Acts Series #47
Back to the Beginning: When Church Was Church
When the Majority Isn't Right
Well let's take a step back from the story. Last week Aaron took us to Rome and Paul being held there. I want to go back to Paul's trip for the these two weeks. And then in a couple of weeks we will wrap up our Journey through Acts.
As Aaron so powerfully reminded us last week, we do not live in an easy world. And, just because we are believers in Jesus Christ doesn't mean that we have a life laid out on a velvet pillow. Just because we have a Deliverer doesn't mean that currently we are delivered from the difficulties of life.
As we have seen in this book, troubles, hardships, suffering are part of the journey on this sin cursed rock.
Because of the world we live in, the fact that our value system, and our commitment to truth and righteousness is counter to the values of a sin controlled world, we OFTEN find ourselves in the minority.
As we look at this story we see something about which we as Americans ought to be very familiar. We see Democracy in action.
Democracy. It's a wonderful way to determine right and what's best isn't it.
Now, you should know, that WE didn't invent it here in America. As a matter of fact, it was very well known by Paul as it began in Ancient Greece and had invaded culture of the known world by this time in history.
The word comes from two Greek words demos = people; and kratos = rule; that is literally "rule by the people".
Now we have a Representative Democracy, in that we elect Representatives that make the decisions for us. Rome had developed that form of democracy but the traditional Athenian form of democracy was Direct Democracy where the people directly voted on the decisions.
Direct democracy or representative, we are shaped today by the feeling of the majority. We are affected in the society, in decisions, even in the church.
But is the Majority always right?
The Majority has voted … AND … The World is Flat
The Majority has voted … AND … the Sun, planets, stars, revolve around the Earth
The Majority has voted … AND … Slavery is a good commercial practice
The Majority has voted … AND … Women are Property
The Majority has voted …. AND non-white / non-European are sub-human
The Majority has voted and an embryo in the womb is NOT a baby, it is also, sub-human or pre-human.
And if we are not careful, a majority vote could determine that, since they are sub or pre human, then an embryo is open game for experimentation, and commercial manipulation.
Some call it a
Some call it Somatic Nuclear Cell Transfer
Some call it cloning, but it is an attempt at a majority vote to further dehumanize humanity.
Now, I didn't set out today with an ax to grind.
I simply was continuing in our journey through Acts and just like my Father always told me, preach the Word as you find it and it will speak for itself to the issues of the day.
Let's read the story beginning in Acts 27:5-12
Well, the Majority Voted
The Pilot Spoke
The Owner of the boat spoke
The Leader of the Soldiers Spoke
And God spoke …
Well the Majority went one way and God's voice was another …
So, living in a wonderful world of democracy, what do we do when the Majority isn't right?
Well, I want to answer two questions …
1. When is the Majority Wrong?
A. When the Bible clearly Counters it, the Majority is Wrong
1. In Matthew 21:12,13 --- Jesus comes to the Temple where an interesting practice had developed. The people who brought their sacrifices to the Temple would have their animals checked for purity. Often the priests would say "your animal is not clean, here buy one of ours." Then they would sell them one, and often take their animal, put it in the pen and sell it as "clean" to someone else. In addition, people without sacrifices would have to buy sacrifices. However, the priests wouldn't allow "pagan" Roman money to be used in the Temple, so they would exchange it for Hebrew money at a high rate of exchange and then if they needed money back they would exchange back at a low rate.
2. Jesus entered and overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves and said "it is written, 'my house will be called a house of prayer' but you are making it a den of robbers"
3. This had become a practice accepted by the Majority but it was in direct contradiction to the Word of God
Isaiah 56:6,7 - "foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, and to worship him all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant - 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
4. What was happening was that the focus of the Temple had become a watchguard to determine who was acceptable and who was not. Their money wasn't good enough, their sacrifices weren't good enough. They needed to cheat them for fear of not having enough. They had lost their focus of prayer and petition of God.
