The Bible and Voting – Part 12

The Bible and Voting – Part 12
Proverbs 14:34 • Dr. Andy Woods • September 25, 2016 • The Bible and Voting 2016


Andy Woods


September 25, 2016 The Bible and Voting, Part 12

Mark 7:20-23

Good morning everybody.  If we could take our Bibles and open them to Mark 7, verses 20-23.  The title of this message is The Bible and Voting, Part 12.  We have been really working our way through this whole subject of voting, what does the Bible say about this issue of voting.  Voting is a really an issue that’s on everybody’s mind today; a lot of political talk.  And in this series we really tried, very, very hard not to get into political names and political parties, but rather we’ve been focusing on issues.  When you go to cast a vote for someone and you vote for them what issues should be foremost on your thinking?   So we have taken a look at some issues related to economics.  We’ve taken a look at issues related to what we would call social issues.   And we’ve been sort of working our way through issues related to foreign affairs.

We’ve looked at several things.  First of all we’ve looked at the whole subject of world government from God’s point of view.  We’ve looked at the subject of the nation state from God’s point of view.  We’ve looked at the whole issue of border enforcement from God’s point of view.  And then for the last three Sundays we’ve been taking our time looking at the nation of Israel; as we interact with the nation of Israel what is to be our attitude towards the nation of Israel?

And this morning we find ourselves in the very last part of our series and this is really the last foreign affairs issue that we should think about when we vote, and here is the question:  Will the candidate pursue a foreign policy of what I would call peace through strength.  And one of the things that we’re going to start getting into here is the whole subject of terrorism.  Now I know I should have planned my sermons a little better; we just had a baby dedication, now we’re moving into the subject of terrorism but we’ll full of lots of interesting transitions here at Sugar Land Bible Church.

Of course terrorism is something that is now a normal part of our world; it’s really a normal part of American life, sad to say.  We all remember 9/11, we remember Fort Hood, we remember what happened recently, maybe a year or two ago with the Boston Marathon bomber, we had a recent terrorist attack in Orlando.  And then just this week if you followed the news another terrorist attack has occurred on American soil in Chelsea, New York.  And we’re seeing these things all of the time now on our television sets and in our newspapers and over the radio.

And the question is, when we look at a very difficult and controversial subject like this does the Bible actually have anything to say related to this issue.  Does the Bible address the issue of terrorism?  I’m of the opinion that it does.  So here’s our outline and we may not finish this today, we most likely will not finish it today, we’ll finish it next week, but we want to look really at six things.  Number 1, terrorism’s false causes.  What I mean by that is a lot of people attribute terrorism to the wrong motive.  Number 2, we’ll look at terrorism’s true causes, what really causes terrorism from a biblical point of view.  Number 3, we’ll be taking a look at ineffective deterrents of terrorism; here is how not to stop terrorism.  Number 4, we’re look at effective deterrents to terrorism.  In other words, here’s how to stop it biblically.  Number 5 we’ll be getting into the subject as follows: is it possible for a government to go too far in stopping terrorism.  The answer to that is yes.  And then finally number 6, we’ll close with some legitimate methods in dealing with the subject of terrorism that governments can employ.  Again, I’ve tried very hard to make this not my own personal opinion, as we will be seeing I’m coming from a biblical base on these things.  So when we look at the subject of terrorism in our world are we looking at it through the lens of God’s Word?

Let’s start here number 1, terrorism’s false causes.  When an incident happens and lives are lost and property is destroyed because of some sort of terrorist activity it’s interesting to turn on the news and watch all of the people pontificating as to why this happened.   I would say nine times out of ten the news people get it wrong in terms of motive.

So what would be, first of all, to start off, some wrong reasons as to why terrorist activity takes place.  If you’re not coming from the position of the Scripture, which deals with the subject of the depravity of man, you have to assign some kind of motive to explain what just happened.  And typically what people will say is this terrorist activity took place because of poverty or a lack of education.  And as I started to look at this subject I got intimidated because it’s a controversial subject and I pulled off of my shelf a book by Theologian Wayne Grudem; the title of this book is Politics According to the Bible.   And I discovered in this book a wealth of information.  Now you should probably be praising the Lord that I’m just looking at this book now as our series is ending, because he covers every issue much deeper than I have.  And this series could go on for the next several years if I’d discovered this book early on.

But in chapter 11 he has this fascinating chapter on national defense.  Now I don’t know if you know much about Wayne Grudem; Wayne Grudem is a conservative systematic theologian.  He believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and he is dealing with the subject of political issues, much like we have been dealing with it, from a biblical point of view.  And in this particular chapter he quotes many people who come up with the wrong cause of terrorism.  One of them is named Jim Wallis; I don’t know if you know the name, Jim Wallis.  Jim Wallis is what we would call a liberation theologian; he is someone that in essence is trying to mix the principles of Karl Marx with the principles of the Bible, which to me is like mixing water and oil together.

