Rev. Warren Gardner Speaks at the Planned Parenthood Pro-life Rally

[The following address was given by Rev. Warren Gardner on April 23, 2016 at the Lawrenceville Planned Parenthood Pro-life Rally in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Of the 75 people in attendance, approximately 15 were abortion workers as shown in the images below.]

Reverend Warren Gardner at Planned Parenthood Rally April 2016

Reverend Warren Gardner at Planned Parenthood Rally April 2016

“I am delighted to be here today to speak on behalf of the “unwanted unborn”. The atrocious murder of the unborn will not end merely because we are here today.  Change will not take place unless God enables us to persuade our neighbors that this practice of abortion is evil. As a Christian and a minister of the Gospel, there are three messages from God that I would like to deliver to you.

The first message from God is from Psalm 125:3: “For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.

“It is considered as a reason of this promise — that if the trouble should continue over-long, the righteous themselves would be in temptation to put forth their hands to iniquity, to join with wicked people in their wicked practices– to say as they say and do as they do,” said Matthew Henry. Do we not now see people professing to be godly involved in an abortion?

Planned Parenthood Lawrenceville abortion workers

Planned Parenthood Lawrenceville abortion workers

Friends, I suggest that there are two applications of God’s promise:

The first application, wicked rulers are not given to a righteous people to cause them to do wickedly.  We have in the present state of affairs a government that promotes sexual immorality and the slaughter of innocent unborn children. Is this not because we have not been what we should be as God’s people?  Too often we have remained silent as long as we are NOT the victims.  I repeat: God does not give wicked rulers to a righteous people. With the wicked rulers we have, surely there is sin in our midst!

However, there is a “second application” which is a reason for hope.  If we as God’s people repent of our sins and live to honor Him, God has promised that we will not continue to have wicked rulers.  Relief will come, wicked government will end– IF we seek the Lord’s help to call our nation to repentance.  May God replace our judges who promote wickedness with those who “reward good” and “punish evil!”

The “second message from God” is from Leviticus 20:1-5: “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Again, you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘Whoever of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who gives any of his descendants to Molech, he shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from his people, because he has given some of his descendants to Molech, to defile my sanctuary and profane my holy name. And if the people of the land should in any way hide their eyes from the man, when he gives some of his descendants to Molech, and they do not kill him, then 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.

Pro-abortion activists hold signs promoting Planned Parenthood

Pro-abortion activists hold signs promoting Planned Parenthood

The worship of the pagan deity, Molech, involved the sacrifice of infants and small children apparently to seek prosperity from this deity.  It is similar to the excuse of “inconvenience” often given for abortion — that the mother will have to forfeit her dreams of a BMW or a college education and a good life.  Not much is known of this pagan religion but it is feasible that the priestly ruling  class of the community promoted this practice to limit the number of mouths that their community’s crop would need to feed.

Such seems to be the concern of our national leaders who have expressed concerns about overpopulation– even as they invite millions from other countries to our labor force to replace the over 57 million (January, 2015 statistic: 57,762,169) unborn citizens who were slaughtered by abortion.  What is being overlooked in God’s message is two-fold:

  1. God’s condemnation of the murder of innocent children.  Abortion is absolutely abhorrent!
  2. God’s promise to avenge their murder Himself if a nation refuses to do so.  Our ungodly Supreme Court judges have done what the majority of the people would have never done.  They have allowed citizens to be made criminals for killing animals and decriminalized the killing of unborn children.  They have given mothers of the pre-born authority to sentence their babies to life or death.  A premature baby is given every assistance to live– IF the mother wills it.  IF the mother wishes her baby dead, she may kill it herself or hire an assassin accredited by the government to do so.  God condemns such wickedness!
2015 Pro-life rally at Planned Parenthood, Lawrenceville, GA

2015 Pro-life Rally at Planned Parenthood, Lawrenceville, GA

The claim that abortion is legal is a “farce”.  The message I bear from God addresses the nation that refuses to punish this evil. What does God say?  And if the people of the land should in any way hide their eyes from the man, when he gives some of his descendants to Molech, and they do not kill him, then 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.”  (Lev. 20:4,5)

Reformation Presbyterian Church elder holding a sign in the midst of the abortion workers.

Reformation Presbyterian Church elder holding a sign in the midst of the abortion workers.

