Sun, Dec 30, 2001

A TESTIMONY LEFT! MATTHEW 27:31-37

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
A TESTIMONY LEFT!
MATTHEW 27:31-37
 

Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew chapter 27 as we look at the testimony that was placed above the head of Jesus as He hung on the cross of Calvary. And as you are turning there, listen to this true story. It goes like this:

Sir Isaac Newton had a replica of our solar system made in miniature. In the center was the sun with its retinue of planets revolving around it. A scientist entered Newton’s study one day, and exclaimed, "My! What an exquisite thing this is! Who made it?" "Nobody!" replied Newton to the questioner who was an unbeliever. "You must think I am a fool. Of course somebody made it, and he is a genius."

Laying his book aside, Newton arose and laid a hand on his friends’ shoulder and said: "This is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you and I know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you profess to believe that the great original from which this design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker. Now tell me, by what sort of reasoning do you reach such incongruous conclusions?"

- W. G. Polack

Ponder that thought for a few minutes. It is remarkable what we believe sometimes without really thinking about it. This morning, as we read through our text you will see how this testimony will come shining through. In our text Jesus has just finished three religious trials and three civil trials, and He now is being prepared to be led away to Calvary, to be crucified for the sins of the world. That is where we will pick up our reading this morning in Matthew chapter 27, beginning in verse 31, and let’s see what the Lord has for us.

MATTHEW 27:31-37

Jesus, beaten, bloodied, scourged, and in this weakened condition, begins to carry the 100 pound cross beam to Calvary or Golgotha, the place of the skull, the place where He is to be crucified. Now the Roman soldiers would not take the shortest route through the streets. They would parade their victims through the streets so all could see in a effort to discourage others from committing crimes.

And so Jesus, in this weakened condition, carries this cross beam through the streets of the city, and as He is exiting the gate, He could no longer carry this cross, it was too much for Him. Thus, the soldiers compel Simon, a Cyrenian from the area of North Africa, to carry the cross for Jesus, which was not very far, only across the street and up the hill at this point. Simon had come some 800 miles to celebrate the Passover Feast, little did he know he was going to have an encounter with the Passover Lamb!

Now the condemned was stripped of all his clothes, except possibly for a loin cloth, but many times they hung naked on the cross for all to see their shame! And Pilate had the soldiers place above the head of Jesus an accusation which turned out to be a testimony of who He really is. In John 19:19-22 we are given more details of this, so let’s read those verses through. John said, "Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, "The King of the Jews," but, "He said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’"’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written, I have written.’"

This of course made the Jew’s angry, they wanted nothing to do with Jesus being their king. In fact, this was an insult to them, and yet, God had this placed there as a testimony for all to see - that He truly is the King of kings and Lord of lords!

Now I believe that one of the greatest testimonies that God is real, that God exists, that there is a God, is CREATION! You see, creation cries out "There is a God!" I don’t know how people can honestly look at the complexity of life, and then say there was a Big Bang and life came out of non-life, information arose from no information, complexity grew up from chaos and disorder! But the amazing thing to me is that they do believe these things.

This morning we are going to take a look at some of the complexities of life because if people deny that God created the heavens and the earth, there are serious consequences that will affect this world, will affect our lives. You see, the way we think, what we believe, will be the way we act. Before we look at some of these examples, turn to Psalm 19 as David expounds on the God of all creation.

Let’s begin reading in verse 1 of Psalm 19, where David says, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat." Psalm 19:1-6.

David is speaking of the glory of God reveled to us in nature. As David looks up into the sky he see’s the billions of stars and is overwhelmed at what God has done in creation. Today we estimate the universe at some 12 billion light years. A light year is the distance light travels in 1 year and light travels at 186,000 miles per second or about 5.88 trillion miles in 1 year! The universe is huge and you can’t help but see God’s hand in all of this - it did not happen by random chance processes!

David continues on by saying creation itself is crying out there is a designer, a creator. All you have to do is look and listen to what they are trying to show you. You see, natural revelation shows us there is a God and special revelation or the Word of God shows us who He is. In fact, David finishes up Psalm 19 speaking of special revelation or the Word of God, the two go hand-in-hand!

The thing is, in our society, to believe in creation people think you are simple, backwards, a Bible thumper, a religious fanatic. On the other hand, to believe in evolution makes you a scientist, intelligent, open-minded, a realist. Don’t believe that? Listen to this article that came out of the L.A. Times recently:

"How sad and shocking to learn that so many people believe the biblical account of creation...Why do they accept scientific theory from people who thought the Earth was flat?"