And there is something in this country called the religious left; there used to be something in this country that was very strong that was called the religious right, people promoting a conservative political agenda from the Scripture.  But what has eclipsed the religious right is what we would call the religious left.  Jim Wallis is what we would call a progressive, would be a member of the religious left using the Bible to promote a leftist progressive agenda.

It’s interesting to note that Jim Wallis is the key spiritual advisor behind the current President of the United States.  Jim Wallis wrote a fascinating book called God’s Politics but he comes up with the wrong answer to the issue of terrorism.  Jim Wallis writes this:  He says, “An even more courageous national commitment would be to face honestly the grievances and injustices that breed rage and vengeance are continually exploited by terrorists to recruit the angry and the desperate…. It is indeed impossible to comprehend adequately the terrorists acts of September 11 without a deeper understanding of the grievances and the injustices felt by many people around the world.”

He goes and he begins to talk about some of these grievances and injustice.   “The American and western appetite for oil, the United States sits atop and its leaders of a global economy in which half of God’s children still live on less than two dollars a day.”  Wallis goes on and he says, “The United States will be blamed around the world for the structures of injustices that such global economy daily enforces.”  He says, “We have contributed to the grievances and injustices that breed modern terrorism.”  It’s sort of a theme that goes through Wallis’s book, what we would call a blame America first mindset.  He talks about global poverty reduction as a key strategy towards eradicating terrorism.

So in other words, what he is saying is you really can’t fault the terrorists only, it’s the injustice of the world in which we live in; it’s the lack of education, it’s the lack of a decent standard of living.  And so many people have this idea that somehow terrorism is caused by poverty or a lack of education.  The problem is, when you begin to scrutinize the facts and scrutinize the evidence the evidence really does not support this kind of a conclusion.

For example, there is a terrorist, a Middle Eastern terrorist, and now pardon me because I’m going to be trying to pronounce some Middle Eastern names, I’m not necessarily up to speed in my Arabic, but his name is Zawahiri, and it’s interesting that of this man, Zawahiri, we read the following, and this comes from a book by Lawrence Wright and the title of the book is Tunnel Terrorists.  And it says this: “Zawahiri was also an Egyptian, was a brilliant student, from a prominent family who finished medical school and became a recognized surgeon.”  So that immediately casts into question this idea that somehow terrorism is caused by poverty.  The individual involved here in terrorist activity was actually an individual who had a medical degree and was a practicing surgeon.

You might know the name Ben Laden; has anybody heard that name—Ben Laden?  We know what he was responsible for in terms of 9/11; have you ever looked into the actual history of Ben Laden?  Ben Laden, born in 1957 was born into an extremely wealthy family in Saudi Arabia.  His father, Mohammed Ben Laden owned a huge construction company that was responsible for building many of the highways as well as the largest mosque in the country, including the Grand Mosque in Medina.”  It goes on and it talks about Ben Laden’s wealth; his share of the company at that time was equal to about seven million dollars, plus he had a substantial annual income.  Ben Laden was not motivated to engage in terrorist activities because of poverty; in fact, Ben Laden had more money than most of us will see in an entire lifetime.

And where do these terrorists recruits come from?  Have you ever asked that?  Do they come from these poverty stricken environments?  No they do not!  This book I mentioned before by Lawrence Wright makes this statement: Wright points out that young men who joined up with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan were quote, “middle/upper class,” end quote, were largely college educated with a strong bias towards the natural sciences and engineering.

Who’s being recruited into this terrorist activity?  Not the downtrodden, not the poor, not the oppressed but shockingly some of these terrorists come from some of the most educated and affluent backgrounds.  And one of the great things about coming to the Bible and letting the Bible speak to the issues of the day is you start to see that sin is not necessarily caused by poverty.

For all of my entire life I’ve heard this statement from people that are non-biblical, they would say people steal because they’re poor; people commit mayhem because they’re poor.  Let me ask you a question?  How do you explain a man like O. J. Simpson who had money to burn and  yet he committed those horrible acts and was prosecuted for murder.

If nothing else the place of the Bible that resolves this fact once and for all, that evil is not caused by poverty, it’s the millennial kingdom.  Have you ever studied the millennial kingdom?  Take a look in your Bible, if you could, at the book of Revelation, chapter 20, verses 7-10.  Let me give you a quick crash course on the millennial kingdom, if I can, the thousand year reign of Christ.  The thousand year reign of Christ, the world will be repopulated after the tribulation period, those that repopulate the earth will be the descendants of those who survived the great tribulation period.  There’s a reference to that in Matthew 25:31-46.

