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Respecting Life

Scripture: Exodus 20:13
Date: 05/06/2006 
This sermon focuses on the 6th commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." This command, like all of them, can be summed up in one word, "Love." Killing is more than just not murdering, but to have respect for life.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

The sermon this morning is dealing more specifically with commandment number six, dealing with the subject of life. We often think of the commandment, shalt not kill as dealing with death, but really what it's saying is respect life. And the message this morning is about respecting life. We’re going to talk about a lot of things; well they're really matters of life and death. You ever heard somebody use that as an emphatic? “It was a matter of life and death!” Well, this is, a matter of life and death. We're going to be talking about some of these issues of respecting life and what it means, the seriousness of breaking this very important commandment in the Decalogue. Often when we think about thou shalt not kill we conjure up in our minds some horrific killer. And in thinking about this, in the news not too long ago, some of us heard about the apprehension a couple of years ago of the infamous Green River killer, Gary Ridgeway.

For years there in the northwest, around Oregon and Seattle, they had a series of murders and they realized they had a serial murderer on their hands. And for years, they couldn't track him down. At one time, Gary Ridgeway had been arrested, was a suspect and released, and 20 years went by and over that time a number more were murdered. Finally, in 2001 he was arrested for suspicion of regarding the murder of or women. During that time, he not only confessed to those crimes, but he confessed to the slayings connect with Green River murder cases. And more specifically, he confessed to 48 counts. He leads America as the number one, in our history, serial killer that we know of. And they suspect there were many more than that. He may have just forgotten some. And you think about that and it just makes you shudder. Typically that's what we think of when we think of thou shalt not kill, and we ourselves on the back and say, “Well, we can move on to the next commandment now. I don't have to worry about that one because I have no plans on being a serial killer or of committing murder.”

I think it's important for us to get a good understanding of how broad and comprehensive God's law is. The commandments of God could be summed up in one word. Who knows what that word is? Love. God is love. The commandments are an expression of His character. All 10 Commandments can be summed up in one word, love. Then you could divide it a little more carefully and say the first four deal really with love for God and the last six with the love for your fellow man. Then the 10 Commandments divide them up in a little more detail, and then you can go into the teachings of Jesus and He elaborates on them and they become very broad and comprehensive. And it’s that way with this commandment. You would think, four words. That’s why we picked the scripture reading that actually was dealing with another aspect of the Bible that quotes this commandment to help us know it is more than what we typically think.

When you read in Exodus 20, and you read it first from the King James Version. Why don’t you all say that with me, those four words in verse 13? “Thou shalt not kill.” It’s stated in the negative there. And more specifically, if you look at more of the modern translations it is more accurate to translate it, “You shall not murder.” Now that’s an important distinction. And if you think, “Pastor Doug, you shouldn’t be tampering with the word of God.” If you look in the King James version, when Jesus quotes that commandment, you can read in Matthew 19:18, the rich young ruler came to Jesus and he said, “You must keep the law.” He said, “Which ones?” Jesus quotes the sixth commandment by saying, “Thou shalt do no murder.” Jesus used the word murder. So there’s no question about it, it is really dealing with thou shalt not commit murder. But God wants us to respect all life.

I should probably define murder here because some of what I’m going to deal with this morning is explaining some of the different misunderstandings about this commandment. It is a very misunderstood commandment. Murder is the unlawful killing of one human being by another, especially with premeditated malice. God created life and life is sacred.

Now the first time you hear an example of murder in the Bible is, of course, there were two brothers in the beginning, Cain and Abel. Cain became angry. The murder began in the heart with anger for his brother, not because his brother had done something wrong, but he was angry with his brother because his brother was right and he was wrong. And so he flew into a rage and bludgeoned him to death, evidently, and killed his brother. The Bible tells us that at the end, there will be a death decree that's based on the same motives. Those who worship God according to the dictates of His word will be hated by those who have manufactured their own worship and will make a law that they should be killed unless they worship the way they're told. It always makes a religion or a political system suspect, when they teach, “If you don't go along with our government we're going to kill you; our philosophy, our politics. Or if you don't go along with our religion will kill you.” You always wonder about a country that doesn't let its people out. You're not allowed to leave; all the populace is prisoners, as in behind the Iron Curtain. Pretty suspicious. And you always wonder about a religion that says, “Unless you believe the way I tell you to believe I'm going to kill you.” Well, what kind of converts do you have? They're fearful. God is motivated by love. And I think any good government should be driven by freedom.