In the ancient culture, the man had control over the life and death decisions of his family.  Today our wicked judges give the woman the sole discretion over the life of her unborn child. [The argument is that it is not a child until it is born, but we see the “hypocrisy” of the courts.  The mother can kill her unborn child because the court has defined it is not a childuntil born.  But if a drunken driver or a criminal destroys the life of the “blob of tissue” [as they call it] in a woman’s womb, he is tried for manslaughter or murder.  God declares that He will cut off the man and his family for this wickedness.  God promises that He will Himself punish— “all that go a whoring after [Molech].”  It was for this cause that God ordered the destruction of every man, woman and child who were inhabitants of Canaan.  Too often the mother who orders the execution of her child is declared a “victim”—she will answer to God.  The doctors who sell their services for the assassination of the unborn will answer to God. The judges and people who promote and refuse to put an end to this practice will also answer to God.

This brings me to my third and final message from God, a prayer He teaches a murderer in Psalm 51:9, 10 “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

This was the prayer of King David when he had committed adultery with another man’s wife— and she was “pregnant”.  Instead of murdering his baby to cover up their sin, David ordered the assassination of the woman’s godly husband.  It is time for us (like David) to pray for God’s forgiveness on our land for the ways we as a people have allowed this atrocity to go unchecked.  It is time for mothers and fathers and grandparents who have consented and paid the assassin of these unborn children to cry out to God for forgiveness.  It pp1is time for the judges who have authorized these murders and the doctors who have executed the unjust sentence of death upon these innocent children to beg God for forgiveness.

Who knows what judgment has already been brought on the guilty for their part in this wickedness.  Many women know years of anguish for their crime against their child and God.  How many fathers and grandparents are suffering anguish for an aborted child that they never knew?  I wonder how many medical professionals who assisted in the murder of the unborn suffer “nightmares” as they see before their mind’s eyes the tiny feet and hands and body parts and look on the faces of the tiny human beings whom they have tortured to death.

Friends, there is only one way that God will forgive such a cruel and hideous crime, by our asking forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ who gave Himself as a ransom for sinners. Sinners such as King David– and such as you, and me.  Will you not pray that God will grant you and our nation grace to plead for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ?  Let us pray for the end of this crime in our land!

Friends, there is only one way that God will forgive such a cruel and hideous crime, by our asking forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ who gave Himself as a ransom for sinners. Sinners such as King David– and such as you, and me.

Pray God to remove leaders who promote this wickedness and to grant us replacements who love life.  When the claim is that the mother’s life is in danger, pray that an attempt to save both lives will be made.  Ask that He would make our tongues persuasive instruments in His hand to turn the hearts of the people of our nation to defend innocent life!

Planned Parenthood, Lawrenceville, GA

Planned Parenthood, Lawrenceville, GA

The Witness Magazine

The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) regularly publishes a denominational magazine entitled the Witness.

The Witness Magazine published by the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

The Witness Magazine published by the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

In June of every year, a special evangelistic issue of the Witness is produced.

There is a double issue for July/August which includes a report on the most recent General Assembly, which is held in May of each year.

Subscription information can be obtained by contacting the Witness magazine.

American Congregations of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

American Congregations of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

The individual American congregations within the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) labor to promote the sound doctrine, biblical patterns of worship and spiritual principles of the church of the Reformation within our own land, and to develop church structures here which are committed to these truths by constitutional pledges. American congregations of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) are located in Snellville, GA; Greenville, SC; St. Louis and Columbia, MO; and Mebane, NC.

scotland

Jeremiah 6:16 “…Ask for the Old Paths, Where the Way is Good, and Walk Therein…”

“Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein; and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16

From Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible regarding Jeremiah 6:16:

III. They are put in mind of the good counsel which had been often given them, but in vain. They had a great deal said to them to little purpose,

(1.) By way of advice concerning their duty, Jeremiah 6:16. God had been used to say to them, Stand in the ways and see. That is, (1.) He would have them to consider, not to proceed rashly, but to do as travelers in the road, who are in care to find the right way which will bring them to their journey’s end, and therefore pause and inquire for it. If they have any reason to think that they have missed their way, they are not easy till they have obtained satisfaction. O that men would be thus wise for their souls, and would ponder the path of their feet, as those that believe lawful and unlawful are of no less consequence to us than the right way and the wrong are to a traveler!