In other words there will be people who will survive the great tribulation, that would not include us, we will be, as members of Christ’s church, in resurrected bodies at this time.  But these survivors will survive the great tribulation period; they will pass through what is called the sheep and the goat judgment, they will be decreed by God as believers and sheep and will enter the millennial kingdom in glorified bodies, they will reproduce, they will have children and their children will have children, and their children will have children, and the earth will be repopulated but what is passed down through the bloodline?  The sin nature.  The millennial kingdom will be the “cat’s meow.”  It will be the time in history where the earth, Isaiah 11:6-9, Isaiah 2:1-4, will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:6-9, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.  [7] Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.  [8] The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.”  Isaiah 2:1-4, “The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  [2] Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.  [3] And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob;  That He may teach us concerning His ways and that we may walk in His paths.’  For the law will go forth from Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  [4] And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.   Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.”]

It will be a time in history when the nations will beat their swords into what?  Plowshares.  War will be a thing of the past.  It will be a time in history where Jesus will literally be reigning on planet earth from David’s throne.  The presence of Christ will be so real in that day that people will actually be able to go up to Jesus Christ and shake His hand, and they won’t even have to give a campaign contribution in the process.  And yet how does the millennial kingdom end?  It ends in a total worldwide catastrophe; we have a description of it in Revelation  20:7-10.  It says, “When the thousand years are completed,” that’s the thousand years of peace and prosperity, “When the thousand years are completed Satan will be released from his prison, [8] and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war;” notice this, “the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.”  The moment the inhabitants of the earth are given an opportunity to rebel against God, basically as I read this every member of the human race takes that opportunity.  Think about all of the sand on the seashore; that’s the amount of rebels that will be involved in this rebellion, even though they have been living in a perfect environment for one thousand years.

Verse 9 says, “And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” Why is God allowing this terrible time in history to go forward?  He is proving once and for all what man’s problem is.  Man’s problem is not his environment; it’s his nature.  You can put a sinner in a terrible environment and guess what he’ll be?  A sinner.  You can take that same sinner and put them in a perfect environment, which is what is going to happen here in the millennial kingdom, in an environment where there’s no unemployment, in an environment where there’s no educational need, and what will be at the end of the day?  He will be a sinner.

Guess what happens, folks, when you educate a blue collar thief?  He becomes a white collar thief;  (unless his nature is altered by the Holy Spirit) you have simply enhanced his capacity to steal.  This is the biblical position that we call the depravity of man.  This is what is missed over and over again by people who have no biblical worldview as they’re trying to explain terrorist activities.  It must be caused by something in the environment, a lack of education, poverty, a bad family background, and yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Another false description or a false cause or a false root of terrorism is what I call American imperialism; many people believe that terrorist activity takes place in our country and around the world for the simple reason that we, as the United States of America have caused it by our imperialist policies around the word.  In fact, I’ll mention a political name (if I can do that, this individual is not running for any known office that I know of) Ron Paul, who ran for President of the  United States in 2007 made this statement in one of the Presidential debates.  Paul goes on and he talks about this:  (quote) “Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us” speaking there of 9/11, “Have  you ever read the reasons they attacked us,” he says this on national television, “they attacked us because we’ve been over there; we’ve been over there bombing Iraq for ten years.”  So it really is not the terrorist fault that they engaged in this terrible attack on 9/11, it’s our fault as Americans as we are trying to spread the American brand around the world we have inculcated the wrath of the world and so if we want to blame someone for terrorism let’s look into the mirror.

This kind of thinking you find, not only of people on the right, like Ron Paul, but you find it with people on the left.  You might know the name, Jeremiah Wright.  Anybody heard that name?  Jeremiah Wright was the pastor of the President of the United States, not for twenty weeks or twenty months but twenty years.  Two decades the President of the United States sat in a church in Chicago, The Trinity United Church, and he heard sermon after sermon from Jeremiah Wright.  Jeremiah Wright, when you look into his writings, is also what you would call a progressive, somebody who is trying to mix through liberation theology the principles of the Bible with the principles of Karl Marx.  And Reverend Wright, and this came to national attention when Barak Obama was running for President back in 2008, made statement after statement that America’s chickens (as he called it) have come home to roost.  What happened to us on 9/11 is our own fault because of American imperialism spread abroad.

There’s just one little problem with that.  The problem with that is the following: Terrorism started a lot earlier in American history.  In fact, you can track terrorism all the way back to the administration of Thomas Jefferson in his encounter with what is called the Barbary pirates.  Thomas Jefferson was one of our first Presidents who actually bought and began to read the Koran.  Why did he buy the Koran?  Why did he read the Koran?  The historical revisionists will try to tell you that America was founded on Islamic principles because of Thomas Jefferson’s interest in the Koran.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  American was not founded on Islamic principles.  The reason Thomas Jefferson was reading the Koran is he was trying to figure out, way back at the beginning of American history, why do these Barbary pirates keep attacking us over and over again?  Thomas Jefferson called these attacks unprovoked and it was a strange idea to him; what is in the minds of these people causing relentless attack after relentless attack?

