Religion & Spirituality

A Baby Maker

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Paul was a baby maker for Jesus
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  A BABY MAKER based on Acts. 17:1-15By Glenn PeaseMen are trying to have babies. Some are experimenting with the idea of surgicallyimplanting an embryo into the male and then surgically removing the child when itis grown enough to love on its own. But there are things even more bizarre. In 1978science writer David Rorvik wrote In His Image. It is about an American millionairewho goes by the code name Max. He wanted a child created from one of his bodycells. In other words, he wanted to be cloned. He found a willing scientist and set upthe lab, and the attempt was successful. Max is now the proud father of a son madein his image. He is a carbon copy of his father, and has only one genetic parent.This stirred up a great controversy that went all the way to the U.S. Congress, butnobody knows if it is was a hoax, or if it was true. Nobel Prize winning geneticistJoshua Lederberg said of cloning, There is nothing to suggest any particulardifficulty about accomplishing this in mammals or man.. In other words, it mayvery well be a reality that a man has had his own baby. Hoax or not, it reveals justhow desperate people become to reproduce. There are so many infertile couples whowant babies that they have created a whole new world of baby making science. Nota day goes by that there is not a baby conceived outside the human body. In vitrofertilization is conceiving of a baby in glass. It is often called a test tube baby.The first such baby was born on July 25, 1978 in England. Until Louise Brown wasborn every human being had begun their existence deep in their mother's body, butLouise began in a glass dish. Yes Solomon, there is something new under the sun.But he was right in that the ingredients are the same and the process the same. Theyhad to have a mother's egg and a father's sperm in that dish or she never wouldhave been born. The dish was merely an artificial womb. All life demands an eggand a seed, or fertility and verility. This is true for those born into the family of Godas well. In our last message we looked at fertility and the need for the proper soil forsowing the seed. Now we want to look at the second element which is-II. VIRILITY.All the fertile eggs in the world will not produce a baby without seed, and so fertilityand virility are the twin elements that must come together to make any babypossible. Vir is French for man, and virility means masculine and manly vigor. Inthe spiritual realm it applies to both sexes for in Christ all are part of the bride of Christ and can reproduce.When we looked at fertility we looked at the nature of the people Paul preached to.They were the synagogue people who loved the same God and the same Bible thatPaul did. They were open to new light on the Messiah and so were fertile soil. Nowwe are focusing on the seed which must penetrate that fertile soil to bring forthbabies for the kingdom of God. Fertile soil will not necessarily bring forth fruitwithout vigorous effort. When Paul found fertility he still had to demonstratevirility. He had to go through tough labor to bring forth new life.  We look at verse one and it sounds like an afternoon stroll in the park as Paulpassed through Amphipolis and Appellonia. But it was not so, for it was 33 milesfrom Philipi to Amphipolis, and this was a journey taken after Paul and Silas hadbeen beaten and spent the night in prison where they were up most of the night.Like so many mothers do, Paul gave birth to babies for the kingdom in the middle of the night. The Philippian jailer and his family believed in Jesus and were baptized.It was a hard night and after some refreshment in the home of Lydia they took off for a new adventure. It was just like the old stories of the women who would beworking in the fields. Her baby would come and she would lay down in the grass fora brief rest after her delivery, and then get up and keep on working. This is what wesee Paul doing in the realm of having babies for Jesus.After 33 miles to Amphipolis they had another 30 miles to Apollonia, and thenanother 37 to Thessolonika. It was a hundred mile journey. This is not much in ourday but it was no small effort for Paul, and it took the better part of the week. Paulhad to spend three Sabbaths in reasoning and explaining and in proving that Jesuswas the Messiah. It was hard physical labor to get there and then he had to laborhard mentally to get the seed to penetrate the minds of those who listened to him. Hehad to work hard to get them pregnant with the Gospel. Virility had to be combinedwith the fertility of the soil. You cannot just cast the seed out and hope for results.Had Paul given up after two Sabbaths he could have lost all his labor, and therewould have been no one born anew there.There are many infertile couples who do not have the baby they desperately wantbecause they give up too fast. There are dozens of options available today to helppeople have a baby. It is the same in the spirit realm. People fail to see the seed theysow bring forth new life and so they quit sowing thinking they just do not have thegift. Even though the Bible says all God's children have His sperm, they areconvinced they have such a low sperm count that they cannot reproduce.The real problem is the lack of understanding. They are trying to sow in the wrongsoil where there is no fertility. They buttonhole strangers, or give tracts to strangers,and do all sorts of witnessing to people they have no positive relationship to on anylevel. This is ineffective for the most part even though there are some outstandingexamples of such seed that does produce fruit. It is usually futile to sow that way,and it leads to discouragement, and Christians give up altogether and never do it theright way.They also lack persistence when they do press on to find the right soil, which is theperson who likes them in some way. The people liked Paul, for he was a Bibleexpounder and that is why they were in the synagogue. But they did not just accepteverything without question and a great deal of skepticism. They did not just jumpon his bandwagon. It took a lot of persuasion to convince them. We need to realizethat people have a right and an obligation to be skeptical of any religious message.There is so much false teaching and foolishness in this realm of life that we need tobe very cautious and expect others to be also. Accept people's doubts as legitimate,and seek to give them all the evidence they need to believe. Virility means that youhang in there and persist with vigor to