(2.) He would have them to consult antiquity, the observations and experiences of those that went before them: “Ask for the old paths, inquire of the former age (Job 8:8), ask thy father, thy elders (Deuteronomy 32:7), and thou wilt find that the way of godliness and righteousness has always been the way which God has owned and blessed and in which men have prospered. Ask for the old paths, the paths prescribed by the law of God, the written word, that true standard of antiquity. Ask for the paths that the patriarchs traveled in before you, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob and, as you hope to inherit the promises made to them, tread in their steps. Ask for the old paths, Where is the good way?” We must not be guided merely by antiquity, as if the plea of prescription and long usage were alone sufficient to justify our path. No there is an old way which wicked men have trodden, Job 22:15. But, when we ask for the old paths, it is only in order to find out the good way, the highway of the upright. Note, The way of religion and godliness is a good old way, the way that all the saints in all ages have walked in.

Cataloochee_Valley-27527-Old Path-Wikimedia-Commons

(3.) He would have them to resolve to act according to the result of these inquiries: “When you have found out which is the good way, walk therein, practice accordingly, keep closely to that way, proceed, and persevere in it.” Some make this counsel to be given them with reference to the struggles that were between the true and false prophets, between those that said they should have peace and those that told them trouble was at the door they pretended they knew not which to believe: “Stand in the way,” says God, “and see, and inquire, which of these two agrees with the written word and the usual methods of God’s providence, which of these directs you to the good way, and do accordingly.”

(4.) He assures them that, if they do thus, it will secure the welfare and satisfaction of their own souls: “Walk in the good old way and you will find your walking in that way will be easy and pleasant you will enjoy both your God and yourselves, and the way will lead you to true rest. Though it cost you some pains to walk in that way, you will find an abundant recompense at your journey’s end.”

(5.) He laments that this good counsel, which was so rational in itself and so proper for them, could not find acceptance: “But they said, We will not walk therein, not only we will not be at the pains to inquire which is the good way, the good old way but when it is told us, and we have nothing to say to the contrary but that it is the right way, yet we will not deny ourselves and our humors so far as to walk in it.” Thus multitudes are ruined for ever by downright willfulness.”

Available as information in the public domain (courtesy of www.studylight.org).

Eulogy for Houston “Phil” Phelps

Houston “Phil” Phelps
September 5, 1932 — January 28, 2014

The funeral service for Houston “Phil” Phelps was held at the Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home in Marietta, Georgia on February 1, 2014. The following message was delivered by Rev. Warren Gardner.

The Witness of God’s Word Regarding Death and God’s Promise of Eternal Life

Let us seek God’s presence through prayer:

“O Lord God, we petition you to make your presence known among us. 

You have identified yourself to us in so many ways: as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Lord God Almighty, The Lord who Provides, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and among many others — the God of All Comfort.  What comfort to know that there is life after death!  What a kindness that the Lord Jesus has gone to prepare a place for those who put their trust in Him!  What love that this is all made possible by the Lord Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself for our sin and His continual prayers in Heaven on behalf of those who trust in Him! 

Remind us Father that Houston Phelps’ departure is your answer to our Savior’s prayer, from Jn. 17: 24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am…”

Father, dispel our sorrow over Brother Phil’s departure with our Savior’s joy to have Him come.  O Lord, we invoke Your presence that You would grant more than we could think or ask in turning our mourning into joy and laughter as we celebrate our loved one’s coming home to You.  We ask that You would draw his loved ones to You in the time of their sorrow and comfort their hearts through faith in Jesus Christ.

Hear our prayer and forgive our sins, for we ask it all in the name and for the glory of, Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen!”

Houston (Phil) Phelps

Houston “Phil” Phelps, September 5, 1932 – January 28, 2014

As Houston (Phil) Phelps’ pastor, I am grateful for the privilege to share with you the witness of God’s Word regarding death and God’s promise of eternal life.  When we consider death, we enter into a realm personally unknown to those who are living.  There are many who claim that they have been to heaven and returned.  God’s Word disputes that claim with these words, “It is appointed for man to die once and after this the judgment.” (Heb 9:27) As those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, our confidence in the face of death must not be built on peoples’ near-death experiences but on the Word of God.  Our Lord does not leave us to ignorantly speculate about death — He has much to say to prepare us for death:

The verses in 1 Thess. 4:13 say, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others— who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

In Eccles. 3: 18-21 the Lord explains to us that men die like the animals, but there is a distinction: verse 20 “All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. 21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?”  Note that the spirit of the animals returns to the earth while the spirits of men go upward.  Solomon in his God-given wisdom warns young people to not squander their lives but to remember their Creator in the days of their youth for the day will come sooner than you think when we will go to our eternal home: Eccles. 12: 7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

We are taught that the life of our bodies is in the spirit which God has placed in us.  At death the spirit departs the body and when life is restored as with the little girl Jesus raised from the dead in Luke 8 with His command: “Little girl, arise.” 55 Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. …”

phil-jodi-wedding

Phil and Jodi on their wedding day

The Lord prepares every believer for death with these encouraging words: 2 Cor. 5: 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. … 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.”

Charles Spurgeon helps us put this into perspective in a beautiful way: “It is sweet to die in the Lord.  Death is “a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell.” He said that the distance between heaven and earth “seems great, but it is not so… when the eyes close on earth, they open in heaven.”  In heaven they come to the great assembly of, verse 23 “…the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.” (Heb. 12) While departed saints’ spirits are now with the Lord, their bodies are committed to the ground to await the resurrection day.

At Christ’s coming, our bodies (whether living or dead) must be changed.  1 Cor. 15: 50 … flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

In verses Jn. 11: 25,26,  Jesus said …, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

The verse Romans 6: 23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The verses in Jn. 3: 16 and 17 say, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. … 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Jesus said in Jn 5: 25-29, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth— those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

So, then, those who believe in Jesus for eternal life may say with ancient Job: (Job 19: 25) “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;  26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.”

This is the promise of God: (1 Thess 4: 15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

On January 28, 2014 the spirit of Houston Phelps, aged 81, departed from this world into the presence of God.  Your beloved “Opa” loved each of you and prayed for you.  He was a man of few words but when he spoke of spiritual things he testified that he knew and loved the Lord Jesus and was confident in the Lord’s promise to forgive His sins and grant him eternal life.  He like every believer was blessed with many strengths, and also weaknesses.  I encourage you to remember the good that the Lord accomplished in him, and the blessings of the Lord which came to each of you through his life.  Thank the Lord for how you were blessed by his life. When you think of His weaknesses remember, if the hope of heaven depended on our perfected goodness there would be no hope for any of us.  His and our hope of heaven is in the Lord alone who loved us and gave His life for us.

May the Lord grant that your grief will be strangely different from that of this world.  As you weep for your loss, may God grant you that precious comfort that you rejoice for Phil’s going home to join the assembly of the spirits of ‘just men made perfect’ in the presence of God and the Lamb.  And may you comfort your heart, as ancient David did at the death of his infant son, “he will not return to me, but I will go to him.”

I leave you with this testimony:

From 1 Jn. 5: 11-13, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.”

Military Funeral Honors for Houston "Phil" Phelps at Georgia National Cemetery

Military Funeral Honors for Houston “Phil” Phelps at the Georgia National Cemetery

Let us sing Psalm 23, most Christians know and love this Psalm by which King David expressed his confidence that his Lord loved and cared for him in this life and had prepared for him an eternal home.

~Rev. Warren Gardner

Note: United States Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Houston “Phil” Phelps was laid to rest with military funeral honors for his service in Vietnam and Korea at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, Georgia on February 3, 2014.

Press Release: Atlanta Pastor Becomes First American Moderator of Scottish General Assembly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Charles H. Greenewald, Clerk of Session
Reformation Presbyterian Church
Email: ReformationPresChurchATL@gmail.com

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: ATLANTA PASTOR BECOMES FIRST AMERICAN MODERATOR OF A SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Rev. Warren Ewing Gardner of Reformation Presbyterian Church in Atlanta Appointed Moderator of the 2013 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)

ATLANTA – January 7, 2014 – In an action unprecedented in the history of Continental Scottish Presbyterianism, an American – Rev. Warren Ewing Gardner, minister of Reformation Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia – was appointed as Moderator of the 2013 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).

The General Assembly convened in Edinburgh, Scotland from May 20 through May 24, 2013. Rev. Gardner delivered the Moderator’s Address at the General Assembly on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, entitled, “The Challenge of Living in the Environs of Sodom” based on the Scripture text, Ezekiel 16:46-59.