Life is a miracle. Life is sacred. God is the author of life. For years, back in the days of Darwin, scientists believed in something called spontaneous generation. Spontaneous generation was the belief that life could spontaneously just happen out of some substance. The reason they believed this is they noticed that if they left some fruit or some meat and let it decay for a while, voilà, you had fruit flies or maggots that came crawling out of it. And they didn't know back then, because they had very primitive microscopes, that actually the eggs had been laid in the fruit or in the meat. And they thought, “Look, life is just springing out of this meet. Or it's springing out of these rotten strawberries.” Spontaneous life. It was almost conceivable back then, with their limited knowledge, that somewhere in this primeval ooze, millions of years ago; life could spontaneously come to be. They didn't understand it. But now we are coming to learn that life is extremely complex.

A single cell of life is extremely complex. And now with these very powerful electron microscopes, and they can magnify something 50,000 times. Can you comprehend that? They're looking into these single cells and what they once thought were very simple cells (a simple cell is an oxymoron-no such thing) are extremely complex. One scientist put it this way, “As we look closer at there is a virtual Lilliputian world swimming in there.” And I heard another biologists say, “A single cell of life we now know has more complexity than New York City at rush hour.” There is so much going on. And you sort of know that's true because you realize that in one single cell, a reproductive cell of a man or a woman, inherent in that cell. Do you know how much information is in there? The kind of bone cells this person is going to have; whether or not they're going to have cholesterol problems, that's stored in there. What kind of skin cells they're going to have, what color of skin that's going to be. What color the eyes are going to be; what color the hair is going to be. All of this different information that is hereditary is stored in that itty-bitty cell. Not to mention all the different mechanisms that help it to split and reproduce and grow. And then combine its chromosomes and DNA with the chromosomes and DNA of the opposite sex, what a miracle. It is so complex.

As you know how scientists are now groping with it? They cannot explain the complexity of life. And they have been unable, with all of our modern science and labs and techniques, they have not been able to produce a single cell of life. They have not even come close. If you've ever heard that it's totally urban myth, bogus. So, you know what they're doing now? You know what the evolutionists say? They've created a method to try to take the heat off them. They say, “Well, life must have been introduced on Earth by some alien or meteor from another galaxy. It came from outer space.” You know why they do that? How do you disapprove it? You can't disprove their theory because it came from out there somewhere. While that's what we've been saying all along is that came from somewhere out there, right? Is that God made it. Somebody said that if Charles Darwin was alive today, and he could look through an electron microscope and see what we see he would denounce all of his followers as fools. He would denounce his theory. Life is a miracle. It is sacred. It is something that is created by God, and it is to be respected.

Now when you read the commandment, “thou shalt not kill,” sometimes we get confused because you say, “Well Pastor Doug, how can God say, ‘You shall not kill,’ and yet there's this sacrificial system where God is telling people to kill lambs.” All the way back in the Garden of Eden, the first murderer was Cain. The first death was not Abel. The first death was a lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. God established the sacrificial system. How can God say, “don’t kill,” and yet he's telling people to kill lambs? You know one thing the Bible tells us is that sin is an enemy, death is an enemy. It is not part of God's plan. The penalty for sin was death would come into this world. And it had to become a part of life. I know that sounds like a paradox, but it's true.

