Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 15th - Imprecations

Prayer Requests
Channing Preaching
National Revival – Harvesters for the Fields
Sarah Going to China
Olivia Kissinger in the Hospital
Tracy's Thumb
Daniel's Friend's Family
Missy and Randy Health/Jobs

Text – Psalm 94

I prayed long and hard about this topic, not knowing if I should teach it, and I actually wrote a whole other lesson plan…but then on Saturday Dave asked if I could teach the High Schoolers too, and that was an undeniable answer to my prayer, because the passage we’re on in First Thessalonians would make very little sense to you without reading at least the rest of chapter 5. We’re going to be talking about a different kind of prayer today, but I encourage you to keep track of prayers you pray, because I believe you’ll be amazed at how many of them are answered. There is something important going on in the battle for America, and one that we have to look at motives and the Bible to find the truth about what is happening. It doesn't really have anything to do with 1 Thessalonians...

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge"…

The guy in the White House, Barack Obama, lifted a ban on funding Stem-Cell Research in Embryonic Stem-Cells this week. I want you guys to know what this means and why it is so stupid for the government to be doing this and that it isn’t really a matter of science, but them proving how much they hate the Living God.

There are four kinds of stem-cells that we’ve discovered so far. Three of these are very good and there never has been a ban on them, one of these is sinister and was banned because it kills a person.

So first, what’s a stem-cell? It’s sort of the construction worker of your body. Are any of your dads construction workers? My dad is, and since he is, I know there are two kinds of construction worker. There is the kind that builds things from scratch, and there is the kind that fixes things after they are built. My dad has done both jobs, and so can all stem-cells do both jobs, but they have specialties.

A stem-cell can replace pretty much any cell in your body, say a nerve gets damaged, a new stem-cell comes in and fixes that nerve. The same stem-cell can replace a muscle cell, or a skin cell, or a liver cell, they are able to do all sorts of jobs, but once it has decided what it is going to be, that is what it is going to be.

Amniotic – Taken from the placenta after a baby is born, nobody dies
Umbilical – Taken from the umbilical cord after a baby is born, nobody dies
Marrow / Adult – Taken from a person’s very own bone marrow, nobody dies
Embryonic – Taken from a baby before it is born, the baby dies

Amniotic and Umbilical stem-cells have shown some promise, healing some basic ailments, but the Adult cell, which is the common name for this type, has shown the most promise. These three types are the fixers.

Embryonic stem-cells have never healed anybody, and in tests in lab-rats they cause cancer instead of healing. These are the builders and they have no interest in fixing things, theirs is to make human beings, not fix problems in human beings.

Yet Barack Obama and other God-haters love the embryonic stem-cell and this is where they want to put all of their money. It is foolishness beyond foolishness. Michael J. Fox wants money to be put into this hopefully so he can be healed of his Parkinson’s Disease, yet he’s going exactly the wrong direction and will suffer the consequences.

Proverbs 8:35-36 For whoever finds [wisdom] finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.

In conclusion, Adult stem-cells are awesome, nobody has to die, they are an incredible gift from God. If we put more money into this research, we will see diabetes go away, paraplegics and quadriplegics walk again, and even many forms of cancer healed. Embryonic stem-cells are stupid, they have no potential, and it is the murder of a baby, and God will judge those who are so happy to destroy human life.


In First Thessalonians there is a verse talking to the church at Thessalonica, who has been persecuted like crazy, and Paul tells them this:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Paul tells this church straight out that the persecution they are going through is God’s will for them. You can’t surprise God, he knew that Barack Obama was going to end up in the White House and within two months was going to sign bills that encouraged the killing of babies. The last time the High School was in here we looked at a verse in Isaiah 57 about Israel killing their babies, lets look at another one in 2 Chronicles 33, everybody turn, please.

A little history, Israel and Judah had some very wicked kings, Saul, Hezekiah, Amon, to name a few, but nobody could outsin Manasseh, lets read what he did:

2 Chronicles 33:1-6 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever." In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger.

He sacrificed his sons in the fire. Whenever things get really bad in the Old Testament, you can usually find babies getting killed. But we know from First Thessalonians, as well as many, many other places, that God is in control. Lets look at two real quick,

Lamentations 3:37-39 Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come? Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?

Job 1:12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

And my favorite,

Amos 3:6-7 When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it? Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

There are so many more we could look at, Romans 1, John 3:27, the whole book of Revelation…but do you get the point? It is God’s will that what is happening is happening, and therefore we better be paying attention to the lesson he is teaching us.

God created the world for four major purposes:
First is the creativity and power of God; he created an infinitely big universe where no star, no human being, no snowflake is exactly the same as another.
Second is to show us how bad sin is, that it has led to the death of everything, that it causes unbelievable suffering, and that it is contagious.
Third is to show us that good can only come from God, and apart from God, not even the angel Lucifer can put together a working planet, having been labeled the ruler of this world. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find out that Lucifer is not purposefully evil but is trying his hardest to make earth a godless utopia.
Fourth is to put these three together; it shows how amazingly good and genius God is, that he is capable of saving us from sin but only by willingly going to the cross and taking our punishment, then showing his power by defeating death and bestowing his goodness on us.

