Vicious Cycle by Pastor Abidan Shah

VICIOUS CYCLE by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

Introduction: Have you ever made the same mistake twice or thrice or more times? Have you ever found yourself saying – “I knew better.” I love spaghetti but spaghetti and white shirts are magnets. It seems like every time I eat spaghetti I am wearing a white shirt and it’s a matter of time before there’s a red spot on my shirt. It’s a vicious cycle. That is very very trivial compared to what is happening in our country. We are about to make the same mistake that other ancient cultures that were very advanced for their time also made and they suffered total extinction. We are talking about the issue of abortion. We think that it’s no big deal but we are about to repeat a very vicious cycle of self-destruction. The message is called “VICIOUS CYCLE.”

Deuteronomy 12     29“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

Question: Are you aware of the debate that is taking place in our country today regarding late term abortion? New York passed a bill that would allow abortion after the 24thweek and as late as the 40thweek. By the way, there were eight other states that already had no gestational limits – Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington DC. According to the CDC, only 1.3% of the abortions are after 21 weeks. How many is that? If there were 638,169 abortions per year recently, that’s about 8000 late term abortions in a year in America. It’s right there with gun related murders and yet abortion is okay but guns are not. Last week, many of you saw the video of delegate in Virginia introducing a similar bill in the House of Delegates. Where do you stand? What do you think about life? It’s an issue that affects all of us. Do you have eternal life? Are you saved?Pray: Holy Spirit – give us biblical convictions. Help us to stand for the innocent, especially those who don’t have a voice. Save the lost.

Context: As many of you know that we went to Israel in January. When I was planning the tour, I purposely chose to include some Middle Bronze cities. Middle Bronze is the period between 1800-1550. This is the time period immediately following the time of Abraham and before the coming of Moses. This was very important to me because they represented the time period before the people of Israel entered Egypt. So, we went to 6 cities that came from that era – Megiddo, Hazor, Tel Dan, Beth Shan, Jericho, and Jerusalem. We wrongly think that the Canaanites or the Amorites who lived in the land that God promised to the children of Israel were just a bunch of savages. We only focus on the part of the people of Israel getting scared of the people in the land and suffering from the “grasshopper syndrome.” What we fail to realize is that they had every reason to be afraid of them. What do we know about the Middle Bronze Canaanite Cities?

1. Around the start of the Middle Bronze period, the city life was revived in the land of Canaan. For some reason, these cities began to grow and advance. They build large fortifications around their cities. They built walls that were as large as 50 feet tall, with each stone about 8-10 feet long. But they were very smart. They would build the outer walls and then build a man-made mountain followed by another wall. They built the walls in such a way that the Mesopotamian battering rams were useless against them. This was all psychological warfare. It was meant to discourage the enemy and make them feel emotionally defeated. Did it work?Deuteronomy 1:28“…Our brethren have discouraged our hearts, saying, ‘The peoplearegreater and taller than we; the citiesaregreat and fortified up to heaven…”

2. They had some advanced water storage facilities. When an enemy would surround a city, they would first try to cut off the water supply. So, the Canaanites dug deep into the ground to find water through springs. They built cisterns to collect rain water. They even had underground drainage system. We saw similar structures in Megiddo, Hazor, and Jerusalem. They had superior hydraulic engineering that are still a work of marvel. 

3. How about farming? They knew how to plant wheat, barley, and fruits like olives, grapes, pomegranates, and everything you can imagine. They knew how to store food. They also knew how to raise sheep, cattle, camels, and all kinds of farm animals.

4. When it came to pottery, they had learned how to turn clay on a wheel. Now they could mass produce pottery. Museums have some incredibly pieces of pottery.

5. Something much more incredible happened. They learned how to make bronze. They learned how to alloy copper and tin with 90% copper and 10% tin. Now weapons could be shaped better. They could be made sharper and sturdier. (Pics of spear blades)

6. They were also known for their export business. With Egypt – grain, olive oil, cattle, timber, copper, etc. They even learned how to make glass. We find glass beads.

7. Finally, they created the ancestor of our alphabet. They didn’t want the Egyptian hieroglyph or the Mesopotamian cuneiform. They came up with 22 signs for each sound. Later the Phoenicians, the descendants of the Canaanites/Amorites standardized them. 