There are variations of value in the Bible. When a person pulls a weed technically they're killing. And in the Bible when it says, “thou shalt not kill,” it's not talking about the Buddhist (no offense to my Buddhist friends) but it's not the Buddhist idea of respecting life, where you don't want to step on a bug or an ant, you don't want to swat a mosquito, you don't want to pluck a flower--it might die. Sort of an extreme idea of anything dying. There are variations of life that God recognizes. A mouse is worth more than a fly, and probably a bird more than a mouse. A sheep more than a mouse. But listen to what the Lord said, Matthew 10:31, “Do not fear, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.” And again, are you not much better than they, when Jesus said, “I feed the sparrows. Are you not better than they?” Matthew 12:12, “Of how much more value is a man than a sheep.” When you look at the creation, God starts with the basic elements of the air and the earth and the water. And then He begins to make the vegetation and the lights and then the lower forms of life, the more complex forms of life, the more intelligent forms of life. And women usually like it when I say, of course, He saved the most intelligent for last. But if that's true, it's also true, He saved the most complex for last. That's when the men should have said amen. And don't forget our presentation last night. Even after He made all that, if He made things in order of value, He made one more day, the Sabbath, even after He made everything else. So there's an order of value in life. And thou shall not kill really is applying; thou shalt not murder, and it's talking about people. Now don't misunderstand, I've believe God and Christians should respect all life. The Bible says, “The righteous man regards life of his beast, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel,” in Proverbs. So we care for our animals. God loves creatures. Originally, Adam and Eve cared for the animals. But this commandment is principally telling us that it is a sin for a person to take another person's life.

Humans are made in the image of God. We are especially sacred because man was made to some extent to be the gods of this world. We were given dominion. King David recognizing that man was made in the image of God, Psalm 139:14, “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” It is awesome. It’s incredible how our minds work and how our bodies work. You look at the creations of man and then think, what an incredible creation man is. We are made in the image of the Almighty. And to take the life of somebody created in the image of God is a very serious thing.

But it is more than just murder. Whenever we talk about this subject people are going to say, “Well, Pastor Doug, what about these different scenarios? If someone breaks into your house. Or what about policemen? What about soldiers? Does a soldier or policeman commit murder when they’re carrying out their task? When they come home from battle? Or when they come home from defending the country? Or if a policeman is in a shootout with some violent criminal and they take a life in the line of duty, are they tried as a murderer?” According to the definition of murder, that’s not murder. And unless you understand that you’re going to think God is a hypocrite. Because in the bible it’s very clear that God, at many times in the Bible, commanded His officers and soldiers to kill enemies. Does it bother you that this fellow, Zachari [Massoui?], who is one of the accomplices in the 9/11 scenario. And it troubles some people that when he was ranting that he wanted to kill more, and he was cheering for the murderers of these innocent people, it bothered some people that he was given life; three meals a day for the rest of his life. Granted, it’s not going to be very pleasant in a maximum-security prison. Or that part of the plea bargain with Gary Ridgeway was life in prison. I wonder how those at least 48 families of the victims felt about that.

You know, the Bible teaches that killers should be killed. And when soldiers go to battle to defend their country they are executing justice. They’re defending the country. Now killers were killed. Look at Genesis 9:6, long before the Ten Commandments were given, “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man, his blood shall be shed. For he is made in the image of God.” That’s a very clear verse. That when God says, “Thou shalt not kill,” He’s really saying, “Thou shalt not commit murder.” Murder is different than killing in defense or to kill in executing justice. Soldiers, policemen, if they’re doing their jobs within the bounds of their assignments and their responsibilities, that’s what they’re doing. It’s a last resort to do that. Even soldiers try to take live prisoners, and police will try to wound and capture people because they’re supposed to do everything they can to respect life. But if there’s no other way, they are given the authority.

Right after the Ten Commandments are given, Exodus 20, read what it says in Exodus 21:12. “He that smiteth a man so that he die shall be put to death.” So the executioner, is he breaking the commandment? Is God telling the executioner to break His own law? No, that’s not murder, not by any definition. If that’s not enough for you, read Leviticus 24:17, “And he that killeth any man shall be surely put to death. And he that killeth any beast shall make it good, beast for beast.” Now do you see the difference there? If you kill a man you’re put to death, but if you kill a beast, if you kill your neighbor’s sheep or his oxen you don’t get killed for the beast. It’s beast for beast. Why? Because you’re worth more than many sparrows, and you’re worth more than many sheep. We’re made in the image of God.