"Right next to the exhibit about the Taliban, they can place a sign offering directions to another outlying exhibit down the road in Kentucky, the Creation Museum & Family Discovery Center."

"The ‘science’ in creation science [is] willful ignorance...Evolution is a fact."

First of all, God said the earth was a sphere long before the scientific community came up with that. Secondly, their statements are backwards because their theory’s are based on nothing more than faith, and that my friends is not science, it is a religion, and that religion is called humanism! And as you will see, those who believe in creationism are the realists, for the evidence supports a world that has design to it, and thus a creator!

Many ordinary people believe that an uncontrolled process called evolution has produced the intricate designs which we see around us. But it does not take long to show how foolish that kind of thinking really is, it is not scientific at all!

First of all let’s look at the DNA molecule to see how unlikely it is for it to come together by random chance:

When we come to examine the simplest known organism capable of independent existence, the situation becomes even more fantastic. In the DNA chain of the chromosome of the bacterium E. coli, a favorite organism used by molecular biologists, the [DNA] helix consists of 3-4 million base pairs. These are all arranged in a sequence that is ‘meaningful’ in the sense that it gives rise to enzyme molecules which fit the various metabolites and products used by the cell. This unique sequence represents a choice of one out of 102,000,000 alternative ways of arranging the bases! We are compelled to conclude that the origin of the first life was a unique event, which cannot be discussed in terms of probability. (Ambrose, E. The Nature and Origin of the Biological World, p. 135).

They can’t discuss it in terms of probability because it is improbable for life to come together from non-life, even in the simplest form! Let’s continue on.

Notice that this refers only to the correct arrangement of already formed bases. Harold J. Morowitz, Professor of Biophysics at Yale University, has taken into account the covalent bond energies required to actually form such a DNA molecule. He arrives at a probability figure for the spontaneous formation of one complete bacterium of Escherichia coli in the history of the universe, of less than one chance in 10 to the power 100 billion (which can be written 10-100,000,000,000).

Such numbers are far too large for most people to comprehend. However, Sir Fred Hoyle, Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University, and not a Christian, illustrates the point this way: "Now imagine 1050 blind persons [that’s 100,000 billion billion billion billion billion people - standing shoulder to shoulder, they would more than fill our entire planetary system] each with a scrambled Rubik cube and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling [random variation] of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only the biopolymers but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial soup here on Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order."

- AIG, Could Monkeys Type the 23rd Psalm?

Lastly, I want to look at the bacterial flagellum. Now a flagellum is "a long whiplike process that is the primary organ of motion of many microorganisms." When I was in school we called it a tail but it is much more than that as you will see.

The flagellum is a corkscrew-shaped, hair-like appendage attached to the cell surface, which acts like a propeller, allowing the bacterium to swim. The most interesting aspect of the flagellum is that it is attached to - and rotated by - a tiny, electrical motor made of different kinds of protein.

Like an electrical motor, the flagellum contains a rod (drive shaft), a hook (universal joint), L and P rings (bushings/bearings), S and M rings (rotor), and a C ring and stud (stator). The flagellar filament (propeller) is attached to the flagellar motor via the hook. To function completely, the flagellum requires over 40 different proteins. The electrical power for driving the motor is supplied by the voltage difference developed across the cell (plasma) membrane.

In 1996, Dr. Michael J Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University (and an evolutionist), published a challenging book to classical Darwinian evolution entitled "Darwin’s Black Box." In this book he uses the flagellum to introduce the concept of "irreducible complexity." If a structure is so complex that all of its parts must initially be present in a suitably functioning manner, it is said to be irreducibly complex. All the parts of a bacterial flagellum must have been present from the start in order to function at all.

According to evolutionary theory, any component which doesn’t offer an advantage to an organism, i.e. doesn’t function, will be lost or discarded. How such a structure could have evolved in a gradual, step-by-step process as required by classical Darwinian evolution is an insurmountable obstacle to evolutionists. How a flagellum is used, however, adds an additional level of complexity to the picture.

Some bacteria have a single flagellum located at the end of a rod-shaped cell. To move in an opposite direction, a bacterium simply changes the direction of rotation of the flagellum. Other bacteria have a flagellum at both ends of the cell and use one flagellum for going in one direction and the other for going in the opposite direction. A third group of bacteria has many flagella surrounding the cell. These flagella wrap themselves together in a helical bundle at one end of the cell and rotate in unison to move the cell in one direction. If the cell wants to change direction, the flagella unwrap themselves, move to the opposite end of the cell, reform the bundle, and again rotate in a coordinated fashion.