What’s the point of all this?The Canaanites or the Amorites were a very advanced people. They were at the height of their power, technological advance, and prosperity. Nonetheless, their time was up.Archaeologists still don’t have any solid answer why they collapsed. Was it drought? Was the threat of Egypt too much to bear?

Leviticus 20     1Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Again, you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who givesanyof his descendants to Molech…” Meaning:  He was a Canaanite god to whom the people offered their children as a sacrifice in the Valley of Hinnom, to the South of Jerusalem. Archaeologists/guides will tell you that they did not find any bones of children in this area. But, the descendants of the Canaanites/Amorites were the Phoenicians who later established a colony in Carthage, North Africa (Tunisia) who practiced child sacrifice. We can learn about the Canaanites from them:

  • Cleitarchus, a Greek historian of Alexander the Great, wrote: “Out of reverence for Kronos, the Phoenicians, and especially the Carthaginians, whenever they seek to obtain some great favor, vow one of their children, burning it as a sacrifice to the deity if they are especially eager to gain success.” 
  • Siculus, a Greek historian, wrote – “There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.”
  • Plutarch, a Greek writer, added that “the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums so that the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people.”
  • There are tophets, burial sites for the urns with markers. One such says that the parents sacrificed a defective child with the hopes of getting a healthy one. Isn’t that the same with amniocentesis if congenital abnormalities are suspected? 

Let’s come back to Leviticus 20    2 “…‘Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who givesanyof his descendants to Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3I will set My face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has givensomeof his descendants to Molech, to defile My sanctuary and profane My holy name. 4And if the people of the land should in any way hide their eyes from the man, when he givessomeof his descendants to Molech, and they do not kill him, 5then I will set My face against that man and against his family; and I will cut him off from his people, and all who prostitute themselves with him to commit harlotry with Molech.”

Deuteronomy 12     29“When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess…” Meaning: The Middle Bronze Cities of Canaan were under God’s judgment and he was going to use the Children of Israel to destroy them. Instead, they got scared of their height and their city walls. Listen again to what God said to them –30take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, “How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.” Child sacrifice was a major sin against God. That’s why God destroyed them and wanted the land cleansed. Now you cannot find any trace of the Canaanites. If I were building a church building on a piece of property and adjacent to that property, there used to be some cult site. What’s the first thing that I would do? I would clean up the place. Later Josiah cleansed that valley as well.

Same thing with the Phoenicians: People tried to claim that all this was just propaganda by their enemies. Dr. Josephine Quinn (Oxford University) said in 2014 – “Perhaps the reason the people who established Carthage and its neighbours left their original home of Phoenicia – modern-day Lebanon – was because others there disapproved of their unusual religious practice.

Will we go down the way of the Canaanites, the Amorites, and the Pheonicans?

Psalm 139     13For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14I will praise You, for I am fearfullyandwonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And thatmy soul knows very well. 15My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, Andskillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there werenone of them.

What do you believe about the baby inside the womb? They are not a hindrance but our example to come to Christ.

 Matthew 19    13Then little children were brought to Him that He might putHishands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Are you saved? Are you willing to come to Christ as a little child?

We’re going to see the importance of handling this issue and how we as believers should respond when faced with the topic of abortion. The title of this weekend’s message is “VICIOUS CYCLE.” Have we, like so many around us, fallen into the vicious cycle of sin? How do you view the issue of abortion? Are you saved?

THERE’S ONLY ONE CREATOR

THERE’S ONLY ONE CREATOR by Pastor Shah, Clearview, Henderson

There's Only One CreatorNehemiah 9:1-6  1 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one–fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God…. now verse 5 “Stand up and bless the Lord your God
Forever and ever! “Blessed be Your glorious name,
Which is exalted above all blessing and praise! 6 You alone are the Lord;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You.

Overall Background:  In Nehemiah 9 the Jewish people were repenting but they were not repenting unto salvation. They were already saved. They were repenting for all the wrong beliefs they had learned from their Gentile neighbors. God had called the people of Israel to be a light in the dark world – to influence their Gentile neighbors with the truth. Instead, they had allowed their Gentile neighbors to influence them – to influence them in what they believed about God, His World, His Word, and His Ways with His people. Now that they were saved, they were turning away from all their false beliefs and affirming all the true beliefs about God and His Word.