And you know what I think is very tragic, why I do care about the environment? I think it’s tragic when there are people who have actually died hugging trees, or died trying to save seals or whales. And I think that’s a noble cause, but I think you’re worth more than a seal. You’re even worth more than a whale, even though they outweigh you 1,000 times, or probably more than that. Because you’re made in the image of God. And don’t ever forget, Jesus died on the cross to save people. I know, we’re going to get questions, “Will my pets be in heaven?” My friend Steve Wohlberg has a good book on that. I’ll let him deal with that subject. There will be animals in heaven. God’s going to recreate all the wonderful things that were in the Garden of Eden, but principally, God died, He sent His Son to save people made in His image. So when you think about murder you’re not only taking a life and breaking the law, you’re taking something that Jesus made and ransomed with His own blood. It is a very serious business.

If you read in Romans 13:4, speaking again about the soldiers and policemen, God gives certain authority to these individuals and it says, “For he is God’s minister.” Not the government’s minister. “He is God’s minister to you for good.” What would happen to our society if we did not have people that had the ability to bear the sword, so to speak? I’ll finish this verse; “He is God’s minister for you for good, but if you do evil be afraid, for He does not bear the sword in vain.” They don’t use swords for spanking. Swords were lethal back then. “For he is God’s minister and avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” And so God is saying, “For good, there must be people in a sinful world who are there as guardians of peace.” The Bible talks about a certain town of Luz, where they dwelt carelessly. They had no army, they had no defenses, they had no watchmen, they had no policemen. And you know what happened? They were quickly conquered because they dwelt carelessly. And because we are in a world that is sinful, where there are evil influences, if you want to have peace then you need to have police in your society, don't you? If you want to have security as a nation you need armed forces to protect you, because not every other nation feels the same scruples. It's unfortunate, but it is one of the laws of life.

Now, I wanted to establish this and get some of that out of the way, dealing with the misunderstandings about the commandment. It's not thou shalt not swat a mosquito; thou shalt not step on an ant. While we should respect life, I think if you've got aphids on your roses; I spray mine, I don't know about you. I don't have a formal service and grieve over them. They're bugs. And you are of much more value. But where does this commandment apply? I'm not talking to too many, there may be one or two out there who have, maybe in the course of duty or some other means, taken human life. It may have been a car accident, and that might be classified, depending upon the degree of carelessness, as manslaughter or some form of accident. But whom am I really talking to? Those who may have homicide in their hearts. Jesus talks about anger. Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard it said to them of old, You shall not murder. And whoever murders will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause is in danger of the judgment.” When there's this anger, and this viciousness in the heart, where we start thinking homicidal thoughts, or we start fantasizing how a meteorite might strike them on the head, that is murder in the heart. And I would venture to guess that many of us have had those thoughts before.

I had an experience a few years ago. I'm glad to see Rob here. We were playing racquetball, a few years ago. He was winning, and that bothered me. I’m not competitive or anything. He said, “Do you want to play one more game?” And I should have said, “No,” but I was proud and I said, “Yes.” During that last game somebody took my racquetball bag that was outside the door that had my car keys. And after we got done playing I walked out and my bag was gone. I thought, “Uh-oh,” and I ran out to the parking lot and sure enough, my car was gone. I don’t know if you’ve ever had that happen, but it’s a very upsetting feeling. And I guess it not only hurt, but I felt foolish and it made me angry. You feel violated. Well, I called the police right away. Rob was nice enough to give me a ride home. And it occurred to me, not only do they have my car, my nice, fairly new, little Subaru, but they also had my keys, keys to the church, master key to the church; they had the keys to my home. And in the car it had my garage door opener to get in the home. So having been a thief myself, I thought this very quickly. So I went home and I’m standing on my stepladder and I’m adjusting my garage door opener to change the code on it. And while the garage door is open (I needed it open so I could have enough light to see what I was doing), and I’m on the stepladder doing this. I look up the street and lo and behold here comes my car that had been misplaced. And I’m thinking to myself, “Well, they just borrowed it. They’re bringing it back.” And as they came around the corner I stepped off the ladder and I walked out in just sort of disbelief. And they are looking at the house numbers and looking at a map, two characters in my car, two young men; I saw them. Finally they come around the corner and they see the house number and they see me staring at them. These guys were predators. They had just stolen the car, they figured, “He’s probably not home yet,” and they’re coming by my house to rob my house, because they knew they had the key and the garage door opener.