And those that want to blame terrorism on the United States of America need to understand that terrorism began long ago, before America ever rose to super power status.  Other people say it’s our overreaction, we overreacted to 9/11 by going into Afghanistan and going into Iraq, and that’s what causes terrorist activities around the world.  Let me remind you of something: 9/11 was not an isolated event.  Prior to 9/11 there were multiple attacks on American soil.  Let me mention some of them: February 26, 1993, the first World Trade Center bomb exploded through terrorist activity.  June 25, 1996 you have the bombing of the towers, a U.S. military barracks in Saudi Arabia.  Then August 7, 1998, this is long before you have the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya.  August 7, 1998, you have the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Tanzania.  October 12, 2000 you have the bombing of the USS Cole in  Yemen. And then finally, after all of these incidents we finally had the terrorist activity that really got our attention, September 11, 2001, with the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

You simply can’t blame terrorist activity on the  United States overreaction to 9/11 for the simple reason that these terrorist activities long preceded 9/11.  This is all part of an orchestrated plot against the United States of America, even going back to the days of Thomas Jefferson and even back to the days of the Barbary Pirates.

And what troubles me about all of these false solutions to supposedly what causes terrorism is we’re taking our eyes off the ball.  We no longer have a sense of right and wrong.  We think terrorism is somehow our responsibility as Americans or we think terrorism is because of poverty or a lack of education, or something else.  And we become so engrossed with these theories that we’ve moved into what I would like to call moral equivalence.  Moral equivalence is the idea that you take two evil acts and you essentially put them on the same level.  Let me rephrase that; one evil act, one good act and you act as if those two acts are both equally evil.

Here is a quote from Gregory Boyd.  Gregory Boyd is a Christian pastor, much like I am a Christian pastor, and this is what Gregory Boyd writes in one of his books.  He says, “You probably passionately believe that our cause is just and theirs is evil but the terrorists passionately believe that their cause is just and ours is evil.   Your passion for American justice is mirrored by their passion for Islamic justice.”  And what he just did is he put our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan on the same level as what happened in 9/11 and this is what you call moral equivalence argument.

These are all examples of what I would call false cause of terrorism.  Terrorism, as I’ll show you in just a moment, is not caused by poverty; we’ve just proven that.  It’s not caused by a lack of education, we  have disproven that notion as well.  It’s not caused by some sort of American Imperialism that’s being exported throughout the world.  Biblically there is a much different answer to this, and so this takes us now to part 2, what then is the true cause of terrorism.  I’ll give you two answers to that question.

What causes terrorism, take your Bible, if you could, and go to Mark 7:20-23, is good old fashioned human depravity.  That’s where the Bible roots the issue.  [Mark 7:20, “And He was saying, ‘That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, [22] deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. [23] All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”]

Romans 5:12 says this: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all sinned.”  The fact of the matter is I am born with a nature that is at war with God.  It’s interesting that we never have to teach our children how to sin.  My wife and myself don’t sit down with our daughter and we don’t say to her, okay, here’s how you sin, ready?  Here’s how you throw a tantrum when you don’t get your way.  Here is how you become selfish with your toys.  Here is how to act aggressively towards  somebody else that hasn’t hurt you.  We never had to teach her those things.  We never had to teach those things to our daughter because of the influence of her mother… NO, I’m just kidding!   We never had to teach these things to our daughter because of the sin nature that’s passed down from parent to child.  What we have to teach her is how to be considerate, we have to teach her how to share, we have to teach her how to keep your anger under control.  This is largely the role of parenting which we dedicated this morning, these parents involved in that process before God reigning in that sin nature, creating a climate in the home whereby the child can trust Jesus Christ.

And thus the excuse for violence is not environmentally caused, it comes from within; it’s who we are!  Psalm 51:5, David writes this:  “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother and father conceived me.”  David says at the point of conception I inherited a nature that is at war with God.  And over in the book of Genesis, chapter 4, verses 5-8, have you read those verses lately?  It’s the story of the first murder.  Cain is contemplating murdering Abel, and this is what Genesis 4:5-8 says, “but for Cain and for his offering He” that is God “had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. [6] Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?  [7] If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’ [8] Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”

Cain, you’re considering murdering your brother and I want you to understand that there’s something influencing you that you do not fully grasp, and if you do not get this under control, i.e., Satan and the sin nature, you’re going to end up doing something that you do not want to do—you’re going to end up murdering your brother.   And it’s interesting how Cain did not follow this advice.  And in verse 8 of Genesis 4 it says, “Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”

There was a force within Cain himself that was at work leading to the first murder in human history.  Nothing here to do about a lack of education, environmental cause, poverty, it was the sin nature.  And if there’s a verse that  you should have jotted down or underlined in your Bible it’s the book of Jeremiah, chapter 17, verse 9, which says this: “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and it is desperately sick, who can understand it?”  As God today looks at the human heart He sees a sickness in it.  In fact, the sickness is so profound (from God’s point of view) that we as mere humans can’t even understand the wickedness of our own hearts.  There are things that I am capable of as a fallen human being that are sometimes hidden from my sight because I have lost sight of, many times, of my own depravity.