Same thing happens to us today – once we are saved, the Holy Spirit takes us through a process of reprogramming our mind. We are born with a defective chip. He begins by exposing all the wrong beliefs that we have accumulated from the world—wrong beliefs about God, His World, His Word, and His Ways with His people—and then he begins to teach us all the right beliefs. We go through a process of confessing, repenting, and affirming the truth.

Last Sunday morning we looked at the first truth that the Jewish people had to learn. It is found in the first line of verse 6You alone are the Lord.” Meaning: There is Only One God. Now we come to the second truth found in the remaining lines of verse 6 – You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You. Meaning: There is Only One Creator.

Application: This morning if you are saved, let the Holy Spirit bring you to this truth; if you are not saved, then you need to be before you can have this change of mind.

There is Only One Creator – 3 questions come to mind:

I. WHY DID THEY MAKE THIS CONFESSION?

Background: This confession was based on the second of the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses. Listen to Exodus 20, verses 4 and 5 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God….” This commandment strictly forbade any kind of idol worship. God was adamant—do not make any kind of idols to represent Me. Why? I am the Creator and you are the Creation. I created you. You cannot create Me. In fact, in the first chapter of Genesis, God’s name is mentioned 32 times in 31 verses. If you add to this all the personal pronouns, the total becomes 43. Bottom Line: God did not want anyone to violate His copyright on creation.

When the Jewish people started worshipping false gods, they were exposed to all kinds of pagan myths about creation:

Marduk killing Tiamat bas relief–       They probably came across Enuma Elish—a Babylonian myth—that everything began as a watery chaos of salt water and fresh water. The goddess of saltwater was Tiamet and the god of fresh water was Abzu. They gave birth to Ea (earth) and Anu (sky). These two decided to separate their parents and Ea killed the father Abzu and covered his body. Hence the earth covers the fresh water forming an abyss. Tiamet (the mother) met another lover, Kingu, who convinced her to kill the younger gods. They in turn figured out what was happening and they got Marduk, the god of light and storm to kill her. He killed her and used her severed body to make the heavens and the earth. Marduk then went and killed Tiamet’s lover, Kingu, and used his blood to create humankind to do the work for the gods.

–       They also might have heard of the Sumerian myth, Atrahasis, in which human beings were created to help break a strike between the major gods and the minor gods. Since the major gods could not get any food, they created humans.

Khepri–       While in Egypt, they must have come across the Egyptian Myths that the world came out of the lifeless sea called Nu. In some versions, it is Atum who comes out of the waters to create the world; in other version it is a group of eight gods that merged together to create the world; in yet another version, it is Ptah who came up with everything in his mind. Unlike the Genesis account where God said “Let there be and it was,” Atum sneezed and out came Shu; then he vomited and out came Tefnut. They had sexual intercourse to produce the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. Some Egyptians believed that the heavens were like a sea in which the sun and the moon were floating. Every morning Ra sailed his boat across and that was the sun.

–       The Egyptians even worshipped Khepri, the scarab beetle, which is a dung beetle. It roles the dung down a hole in the ground and lays its eggs in it. Then the newborns crawl out of the ground. So they worship the scarab beetle as the God of self-creation. Is it any wonder that the 4th plague that God sent against Egypt were swarms of flies!

You get the picture. God made everything by His sovereign will and power but Satan tried everything possible to infringe on God’s copyright through these myths and mythologies. Now the Jewish people were saved, they were coming back to the truth of their Creator God and they were affirming that He alone was the Creator!

Around 6000 yearsIn our own generation there is a creation myth that is stronger than any Babylonian or Sumerian or Egyptian myth – it is the myth of evolution. You canturn the TV on to watch a history program on nature and you will hear of millions of years ago. You can open the children’s textbook from school and read about how humans evolved from ape. You can go to college and hear how science has rescued humanity from the clutches of the Bible.

Application: Let me ask you what do you believe about this creation? Do you believe that this creation is no more than 6000 years old or do you think it evolved over billions of years? Do you believe that God created this world or do you think that it was nothing more than the survival of the fittest and the process of natural selection? Do you believe that we are fearfully and wonderfully made or do you think that we are just an accident of fate?

