Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Sunday, February 18, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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                                                                                                                                                                                     February 15, 2018

 

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful

~Romans 1:28-31

++++++++++

                I was in my office yesterday doing some translation work in the book of Acts when my phone chimed with a notification. It was my Fox News app breaking the news about yet another school shooting, this one in Florida. Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last 24 hours, you know the horrific details of what happened yesterday afternoon. The alleged shooter went into the school heavily armed and pulled the fire alarm to get the students out into the hallway for his own personal shooting gallery. When the shots had ceased, there were 17 lives that had been snuffed out, 17 souls that had forced into eternity by hate. Valentine’s Day, a day when most of us celebrate the connection of love we have, will forever be etched into the minds of these families and students as a day when the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ran red with the blood of her children. My heart broke all over again for the wicked state of souls outside of God’s grace.

                I must have watched a couple hours of footage and interviews, listening to the horrific details of this murderous rampage. I rejoiced when the alleged shooter was captured by law enforcement officer, yet there is a part of me that sees due process as too good for someone who would destroy so many lives. The interviews rolled on even as some of the victims were being treated for injuries. Gov. Rick Scott took the podium to express his sympathies and support for the families of those affected by this tragedy, but no sooner did he take the podium before a reporter began to turn the news conference into an interrogation about gun laws and gun control. I know I’m supposed to be a bigger man, but the individual who began politicizing this event absolutely disgusts me. It wasn’t long before politicians began spouting their political views using tragedy for airtime and to advance their agenda. I wanted to throw up.

                I am simply amazed at the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of the way that some politicians view the problems in our country nowadays. “We need this law. We need that law.” As if laws could ever correct the issues that plague our schools and our societies. Had it not been a gun, it would have been a knife. If not a knife, perhaps a homemade explosive device. If not a bomb, maybe the killer would have used a vehicle. Laws cannot fix the problems that are unraveling the moral fabric of our society. We are required to show identification to get cold and allergy medicines now, but the meth problem has been hardly touched. And there is a reason for this. Actions are but symptoms which come from a heart that is black with sin and depravity. What comes from our mouths and our actions is simply an overflowing of what is already inside of our soul. You can tell me not to do something, but my depravity will always work to find a way around the rules or just to violate them outright. The depraved heart will not be stopped by laws that tell criminals not to do something. There simply isn’t enough law enforcement and legal coding available to force the issue. And the unfortunate thing is that the accessibility to guns is not even THE issue. This is a matter of the heart, and until that heart is changed the actions will continue.

                And so we have a group that wants to control human behavior through more government legislation…while simultaneously rejecting the only One who can fix this problem completely. If the heart is truly the problem (and I’m convinced it is), only the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ can make a difference. We cannot through medicine or science or logic change the content of the heart. Only the indwelling of God’s Spirit and His redemptive work can change that part of our lives. Only God can fix this problem! And yet He is the same God who has been systematically removed from our schools, our courthouses, our public offices, and from our thinking. And there are those in the government right now who would argue until they are blue in the face that we are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT in removing God from our society. Unbelievable! Jeremiah says it best: “You have forsaken the Fountain of living waters and made for yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13). Our illustrious thinkers have rejected to only antidote to human sin…and we wonder why things are only getting worse.

                Paul’s words in Romans 1 have never proven more true than they do in the world we live in today. I would encourage you to read through and consider the underlined portions of the verses above. “They did not like to retain God in their knowledge…” Thinking God’s thoughts and acting in accordance to His Word was not pleasing to the depravity of this generation. They didn’t like to keep God in their thinking. They rejected Him. They weighed Him in the balance of public opinion and have deemed Him wanting. God has no place in their worldview because they have closed their minds and hearts off to Him. And this wasn’t accidental. Neither was it immediate. This process of closing our minds and hearts off to God happens over time. Little by little, they have willfully suppressed the truth of God in their unrighteousness and now they have no place for Him in their lives. They didn’t want Him anymore. They didn’t need Him anymore. What better description of the current legal and political climate is there than these words?

                It’s important to remember that God doesn’t often force Himself into places where He is not wanted. “God gave them over to a debased mind,” Paul says next. They rejected Him, so God gave them up to the carnality of their own thoughts. In essence, they served the god of the self, so God allows them to experience the full scope of life lived worshiping the creation rather than the Creator. But that mind rarely works towards anything good. Sure there might be a few glimmers of hope and light now and then, but that mind is completely and totally debased! That mind has cheapened itself from what God intended it to be, sinking far lower than it ever thought it could go. And with every regression of morality and ideals, the debased mind begins to simultaneously approve of the actions while seeking to go even further down. Sin is like a drug to an addict. The debased mind builds up a tolerance to sin, normalizing it while seeking even greater depths of depravity to satisfy its carnal cravings. And it all could have been prevented had we turned our thoughts back to God. But He has been persistently rejected and now the debased mind rules our thoughts and actions.