Well that made me so mad that I decided to chase them in my wife’s car. The problem was my key to Karen’s car, they had it. So I’m reaching around for my keys to jump in Karen’s car, then I’ve got to run through the house. They saw me and they squealed off. Of course, we’ve got sort of an enclosed neighborhood and so I’m thinking, “I can get them before they get away.” And I got Karen’s car and you never saw a minivan go so fast. And I went peeling out; I’m driving through the neighborhood like a maniac and I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I had made up my mind. I was so mad because these guys were going to break into my home. I’ve got family there and kids. And they’ve got my keys. I was prepared to ram them. I thought, “I’ve got an airbag. I’ve got insurance. And they’re thieves.” They used to hand horse thieves, am I right? And I was prepared to ram them. And I went all around the neighborhood. I drove and I tried to expand my circle, driving up and down the streets like a crazy person trying to see where they are. Then I went back and I called the police and I said, “The folks that just stole my car just came by my house.”

Well, this is all Friday afternoon. Pastor Doug still has to get his sermon ready. You know, we lived up in the hills for years on a ranch and we have some legal firearms. I’m allowed to tell you that, am I? I’ve never misused them. It occurred to me, what would I do if they came by? I didn’t sleep very well that night. Would you? I mean, it’s not just they stole my car. They still had my car and that bothered me. They’re out joyriding in my car, using my gas. I had my Bible in my car. They also took my racquetball bag. And so I was just really upset. Not only that, but it really bothered me, they came by my house. They know where I live. That’s a very disconcerting feeling.

That Friday evening, I’m sitting at my computer fuming over all these things, conjuring up different ways I was going to track them down. Don’t want to tell you everything I thought. Thinking these homicidal thoughts. And then I’d look at my computer on my sermon, The Love of Jesus, Part 1. And I’d flip through the Bible a little bit and I’d try and say something profound. And I’m looking out my window. Because once you see them go by your house once and they’ve got your keys you’re just looking up and down the street thinking, “They’re going to come back. I’m going to be ready for them.” I’d sit back down at my computer, “And Jesus said.” And you know the Lord is speaking to me through all this. I ended up getting my car back. Of all things, they were doing a joyride in a church parking lot, and they tracked them down. The police chased them and I got a call. And God is so good. They had thrown my racquetball and my Bible and stuff out and they found that. I got everything back. Kind of like King David when Zicklag [?] was attacked. It says he recovered all. I got it all back, and I thought, “Lord, why did you allow this to happen?” It taught me something about myself. I was so enraged and so furious I'm afraid to think of what I might have done, had I had the chance. And it was amazing how quickly, Pastor Doug, the transition from Pastor Doug, “Love Jesus,” to, “If I could get my hands on them.”

I have a funny feeling I'm not the only one that has these human emotions. Some of us have been mistreated by others before, and they may not have even stolen your car and threaten to vandalized your home. It may be that they've just hurt your feelings. And we find ourselves wishing something bad would happen to them. The Bible says don't even rejoice when your enemy falls. God won't take pleasure in that, because God grieves over all, loss of life. God does not want any to perish, not even your enemies. And we need to ask Him to give us His mind and His heart.

Now, while we're dealing with this subject, it is a difficult subject. I had to pray about how far to go, but I've got this one shot so I'm going to cover it well, I'm going to hit it hard and move on. “Thou shalt not kill.” Would that include yourself? Suicide. Suicide is the act or instance of intentionally killing oneself. And there’s nobody here who probably doesn’t know somebody, or isn’t related to somebody who did not despair for some reason or another and took their life. And we always wonder, and I get the question at the radio program on a regular basis, is it possible for a suicide to be saved? Well, it doesn't look good, but I wouldn't completely rule it out. It doesn't look good because suicide is usually the case of hopelessness and faithlessness. And without faith, it's impossible to please God.

