I apologise for the release of this issue immediately after the last. I accidentally skipped the last one. This is the second of two issues back to back.
Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard (NZ)
On Watch at the Door. No 199, July 21, 2015
THE VEXATION OF THE RIGHTEOUS
Recently I listened to a sermon on the Vexation of the Righteous based on 2 Peter 2:4-10a. It was a response to the recent US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling in favour of same-sex marriages in direct and brazen defiance of the Word of God and the US Constitution.
Living in Sodom, Lot was vexed, distressed and oppressed by the filthy lives and unbridled lust of the homosexuals living there. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter wrote that Lot was righteous because he was vexed by what he saw. They still lusted even though blinded.
Homosexuality is a sin but God loves sinners and want them to repent and be saved too. There are degrees of judgment for sin, just as there are degrees of reward for the righteous. Homosexuality is regarded as a serious sin. It is the sort of sin that is never satisfied and always wants more. It wants everyone else to approve of it, and it especially wants to destroy Christians. Sadly, unlike Lot, many Christians are becoming desensitised to it and are approving it. (Rom 1:32)
As in Sodom, severe judgment awaits those who do not repent. God rained down burning sulphur on Sodom, and the sexually immoral who do not repent will eventually find themselves in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. (Rev 21:8)
Jesus warns us that the last days will be as in the days of Lot. (Luke 17:28) Right now, it is hard for us to imagine a situation as in Lot’s time, but sexual immorality will increase and bring with it considerable persecution of vexed Christians.
Shockingly, according to a Barna Group survey, 1 in 10 Evangelicals and 3 in 10 practising Christians are in favour of the US Supreme Court ruling.
In the US, three mainline churches, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ have embraced gay marriage rites.
A new liturgy of the Episcopal Church extending marriage to gays and lesbians was widely approved by the large margin of 184-23 by the Episcopal Church USA’s House of Deputies during the denomination’s 78th General Convention. In a separate vote of 173 to 27, the institution of marriage was changed from being comprised exclusively by a man and a woman to being between two persons more generally, with the line “both parties understand that Holy Matrimony is a physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman” being axed from the canon. The Episcopal Church’s ever-increasing acceptance of homosexuality has frustrated many in the worldwide Anglican Communion for some time.
In New Zealand, the Anglican Church has agreed to look at ways same-sex relationships can be part of church life, but will not marry gay couples though a significant number are in favour of them. The church’s General Synod, held in May, has decided to uphold the “traditional doctrine of marriage” but work towards ways to recognise committed same sex relationships. A working party will now be appointed to look at options for ‘same gender blessings.’ The party will report back in 2016, but any changes would take at least four years.
Making decisions on how you can bless same-sex relationships or basing decisions on what makes people feel better is dangerous. We know such people and we love them. If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian but do not think that same-sex relationships are a sin, or even just a ‘mild sin,’ there are questions you need to ask yourself. How would you make a case from Scripture that same-sex sexual activity is to be blessed or celebrated? Why did Jesus reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman, and why did He warn us that the last days would be as in the days of Lot? If ‘love wins,’ what is the Bible support for that? What do you believe about Sodom’s sin and why was there such severe judgment? Do you believe that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven? (1 Cor 6:9, Rev 21:8) Do you believe that the Bible is the unchanging Word of God and is to be taken seriously? There are many more questions that could be asked. But if you support gay-marriage, I ask that you consider these questions seriously. (These questions are adapted from Kevin DeYoung)
Obviously there are many in the Anglican Church who don’t understand the clear teaching in the Bible on marriage being between one man and one woman, and the judgment that will fall on those who practise it or even support it.
Standing on the Word: Persecution will come.
The US has hate crime laws which vary from state to state. The current statutes however permit federal prosecution of hate crimes committed on the basis of a person’s protected characteristic of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. Obama has urged supporters of same-sex marriage to “help” those who hold different views to overcome their religious convictions. Hence we can expect to see many more God-fearing Christians taken to court by homosexuals and lesbians who feel they have been hurt by what has been said or done.
New Zealand has just passed a potentially dangerous Digital Communications Bill, which declares that cyberbullying is a criminal offence. A Spreeman writes: “Anyone using digital communications like Facebook, Twitter or other apps in a way that causes “serious emotional distress” is considered to be breaking the law and could face a number of punishments. Posts that are deemed to be racist, sexist, speaking badly of someone’s sexual orientation or a disability, or showing religious intolerance are all covered by the bill.” Our religious freedoms could be seriously compromised if people claimed they were harmed emotionally by Scripture or biblical truth shared on social media.
