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September 12, 2020 2:00 am
You are alive! You will die! Those two absolutes are as basic as it gets. But since life is a gift from the Creator, what right does anyone ever have in taking it from another? One of the commandments on God's Top Ten list is, "Thou shalt not kill!" Is there ever a time to kill? Does the justice system of a land or an army ever have the right to kill? How can we as responsible Christians ever come to a balance regarding this very difficult issue?
This teaching is from the series God's Top Ten.Links:
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Last week we started on the sixth commandment found in verse 13 of Exodus chapter 20 you shall not murder.
We began with the premise. It's a negative commandment, but we noted that the positive spin on it is that God values life creator were made in his image.
Therefore, thou shall not murder, value life.
We value keeping things alive, but at times that could take an unusual tour as follow a diet of some sort with some diets are stricter than others for fruitarian's all life is valuable including plant life.
Therefore, many will not eat any fruit that is not fall off a tree or plant and some will not eat seeds because they contain future plans walk today and connect with Skip weekend division Skip IT continues and engaging in in-depth letting of the 10 Commandments with our newest series God's top 10. Today's topic is definitely a hot button issue. We know murder is wrong but is there ever a time to kill that's humans, not plants will talk about that more here in just a moment the first this update from our connect with Skip resource Center. I've enjoyed watching the growth in the ministry of my friend Levi Lesko and now we are offering you is take back your life. Study guide and DVD hears Levi to tell you about it's all around this idea taking back your lies at the 40 day interactive journey thinking right so you can live right.
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The Pope is ever-changing today is Exodus chapter 20 also be in Deuteronomy Matthew enrollments, so get ready to jump around event in your life now with our teaching, Skip voluntary about a judge named Alexander Sanders who was Chief Justice of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Sanders was speaking at a graduation ceremony commencement for the University of South Carolina in that graduating class was his daughter Zoe.
So, as the judge gets up to address the students. He tells a story about when Zoe was three years old. It seems that Judge Sanders came home from work one day to a crisis. Zoe's pet turtle had died and Mrs. Sanders turned the situation over to the venerable judge to figure out a solution. So Judge Sanders said to his three-year-old girls always sweetheart.
Don't worry will go to the pet store and I'll buy you another turtle that didn't help that little girl know that you can't transfer the light from one turtle to another.
She wanted her turtle alive. So Judge Sanders said sweetheart tell you what will have a big funeral for your turtle being three years of age. Little Zoe did know what a funeral was, so the judge tried to explain.
Well sweetheart it's like a big festival in honor of your turtle again being three years of age. She didn't quite get the meaning of festival.
So Judge Sanders says look honey, a funeral is like a birthday party would have cake and ice cream and lemonade and balloons will invite all of your friends over to play all afternoon.
That did the trick.
Little Zoe brightened up, got a smile on her face. The tears dried out. She was so happy. And then something very unprecedented happened, they were looking down at the turtle and it started to move. And not only did it move. It wasn't dead.
It started walking away. Now the judge was speechless body for the first time in his career know what to say but little Zoe appraise the situation very quickly and looked up and with all the innocence that a three-year-old can muster up the daddy, let's kill it. Daddy let's kill it.
That funny little story underscores a very sobering truth about our culture that is this. We value life as long as life doesn't stand in the way of our party.
We say that things and people are important, but if those people stand in the way of our party. Maybe they're dispensable. So the whole issue of euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, abortion can often play into how does that affect my party last week we started on the sixth commandment found in verse 13 of Exodus chapter 20 you shall not murder. We began with the premise. It's a negative commandment, but we noted that the positive spin on it is that God values life.
He's the creator were made in his image.
Therefore, thou shalt not murder. We then saw the problem and the problem wasn't with the commandment, the problem is with us.
Mankind has never been able to successfully keep this commandment since the beginning. We then went back all the way to the passion that fuels the breaking of this commandment which is sinful anger. We saw that, according to Jesus, if you harbor grudges and bitterness and anger in your heart toward someone that is really the seedbed of all murder. Whether you pull the trigger. Not everybody is guilty today I want to look at the practical relevance of this commandment is all killing always bad. Is there ever a time for now, I'm not discuss the more obvious issues like abortion or euthanasia physician-assisted suicide. I think there's been enough sermons and radio playing books written. I think as Christians we know those are wrong and we can't touch on every single subject that every verse of the Bible touches on else will be here on this very commandment for the next 30 weeks so we are doing a survey of the 10 Commandments and we've already spent a week and now the second week on this so we can only cover a certain amount of ground.