                And so we see a multitude of consequences. Look again at the underlined words; I’ve chosen them for the current discussion of the school shooting. There is maliciousness, seeking to do harm to another individual. This doesn’t imply revenge, just the desire to hurt. There is murder, the taking of human life. We see evil-mindedness. This is a mind that seeks to coldly calculate its deeds. Perhaps like a 19 year old who planned how he would inflict the greatest number of deaths upon his former classmates while escaping himself. There is violence aplenty. The heart is unloving and unforgiving. I’ve already heard is said that this young man considered himself as being bullied. But hurting others has never and will never put an end to the poison of hurt in our hurts. Love and forgiveness will draw that venom from our souls and allow us to soar above them…but this is not the choice of the debased mind. And lastly, the debased mind is unmerciful. My mind can only imagine the fear those students must have felt. My heart breaks for those innocent children who were gunned down in Florida and elsewhere in our country by heartless killers. There was no mercy shown to them. They might have been short or overweight. They may have had some impairment. Some perhaps wore glasses. Some were genuinely good kids…but the debased mind offers no sanctuary to any. Malicious violence coming from a evil, debased mind fed by an unloving, unforgiving, and unmerciful heart. This is the consequence of a debased mind that has rejected God completely. And no legislation will EVER change that.

                My heart breaks for this school and community. As a parent, I feel my soul being tormented within me as I think about those moms and dads that will be planning funerals rather than Valentine’s Day parties. My anger and my compassion surge for the gunman. And I cannot help but to weep for the state of our society. So long as we persist in our rejection of God, things will not get better. And yet we continue to hear politicians who have bought into the lie that laws will save us. There is nothing we can do to stop the slide of our society. It is not within us to fix this…

                But there is hope beyond us. There is a God who is good, ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy if we would but call upon Him (Ps. 86:5). He is even now able to save to the uttermost those who come to Him through Christ Jesus (Heb. 7:25). The Lord God Almighty is the only hope our society has. And that places a great responsibility upon the shoulders of the church to proclaim His goodness and salvation to the ends of the earth. Ask yourself this question: would this shooting have happened if this man were a Christian? Brothers and sisters, we can change the course of our future through the redemptive power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the privilege and responsibility to share this Word, sowing indiscriminately the seeds of salvation in this world. We will not win this war at the ballot bow, but we can turn the tide in loving devotion to Christ. The only antidote for our society’s ills is the grace of Jesus. We can make a difference if we are brave enough, if we are humble enough, if we are willing. Let us renew again our unwavering dedication to evangelism in our community. God alone knows how much good we can do if we are faithful and obedient to Him!

                Pray for these families and victims. Pray for the soul of the perpetrator. Pray for grace to fall mightily from God’s sovereign throne upon this community that will be dealing with this agony for years to come. Pray for humility and sincere wisdom for our politicians. Pray that this nation will learn once again what it means to humble itself, pray, seek God’s face, and to turn from her wicked ways. And along with prayer, be ready to go into the mission fields where God sends you without determination to save as many as you can. We can make a difference…even now!

 

   

~Bro. Benjamin

 

SCRIPTURE CHALLENGE

What was the name given to the bronze serpent by the Israelites?

(Yes, I know Moses had nothing to do with the Ark – just wanted to see how many were paying attention last week!)

 

Previous Postings                                                                           This Week's Sermons
February 15
February 6                                                                                         February 11 (AM)
January 30                                                                                   "Faith Is a Family Affair"
January 23                                                                              Deuteronomy 6:1-9
January 16                                                                                         
January 9                                                                                  February 11 (PM)
December 19                                                         "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"
December 12                                                                           
Ephesians 2:8-10
December 5                                                                             
November 28                                                                          
November 14                                                        
                      February 14 (WED)   
November 7                                                                                 Acts 7:51-60

                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                                  
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page


February 18 (AM) Bro. David Amburgey
February 18 (PM) Bro. Johnny Amburgey
February 11 (AM) "Faith Is a Family Affair"--Deuteronomy 6:1-9
February 11 (PM) "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"--Ephesians 2:8-10
February 4 (AM) "The Glory of Christ"--Matthew 17:1-8
February 4 (PM) "Prepositional Christianity"--Ephesians 2:8-10
 
January 28 (AM) "Lord of All Creation"--Psalm 102:25-28
January 28 (PM) "Great Reasons to Be Thankful"--Ephesians 2:1-7
January 21 (AM) "I See the Lord"--Isaiah 6:1-6
January 21 (PM) "All in All"--Ephesians 1:22-23
January 14 (AM) "Let's Make 2018 All About Him"--Proverbs 3:5-6
January 14 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 2"--Ephesians 1:15-21
January 7 (AM) "Time to Start Over"--2 Corinthians 5:14-21
January 7 (PM) "What Paul Prays For"--Ephesians 1:15-21
 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a special educator at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 3rd grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!