Commenting that the church must continue to bear witness to the truth no matter what suffering it incurs, Rev. Gardner said, “We must lay aside our pride that infers we are better Rev Warren E Gardnerthan others and that hides our own wicked past, and tell what God has done for our souls. It is time for those who have been truly redeemed by God to tell the world of God’s power to free from the dominion of sin. The environs of Sodom in which we live must be able to see the lives and hear the voices of those who have been transformed by the grace of God. There ‘is’ hope for sinners who turn to Jesus Christ!”

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1946, Rev. Gardner studied at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree.  In 1972 he was ordained to the Gospel ministry in the Presbyterian Church in the United States. After his ordination in 1972, Rev. Gardner served as Assistant Minister at First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, Georgia, and at Rehoboth Presbyterian Church, Decatur, Georgia, before being called as pastor to First Presbyterian Church in Winder, Georgia.

In 1981, Rev. Gardner was called as the organizing pastor and church planter of New Life Presbyterian Church in Winder, Georgia (Presbyterian Church in America) where he served as minister for twenty-three years. By 2003, Rev. Gardner had become convinced of the Scriptural basis of Free Church practice, and sought admission into the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) as a church planter in Atlanta, Georgia. The congregation, founded in 2004 as Free Church Atlanta, and now known locally as Reformation Presbyterian Church, meets for worship at 925 Dogwood Road, Snellville, Georgia 30078, and follows the simple and reverent pattern of Biblical worship recovered in Scottish Reformation, with the elements and practices of the service prescribed only by the Word of God.

About the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing)
The Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) is a Reformed and Presbyterian denomination that adheres in its doctrine and worship to the position adopted by the Church of Scotland at the Reformation, and codified in the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.  There are over 35 Free Church (Continuing) congregations throughout Scotland and North America, and missionary works in Zambia and Sri Lanka.

Congregational Website: ReformationPresbyterianChurch.org
Presbytery Website:  WestminsterConfession.org
Denominational Website:  FreeChurchContinuing.org

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‘The Challenge of Living in the Environs of Sodom’ – Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) 2013 GA

The Moderator’s Address was delivered to the 2013 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) on Tuesday, 21 May 2013. It is based on the Scripture text Ezekiel 16:46-59.

It is an honourable custom that this Assembly should commence with an address. With the Lord’s help I will speak to some of the trials that the church faces in these days. It is amazing how similar our present circumstance is to the challenges faced by righteous Lot in Sodom. Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world. In every generation the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is comprised of a faithful remnant and also of multitudes who have contempt for faithful doctrine and who conduct their lives in a shameful manner. When we consider the breadth of the whole church in our day, we observe great diversity. A few are like Elijah in the wilderness, thinking we alone are left. Then there are those of the ilk of the ‘seven thousand who have not bent their knee to Baal’ who still live faithfully in the midst of a corrupt society. And sadly there are the professors of faith who are hardly distinguishable from the world – confessing Christ but by word and deed denying Him. No, our situation is not new! I would now draw our attention to the words of the prophet Ezekiel as the Lord our God reproves His church for excesses that dwarf the sins of Sodom and Samaria. I would submit to you that in Ezekiel 16 the Lord clarifies the sins of Sodom and highlights the challenges that we face in our own day.

I. The Sins of Sodom
The immoral behaviour of Sodom was shameful. Consequently, through the centuries to our own day, the word ‘sodomy’ has been used to identify the type of sexual perversion practised there. As we face a resurgence of paganism in our own day, we will do well to note the broader societal decadence that accompanied the practice of sodomy in ancient Sodom. The sin of Sodom was not, as many may think, solely the practice of sexual intimacy with persons of the same sex. Let us give careful heed to the Lord’s condemnation of ancient Sodom proclaimed by His prophet Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 16:49-50, we read: ‘ Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me’.

Consider briefly the difficulties facing ancient Lot as he and his family maintained their residence in the city of Sodom. What does the Lord tell us through His servant Peter about the emotional struggles of Lot in 2 Peter 2:7-8? It tells us of ‘just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds)’.

