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How To Handle Modern-Day Herods - a pro life sermon outline, which you are free to use.

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Pro Life Sermon

Pro Life Sermon

This is the outline of a pro life sermon first preached at the First Presbyterian Church of Pottstown, IL on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, 21 January 1996

HOW TO HANDLE MODERN-DAY HERODS

Matthew 2:16-21 - [Aim: To Gain God's Perspective on the Nature and End of the Wicked.]

Before Prayer: The "Sanctity Of Human Life" Sunday Sermon is Always One of The Most Difficult Ones for me. So Much Indignation Wells Up in the Righteous when they consider the Abominations of the Wicked. Nevertheless, Today's Sermon is Not Designed to Be Negative or Morose--After All, We Serve a Sovereign God, and WE Are Assured of The Victory In Christ.

PRAYER

Introduction:
* The Spirit of the Wicked HEROD is Very Much Alive and Well Today. There are Many, Especially Those Involved in the ABORTION Industry that Share his Thirst for Innocent Blood. We will Examine the Nature of that Thirst Today, and we will Endeavor to Understand What OUR RESPONSE To It Ought To Be, as Best as We are Able.
* Just Last Week, In Sunday School, John Made Mention of the Fact that Herod had "A Diseased Mind." This is Very True. His Diseased Mind was the Fruit of a Long-Indulged Habit of Feeding his Depraved Heart with All Kinds of Illicit "Food," if you will.
* Here is a Little Background on this so-called, "Herod The Great," who Died (to no one's chagrin, in 4 BC). Merrill Unger had this to say about Herod, and I think it Bears Repeating: "Herod was . . . a Heathen in Practice and a Monster in Character. During his administration as king he evidenced himself to be Exceedingly Crafty, Jealous, Cruel, and Revengeful. . . . He had Nine or Ten Wives, and on the Merest Suspicion put to Death his favorite wife . . . and also her brothers. . . . And . . . on his Own Deathbed . . . he ordered his son, Antipater, to Be Slain. It is No Wonder that Augustus should have Ridiculed this King, saying that 'It is Better to Be Herod's HOG than to Be his SON!' . . . One of Herod's Most Infamous Crimes [happened] when he was on his Deathbed. [He commanded] that 'The Principle Men of the entire Jewish Nation' should come to his presence, whom he then shut up in the hippodrome and surrounded by soldiers, and ordered that immediately after his own death, which he expected soon, they should All Be Killed, 'That it Might Seemingly, at Least, Afford An Honorable Mourning at his Funeral!' [there would be No Mourning for him!]. The Royal Wretch Died, But the Order was Never Executed."
* Our GOAL this Morning is To Gain God's Perspective on the Nature and End of the Wicked.
* Please turn with me to Matthew 2:16-21 . . .

HOW TO HANDLE MODERN-DAY HERODS
I. We Must Recognize Their HATRED Of God,
v.16 Those who are Exceedingly Wicked, Like Herod, Exemplify in the Fullest Sense what is True of All of Us in the Unregenerate State--and that is a Fierce and Relentless HATRED, Or Despising of, God and Everything He Created and Stands For. The Bible, of course, as you would expect, is Full of Texts that Relate this Truth to us.
Consider these:
--Dt. 5:9: [Part of the Second Commandment says this]: "[I will Visit] the Fathers upon the Children to the Third and Fourth Generations Of THOSE WHO HATE ME."
--Mic. 3:1-2 says: "Hear now, O Heads of Jacob, and you Rulers of Israel; Is it Not for you to Know Justice? You who HATE GOOD and Love Evil; Who Strip the Skin from My People, and the Flesh from their bones . . . ?"
It is Good and Healthy for Us to Recognize This Fact that The Unbelieving World is Not "Neutral" Regarding God--Rather, they are At War With Him, and In Rebellion To Him. In Our World Today, the Abortionists Represent this Reality Most Vividly With their Shameless Parading and Demonstrations of Their Atrocities.
I. We Must Recognize Their HATRED Of God
A. . . . Which is Borne Out Of Self- DELUSION, v.16a
1. You will Remember that Herod Feigned Interest in Worshipping the Christ Child when the Magi came to him in 2:8.
2. The Anger Generated in this Wicked Man was Not that of a Would-Be Worshipper who Lost his Opportunity--But that of a Murderer who would Now have to Seek Out his Prey, a Truly Innocent Child.
3. What is Rather Fascinating about this Account is the Fact that The Crafty One (Herod) was Outwitted by the Magi, who were Directed by God to Not Return to him (in 2:12).
4. The Self-Delusion I am Referring To Here Always Seems to Characterize the Enemies of God. Their Blindness Shields Them from the Truth About Themselves, and, more importantly, About God Himself. Consider these Other Examples of Wicked Men in the Bible, Whose Overestimation of Themselves Led To Their Downfall . . .
a. In Ex. 5:2, PHARAOH said, "Who Is The Lord, that I Should Obey His Voice . . .?" You Know his End--his Firstborn was Dead, his Nation was in Ruins, his gods had Been Judged, and his Slaves were Set Free.
b. In 2 Ki. 18:35, The RABSHAKEH Of Assyria said, "Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their countries from my hand, That The Lord Should Deliver Jerusalem From My Hand?" God's Answer, from 2 Ki. 19:35 is right to the point: "The Angel of The Lord Went Out, and KILLED in the Camp of the Assyrians One Hundred and Eighty-Five THOUSAND [Soldiers] . . ."
c. Herod's Own Wicked Descendant, HEROD AGRIPPA I Accepted Praise as a god in Acts 12:22. The Next Verse reads that . . . "Immediately an Angel of The Lord STRUCK him, Because he Did Not Give Glory to God. And he Was Eaten By Worms and Died."
* This Last Example Leads Rather Naturally Into Our Next Point . . .