I want to focus on the second, that God is demonstrating to us how bad sin is and why he hates it. I always have to share Psalm 11:5 when talking about this,

Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Just as it is foolish for me to hate the bullet but love the assassin, it is foolish for God to hate the sin but love the sinner. He has an abiding hatred towards his enemies, but a lovingkindness that he sent his Son to absorb the wrath they deserved, so if they’ll repent and believe the Gospel, they will be saved. It is our duty as Christians to hate sinners and enemies of God, but Romans 12 is very clear that we are to leave all vengeance up to God. That leads into where I’ve been driving: imprecations.

What is an imprecation? It is a prayer asking God to pour out his vengeance on someone. 90 of the 150 Psalms contain imprecations, and that is certainly not the only place they are found. Peter Hammond, a missionary to South Africa, kept tract of imprecatory prayers that were being prayed against evil leaders, and many, many of them died. I’ve included a link on the website if you’d like to do a follow-up:

You guys know I love history, so lets look into the past. In the mid-1500’s John Knox began his ministry as a Catholic priest in Catholic Scotland, but then his friend George Wiseheart, and Englishman and Protestant, was sent from King Henry to Mary, Queen of Scots to arrange a marriage between Anglican England and Catholic Scotland. Wiseheart was burned at the stake by the Catholic Church just for proposing that Catholic Mary would marry a non-Catholic. Reform was sweeping Europe and somehow or another John Knox got saved, the details are fuzzy, but it sounds like Knox was saved listening to Wiseheart open-air preach. Anyway it happened went to visit with John Calvin in Geneva. While here he became a radical reformer and headed back for Scotland, his most famous quote is, “Give me Scotland, else I die!

He stood against Mary, Queen of Scots, admonishing her to her face, and repeatedly bringing her to tears. She said, “I fear the imprecations of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe.

Her consort, Henry, banned Knox from preaching in his presence, but that didn’t stop Knox from preaching. He would preach to his congregation, then he would go outside and preach to anybody and everybody that would listen. During this time he continued to try to convert Mary and Henry, as well as praying against their efforts to suppress the Reformation. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Scottish Christians would die by their decree. Knox would pray Psalms against Mary, and apparently Henry went so far as throwing at least part of her Bible into the fire, this was at a time when Bibles cost in excess of $50,000 in todays money.

Knox confronted Henry and said, “Have you, for the pleasure of that dainty dame, cast the psalm-book into the fire? The Lord shall strike both head and tail.” Mary and Henry would both die painful deaths.

So, I want to look at a prayer the Psalmist wrote against some very wicked people. We don’t know for sure who wrote this Psalm, I believe fairly strongly that it was David, but ultimately who is the Author? God.

Psalm 94:1-3,20-23 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongs—O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth; Render punishment to the proud. LORD, how long will the wicked, How long will the wicked triumph?...Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by law? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the LORD our God will wipe them out.

We are fully and totally authorized to pray imprecations against enemies of righteousness. We should be asking God to either grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, or for him to crush them out of existence so that sin can no longer abound. In this we will be conformed closer and closer to an image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a GREAT verse to commit to memory:

Hebrews 1:8-9 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions."

And what is the fruit of Knox’s prayers? After Mary and Henry fled Scotland, later to be executed in England, Scotland saw a massive return to the Living God. Knox birthed the Presbyterian Church and greatly furthered the Reformation. Mary, Queen of Scots would have a son, his named was James VI of Scotland. Does anyone know his other name? James I of Great Britain, he was the first legitimate king of the whole of Britain, and he was a great friend of John Knox, thoroughly protestant.

What is his crowning achievement? In 1604 he realized that there were a lot of translations of the Bible and none of them were really good in English. He commissioned the Authorized Version of the Bible, otherwise known as the King James Version, or as Dave calls it, the King Jimmy Bible. This was the Bible of choice for over 300 years, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley, and Charles Spurgeon would preach out of this Bible, to name a few.

It is still a really good Bible, but since it was written four-hundred years ago it’s not really in our language anymore, which is why we have the ESV Bible, the NIV, the NASB, the HCSB, and the NKJV which are all good Bibles.

So, to switch gears just slightly. Sarah is going to China. In China they have a similar problem, their Bible was translated in 1919 and it’s not really in the language they speak anymore. In 2007 a brand new translation was completed at great expense and is supposedly a very good Bible, but it is not yet legal to sell this Bible in China. Sarah, I don’t have very many details, but I implore you to take at least one new Bible into China with you and leave it, if not a few. I have no idea what the laws are, but I know you’re allowed a personal Bible.

There is a massive revival going on in China, there are more Christians in China than in America. They are working on a huge missionary outreach between China and Jerusalem. The greatest thing we can do is pray, both for them, and for God to raise up harvesters for our fields.

And finally, we thank God that while we were alienated from him, hostile in mind, doing wicked works, Christ has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present us holy and blameless and above reproach before him, and that we have now become ministers of his Gospel.

This Gospel is the only hope for our country, the only hope for our friends, the only hope for our babies, and the only hope for the world. So I implore you, know it, pray it, live it, and preach it.