The structural complexity and finely tuned coordination of the bacterial flagellum attests to the work of a master engineer who designed and created the flagellum to function in a wonderfully intricate manner.

- Dr. Dudely Eirich, The Amazing Cell - evidence for creation and against evolution!

Now those are just a few examples to show you the complexity of life. It goes far beyond any chance happening and yet the science community holds onto these lies and has the audacity to call it science when it truly is nothing more than blind faith! They have no evidence to support what they believe while on the other hand, creationists can show you how complex life is and how it is beyond any mathematical probability for these things to happen by a chance process over millions of years and the evidence shows that there is a creator, a designer - God!

And the Bible very clearly shows us that God is the creator and the designer. In Genesis 1:1 we are told "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The word"created" is the Hebrew word BARA, which means creating something out of nothing. None of the materials existed before they were created by God! Also, the word "God" is the Hebrew word ELOHIM, and it speaks of a plurality, 2 or more. It is speaking of the Trinity, that they all were involved in the creation process. It is a plural noun (God) attached to a singular verb (created).

Do the Scriptures support this? You bet they do! In Hebrews 11:3 we see God the Father involved in creation, "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.In Colossians 1:16-17 we see Jesus involved in the creation process, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." And lastly, in Psalm 104:30 we see the Holy Spirit involved in creation, "You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth." and in Genesis 1:2, "...And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all actively involved in creation, life did not just come together spontaneously and evolve from so-called simple celled life forms to more and more complex life forms, the evidence does not support it. Life does not come from non-life without a creator and a designer!

Now some of you may be thinking what harm does evolution really cause? So what if someone doesn’t believe in creation. Let me say this, what you see in our society, and in this world has evolved from evolutionary thinking. You doubt that? You think I am overboard on this one?

Turn to Romans chapter 1 and let’s begin reading in verse 18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man-- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things." Romans 1:18-23.

You see, man has to suppress the truth, hold it down because creation is crying out "There is a God!" God has left for us a testimony, a witness of His existence if we would only look and listen. But man has refused to look at the truth, at the complexity of life, that life does not just happen through a random process of chance happenings, and now there are the consequences of rejecting God and worshiping the creation instead of the creator!

And listen to the consequences of this kind of an attitude, of rejecting God and worshiping the creation instead, as Paul continues on in verse 24 of Romans chapter 1. We read, "Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 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; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them." Romans 1:24-32.

Look at the list of immorality we see arise out of worshiping creation instead of the creator! We see homosexuality, lesbianism, a debased mind or a depraved mind to do all kinds of evil, all kinds of wickedness. And Paul lists for us those things, those evil actions that come out of a heart that does not retain God in their thoughts. God gave them up to these things, and now they are doing what is in their heart, evil. And it is not only those that are doing these things, but those that are watching them, approving of their actions! That too is evil.

Sir Fred Hoyle, Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University, said that the notion of life emerging from non-life, that higher life forms emerging from lower life forms, is comparable with the chance that "a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein." God has left us an awesome witness of His existence, don’t ignore it but embrace it and marvel at it as David did, the enormity of creation and what our God did.

We, as Christians, try to change the morality of our society by changing behavior, getting people out of the homosexual lifestyle, stopping abortion, and-so-on. But what we are doing is attacking the symptoms instead of getting at the heart of the matter, which is their rejection of Jesus Christ, it is sin!

Thus, equip yourself to speak forth the truth, be ready to give a defense of that which you believe, and point people to the creator God, point them to Jesus, the light of the world instead of being consumed in the darkness of the god of this age. Only Jesus can forgive our sins and give to us that abundant life in Him, that everlasting life!

Let me leave you this morning with these words to think about:

Near the end of his life, Jean-Paul Sartre told Pierre Victor: "I do not feel that I am the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God."

Protested fellow philosopher and long-time companion Simone de Beauvoir: "How should one explain the senile act of a turncoat?"

- HIS Magazine, April, 1983

Many evolutionists are jumping ship because their ship is sinking. The only logical and obvious thing to believe is in a creator God and you can read of Him through the Bible. I encourage you as we begin a New Year to read through the Scriptures this year, from Genesis through Revelation so that you may get to know the Lord more and more. He is an awesome God, just look at His creation and remember it is only a glimpse of the way it was when He created it, for then it was very good! And one day, when the Lord returns, He will restore this world to the time before sin entered it, it will be beautiful and all creation will live in harmony together. But even with sin distorting the picture, we still can see the awesomeness of our Creator. Won’t you stop, look and listen and what He has done!

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