Hold Fast to the Narrow Road of Gospel Obedience

May 4, 2022

Leadership Notes


Last Sunday {May 1} we looked at the not-quite-aptly named "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" of chapter 6 of The Revelation to John. Somewhere along the line someone called them that…not the author…and it stuck. I don't like it, and I only use it to point out how sometimes people get carried away with the imagery and description on the book. Bring up this chapter, and eventually, the conversation will get flighty and fanciful. As we'll continue to see in our exploration of The Revelation to John, it is less "Harry Potter" and more coded affirmation of God's sovereignty directing the trajectory of history as well as an exhortation for us to remain devoted followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of all kinds of trial, tribulation, and triumph.


As an added reflection on the white horse and its rider, the timing of current events couldn't have been perfecter this week. The first rider represents the movement of government/military authority to pacify and rule over people. It does this coercively and through promises of protection and provision, as well as deception. The white horse and its rider also represent a false sense of security. It is a dire warning against compromise with the culture for a sense of peace. Every generation, in every culture, is tempted to trade the sacrificial nature of following Jesus down the narrow road of obedience for a little comfort and security. This was especially palpable for the first century believers to whom John was writing.


And these words are for us, today.


Let's start with the affirmation that abortion is sin. For us, as devoted followers of Jesus Christ, it is a theological issue before it is a political issue. It is the shedding of innocent blood. Either babies in the womb are image bearers of God and worthy of dignity and life, or they are not. {See Genesis 1:27,31 & Psalm 139:16}


Politically, abortion continues to be divisive. We are not a Christian nation. We are a culture and a people broken by sin and selfishness. We see the wickedness that is all around us and in our own hearts and actions. Without repentance and the grace of God we, too, would be lost in our sin. We have been set aside by God, in our little corner of His marvelous creation, to defend women and mitigate against the evil sacrifice to Molech.


In the months ahead, abortion will swirl all around us. In an unprecedented move, someone leaked a possible/potential draft of an upcoming Supreme Court ruling on "Roe vs. Wade." By itself, this cowardly leak undermines our constitutional process. Certain leaders and politicians have gotten so worked up about the possible/potential decision that they've lost sight of an independent judicial branch of government and the sacrosanct separation of powers. Logic and reason will be fleeting for some people when you mess with their sacraments.


Regardless of what the decision is and when it will be announced, the issue will never go away. Prior to "Roe vs. Wade," there were about twenty states where abortion, to one degree or another, was legal. It seems appropriate that abortion remain an issue each state must deal with. Either that, or Congress enact laws affecting all fifty states. But not surprising, at times when both political parties each held all three branches of the federal government, they did nothing.


Whenever the dust settles, there will be states with more liberal, permissive abortion laws than others. I would not be surprised if some of the loudest, more strident abortion rights voices begin financing programs to facilitate full access to abortion for women from more restrictive states. It happened before 1973, and it will happen again.


Meanwhile, the White Horse will ride unabated and we will hold fast to the narrow road of gospel obedience. To quote Martin Luther again:


And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God has willed his truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can

endure, for lo! his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him.


Most Christians, most of the time, in most places, though burdened by the heartbreak of abortion, remain peaceful and prayerful in their opposition. We do not abandon our calling or our civility. We will do everything we can, within the reason of a free society, to help and support women in all kinds of challenging situations. And we will never refrain from sharing the gospel of forgiveness in Christ for whatever dilemmas and choices people find themselves in. Because we have all been there. In one way or another, sinful rebellion against God has wrecked us all.


We will continue to engage in the conversation with gospel truth and grace. It is my hope that as we move forward, the proposed new thing that I euphemistically refer to as "The Ministry of Truth" {for all you Orwell fans} will fizzle out and die. Toward that end, I have ideas for two bumper stickers or graphic t-shirts:


* MAKE "1984" FICTION AGAIN


* "1984" WAS A WARNING, NOT A HOW TO MANUAL


And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:


"Sin cannot be removed by our tears or by our deeds."


TTFN,


Richard

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