The Lord tells us that Lot saw and heard the unlawful deeds of the inhabitants of Sodom—their open practice of wickedness. How the decadence of Sodom troubled him daily! Surely the intermarriage of his children with members of this ungodly society must have tormented him. Are we to assume that Lot’s wife died merely because she looked back at the city? Did not Lot’s wife perish looking longingly back at Sodom? Had there never been household and marital conflicts over the popular practices of perversion in their community? Is there not cause to believe that the intensity of Lot’s anguish was multiplied by the impact that Sodom was having on his family? Lot himself was not unscathed by the decadence of this city. Did he not offer up his own virgin daughters to the sex-crazed mob who clamoured to molest his angelic guests? How many of his children and perhaps grandchildren perished in the flames of Sodom’s destruction? We are not told.

Listen to the sad account of the attempted rescue of Lot’s married children in Genesis 19:12-14: ‘And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law’. The minds and hearts of Lot’s daughters and their husbands were blinded by pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness, indifference to the plight of the poor and needy, and the sexual abomination that was practised in their city. Presumably this gross immorality had overtaken them by indiscernible degrees as the proverbial frog boiled in a pot by subtle increases in the temperature. Pride had blinded them to God’s standards of godliness and rendered them indifferent to God’s judgment to come. Fullness of food had made them complacent and utterly content with this world. The abundance of idleness blinded them to the true reason for their existence and any sense of divine calling. Their indifference to the plight of the poor and needy blinded them to their own need for God’s grace. When Lot came warning his sons-in-law of the impending destruction of Sodom, the threat of God’s judgment seemed but a joke to them and apparently so to Job’s own married daughters.

Does this not seem all too familiar?

II. The Sodom-Like Environs in Which We Live
Are not our hearts grieved like ancient Lot? How many covenant children has the church lost to the enticements of our present-day Sodom? We agonise as we see our children mesmerised by the pride of atheistic thinking, by gluttony and the listlessness of hedonism, and the passions of sexual perversion. Government schools entice our children to think of a world without accountability to a Creator. Sex-education classes teach our Copy of 'We_Love_Our_Daughter_and_Her_Wife'children either explicitly or implicitly that they can enjoy sexual immorality without risk of venereal disease and without the burden of parental responsibility. We too, like righteous Lot, are vexed from day to day with the unlawful deeds of sodomites. Recently I read of little schoolgirls being ordered by their teacher to ask another girl for a kiss. The aggression of Sodomites within our culture demands not only acceptance of their immoral and unnatural behaviour, but they seek to criminalise the practice of Biblical morality. Like their ancient attack on Lot’s home, they seek to demand our submission to their way of life. Our society’s leaders subvert God’s prohibitions against sexual immorality. Like Lot’s children, is it any wonder if your children think you are joking when you warn them of God’s impending judgment?

Oh, what challenges we face as citizens of heaven living in a hedonistic world! What common sins do we share with Sodom? Are they not the very same that Ezekiel identifies: Pride, fullness of food, abundance of idleness, neglect of the poor and needy, and abomination?

1. Pride
Today, haughtiness and arrogance prevail against the commandments of our God. Here in Great Britain, government leaders keep pushing for the acceptance of immoral behaviour — Sabbath-breaking and acceptance of sexual perversion, to mention just two. In America, in many places God’s commandments have been banned from display in our courthouses, even though they are carved in stone in our Supreme Court building. In court ruling after court ruling, those who sit in the place of God in the judgment seats of our lands, who have been given authority by God’s decree to reward good and punish evil, seek to ban the very foundation for the rule of law. How can there be justice when proud judges have no respect for Biblical truth, when civil courts forbid the use of Christ’s name in public prayers, when the story of God’s creation is banned from the state-run classroom and replaced with evolutionary theory, a tenet of the religion of atheism? How can there be justice when courts declare good evil and evil good? The new world order is atheistic and anti-Christian and built on pride. Do your children know the God who created them? Are they so nurtured in the faith of our Lord Jesus that they know with surety that they serve a living God who hears and answers prayer? You believe, but do they?

2. Fullness of Food
Gluttony is rampant. People are obese. In the UK it is reported ‘Two out of three men are overweight and one in four people are obese’ and, in the US, over one third of the population is overweight and this statistic is expected to rise to 42% by 2030. There is fullness of food. Today like ancient Sodom, many live to eat. For multitudes, their god is their belly.