The trailer to Ray Comfort’s latest film about homosexuality, AUDACITY, was removed by You Tube (but since restored), with the company claiming that the content violated the platform’s “policy against spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content.” Ray Comfort rejects these claims. The trailer is now also available on Vimeo on the Internet.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, city officials have laid down the law to Christian pastors within their community, telling them bluntly via an ordinance that if they refuse to marry homosexuals, they will face jail time and fines. Some judges in various municipalities are already telling same-sex couples that they are Christians and will not marry them.
Following the same-sex marriage ruling, churches in the US are concerned that they might lose their tax exemption status if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages. If this happens, they would lose millions of dollars normally available for missions and charity.
Now that same-sex marriage is recognized as a constitutional right, churches are also looking at their protection against liability if they refuse to perform such marriages and a complaint is made. One insurance company which serves more than 8,400 churches has had numerous inquiries regarding the ruling. Churches may find themselves on their own.
The State of Oregon attempted to bankrupt Aaron and Melissa Klein by fining them $135,000 for refusing to bake a cake suitable for a lesbian couple. The couple alleged an array of injuries, including “impaired digestion, high blood pressure, excessive sleep, migraine headaches and anxiety.” However, many were willing to help the Kleins and more than $200,000 has been raised. They now run an exclusively online business. The Klein’s have been supported by Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse, which has established a fund to help people who face financial distress and are punished for their sincerely held religious beliefs, convictions, and conscience. Many more Christians in the US are experiencing increasing hardship, targeting, and persecution because of the stand they take for biblical principles.
Jimmy Carter: “I believe Jesus would. I don’t have any verse in scripture. … I believe Jesus would approve gay marriage, but that’s just my own personal belief. I think Jesus would encourage any love affair if it was honest and sincere and was not damaging to anyone else, and I don’t see that gay marriage damages anyone else.”
Chris Christie, 2016 Republican Candidate: Christie has let loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex marriages. He says to them, “You took the job, and you took the oath… When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it.”
Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily (WND) is turning from expecting a pre-trib Rapture to a pre-Wrath one. In an article Is Church Too Rapture-Dependent? he says, “… I defended against attacks that the pre-tribulation rapture eschatological view would leave Christians tolerant of the growing apostasy in their midst. Now, I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s because I am repulsed at the way the pre-trib rapture doctrine is preached with such self-assurance, certainty, fervor. I have come to believe it is leaving far too many believers unprepared for what is happening right now as other Christians are already being slaughtered around the world.” He then refers people to Alan Kurschner’s book Antichrist Before the Day of the Lord.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a leading authority in mainstream Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, has been giving clear messages recently that the coming of the Messiah is imminent. Rabbi Kanievsky is highly revered and talks about the messiah “all the time.” He believes that the Messiah’s arrival will be at the end of this Sabbatical year which will end on our calendars on Saturday 12 September.
AS IN THE DAYS OF LOT
In the State of Oregon, 15-yr olds can now get state-subsidised sex-change operations without parental approval. However, they are not allowed to drive, smoke, donate blood, get a tattoo or even go to a tanning bed.
Some parents are preparing to transition their children from one gender to the other as early as pre-school. One child who started life out as ‘Jack’ became ‘Jackie’ by age four. Jackie said she wanted to be a girl and started dressing in girl’s clothes and had her hair pulled into small ponytails. The parents said they had never seen such a happy child.
Following the SCOTUS ruling, Democrats in California have introduced a bill that would ban ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ as ‘anti-gay’ words from being used in federal law because they are ‘gendered terms’ and discriminate against gay people.
A Christian Law School in Canada has been told that if it wants accreditation it must support homosexuality. At issue was the Trinity Western’s Community Covenant, which requires students and faculty to “voluntarily abstain” from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
We are rushing headlong into a time the Bible warns about. Sexual immorality is rapacious. It is never satisfied and always wants more. To use some biblical expressions, it is like the grave, the barren womb, land which is never satisfied with water, and fire which never says ‘Enough!’ Its goal is to destroy Christianity. Persecution will come. Remember, only Lot and his family were considered righteous enough to be saved from the terrible judgment. Are you vexed?
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