But there may be some exceptions based on the circumstances. Let's suppose for instance, that somebody attempted to commit suicide, and they didn't do a very good job and they survived long enough to repent. Could God forgive the thief on the cross in his 11th hour? Their death certificate might read suicide, but there could be a case where they're forgiven. Some people have committed suicide because they’ve sacrificed themselves to save others. Samson basically was the one who was responsible for pushing down the building. He’s the one who took that act that he said, “Lord, let me die with the Philistines,” and he pushed down the building, killed himself, but he did it to deliver God’s people from their enemies. And they were probably about to kill him anyway, so he just beat them to it. He was a suicide, technically, but he’ll be in the kingdom, it tells us in Hebrews 11. Matter of fact, where did he get the strength to push down the building? The Holy Spirit. The last act of his life filled him with the Spirit. But that’s a very rare exception. The other suicides in the Bible don’t look so good. Judas, hung himself; King Saul, fell on his sword after consulting a witch, grieved away the Holy Spirit; Ahithofel [?], betrayed his friend David, went home and hung himself.

You know, if you’re ever thinking about suicide, and I used to think about this because I haven’t’ always believed in God. There’s this illusion in the back of your mind that you’re in some situation that you think is hopeless. It’s often control freaks that commit suicide. They think, “I’ve got to change things. And the only option I’ve got left is to kill myself and get out of this situation.” But if you really think about it, that is the dumbest thing in the world you could do, because when you commit suicide you did not improve your circumstances. As long as you’re alive you’ve got options. They may look bad, they may look hopeless, but the Bible tells us that, “A living dog is better than a dead lion. And where there’s life there’s hope.” And so often people who have committed suicide, it’s so pathetic because their circumstances were just about to change. You don’t know if God is about to heal you. And you don’t give Him a chance if you kill yourself.

I often wonder when those 900 Jews killed themselves at Masada, held off the Roman army up at that fortress for 3 ½ years, and all but two women and five children, I think, killed themselves. You wonder what would have happened if they had waited on the Lord. Could God have done something to deliver them, like He did for the Egyptians? We’ll never know because they took things into their own hands. They took their lives.

What is the next conscious thought of a person who dies lost? Talk about limited options. When you come forth from the resurrection of the lost, the resurrection of damnation, most people can’t even kill themselves anymore. They don’t even have that option. They’ve just got to wait for their judgment. So what it does is it permanently seals a bad situation. Don’t ever consider suicide, friends. It’s always the devil that whispers that in the ears of people that he has discouraged.

Now I’m going to take this a step further. Some of you are thinking, “I would never commit suicide.” Let’s just ask you this question. I want you to think logistically with me here. If you take poison and you know it’s poison and it’s lethal and it’s going to kill you in 15 minutes, is that suicide? [end side one] What if the poison takes two days to kill you, and you know it’s poison? Is it still suicide? Yeah. What if it takes 20 years? Some people are guilty of slow suicide. “Thou shalt not kill,” thyself. And some of us are guilty of breaking this commandment in degrees, by our lifestyle, by the things that we eat and drink and smoke. “Thou shalt not kill,” yourself. Some are guilty of self-murder in little degrees. Maybe we haven’t thought of it that way, but God wants us. The whole thing is about respecting life. Not only you respecting the life of others, but all the commandments are summed up in, “you should love the Lord, love your neighbor, and love yourself.” And part of loving yourself is don’t kill yourself. You want to do the best you can to prolong your life to serve God. Some do it through overwork. I’ve got to watch that one. I do try to take care of the other.