3. Abundance of Idleness
Far too many of the Lord’s people live for their next dose of worldly pleasure. When will the Sabbath be over that we may sell and buy grain? The Lord’s Day has become ‘Family Day’. The pleasures that many find on this day are not the things of the Lord but of this world. The church often panders to the hedonistic interests of the people. Worship of God has been replaced with seeker-friendly entertainment. Yes, there is a sacred idleness that is to be commended—meditation on God’s Word is greatly needed. However the godly pastor Richard Baxter rightly commented, ‘Idleness is a constant sin, and labour is a duty. Idleness is the devil’s home for temptation and for unprofitable, distracting musings; while labour profiteth others and ourselves’.

Christians are often willing to buy into a three-day working week. A Biblical work ethic is too often seen as legalistic’. We forget the words of our Saviour in Matthew 25:30: ‘Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness’. In the words of that godly pastor, Thomas Brooks: ‘An idle life and a holy heart is a contradiction’. Idleness is the devil’s playground. In the idleness of some government housing estates drunkenness, crime, and wickedness abound. In the ‘environs of Sodom’, the ‘godly poor’ are few in number.

4. Neglect of the Poor and Needy
Sadly, many of the churches have surrendered to the state their responsibility to care for the poor and the needy. Self-seeking politicians prey on the poor and seduce them to ungodliness offering them aid without responsibility for the able-bodied to labour if they wish to be fed. Politicians propose legislation to take from the wealthy to care for the poor. And the poor close their eyes as their political champions line their own pockets and retirement accounts with the booty from their political empires.

5. Abomination
In the luxurious setting of Sodom, why would sodomy develop? Perhaps it occurred as it has in our own day. First, the church learned to wink at fornication. Then, prostitution, adulterous affairs and the dissolving of the marriage covenant became tolerated. In a hedonistic society where God is not acknowledged or thanked, reprobate minds will multiply. The Holy Spirit warns us in Romans Chapter 1 of the outcome of not acknowledging God and being thankful to Him – homosexual behaviour.

How will a homosexual believe that there is hope in God’s mercy, when the church condemns the ‘gay community’ but fails to address the greatest sin of all?

6. A Greater Wickedness
Like ancient Judah, we must not overlook that God through Ezekiel speaks of a greater wickedness than that of Sodom. What a travesty it is when a nation covenanted to God abandons that covenant. It is a wickedness when a people who, having professed faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, go back on their covenant and trample underfoot the blood of the covenant and despise the ministry of the Spirit of God. This sin dwarfs the perversion of sodomy and the decadence of Sodom. This is a sin against grace! That nations which once bent their knee to King Jesus would now cast off their allegiance to God and His Anointed is the greatest travesty of all. Ezekiel 16:59 states, ‘For thus saith the Lord God; I will even deal with thee as thou hast done, which hast despised the oath in breaking the covenant’.

God will not tolerate the practice of wickedness forever. His glory will depart from a people who have turned their backs on Him. ‘Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God’ 1Cor.6:9-10). Both Scotland and the United States once professed allegiance to Christ as Christian nations. Oh, how far we have fallen!

III. Meeting the Challenge with the Hope of the Gospel
How are we to live in the environs of Sodom? Are we to despair? Has the Day of Judgment arrived? Not yet, we hope! The church has a witness to bear in the environs of Sodom! ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord’ (Ps.33:12). The British Isles were once before under the ravages of a pagan culture and the Gospel came and brought hope and The Challenge of Living in the Environs of Sodomtransformation. This nation has a Godly heritage. May this nation’s present Queen hold fast a Christian testimony to the people and to those who will follow her on her throne when she enters into the presence of the Almighty. God has promised if men will not correct themselves, He will. A day of judgment is coming! Many will not find a place in the coming Kingdom of our Lord. They will hear Christ’s words: ‘Depart from me, I never knew you!’ When we speak of the danger of hell, many will think we are joking. Let this not deter us!