God said, "you focus on ME, and if they seek me purely, I will take care of accepting their sacrifice"
5. We face many things today that we don't need to seek the opinion polls or ask our peers, or follow conventional wisdom because the word of God is clear.
a. the word of God is clear on drunkenness; premarital sex; homosexuality, the sanctity of marriage; commitment to your mate.
b. seek the word of God FIRST, and trust it, though the whole world may choose a different course. The Majority is wrong when the Word of God clearly counters it
6. When it violates the Spirit of the Word. The law said "thou shalt not murder" Jesus said "but I say, if you have hated your brother in your heart, you are guilty of murder" … Don't split hairs in order to follow the majority
B. When God Speaks Against it, the Majority is Wrong
1. Paul suggested that they NOT leave. I believe he did this for two reasons. Paul was a seasoned traveler and KNEW that this was a dangerous time to travel in the Mediterranean on the open sea. This would have been late Sept. to early Oct. and travel was rough from that time until early November and then NO ONE traveled until about February. 2 Cor 11:25 tells us that 3 times he was shipwrecked. So he had been down this road a couple of times. But Paul had something these other men didn't have. He had spiritual discernment. I believe he had intuition from the Lord.
2. The Word of God may not speak about everything, but the Lord WILL give you direction.
Let me say that SOMETIMES the Lord speaks to YOU, FOR YOU ALONE and YOU are the only one accountable. That is what we call Personal Conviction. The Lord has told YOU, that for YOU, this is a "NO." So it doesn't matter what the world or the majority do, it is NOT what God wants you to do.
But Don't impose your conviction on someone else if the Word is not clear on it.
But if God speaks different, then the Majority is Wrong
C. When Unnecessary Harm will Follow
1. the Majority is Wrong
When it violates Human Decency.
2. I am not saying that harm is always a factor for acting or not acting. Obviously in this fallen world there is a time to defend yourself, to defend the innocent or protect. Wars happen, and self defense is necessary. But, unnecessary harm inflicted because the majority says so, is NOT right.
1. The people on this ship, as we will see next week, were subjected to horror, harm, suffering, of a shipwreck, a night floating in the open sea, all because the Majority said, "yea let's go" and unnecessary harm was brought on them.
2. unnecessary harm is brought to 1000's of baby's in the womb everyday because someone is inconvenienced or embarrassed by their circumstance or situation that created a pregnancy.
3. if we do not rise up and vote for the right in regards to this Stem Cell Issue facing us in November, Unnecessary harm will be inflicted on embryonic BABIES and on the women from which Eggs will be extracted with no legal end in sight.
Now, as I said earlier I did NOT set out to preach a message on this, and my whole message is not on this, but I do need to speak to this as it faces us on the horizon and then I will move on.
I am NOT against Stem Cell Research. I AM against Stem Cell Research that will abuse and destroy Babies in Embryonic form and will lead to misuse of women's bodies for the millions of eggs that will have to be "harvested" from women in order for embryonic stem cell research to go forward.
Let me be clear so that we all understand what Somatic Nuclear Cell Transfer is and what it is Not; what Embryonic Stem Cell Research Is and what it does and compare those to what is already a highly successful process and that is Adult Stem Cell Use.
a. Embryonic Stem Cells - (ESC)
1) - proven difficult to develop and maintain - in S. Kor. 242 eggs harvested from 16 women 30 Blastocysts derived and only 1 line of stem cells - Do the math on the destroyed, fertilized human clones with 1 being useful
- Norfolk Virginia, 2001, 162 eggs from 12 women, 110 fertilized eggs, 40 made it to blastocyst stage and only 3 useful lines of stem cells developed
2) - Because of the rapidity of cell development in the embryonic stage, embryonic stem cells are very hard to obtain
3) - ESC are unstable and mutate - which leads to susceptibility to formation of tumors
4) ESC are hard to set differentiation protocols (determines what an individual cell will be used to treat and the individual DNA make up)
- therefore Cell type that HAVE been differentiated often act abnormally (i.e. cells differentiated as insulin producing failed to produce insulin when needed nor did they reverse diabetes but instead formed tumors
5) - When ESCs are placed in animals, cancerous tumors have formed
6) - because ESCs can be rejected just like organs researchers propose cloning individual patients, but because of the hundreds of combinations possible and needed, hundreds of thousands of ESC lines would be needed to establish a bank of cell matches, thus requiring millions of discarded embryos from these clinics
7) Ethical issues are raised as the commercialization of women will follow to gain the millions of eggs needed and many experts STILL question whether cloning can solve the rejection issue
8) even if we COULD solve the problem with cloning, the cost is more than $200,000 per patient, leaving ONLY the very wealthy to afford
b. "adult" or NON Embryonic Stem Cells (ASC)
1) - are found in cord blood, placenta, bone marrow, fat, teeth, and other sources
2) - ASC in one type of tissue can repair damage in another type
3) - ASC can be taken from a patient, multiplied and transplanted back into the patient
4) - ASC work in different ways to repair damaged tissue - i.e. they take cues from tissues and directly produce needed cells. They fuse with damaged organs to initiate repair. They sometimes secrete substances that cause undamanged cells to divide to replace damaged
5) - While ESC have yet to prove a SINGLE use for treating a disease; ASC are ALREADY providing cures in animals and clinical human trials. - Mice completely paralyzed for 9 days have been given ASC in their spinal columns and have begun standing and walking, though not perfectly within 2 weeks. - Damaged cardiac tissue has been treated and restored with ASC from Bone marrow - Neural Stem Cells have been transplanted in Parkinson's patients and at 1 year, Clinical scores improved by 83% with Motor scores improving by 88%
The Majority is wrong when unnecessary harm is inflicted
D. When Fear, Hate, or Greed are the Primary Motivators, the Majority is Wrong
1. the fact that ESC are not really useful or feasible for what they are telling us, is evidence that really the issues are the dehumanization of humans, the legitimization or abortion to create a lame excuse for the validation of taking the life of a child in the womb.