And that’s why I had you turn to Mark 7:20-23; before we get there think about Genesis 8:21, revealed very early on in human history, where God makes this statement right after the flood:    “… for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth….”    There is a natural disposition towards evil built into all children at the point of conception, to rebel against God, making the task of parenting more difficult.  That’s why they need our prayers, our help, our support as they seek to reign in the sin nature of children and create an environment in the home whereby a child might exercise faith in Jesus Christ.  [Mark 7:20-23, “And He was saying, ‘That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.  [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, [22] deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. [23] All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”]

Now we move into the New Testament and Jesus says the exact same thing, because in Mark 7:20-23 the Pharisees were criticizing Jesus and His disciples because they were eating on the Sabbath.  They weren’t violating the Sabbath per se because the Sabbath is designed by Christ Himself, He calls Himself here “the LORD of the Sabbath,” to be a blessing to man.  But the eating of the disciples on the Sabbath violated Pharisaical traditions and Jesus responds to the critics of the disciples and in the process He makes a tremendous statement about human nature.

Notice what Jesus says: “And He was saying, ‘That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man’”  It’s not what goes into him that defiles him, it’s what naturally comes out of him.  Well, what naturally comes out of the contaminated heart of the sinner?  [21] “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed” and he gives a laundry list, number 1, “evil thoughts,” number 2, “fornications,”  number 3, “thefts” what’s number 4 there, I’ve got it underlined, “murders,” murder is part of who I am, murder is my natural proclivity, it is something that naturally wants to emanate out of my heart, I am completely capable of murder.  If I’m not physically doing it I can think about it or I can murder people verbally, damage their career, damage their reputation, although I may not actually commit a homicide, but the possibility of homicide is within all of us.  “…murders, adulteries, [22] deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.”  And then Christ is clear again, verse 23, “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Jesus says to the Pharisees don’t focus on some kind of environmental cause; it’s not what you take in, in terms of food, that contaminate you, it’s what naturally comes out of the human heart because of our position in the first Adam.

Notice, if you will, the book of James, chapter 4:1-2, James  (of course) being the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Notice what James says, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you?”  Have you ever wondered that?  Why is that in good churches Christians just can’t get along.  James answers that and he says, “Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? [2] You lust and do not have; so you commit” what? “murder.”  There, that’s the second time we’ve seen the word “murder” in the New Testament as a manifestation of the human heart.  “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder, you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not” what? “ask.”   And James goes on and he says even when you do ask God’s not going to answer  you because your motives are wrong.  [James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”]

It’s interesting to me that when James addresses this issue he is speaking here to Christians.  I know that because James 4:5, just a few verses later, talks about how the spirit within us envies us intensely.  [James 4:5, “Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose:’ “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’”?]  The Spirit of God is in these people; that’s why they’re called “brethren” all the way through the book of James.  That’s why James 1:2-4 talks about how their faith is being perfected through trials.  You can’t perfect a faith, you can’t mature faith unless you first have what?  Faith!   [James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, [3] knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. [4] And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”]

So “in Christ Jesus” although I have the Holy Spirit, although I have the new nature in a nanosecond I am capable of returning to the old nature, to such severity that even as a Christian I am capable of committing murder.  Certainly with the unbeliever this is all that they know.  When an unbeliever commits sin they are just fulfilling their job description.  James here is talking about the Christian’s ability to do this.  That’s why we need to be in the Word of God, walking under the control of the Spirit of God at all times, because at a moment’s notice I can immediately return to the sin nature.  Isn’t it interesting how I can stand up here and give a sermon and be used by God to bless people and then get into the parking lot on the way out of here and someone cuts me off and some of the angriest thoughts (hopefully not speech) can begin to emanate in my mind.  I can get into an argument with my wife over something silly in just a few moments after preaching a sermon that blessed people.  All of us are like this!

The Bible tells us about this over and over again; we are all tainted by the sin nature.  If you want to blame terrorism on something you don’t blame it on the environment, you don’t blame it on poverty, you don’t blame it on a lack of education, you blame it on good old fashioned human depravity.  But if somebody is not coming from a biblical framework, a biblical worldview, they have to come up with some explanation so they typically attribute terrible atrocities to something in the environment because after all, at the end of the day we really don’t want to believe that we’re that bad when the Scripture, in fact, says that we are.

Now I told you that there are actually two ingredients in what makes up a terrorist.  I’ve just given you ingredient number 1, human depravity.  But there’s something else and these two things have to be working in concert and if you have these two things working in concert you have a very clear explanation for terrorist activity.  The second thing that must happen is the development of a radical ideology, an ideology which tells people that their sin nature, they’re free to vent it any way they want.

