Saturday, May 30, 2015

Through One Man - May 23, 2015

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. 
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 
But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
(Romans 5, *)

Abortion Clinic
Mission Hills

Today was a busy day at the clinic.  The building that houses it also has other medical and general businesses (ex: tax preparation), but most are closed on Saturdays.  However, shortly after we arrived, people for a new IV class on another floor started to arrive.  That was later followed by a CPR class.

This is how the parking lot normally looks...on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

For a Saturday, this is packed!

The abortion doctor, as well as several key nurses, also arrived very early.  That's never a good thing to see, and means they expected a busy day of murder.

Don is very careful about determining who is there for an abortion, but it can be tough when there are so many young people coming in at once.  Also, just because someone isn't there for an abortion, that doesn't mean that they are happy to see us.  So even when Don is careful to ask, "Are you here for an abortion today?", even if not, there's still a screaming reply.

While Don tried to be discerning, one of the Catholic ladies in particular wasn't and kept pressing those who clearly weren't there for an abortion to take material and to try to get them to stop and talk with her about abortion.

Her interference included stopping cars coming in and blocking the entrance, which is something that we never want to do, lest we be seen as impeding normal business and give the clinic or the owners an excuse to have the police come!  This really helped to highlight the unusually large Catholic turnout this Memorial weekend, which normally stays on the other end of the building, but had "spilled over" to the parking lot side.

To Christians' shame, it’s a sad reality that most people in front of abortion clinics are Catholics.  The clinic in Mission Hills is no exception.  It’s been said that if you gave a Christian $1,000 every time he shared the gospel, that he would suddenly no longer be afraid to share it - and if you offer someone eternal life through works, work she will.

We have a heart for these Catholic women but they, like the people killing their babies, are on the same path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13).  This may sound harsh - several of these women are very kind and very dedicated - but the Bible is abundantly clear that neither our works nor sweet personalities get us into heaven.  And it is equally clear about our remaining separate from those who trust in such things because it dilutes the gospel and deceives them into thinking they are saved.

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
"Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.”
(2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

It is true that there is a common desire to see an unborn baby's life saved, but saving an infant's life is not our primary goal.  What good is it if we convince a mother not to kill her baby only to offer damning hope in Mary?  Our goal (should be) proclaiming Christ and His gospel.

In the picture above you see signs referencing “40 Days for Life”.  While that bi-annual Catholic-event has passed, for some reason today many were carrying them.  The following link not only talks about what that event is, but also discusses in more detail why, as born again Christians, we should not be partnering with this (or any) idolatrous religion even when it involves the saving of an unborn child's life: 40 Days for Life, Catholics, and Christians

Pray for a boldness to share the gospel with the Catholics and a willingness to be firm about keeping them at arm’s length as they try to unite with us.  As this ministry is not one over which we have control, also pray for Don for wisdom in these matters.  He was saved out of Roman Catholicism, and has a desire to see these woman saved as well, so pray that he is able to evangelize without being perceived as being in unity with them.

A couple weeks ago (in this post) we spoke about a "flippant girl" who told Don he has a weird hobby and an unnerving encounter later where her boyfriend tried to get Don into his car.

Juan, the security guard, let Don know the following week that 20 or 30 minutes after we had gone, the man came back, picked up his girlfriend, and left.  Now we have absolutely no idea what the reason was, but it’s a curious turn of events to say the least.  An abortion at this place takes 3+ hours (between checking in, waiting around, surgery, etc).  This would mean that the girl was at the clinic for no more than 1 ½ hours.  Half the time it takes for an abortion to be performed.

Again, we have no idea the reason she left, but it was a reminder that even the hardest of heart are in the full, sovereign control of the Almighty God.  Pray for both of them that they would repent and be saved!

Every Wednesday and Saturday at 8-10 am
10200 Sepulveda Blvd
Mission Hills, CA  91345

No Experience Needed and no need to say anything if you are not ready - come hold a sign, pray, and bring encouragement to those who are standing for the innocent.

Saturday Outreach

Once again, we had the pleasure of coming out to Burbank as feeble, poor men doing their best to proclaim the gospel!

The evening was a relatively slow one as we were missing several brothers and sisters who were out of town or taking care of family business.

This man has been by a few times before.  He calls himself a Muslim yet speaks more like a materialist as he rejects the idea of an afterlife and has placed his hope in science solving death.  We posted this link a couple weeks ago in the “media” section, but it seemed fitting to include again, here:  Tech Titans’ Latest Project: Defy Death

The truth of who we are as sinners and where we stand before a holy God was presented, yet he refused to listen.  Whether or not he was willing to say it, he is suppressing the truth of the wrath of the God he knows exists (Romans 1:18) by believing in a fantasy to keep from facing the reality of judgement.  Sadly, that fantasy is just that.