2. the creating of excuses for scientists who want to play with life, attempt to be a god and create and alter life for their own benefit and credit.
3. Even if The Bible didn't teach against this devaluation of humanity, how about if we go to the core of our government, the Constitution of the United States. Let me tell you what I believe the Spirit our Constitution says about this issue
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United of America"
You can't anymore basic than the preamble to the Constitution.
a. If we seek to "establish justice", then where is the justice for the life that is created if we clone for the purpose of "harvesting" organs, stem cells, etc?
b. Who is "providing for the common defense", if it is legal to use their lives and throw them away for spare parts?
c. How are we "promoting welfare" by lessening the value of human life?
d. How "secure" is that life in the "blessings of liberty" if they have no liberty / freedom to live?
e. What sort of "posterity" are we leaving behind if life simply becomes nothing more than a gross national product?
If that is where we are headed, then the very foundation of our Constitution becomes meaningless.
Could I push it a step further and beg you to hear the spirit of this argument?
I believe the argument could be made that cloning for the sake of "harvesting" could be considering breaking the 13th Amendment. I'm sure you remember but that says "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude"
4. I believe the embryo cloned for harvesting reasons is a person with the same rights as any other and if they are forced to produce the things for harvest, that is equal to slavery or involuntary servitude as they have no choice in what is done to them and the proponents are making profit on their harvested organs, stem cells or other by-products. Profiting on the work or resources of another without their consent or compensation is tantamount to slavery / involuntary servitude.
Legalized cloning, with a constitutional amendment that provides for a free development of all the avenues, will create fetus farms or embryonic slave houses.
Human life will be bred, created and destroyed for personal and financial gain.
That, my friends, IS slavery and we cannot support it.
5. We were once taught, by the majority, that certain nationalities and ethnicities were less human than others. Some believed that they didn't have a soul. Well that is obviously wrong. But we face today similar issues, dehumanizing, the baby in the womb our out of the womb in this case. Similar issues in regard to marriage, life, death, cloning, stem cell research.
What's next, a "pre-human" or "sub-human" that is a commodity, a slave to serve and better the REAL humans?
Well … Paul finds himself on the short end of the opinion poll
And that is GOING to happen to us more often than we want to admit.
So, when the ship sets sail in a direction you don't want to go, to a place you don't want to go, away from where you want to stay … what do you do?
2. What To Do When you Are in the Minority
A. Get In or Get Out
I doubt that Paul had a choice of staying or going.
But I think we have choices to make.
When the majority is wrong, sometimes you can choose whether to get in the boat or get out of the boat.
Sometimes the choice is made for you but being IN or being OUT is the choice, we can't ride the fence
But no matter the circumstance … or the choice you have made in response …
B. Be Ready to Bear the Consequences
1. In -
2. Out -
a. you have the consequences of the looming storm,
b. the changing circumstances
c. if your community, school, city, state, country, is going in a direction where the majority is taking it too dangerous or anti-Christian places, if you stay IN, or get out, you will have consequences. Let me just give a personal example of choices we make … IN or OUT
Let me use an issue to give you an example of what to do … in or out … you can write this down in the "in" and "out" section if you like
There is a hotly debated issue right now in the Christian Community
That is Public School, Private School, Home School.
Now, let me be clear of where I stand and where I hope you will stand.
Many Christians and churches think that EVERYONE has to be on the same side of this issue.