II. WHAT ABOUT SCIENTIFIC AND HISTORICAL FACTS?

Background: When we confess, “God is the Only Creator who created no more than 6000 years ago,” the question is raised, “What about Dinosaur Bones?” “What about the Age of the Rocks?” “What about history and science?” Lets look at them briefly (Keep in mind that I am not trying to show the faults with evolution as much as the reason people are open to evolution):

Dinosaur Skull#1  Carbon Dating – There are several major types of radiometric dating: Radiocarbon dating or carbon dating; Potassium-argon dating; Uranium-leaddating; Uranium-thorium; Rubidium-strontium dating. Keep in mind that Carbon dating deals with things that were alive at one time – plants, animals and human beings (organic). The other datings deal with the age of rocks & non-living things (inorganic). Carbon dating only deals with thousands of years while the other radiometric datings deal with the “millions and billions” of years. With Carbon dating, they claim that they can measure the ratio of Carbon14/Carbon 12 and decide how old it is. I am trying to be very simple. Carbon dating works only if you have a historical record to go with the sample. You have to have some idea as to when the sample lived. For e.g. Kernels of grain in the grave of a king can be carbon dated since we know something about the period in which the king lived. Also, there are many exceptions. They try to use the Carbon 12 reading to answer that. Carbon 14/Carbon 12 level in the atmosphere has been different through the years; not every living thing takes up Carbon 14 at the same level; and then the flood has really messed up the ratio of the C14/C12 in the atmosphere. Bottom Line: It is not a very accurate method to date history.

Chromiteclast

#2  Radiometric Dating – is applied to igneous rocks (formed through lava). It claims to measure the time when it cooled down. This has its problems too.A good example of how inaccurate this type of radiometric dating can be comes from the famous Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980. Scientists knew when that rock solidified because they saw it happen. When they radiometric dated the new rock, the results came back as if the rock was millions of years old even though it was actually less than a year old. So if the dating method does not work when we know how old the rock really is, why do we think it works any better when we don’t know the actual age of the rocks? You often hear about some human remains that are dated to be 2 million years old. What it really means is that they found some bones that happen to be next to some rock that were tested to be that old.

Some people say – Okay we agree Carbon Dating and Radiometric Dating are not worth but definitely ancient chronologies prove that the earth was at least 8,000-10,000 years old.

Stele Naram Sim Louvre#3  Ancient Chronologies – Only problem is that Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Akkadian, Sumerian chronologies come to a standstill around 2400 BC. Infact, before 2000 BC history is very sparse and fragmentary. In a 1992 article in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, famous Egyptologist William A Ward wrote an article on Egyptian chronology. Listen to the summary—The current debate on Egyptian chronology is characterized by divergent opinions on the value of the Manethonian tradition, the lengths of reigns of individual Egyptian kings, the existence of coregencies, and the astronomical evidence. In each of these categories, there is little consensus and a wide range of possible solutions; a precise Egyptian chronology is therefore not possible.”

#4  Someone might say – “what about all the great minds that do not believe in creation?” Some of the greatest minds in the world—Socrates, Galileo, Newton, Einstein—have looked at creation and declared that they believed in God. It takes more faith to believe that this world got here by mere chance than to believe that God made it.

For e.g. One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him. The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.” God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this, let’s say we have a man making contest.” To which the scientist replied, “OK, great!” But God added, “Now, we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.” The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt. God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!”

#5  By the way, according to a Gallup poll last year (2012), nearly half of Americans — 46% — believe God created the human race in a single day 10,000 years ago. Furthermore, 78% of Americans today believe God played some role in how people came to exist. People know that there is a design to this Creation.

I don’t have enough time to go over all the details. All I want to do is to plant a seed in your mind or peel a layer of the lies that you have heard about the origin of this world.

III. HOW DOES IT APPLY TO ME?  

Because we believe that “There is Only One Creator and that is God”—

  • Origin of Species titleThere is no place for racism. Did you know the full title of Charles Darwin’s book? The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or ThePreservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. David says in Psalm 139:14—“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”
  • There is no place for abortion. Did you know that the theory of evolution was behind eugenics – selective human breeding? At first it began in the 1920s with preventing the poor, unemployed, alcoholics from having children; then in the 1930s sterilization was advocated; then followed birth control. Now it is here in the form of abortion. Recently we have heard of the Philadelphia doctor, Gosnell, who according to the grand jury, “regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy — and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors.”
  • This world is under God’s care. He decides how it will end.
  • Jesus is the Creator and Redeemer. You have to come through Him to be saved and have eternal life.
  • John 1: 10-13 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
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