The church must never fail to learn from righteous Lot. No matter what way society may choose or even our beloved family members, God’s holy standards must govern our ethics and direct our hearts’ affections. The church must continue to bear witness to the truth no matter what suffering it incurs. It must seek to bear a persuasive witness to minds perverted by the deceptions of wickedness. We must continue to offer the most powerful hope to a sinful world. The Lord will open the hearts and minds of many who have learned the misery of sin. Many sinners have tried to give up their sin and they cannot. They understand that they are in bondage, but they feel hopeless. They need the message of hope that those who are united to Christ in His death are raised with Christ in His resurrection to newness of life. They need to hear the word of hope: ‘Sin no longer has dominion over you’. The gay community needs to hear a message of hope, a message of hope for ‘all’ sinners. They must hear that ‘some of us’ in Christ’s church, in the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), were once: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners. And they must hear the glorious words of hope uttered in 1Corinthians 6:11: ‘And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God!’ The world must hear that God cleanses, justifies and sanctifies sinners by His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit, and that we are examples of God’s grace. We must lay aside our pride that infers we are better than others and that hides our own wicked past, and tell what God has done for our souls! It is time for those who have been truly redeemed by God to tell the world of God’s power to free from the dominion of sin. The environs of Sodom in which we live must be able to see the lives and hear the voices of those who have been transformed by the grace of God. There ‘is’ hope for sinners who turn to Jesus Christ! I for one will testify that I was addicted in my youth to sexual lust and enslaved to life dominating sin and have been set free by the power of God’s redeeming grace. My sin was paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross and I am being transformed from glory to glory by the power of the Spirit of God. Sodomites must hear that sodomites can be forgiven and set free from their lust by the grace of God! And yes, proud, hedonistic covenant breakers who once graced the doors of the church must still hear that there is forgiveness with the Lord! The church must arise to the challenge of living in the environs of Sodom!

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Story of Faith – The Dumb Boy’s Examination

A clergyman once paid a visit to a deaf and dumb asylum in London, for the express purpose of examining the children in the knowledge they possessed of divine truth. A little boy, on this occasion, was asked in writing: “Who made the world?” He took up the chalk, and wrote underneath the question: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

The clergyman then inquired in a similar manner: “Why did Jesus Christ come into the world?” The little fellow wrote: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all child writingacceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.”

A third question was then proposed, eminently adapted to call his most powerful feeling into exercise: “Why were you born deaf and dumb, while I can hear and speak?”  “Never,” said an eye-witness, “shall I forget the look of holy resignation and chastened sorrow which sat on his countenance as he took up the chalk and wrote: ‘Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.’ ”

The account of ‘The Dumb Boy’s Examination’ was taken from a book entitled Gospel Gleanings for Young People, editor Kenneth Macleod. It was published by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, in 1976. (Courtesy of Mrs. Valerie Gardner)

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About Reformation Presbyterian Church in Metro Atlanta Georgia

Reformation Presbyterian Church is a local congregation of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing). The worship services of Reformation Presbyterian Church are held at 11:00 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) at 925 Dogwood Road, Snellville, Georgia 30078.

Following the morning service, there is a meal at the church, with the families of the church bringing food to share. Visitors are invited to be our guest at this meal. Following the afternoon worship service, a brief fellowship time, a Westminster Shorter Catechism class, and a congregational prayer meeting are held.

History
Reformation Presbyterian Church has been located in metropolitan Atlanta since its inception in 2004. Initially established as a Preaching Station with Rev.Warren E. Gardner appointed as the residential pulpit supply, the mission was organized as a Congregation in 2006, and Rev. Gardner was elected the minister. The congregation, which was initially established as Free Church Atlanta, is now known locally as Reformation Presbyterian Church.

Identity
We are a Presbyterian church adhering in worship and doctrine to the position adopted by the Church of Scotland at the Reformation. At the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843, the Free Church of Scotland carried forward the spiritual identity, succession, and constitutional principles of the church of the Reformation. We believe that the religious truths espoused in Scotland and in many other places at the Reformation are faithful to the Word of God, and therefore are unchanging truths.

Congregations
As Americans, we labor to promote the sound doctrine, biblical patterns of worship and faithful spiritual principles of the church of the Reformation within our own land, and to develop church structures here which are committed to these truths by constitutional pledges. Other American congregations of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) are located in Greenville, SC; St. Louis and Columbia, MO; and Mebane, NC.

Oversight
While the Presbytery’s congregations are located in the United States, the Presbytery operates under the oversight of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) in Edinburgh, Scotland. Our connection with the church in Scotland is a tangible expression of our historical continuity with a tradition of faithful adherence to sound doctrine and to biblical patterns of worship.

Sermons on SermonAudio.com
Sermon recordings from the Atlanta Congregation may be heard at SermonAudio.com.