCLEANNESS - (impurity, NASV).
“in a moral
sense: the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living…used of impure
motives…” (Thayer, 21).
III. LEWDNESS (lasciviousness, ASV).
of “aselgeia” …
excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness,
shamelessness, insolence…wanton (acts or) manners, as filthy words, indecent
bodily movements, unchaste handling of males & females” (Fritzsche), Rom.
13:13” (Thayer, 79f).
"I Want to
Marry My Dog"
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9). Whenever man is allowed to successfully redefine the things of God, rest assured that departure from God occurs. So it is regarding the subject of marriage.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, this past week saw a renewed effort by both sides of the same-sex marriage issue to legitimize their position by means of civil law. A Constitutional Convention was convened in Boston to try and hammer out a proposed amendment to that state’s constitution that would ban gay marriage. In San Francisco, marriage licenses were issued and ceremonies performed “joining” homosexuals in “marriage.” The Bible is unequivocal on the matter: Marriage is the union of a man and a woman, not of two men or two women (Gen. 2:20-25). Any definition of marriage that goes beyond the one revealed by God is of man and not God (Gal. 1:6-9; Rev. 22:18-19).
At one rally in Boston, Paul Davidson opposed same-sex marriage by displaying a sign that read, “I want to marry my dog.” A supporter of homosexual marriage is said to have retorted, “We’re talking about citizens who are human beings. You can’t marry a dog – you’re mocking everything they’re standing for.” Davidson said he did so to highlight the “stupidity” of gay demands. (A Heated Boston Marriage Debate, newsday.com, Feb. 13, 2004)
Which made me wonder if anybody ever really wanted to marry a dog. Sure enough, a Google search rendered an article from Pravda news agency dated April 2002 of an Indian man who believed his dead wife would be reincarnated as a dog. When he saw a dog that he thought had eyes like his dead wife, and when it responded to her name, the man concluded it was his wife. So, the man petitioned the Calcutta municipal court for permission to marry the dog!
Will we be accused of religious prejudice when we oppose man-dog “marriage” as we are charged with gender prejudice for opposing gay marriage? Or, what about marrying a dead person? That will never happen, you say? Oh, but it already has. Last week a French woman married her dead boyfriend under a French law that allows a living person to “marry” a dead person (given a certain set of conditions). The news report said there was a “macabre exchange of vows” by which Christelle Demichel became both bride and widow (Woman marries dead boyfriend, onenews.nzoom.com, Feb. 12, 2004). (I wonder just how marriage vows were “exchanged” with a dead man!)
Other forms of perverted marriage are sure to follow as men cast aside the moral foundation and restraints of divine truth (2 Tim. 3:13). Will states one day legalize the marriage of pedophiles to boys? If NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) has its way, it will happen. Don’t say it can’t happen: Ancient Greeks and Romans practiced such outrages, included Nero, who “married” a youth named Sporus (Flesh and Spirit, 26-27, Barclay).
Then of course, there is the perversion of adulterous remarriages (Matt. 19:9; Rom. 7:2-3). These, too, are outrageous in the sight of God (Heb. 13:4).
Marriage, as God ordained it, is pure, permanent and precious, in spite of men’s perversions (Matt. 19:3-6).
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA