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Wednesday, May 25, 2016
"A Strong Delusion"
Message Summary: Today's message shares a perspective on a current topic. "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female."
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"So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female" (Genesis 1:27). "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:6). "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He who now restrains it will do so until He is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of His mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:7-12).
This October we will celebrate 20 years of preparing these daily encouragement messages. We keep all the messages in a single WORD file beginning with the first on October 21, 1996. (It's about 6,000 pages long at 10 point type and has nearly 3,500,000 words.) Using a search box we can determine when or how often a verse, theme, or illustration has been used. Some verses such as John 3:16, Romans 8:28, etc. tend to be used frequently. Other verses are used less frequently and of course there are many verses we have never used.
For what seems like a short time now, although I suppose I really don't keep up with the progressive causes du jour, there has been a growing delusion regarding the fundamentals of human sexuality. Most famously now it's the issue of which "gender" is allowed to use which bathroom.
The fundamental teaching in Scripture regarding sexual identity is introduced in the Bible in our first daily text which we have never used in this series. It's a powerful verse, rich in meaning, but up to the last several years something I felt no need to teach from. If I would have used the text the teaching probably would have focused on being created in the image of God.
Some readers may recall a series of cute Geico ads from several years ago. One person sees an ad and excitedly says, "Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance." He is then snidely told, "Everybody knows that".
Well, throughout most of my life, each generation that preceded mine right back to Creation, everyone knew that we were created male and female. During my years as a pastor from 1976 till 2001 if I were to have preached a message that God created us male and female as if I were teaching something new I would likely get a response like that of the Geico ad, "Everybody knows that!"
But now it seems a growing number of people do not know that. As many readers know, the current battle line in the regression into sexual anarchy is the confusion of basic biology and Scripture, as expressed in the latter part of the text that states, "He created them male and female." This is an absolutely consistent teaching throughout the Scriptures and affirmed by the Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 10:6, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female."
Now powerful forces assert that this is really not the case. Keeping up with the flood of evil can add heartburn to one's normally healthy digestive tract, but I just read that there are 31 different gender identities!!! *¹ Pondering this for too long can also make my spiritual heart burn with agitation for such immoral chaos.
Seeking to apply spiritual and Biblical discernment to this matter, consider that the fundamental nature of marriage is specified in Genesis 2:24, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh". This has been the common understanding of marriage from Creation right up to our current generation. When my dad died in 1998 it was unthinkable that marriage was anything but that which exists between a man and a woman. Look at how far our moral barometer has plummeted in less than 20 years! It has gone from a perversion of God-ordained marriage in Genesis 2 to a perversion of God-ordained sexual identity in Genesis 1. *²
Many years ago Francis A. Schaeffer wrote a book with the intriguing title, "How Should We Then Live". Forty years ago, this book came out in 1976, the year we married and began our ministry together. It really seems prophetic given the direction of society since it was written. Here's a summary description: "Schaeffer's central premise is when we base society on the Bible, on the infinite-personal God who is there and has spoken, this provides an absolute by which we can conduct our lives and by which we can judge society. This leads to what Schaeffer calls "Freedom without chaos." When we base society on humanism, which he defines as "a value system rooted in the belief that man is his own measure, that man is autonomous, totally independent", all values are relative and we have no way to distinguish right from wrong except for utilitarianism. Because we disagree on what is best for which group, this leads to fragmentation of thought, which has led us to the despair and alienation so prevalent in society today." *³
Today's message is admittedly a bit disjointed given the hard subject matter. Perhaps it will give you something to think about or for many of you it will add to the thoughts already going on in your heart and mind. This is not a subject in which we can remain indifferent.
Finally let us consider the lengthier passage from Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians. Chapter 2 has long been somewhat a mystery to serious Bible students with a variety of understandings. But consider the phrase "a strong delusion". When people reject the truth they subject themselves to error. This leads to spiritual blindness and deception. I believe what we are now seeing is "a strong delusion". Today we urge each of our readers "to love the truth and so be saved", and to "speak the truth in love" whether it is the approved "trending" thought of the day or whether it makes you a "dinosaur" to the modern thinkers of our day.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we cry out to You for help as Satan seeks to eradicate the essential underpinnings of our Biblical faith through his ever-growing distortions of that which is derived not only from Scripture but even from our good common sense, our natural ability to make good judgment and to behave in a practical, sensible way. In these changing times when a large majority make judgments not based on truth, but on their preference, their emotion or what they personally perceive to be truth, keep us unswerved by such erratic babble. "True wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere" and it is derived from You, "the Father of lights who does not change like the shifting shadows." Keep us steady, immovable, and abounding in Your truth and works that honor You, seeking Your approval above all others. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
- James 3:17, 1:17
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
*¹ Article on gender identities and this from the NYC site.
*² Of course one wonders what the next level of perversion will be and how it relates to the fundamental teaching of Genesis. We've gone from a perversion of God's design for marriage to a perversion of God's design for sexual identity. What's next? You may read it here first but one conjecture is known as trans-speciesism. See here or here. As one "progressive" commentator actually logically states, "Surely if it is logical to believe somebody can be assigned the incorrect gender/sex at birth, it's equally logical to believe someone can be assigned the wrong species."
*³ Article on "How Should We Than Live"
Just musing in print by SCW: Let me address something that can be a source of persuasion to some and confusion to others. On a number of contemporary issues we are now told "The science is settled" (meaning there is no debate or alternate view allowed). In my view phony, politically correct and ideologically-driven "science" abounds.
When I was a young Christian and developing my worldview and faith outlook there were two Bible Colleges in Springfield, MO. Both were conservative but one was "fundamental" and the one we attended was "evangelical". At that time the word "fundamental" carried the sense that "we are right and everyone else is wrong". I never appreciated this view. Evangelical at that time carried a connotation of being respectful of other positions and open to studying them, while at the same time being persuaded that your view is correct.
It seems to me that modern progressive secularism has taken on the very qualities I found negative of religious fundamentalism! "We are right, the science is settled, shut up!"
Anyone questioning the Al Gore model of global warming, climate change (or whatever they call it now) must be silenced. "The science is settled", they proclaim with a red face of anger to any whom they derisively label as "climate change deniers". Some propose banning any opposing voices!!! Now to me this is not a hill I need to die on. There may be some merit to these concerns, there may not be. However the science is certainly not settled and we do well to continue to thoughtfully study and inquire and respect different voices. What's more some of the biggest hypocrites who ever walked the planet espouse these views.
Anyone who interprets the Genesis account of creation in a literal way must be cast as an ignorant fool since "the science is settled". Of course now public school students are forbidden from even being presented alternate views on our origins. Even the intelligent design approach is forbidden since it infers an intelligent designer! Sadly many in the church feel they must go along with the world's outlook on this matter. Years ago we had a pastor with liberal inclinations. The matter of creation came up and he asserted that "respected scientists hold to the evolutionary model", implying that any scientists who do not believe this way must not be worthy of respect! (Thankfully we have a Bible-faithful pastor at this time who holds to the literal creation account in Genesis.)
Ironically where observable science is essentially settled we are being forced into a mold of accepting the new science or else.
Observable science reveals we are male or female (down to the chromosome level). But progressives demand that we accept the politically correct new "science" or we are branded ignorant and hateful.
Observable science reveals the baby developing in the womb is a distinct human being with a heartbeat and genetic makeup distinct from the mother. But the politically correct new "science" asserts it's just a glob of tissue depending on whether he or she is wanted. If wanted the happy mother (hopefully, couple) rejoice at new life as soon as the pregnancy is discovered. If unwanted there are means to kill the "glob of tissue". What incredible foolishness!!!
Geico ad, "Everyone knows that" Video Let's end today with a chuckle if you have not seen these ads!
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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