What I want to wrestle with are a couple of controversial issues.
Issues that are not just confined to the cognitive the philosophical the theological. These are practical issues. They touch and they will affect the way we hear news and process it.
How we vote, how we have conversations with people you know if you go back to the ancient rabbis. They said there are legitimate times for killing and that wouldn't be considered in their view to be murder and where the conversation typically begins as a verse out of Ecclesiastes chapter 3. Some of you who were in the 60s. Remember the song with a set these verses to the lyrics of a very famous song, but Ecclesiastes 3 nonetheless says to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant a time to pluck what is planted a time to kill and a time to heal. A time of war. In a time of peace.
Now I realize that what I'm going to say that things were going to touch on this morning are controversial and to be quite honest with you, most pastors would shy away from them. I have a hunch that you would like some real answers to lease you like to decide what does or find out what the Bible has to say. If anything, about a couple of these issues so you can decide if you're going to follow along with that or not. Now remember last week we noted that though the old translation says thou shalt not kill that the word for kill can only mean murder Hebrew word rock sock there several words from Hebrew that could be translated to kill one is given to murder and that's the word used here so the accurate rendering is you shall not murder. That's chapter 20 verse 13 but notice something after that statement is made in chapter 21. The very next chapter verse one now these are the judgments which you shall set before them got a still speaking verse 12 he who strikes a man so that he dies, shall surely be put to death. However, if he did not lie in wait. But God delivered him into his hand.
Then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee, but if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor to kill him by treachery you shall take him from my altar, that he may die now go over that passage in Deuteronomy chapter 20 that I had to mark Deuteronomy chapter 20 verse one. When you go out to battle against your enemies and you see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, so it shall be when you are on the verge of a battle that the priest shall approach and speak to the people and shall say to them here oh Israel today you are on the verge of a battle with your enemies, do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, do not tremble or be terrified because of them. For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you now.
Here are two instances where you might say you could call it a case for killing right after the commandment you shall not murder. There are two allowances for that one is the courtroom. It's a judicial setting or the death penalty. Capital punishment is imposed and the other is a battlefield scene, a combat zone now in the Bible, the death penalty. The ultimate punishment capital punishment was never seen by the ancients as murder.
You say was, and how is the view this way. It was righteously administered judicial execution. Listen to that again righteously administered judicial execution and it was a requirement in the Old Testament get this for the ceric same very same premise and reason as the six commandment was member who said the six commandment was given because God gave life and it was precious and were made in the image of God the same reason he required the death penalty same premise. If you go back to the beginning in Genesis.
The very first crime was murder, Cain killed Abel, we saw that last week and it's interesting the punishment that God gave to Cain. It was not the death penalty member. What was he was exiled forever. Mark was put on him and he was banished, probably because number one there was no city of refuge that point number two because it was a crime of passion.
It wasn't long premeditated and so God banished him, but shortly after that, a flood came on all the earth. Noah and his family were saved after the flood is just a few of them there told to fill the earth, be fruitful and multiply, and then God in Genesis 9 verse five and six says this surely for your lifeblood.
I will demand a reckoning from the hand of every beast I will require it from the hand of man from the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of a man whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God he made man to get that. Why, for in the image of God he made man now what I just read predates the law predates Moses predates the children of Israel predates all the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By the time we get to Moses in the law of Moses, God will give an largely in chapter 21 of Exodus 18 different crimes for which the death penalty is prescribed righteously administered judicial execution. Okay, that's a hot topic today.
Not everybody agrees on this.
It's a subject of debate. Even people in the church are polarized over. We have been for a long time back in 1969 it was abolished in Great Britain 15 of our states in America, including District of Columbia outlaws. It 38 states, however, to some degree have instituted the death penalty for certain crimes. I do believe that every society has the responsibility to rehabilitate criminals to restore them and I would say that none can do a better job of that than the Church of Christ. If anybody should be willing to forgive and to restore and to bring back if possible in the society to redeem them. It's the church. However, having said that, when a government when a state becomes more concerned about the rights of the criminals, then the rights of the victims that's wrong. In fact, it's sin according to the Bible now often the dissent here in the argument as well. That's Old Testament that's not New Testament what you might be surprised to know the answer to that.