We die when God determines it:
"Since man’s days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.” (Job 14:4, emphasis added)
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalms 139:16, emphasis added)

We die as a physical judgement for mankind's rebellion:
Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:15-17, emphasis added) 
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12-14, emphasis added)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23, emphasis added)

We die to be judged for our sins:
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Hebrews 9:27, emphasis added)
"Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.” (Ezekiel 18:4, emphasis added)
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 - emphasis added)

This man’s faith says that if science can figure out a way to keep putting our parts back together, that we can avoid death and therefore judgement.  But the God who upholds all by the power of His word (Hebrews 1:1-3) upholds and continues to allow even those parts to exist!  And when he has determined it, unless Jesus returns before then, each and everyone of us will die.

A note about this Muslim man who doesn’t hold to Muslim beliefs (though he does dogmatically maintain the common argument that Jesus was merely a good man): it is a reminder for us to approach each individual as a lost individual and to not assume that they are a perfect embodiment of their representative religion.

Followers of false religions are as likely as anyone to have a confused and conflicted understanding of their religion.  Living in a Western, soon-to-be-completely-secular-society, can confuse things all the more so that the Muslim we see on TV in the Arab world is not the Muslim walking by us.  In fact, it could end up that who we meet, like this man, is a Jesus-denying-allah-defending-secularist-athiest-Muslim.

Part of this mash-up comes from people not understanding what their own religion teaches and simply accepting what other people say without checking it out or questioning it.  BTW: this is a good reminder that we, as Christians, should be studying the Bible daily!  We referenced the Islamic Dilemma on another post (here), which comes with an implied question - if the Qur’an says the gospel is the word of God, then why don‘t Muslim’s believe it?  Dr. James White presents some thoughtful reasons for this: Why Muslims Reject the Gospel

Michael, the man in the car, yelled out “We are worthy, you are not worthy!” as he waited to turn at the corner across the street.  Because he was driving by, it’s unclear how much he actually heard of the message, or whether he was just spring-boarding off what little he had heard - or thought he had heard.  However, what was said was that nobody is worthy to stand before a holy God.

Besides pretending that death won’t happen or that there is nothing after death, another way of trying to suppress the knowledge of the wrath of God is by saying that we can make ourselves worthy before Him (or that God's love forces Him to go against His nature and overlook our unworthiness).

However, the Bible is again clear that God demands a righteousness that we can't achieve as even our best deeds are filth to Him.
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6, emphasis added)
The man on the box replied to Michael that when he declared himself worthy, he was showing just how impoverished and lost he was (James 4:6) and told him to repent.

As we think about this man's hardness of heart, let us who have been granted salvation be reminded of our own unworthiness outside of Jesus.  It is His righteousness that was credited to us, and that reason alone is why we can stand before Him in the day of judgement.
That is why [Abraham's] faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:22-25)
Let us meditate upon our Redeemer, upon His worthiness, and if ever the thought flashes in our minds that we have become worthy because of who we are, may we also remember who God is and say with Job:
“Indeed, I am completely unworthy – how could I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth to silence myself." (Job 40:4, NET)

Besides these encounters, and a couple quick questions, the evening passed rather uneventfully.  We are grateful for the opportunity to be out, and know that if we rightly proclaimed God's word, that people were affected whether or not they responded.

Please pray for our team as we work to refine our presentations to be ever more focused on the gospel, and that our love for the lost grows.  Also, pray for Mark in his leadership and stamina as he continues filling in for Steve for at least 2 to 4 more weeks.

And as Steve always says: Maranatha!

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Tracts and Bibles supplied!

Articles and Media

Justin Edwards: 40 Days for Life, Catholics, and Christians
"While my experience in pro-life Gospel ministry has been extremely fulfilling, it has not come without a stark realization of the further slide of evangelicalism into ecumenical compromise."

Voice of America: China Aims to Break Foreign Influence on Religion
“The crackdown and persecution against Christianity, in particular, has really accelerated to a level that is perhaps the worst in two decades," Fu said. "The kind of crackdown on government sanctioned churches is the worst since the Cultural Revolution.”

Europe News for Law and Justice: Systematic Violation of the Right to Conscientious Objection to Abortion in Sweden
"According to the Swedish political and medical authorities, those who respect the life of the child must choose an occupation unrelated to pregnancy. The Swedish Parliament and Government have officially taken a stand against the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1763 (2010), which reaffirms the right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care. Sweden suffers from a shortage of midwifes, but the authorities persist in rejecting skilled staff for ideological reasons."

Dr. James White: Why Muslims Reject the Gospel

Washington Post: Tech Titan's Latest Project: Defy Death
(re-posted from a couple weeks ago)
“The great unfinished task of the modern world is to turn death from a fact of life into a problem to be solved — a problem towards whose solution I hope to contribute in whatever way I can.”
PETER THIEL (co-founder of PayPal, et al)

* All verses are from the NASB unless otherwise stated

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