persuade people of the truth. Christians often  give up too quickly and lose the babies they might have had.The key to successful fertilization is focus. You will notice Paul did not get into the1000 and 1 issues that Jewish theologians debated. Out of 200 million sperm only 1penetrates the egg and determines the nature of the baby. The sperm that Paulwants to succeed in this tremendous competition is the seed of Christ. Paul had anarrowly defined target and his focus was on the cross and resurrection of Christ.He did not get off the track on minor issues. He had his convictions on manysubjects, but the only sperm that will produce babies for Jesus is the truth of thecrucified and risen Savior.Christians get off on so many side issues that will never produce a baby. If all youever do is try and persuade people that your denomination is the best, or that somepet doctrine is true, you will never have any spiritual kids. The new birth comesonly by people trusting in Jesus as their Savior, and no other truth will enable it tohappen, and so success in persuading them of any other truth will not produce newlife for the kingdom of God. Only one sperm can fertilize the egg, and only it will behonored by the Holy Spirit to produce new life, and that is the truth of the crucifiedand risen Savior. So this has to be our focus if we expect to have a baby for Jesus.Paul had to cover some common ground with the philosophers when he preached onMars hill, but he vigorously stuck with persuading them concerning Christ as hisprimary goal.You will also notice that being vigorous does not mean threatening people and beinghigh pressured with tactics that rob people of their free choice. Paul reasoned andexplained the good news and what this could mean to people. He did not once in thischapter preach hell fire and brimstone. People say there is not much preaching onhell these days, and they are right. It was also true of Paul's preaching. It is truethese people were going to hell without Christ as Savior, but that was not hismessage. His message was that all could be saved because of Christ's death andresurrection. Paul had a positive approach. The negative is real, but it is not a partof the good news, and seldom does it have a place in effective evangelism. Evangelistwho use the negative approach to scare people into a decision often see theirso-called converts disappear as fast as they come forward. They do not love theLord but are responding in fear.We are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and going to hell is not theGospel. The good news is that nobody needs to go to hell because Jesus paid thepenalty for us when he died for all of our sins. The good news is that we are lovedand forgiven in Christ. It is folly to complain that hell is not preached if people arepreaching Christ and the salvation that is freely given to all who will receive Him astheir Savior. He is the good news. There are times when you have to give sternwarning to some, and the threat of hell needs to be made real, but this is theexception and not the rule. We do not hear the negative approach in Paul'spreaching in Acts. He refers to judgment when preaching to the idolaters in Athens,but only to exalt Jesus as the Judge of all, and the one to give your life to.The point is that Paul gives birth to most all of his babies by means of a positive  appeal. Virility does not means to treat people with forceful aggression and tell themthey are hell bound sinners. It may work for some personalities in relation to certainother personalities, but for most Christians it is not an effective approach. We needto, like Paul, be so convinced that we have the greatest news in history, and becauseof it seek to use every positive means possible to persuade others to open their livesto Jesus.The beauty of the message of the cross and resurrection is the simplicity of it. It doesnot take any great theological training to tell this Gospel story. A child can learn thisstory and convey it to others. Remember, babies are not born because dozens of sperm penetrate the egg, but only one, and people are not born into the kingdom of God because they have been persuaded of dozens of doctrines. They are born anewby just one truth that penetrates their minds and hearts, and that is the truth thatJesus died for them and rose again to assure them of eternal life if they will trustHim.People like to embellish the Gospel and offer what God does not, and this leads todiscouragement. God offers eternal life in Jesus, but some want to add to the Gospeloffer that if you come to Jesus your problems will all be over and you will haveheaven on earth now. This is a false promise that men offer and not God. Those whocome to Jesus with this false hope will be greatly hurt when life had all sorts of troubles that follow. They will feel they must not be truly saved because of all thethings that go wrong in their life, and they will be discouraged and may even fallaway. Paul makes not such promise, for it is not part of the Gospel. The problemfree life is a fiction and is not found in the Bible. Paul suffered greatly in being whatJesus wanted him to be, and he knew better than to offer what Jesus neverauthorized anyone to offer.Virility does not mean to misrepresent the Gospel so as to get people to come toChrist under false pretense. This is like planning miscarriages, and it is not aneffective way to build the family of God. Virility means a vigorous effort to have ababy, but not at the expense of the truth by the use of deception. We need to have astrong motivation to have babies, but always be under the control of the truth thatGod has given in His Word. We need to want babies as much as couples want babieswho have a problem with fertility.Here is a partial account of just how desperately people want babies from PeterSingers book Making Babies. Stefan was 43 and Nadia was 39. For 18 years theylonged for a baby. After 5 operations the doctor told her it was hopeless. She got asecond opinion and he agreed. They wrote to test tube baby programs in Britain andthe U.S., but they were told they were too old. In 1980 they heard of the idea of surrogate mothers. A lawyer told them they would have to move to Kentucky andpay 22, thousand for all the expenses. They did it and the surrogate mother wasinseminated with Stefan's sperm, and they at last had the child they dreamed of most of their lives. This is not an isolated story, for it is going on all the time all overthe world. Hagar became a surrogate mother so Abraham could have a baby. BothRachel and Leah did the same thing with their maid servants.
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