If it’s true that sometimes some thinking murderous thoughts and thinking anger and being angry with your brother. In the same way, Jesus said some would never commit adultery, but if they look and lust it can also be an attitude, not just an action. There can be an attitude of murder in the heart. And some of it is done vicariously. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil.” This kind of anger that Cain had, where he killed his brother, it starts in the heart with an attitude and then it turns into an action. Very few people planned on murdering the first time they murdered. There are some premeditated murders, but more times than not, it is somebody who goes into a rage, and more times than not it is in a family. Ask the police what the majority of their calls are and when somebody dies in a family you know who is usually the first suspects? Parents, spouses, family members. Friendly fire is what they call it. And it wasn’t premeditated usually. Usually what it is, someone became angry and they couldn’t take it anymore, and they flew into a rage.

I believe it’s easier in our culture for people to commit homicide because we are so over exposed to violence that we become callous about killing. Somebody said one time, “When you kill somebody you take away everything they have and everything they ever will have in this life, under this sun.” Some people are guilty of murdering vicariously by watching and being entertained by murder. I read some statistics here regarding television. By age 18 a US youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence. Don’t you think that can callous us when we are; we’re guilty of murder vicariously. When we sit down and we’re entertained. And men like these shoot-em ups. We like these action-adventures, which often involve murder and gore and bloodshed. And when we are entertained by others taking life how do you think God views that? It’s an attitude of the heart, too, isn’t it? Life should be respected. It's something God created. These people are made in God's image, and to be entertained by watching others lose their lives. If you have someone in your family that is murdered. In our church family we have someone, I believe is here today, lost a loved one to a senseless murder, just by a total stranger. I don't think you would ever view killing on television for entertainment the same way after something like that happens in your family. It's not entertaining. It's not funny. We've become calloused.

Then there are those that assassinate with words. Do you know what King David said? Psalm 64:3, “Who whet their tongue like a sword.” They sharpen their tongue like a sword. “And they bend to their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words.” Some people have spoken words that have discouraged others where they despaired of life or even became sick and died. “Where never is heard a discouraging word,” that should be a description of the church. I John 4:20, “If someone says I love God and hates his brother, he's a liar, for he who does not love his brother whom he had seen, how can he love God, who he has not seen?” So it begins in the heart.

Then, we've also got this other subject, and I'm not going to belabor it, but it should be addressed. By the definition, abortion would be murder. It's not someone that is guilty of a crime. And I'm not talking about an accidental miscarriage. I'm talking about deliberately taking human life. It’s sacred, friends. It's a very volatile issue, but I've just got to stand before you and tell you that the word of God describes it as life. When Bath Sheba found out she was pregnant, even though it was the wrong kind of pregnancy, wrong circumstances, she didn't say, “I am with fetus.” She said, “I am with child.” The child, John the Baptist, in the womb, leapt at the greetings of Mary. It's always treated in the Bible as vital and living and real. And I think that God wants us to recognize it that way. And then, of course, that goes into the subject of euthanasia. More and more our society is saying, “Well, their quality of life isn't that good and so let's just get rid of them.” And we forget that these people are made in the image of God. My mother was basically euthanized. She was suffering from cancer, and they just gave her enough morphine where she finally died. And I think it's happening more and more, and we need to be very careful. Life is sacred, friends.

You know, what we're really talking about is an attitude in the heart; respecting life because God made life, and it's talking about love for life. And if we have Christ in us we will respect life that is made in His image. It's really because we need Jesus in us. We need His life, friends. We need the Lord.

[song]

“Thou shalt not murder,” means more than just killing another person maliciously. It can be an attitude in the heart. The only way we can change that is with Jesus’ help. You know, Jesus was murdered, wasn't He? So when we think about what it did to Him it ought to touch us. Would you like to ask the Lord to give you His heart so you could have His respect for life?

Father in heaven; thank you for Jesus’ sacrifice. That's sufficient to not only forgive sometimes our homicidal attitudes, but even enough to cover the sins of a real murderer. Lord, we are all guilty of your blood. Forgive us for that, and give us your mind and your heart, a new heart. We pray in Christ's name, amen.

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The Final Verdict (PB) by Dennis Priebe

The Final Verdict (PB) by Dennis Priebe

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In Granite or Ingrained? by Skip McCarty
God's Promises




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