This is NOT an area that the Bible, nor I believe the Spirit of the Scriptures gives absolute command, so you and I have to respond to the leading of the Lord.
I strongly support YOUR RIGHT as a parent to listen to the voice of God in regards to the education of your children.
Because the Majority that we are fighting is NOT FLESH AND BLOOD.
The issue is that each of us are responsible before God for raising children that know God, know truth, stand on it, and live godly lives.
If our children grow up and do not follow God, we cannot blame that on the school, we must take our share of the blame as the family and as the church in which they are raised.
If you make the choice, that we have made in our house, to keep your children in public education, then you have a responsibility to be engaged in the schools, to encourage a good educational environment, and to know what your children are being taught and counter any godless lies with the eternal truth of God.
And we have responsibility to be Salt and Light, a witness for Christ, an example of godliness in the world in which we live
If you choose, under God's direction, to send your children to private education, you have the SAME responsibilities to be engaged, to know what they are being taught, to counter falsehood or poor theology with truth and lead them to be salt and light, a witness to the world.
If you choose to home school your children, you have a responsibility to make sure that your children get the education that they will need to prepare them for the future. Make sure that their education is physical things matches what you can give them in spiritual things. Make sure that you and your children still engage in society, as Salt and Light, a witness to the salvation and gospel of Jesus Christ.
No matter your choice in response to the circumstance, to stay in the boat or out, you have responsibilities and consequences and you should be ready to bear them.
Don't make a decision without seeking the Lord, being certain or direction or certain of your ability to handle the choice you make.
Don't be like a man who begins building a house without counting the cost of completion
Whether you get in or get out
And as you prepare to bear the consequences …
C. Speak the Truth with Clarity and Love
One of the biggest problems with this Stem Cell issue is that we are being lied to and deceived in the wording
Dr. Robert Onder, from Washington University's School of Medicine in St. Louis, sums up his side of the issue. "As much as proponents may deny it, this initiative would create a constitutional right to human cloning in Missouri," he emphatically declared on the Missourians Against Human Cloning Web site (www.nocloning.org). His quote continues, "Human cloning does not belong in our constitution. In other words, the initiative would create a right to clone and kill human embryos, and it would require all of us to pay for it."
Speak the Truth
Read the information we are providing you … read them in detail. The amendment says some positive things, but it redefines them in a later part of the amendment.
2 examples … it says that I prevents "cloning" … sec 2.2 … but in section 6.2 it says that cloning doesn't mean fertilizing an egg … it is only cloning when you implant it in a woman for the PURPOSE of BIRTH. That means in a test tube or even in a women for a short period to be used later for other purpose would NOT be cloning! ---
It also says 2.4 that no "valuable consideration" can be provided for the providing of eggs, and other necessary cells … so no money can be made … LIE … in the definition section 6.17 it redefines that saying that it is OK for donor centers to pay a fair amount to donors and then it is OK for the donor centers to be reimbursed for their expenses as they DONATE to the researchers. So the donor centers become a clearing house for the paying of and creating of more donors to be used and discarded
We must SPEAK the TRUTH in Clarity and in Love
We want people to know the truth so we can salvage them from the pain and heartache to come not so we can prove a point or be RIGHT.
Two more things quickly … when you are in the Minority …
D. Look for the Opportunity for Ministry
You will see more of this next week, but because of the Majority, Paul ended up in the storm and he didn't say "I told you so" … in the ship and on the shore after shipwreck, he ministered, he loved, he served
E. Listen for the Voice of God
1. Listen for the encouraging, strengthening, voice of God.
2. He will lift you up and strengthen you whether in the darkest dungeon, or the halls of honor, he is your source of strength and encouragement
The Majority may RULE but the Majority is not necessarily Right or Righteous
When the Majority isn't Right
"Greater is He that is In Me
Than He that is in the World"
"Decide for yourself whether you should obey God or Men"
Let me finish with a Place to Turn when the Majority is against you, and isn't right
A psalm of David. When he fled from his son Absalom.
1 O Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
"God will not deliver him." Selah?
3 But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift? up my head.
4 To the Lord I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.
7 Arise, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
8 From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people. Selah
William Jennings Bryan was a man who knew what it was to stand in the minority, he stood against the rising tide of Darwinism, he stood in support of the Prohibition of Alcohol. He said this
Never be afraid to stand with the minority which is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority;
always be afraid to stand with the majority which is wrong, for the majority which is wrong will one day be the minority
"Wide is the road that leads to destruction and many find it
But narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it"
Where will you stand?