Let me take you to this quote here by Robert Charles Winthrop, one of America’s early Founding Fathers, I believe he actually became the Speaker of the House of Representatives and this is what he said in a speech.  “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet.

[All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”  [Robert Winthrop, Addresses and Speeches on Various Occasions (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1852), 172. Speech to the Massachusetts Bible Society (1849-05-28).]

Something has to be in place to keep the sin nature in check; if it’s not going to be the Bible, an internal value system, then it has to be the threat of force from the outside.  You know, being a Christian is such a wonderful thing because I can see what my wicked heart wants to do in terms of theft, murder, idolatry, adultery and I look into the Word of God and the Word of God is telling me to do the exact opposite of what I naturally want to do.  And so I am held back from sin after sin after sin as I come into the light of the Word of God, which is counter intuitive, which works against the natural ambitions and desires of my sin nature.  And walking in the light of the Word of God is so advantageous because it gives me the guidelines by which I can tell the sin nature no.

Now most of us find ourselves today in that position, the guidance of Scripture.  That’s why it’s important to be involved with the Scripture, to be taking in a regular intake of biblical content, to be sitting in churches like this where the Word of God is faithfully taught.  But think, for a minute, what if you don’t have the Word of God?  What if something comes into your life that tells you that expressing the sin nature is okay?  What if something comes into your life which tells you that it is appropriately acceptable to cooperate with the sin nature to vent your sin nature and that additional substance coming into your life I would call a radical ideology.  There are radical ideologies and religions out there on the landscape that will not tell people to curb the sin nature.  They will tell people to cooperate with the sin nature.

One such radical ideology, I believe, is Marxism, an ideology which speaks of global conquest and it tells people that lying in the name of global conquest is okay, deceiving in the name of global conquest is okay, terrorism in the name of global conquest is okay.  That would be an example of a radical ideology  giving the sin nature permission to express itself; completely different than what you would have in the Bible.

The other dominant radical ideology that I’ll draw your attention to is Islam.  People say well, you can’t criticize Islam; Islam is the religion of choice of many, many people.  And I would just say to that assertion that you’re completely wrong.  Islam is not a religion.  In fact, a very small fragment or a very small portion of all  of Islamic teachings and doctrines deal with the issue of religion.  Islam is a way of life.  Islam is a political ideology.  Islam is all about politics and the imposition of what is called Sharia law upon the world.  When you’re talking about Islam  you’re talking about a political system on equal par with Marxism itself.

What if all of a sudden you were given a worldview that said this: murdering innocent civilians in order to advance a world conquest ideology is acceptable?  What if all of a sudden the murder that already exists in the human heart were not curbed or contained or controlled by the Word of God but you were given permission to murder.  And you were told that if murder transpires, particularly to innocent civilians then you were actually advancing a cause greater than yourself?  You’ve now got two ingredients working together; a depraved nature and a radical ideology.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the advent or the inauguration or the beginning of terrorist activity.

Did you all bring your Koran with you to church today?  You think I’m kidding, I’ve got mine right here.  Let’s read a few verses, shall we?  The first verse is Surah, which means chapter, 2, section 191, so I’m looking here for my thought for the day, I’m looking here for my devotion for the day in the Koran and I read these words: “Whoever offereth violence to you offer you like violence to him.”  That sounds a little different than what Jesus taught on the Sermon on the Mount, isn’t it?  Where we were told to do good to those who persecute us.

Here is another one: Surah 9, that would be chapter 9, section 123 and let’s take a look here at that little devotional thought for the day.  What does that devotional thought for the day teach us? “Believer, wage war against such of the infidels as you are neighbors and let them find you vigorous or rigorous in this.”  So here permission is given to wage war against one’s neighbor.

Or how about this one, Surah 5, section 33 and section 54, what does that say?  Let me read that to you if I can.  It says, “Even if thou stretch forth thine hand against me to slay me I will stretch forth my hand against thee” or you, “to slay you.”

Another section, reads like this: “Oh, believers, take not the Jews or Christians as friends; they are but one another’s friends.  If any one of you taketh them for his friend he surely is not one of them.  God will not guide the evildoers.”  Did you know that in Islamic thought you, as a Christian, or as a Jew, are not the friend of a Muslim.  In fact, you are considered evil; interesting information.

How about this one, Surah 8, line 12 this one’s a doozy here so buckle your seatbelts, it makes this statement; it says, “When thy Lord spake unto the angels ‘I will be with you’ therefore establish ye the faithful, I will cast the dread into the hearts of the infidels, strike off their heads then, and strike forth from them every fingertip.”  Wow, what if somebody that already has a vent towards wickedness because of human depravity comes in contact with an ideology like this?