I'm to give you just one striking example Paul the apostle was on trial for crimes leveled against him that he did not commanded. So here's Paul before a Roman court and all of these charges are against him and listen to the apostle speak, listen to his words.
This is acts 25 for if I am an offender or if I have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying. Now it's one thing to agree with the death penalty when somebody else is on trial.
It's another thing when you say if I'm guilty tell me that's essentially what Paul said in the New Testament. Okay, I just touched on that.
It's just enough to stir some of you up when he moved to the second one that we looked at in Deuteronomy the combat zone. What about military involvement. What about in armed forces. What about law enforcement, which which stand should I take. We got an option. Option number one, the pacifist of the pacifist will say all war is always wrong because God said in the thinker memos thou shalt not kill again.
That's a misinterpretation of it.
It's really thou shalt not murder. That's the pacifistic position. Second is activism yet overhear pacifism. War is always wrong all the time because God said don't you on the other end of the spectrum you have activism which says I must engage in every war that my government is engaged in because God is given human government for me to obey. And if I don't obey the laws of the land I disobey God.
They will quote Romans 13, which says let every soul be subject to governing authorities. Whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God.
So you got this option complete pacifism is always wrong.
Complete activism is always right yet another option selective is him.
Maybe that's not even a word, but it is now so activism says that not all wars that governments engage in are always just case in point, the Nazis, when the Nazis waged war using the German regime. It was not just in so you had dissenters like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and others who came out against for the Khmer Rouge and can become Bodio with Pol Pot some years ago and there are numerous examples of governments have got involved in illegitimate wrong dictatorial unjust wars, but the selective is will also say sometimes war is justified in the case of self-defense or standing against a greater evil know we struggle with this were not the only wants to struggle with it.
Everybody struggles with it in fact did you know the early church struggled with it was her struggle.
How can I be involved in the Roman military. If I'm a follower of the Prince of peace. So from that struggle came. Eventually, a position known as the just war tradition. Some of you heard of that the just war tradition that has dominated the view of most Christians for the last 1600 years. The just war tradition not to give you just a thumbnail quick historical overview of how that came about between the second century and the fourth century A.D. during the early church and just that post-apostolic era Christians were absolutely non-military none of them were none of them were involved in any army in any militia they were nonmilitary, Michael R, but you need to understand why their rationale is that they couldn't be in the Roman army unless they were participating in idolatrous practices to be in the Roman army. You had to worship the emperor Caesar get to burn incense to me to swear allegiance that he was your God, and so Christians couldn't do that and be following the Lord of the same time so they were not involved in the military and then something dramatic took place in the Roman Empire.
You know your history, you know that in 410 A.D. Rome was sacked by the barbarians, the Visigoths that upset the whole empire after the 410 attack by the Visigoths. People in Rome started pointing their fingers at the Christians saying it's you guys. You haven't been involved in civil issues you haven't been involved in our military.
You Christians have undermined the state of Rome so a guy over in northern Africa he Poe by the name of Augustine.
You've heard of St. Augustine wrote a book called the city of God, which is his argument against that accusation by the Roman government. In his writings.
He outlines that there are certain times when Christians can be and should be involved in military and in wars. Well, the city of God by Augustine was a great influence to other great theologians and writers to history one by the name of Thomas Aquinas. You've heard of him. Thomas Aquinas years later wrote up was an essay a little book is a quite thick book called summa theological where he gives three criteria to fight what he calls the just war and that is become the basis by large for many Western countries we've adopted that it'd influence a lot of people, including Martin Luther, Martin Luther said these words quote without armaments.
Peace cannot be kept.
Wars are waged not only to repel injustice, but also to establish a firm piece violent means must sometimes be used to preserve the life and health of the body politic. Just as a physician must at times amputated arm or leg in order that the whole body may not perish, and this said Luther can be a work of Christian love." In other words, if I may paraphrase from Martin Luther. He said I love peace and I love peace enough to fight for if need be, well, there is still a lot to be said about these issues were out of time for today teaching you heard today was titled time to kill. Fortuitous teaching is coming up next time here and connect with Skip weekend division.
This message is just one part of our current teaching series God's talk to. If you have again. I hope you consider adding a copy of this important series to your audio library. All 17 messages are available as an audio CD package for only $39 plus shipping. Learn more. Order today and connectwithskip.com when you call 1-800-922-1888. Is there a biblical precedent for the death penalty will talk about that more next time here and connect with Skip weekend division of presentation of connections so you guys never change and ever-changing time