Here’s another one, Surah 47, section 4 makes the following statement, it says: “When ye encounter infidels” that’s us, “strike off their heads till you have made a great slaughter among them and of the rest make fast the fetters.”

What if somebody in a prison, for example, that knows nothing about Jesus Christ, knows nothing about the Bible, suddenly is evangelized with an ideology like this?  Now you have two things that are working in harmony with each other, a depraved nature, which wants to murder anyway, and a religion or a theological system or an ideology that gives you permission to do so?

Now I know what some of you are thinking, wait a minute, Pastor, wasn’t Joshua commanded to eradicate the Canaanites?  Yes he was.  Wasn’t he commanded to kill the women and the children and the animals in the land of Canaan?   Yes he was.  So what makes the Bible different than the Koran?  And the answer to that is the command to Joshua was a onetime command; it was to be done at a specific point in time over a narrow strip of land… and by the way, what people don’t tell you when they quote Canaanite genocide is God had given the Canaanites 400 years to repent and these people were involved in some of the most despicable sin you can imagine.  Read Leviticus 18 and  you’ll get a description of the sin the Canaanite’s were involved in: incest, rape, homo-sexuality, polygamy, right down to taking their own children and sending them through a fire to satisfy a god named Molech and God allowed this sin to go on for 400 years, which is a long time; 400 years is about the United States of America and its shelf life times 2.  And finally at the end of that time period God brought judgment through Joshua, the Canaanites were (most of them anyway) eradicated under the decree of God.

But that is a onetime command in a onetime historical circumstance and situation which was narrowly defined.  Compare that to the Koran where it’s an open-ended command for all people at all times under all circumstances, no matter what part of the world they are living in to pursue that command.  Now you may be saying to yourself, now wait a minute pastor, I have Muslim friends, I go to a Muslim hair designer and they are very good people; are you telling me that every Muslim on planet earth is as bloodthirsty as you’re making it out  to be?  My answer to that is there is a big difference between a Muslim culturally and a fundamentalist Muslim.  Muslims that are living within the dictates of the law of the land are violating the Koran.  They have chosen that they will inconsistently follow it but woe to the Muslim that wants to consistently follow everything in the Koran.  They will be involved in all sorts of evil and wickedness.

You see, when planes fly into the twin towers, September 11, 2001, what you need to understand  is the Muslims flying those planes into the twin towers were obeying the Koran.  When Christians commit acts of mayhem, like in the Crusades, they are not following the Bible, they are not obeying the Bible, they are living in rebellion against the Bible.  Consistent Christianity leads to love of one’s enemies.  Consistent Islam, Fundamentalist Islam, Islam consistently applied, leads to terrorism because it gives the human heart in the form of a radical ideology something that it already wants to do.  So we have groups like Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, groups that we hear about, groups that we see quite regularly on our news; those are the natural outworking of what the Koran explains and what the Koran teaches.

You need to understand something, that America, as I speak today, is involved in a religious conflict.  It is involved in a religious war.  It is involved in a system whereby a radical ideology is giving vent to people’s sinful ambitions.

Lawrence Wright, in his book on the towers writes these words.  “Why did these men turn against America, a highly religious country that had so recently been their ally in Afghanistan?  In large part it was because they saw America as the locus of Christian power.  Viewed through their eyes the men who were spiritually anchored in the 7th century, Christianity was not just a rival it was the archenemy.  To them the Crusade were a continual historical process that would never be resolved until the final victory of Islam.  Yet Bin Laden and his Arabic Afghans believe that in Afghanistan they had turned the tide and Islam was again on the march.”

If you’ll indulge me, another citation from the Lawrence Wright book, he writes this: “America was the only power capable of blocking the restoration of the ancient Islamic Caliphate” which is world-wide government, “and would have to be confronted and defeated.”  This is where a consistent Islam leads, a radical ideology that gives the sin nature opportunity to do what it already wants to do.  There is no counter-veiling force curbing the sin nature and when you have a radical ideology to get together with the unregenerate nature you have a recipe for disaster, a recipe for terrorism.  All of these commentators are missing this; they’re blaming it on one thing or another and yet when we look squarely into the Word of God we see that God is very clear on the issue.

Another quote, this is what you call a fatwă.  What is a fatwă”  A fatwă is an authoritative religious opinion signed by Bin Laden, and this is what it said.  “The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies, civilian and military, is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it” get away with it in other words, “in any country in which it is possible to do it.”  This is what the religious order and the fatwă said, if you can get away with killing innocent civilians and you can get away with killing Americans in order to expand Sharia law you have religious permission to do that.

How different your Bible is.  When the temptation to commit adultery or murder comes over any of us as fallen human beings the light of the Scripture is telling us the opposite.  Put yourself in a situation where you don’t have the light of the Word of God; you instead come into contact with this radical system whereby your sin nature is given permission to do what it wants.

The upper slide there is Iran prior to 1979.  You’ll notice at the top of the slide that it’s a fairly modern country, fairly progressive; you see people in normal attire, you see people pursuing education, you see women pursuing education, you see things like freedom of speech, health care, all of the things that we would associate with a modern society; the opportunity to work in a career that you want to pursue, and how everything in Iran shifted in 1979.  Most of us don’t even remember what happened in 1979; 1979 was when the Shah was deposed, it was in the days of Jimmy Carter and Iran became not just Iran but it became known as The Islamic Republic of Iran.  And look at that bottom slide, look at how everything changed. Look at the head coverings, look at the dresses, look at the burqa’s, look at the fact that women are not allowed to go out in public unless they are completely covered.

This is a modern country that shifted in our own lifetime, a progressive country that shifted in our own lifetime.  And people all the time tell me this can never happen to the United States of America.  Of course it can happen in the United States of America.  In fact, there are the same forces at work in the United States of America to shift us into this system that were the same forces at work in Iran to shift Iran into an Islamic republic.

Now you might be asking yourself, well, what is this Sharia real law business?  What is life actually like under Sharia law?  Can you give me some descriptions?  I’m so glad you asked that question.  To get a picture of what kind of life Islamic terrorists would impose on a nation if they attained power we can look at the Taliban regime that was imposed in Afghanistan before the American military attack drove them out of power in November, 2001.  Here is a picture of life under the Taliban, here is a picture of life under Sharia law.

Quoting again the Lawrence Wright book involving the towers.  It says this: quote “Work and schooling for women were halted at once which destroyed the health care system, the civil service, and effectively eliminated elementary education.  The Taliban forbade kite flying, dog racing and various  unclean things were banned in an all-purpose category that included” here’s the things banned, “satellite dishes, cinematography, equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables” are banned, “chess,” the game chess is banned, “alcoholic beverages” are banned, “computers are banned, you can’t even use nail polish under Sharia law, sewing, catalogues, catalogues teaching ladies to sew are banned, pictures are banned, Christmas cards are banned.  The fashion dictators demanded that a man’s beard could be no longer than the grip of his hand; violators would go to jail.  Should a woman leave her home without the veil her home will be marked and her husband will be punished.

If you want to educate yourself on this without reading a lot of books I would just rent a movie; the title of the movie is a movie that came out a few decades ago, Sally Field is the key actress in the movie and the movie has the title Not Without My Daughter.  And it is a description based on real world events rooted in history of what a woman went through when she agreed to: number 1, marry a Muslim man, and number 2, go from the United States of America to an Islamic country to greet this man’s parents.  And the man, of course, told her that we’ll just be staying here briefly and we’ll be returning to the United States.  But you have to understand something; in Islamic ideology there is something called taqiyya, taqiyya is permission to tell a lie.  You are allowed, for example, like when the United States Government naively is negotiating with Iran over nuclear deals, you have to understand something, that the people sitting on the other side of the table are not bound by the same code of ethics that you’re bound by.  You can’t lie because you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and you have a book that contradicts your sin nature and tells you to deny it over and over again, but that’s not the way they think on the other side of the table.  The sin nature which wants to lie anyway is given permission under this Islamic ideology and system.

So they went over to Iran and he essentially told his wife we’re not leaving, we’re staying here and he began to abuse her physically, first verbally, then physically, she was required to wear a burka, under the Islamic system a man is allowed to beat up his wife.  In fact, a man is allowed to rape his wife.  In fact, to countervail one male witness under a court of law under sharia would require multiple female witnesses.  That’s how little their system values women.

And today I hear these feminists crusading against Christianity as if Christianity were somehow responsible for the plight of the denials of women worldwide.  Christianity, if anything, elevated women.  Not so in a country that has never been impacted by the gospel, not so in a country that is under the control of Sharia law.

What am I trying to get at here?  I’m trying to get at something very important.  When you look at the issue of fundamentalism and terrorism you are being given a set of false explanations as to what causes terrorism: America is at fault, poverty is at fault, lack of education is at fault, when the reality of the situation is terrorism occurs when two things come into harmony with each other and into congruence.  Number 1, a sin nature which we already have and number 2, a radical ideology of some sort that gives the sin nature free license to do what it wants.  That is what causes terrorism.

And next week we’ll be looking at some deterrents to terrorism, effective and non-effective; can we go too far in deterring terrorism?  And what can the governments of the earth legitimately do to deter terrorism.  Would you not say that terrorism is a major issue today?  And we’re trying to look at this through the lens of God’s Word.  Shall we pray.

Father, we humble ourselves as we work through this very difficult material and very difficult series but we come to a church like this to receive truth and light; we want to look at the world the way You look at it.  We ask that You’ll give us our minds and we’ll have the ability to see things in the culture the way You would see them.  We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus name.  And God’s people said….