I. We Must Recognize Their HATRED Of God
A. . . . Which is Borne Out Of Self-DELUSION
B. . . . Which is Borne Out Of Self- WORSHIP, v.16b
1. WHY Did Herod Kill The Male Children? The Answer is Simple: he Did Not Want Anyone Else Reigning Over him--Least of All, GOD! He was Determined to be the Only Sovereign In His Own Life, and In the Land of Judea.
2. Why Do the Abortionists Kill 5000 Babies Every Day--One Out of Three in this Country? Because in their Puny, Depraved Minds, NO ONE, Least of All GOD, is Going to Tell Them What To Do. They are Very Content to Collect their $500/Kill, and go on their merry way.
3. This All Vividly Reflects the Basic SIN PROBLEM In MAN--it is a Problem of Self-Deification, of Self-Worship. In Order to Achieve This Perverted Goal, One Important Prerequisite Must Be Fulfilled--and That Is That One Must Attempt to KILL GOD HIMSELF--this is Precisely what Herod Attempted to do! You might recall the Vivid Description of The King of Tyre who, in Ezek. 28:2, said, "I AM A GOD, I Sit in the Seat of gods." In Ezek. 28:9, The True God said to him: "Will you still say before him who Slays you, 'I Am a god'? But you shall be a Man, and Not a god, in the hand of him who Slays you."
4. Herod Killed All the Boys Two Years-Old and Under in the Vicinity of Bethlehem Because he, Like Pharaoh of Old (who did the same thing in Ex. 1:16), DID NOT WANT ANY COMPETITION.
It is Interesting that Today's Herods Use the Same Excuse for their Butcheries--that Too Many People will Create Too Much Competition!
* The First Thing We Must Do, In Dealing With Modern-Day Herods, is to Understand Their DEPRAVED Natures, and to Seek to Expose the Wickedness of Their Deeds.

I. We Must Recognize Their HATRED Of God
II. We Must Recognize Their DESTRUCTION Of Man, vv.17-18 All the Wicked and Godless Leaders and Governments that have Ever Existed have All Shared One Very Prominent Trait In Common--That is that they have All DESTROYED HUMAN LIFE With Reckless Abandon. Think about it--be it Hitler or Stalin or Mao or the American Abortionists--What Makes them All True Comrades? That They All Love To Destroy Human Beings, Created in God's Image. The Bible, of course, Discusses this phenomenon. Consider this remarkable passage from Ps. 94:20-21: "Shall the Throne of Iniquity, which Devises EVIL BY LAW, have Fellowship with You [God]? They Gather Together Against the Life of the Righteous, and Condemn INNOCENT BLOOD." Let's Look Together Now at This Situation, and Draw Some Encouragement From the Word of God. . . .
II. We Must Recognize Their DESTRUCTION Of Man
A. This Evil is Under God's CONTROL, v.17
1. In the Midst of All This Darkness, a Light Begins to Show Itself. It is Found in the Words, "Then Was FULFILLED what was Spoken By Jeremiah the Prophet . . ." The REASON These Words are An Encouragement is Not Because They Condone or Excuse the Actions of Wicked Men--But Because They Remind Us That These Abominable Actions are Still Under The Sovereign CONTROL Of Almighty God.
2. Somehow EVERYTHING is Under The Sovereign Hand of God--Nothing Comes as a Surprise to Him! We Know This from Verses such as Prov. 16:4, which says: "The Lord has Made All For Himself, Yes, EVEN THE WICKED For The Day of DOOM [or Disaster]."
3. This is All Part of the Mystery of the Secret and Inscrutable WILL Of God. Somehow, Even the Wicked Actions of a Reprobate Like Herod, Served the GLORY of the Creator, in that his Deeds Served to CONFIRM the Written Word of God. This Dynamic is perhaps Nowhere More Clearly Demonstrated than in the Amazing Words from Peter's Lips, recorded in Acts 2:23: "[Christ], Being Delivered By The DETERMINED PURPOSE and FOREKNOWLEDGE of God, YOU Have Taken By Lawless Hands, [and] Have CRUCIFIED . . ."
4. We Ought to See In All Of This A Strong Hint of God's Wonderful GRACE, Fully Expressed To Us In Jesus Christ. Remember That Every Day People Are SAVED By Him, Even From the Uttermost of Sins, Including the Sin of Murder. The Apostle PAUL, who is an Excellent Example of this, would say this About himself in 1 Tim. 1:13-14: "Although I was Formerly a Blasphemer, a Persecutor, and an Insolent Man; . .
. I Obtained MERCY Because I Did It Ignorantly In Unbelief. And The GRACE Of Our Lord Was Exceedingly Abundant, With Faith and Love Which are In Christ Jesus." Every Day, Some of Those Who are VICTIMIZED By America's Abortion Industry Come To Saving Faith and Repentance. For this We Ought To Labor, and Be Exceedingly Grateful.

II. We Must Recognize Their DESTRUCTION Of Man
A. This Evil is Under God's CONTROL
B. This Evil is Under God's CURSE, v.18
1. The Actual Verse Quoted By Matthew (from Jer. 31:15), Could Only Be Applied to this Historical Event By Divine Inspiration. (It is Highly Unlikely that We would have Ever Seen This Connection On Our Own.) The Holy Spirit, however, Clearly Led Matthew to Make This Association.
2. The Upshot of What I Want to Teach You Here is Simply This: That The Taking of Innocent Human Life (as Contrasted With Guilty Human Life) . . . Not Only Brings Misery to People (God's People in particular)--as Signified in the Weeping of Rachel-- But It Is Also UNDER GOD'S CURSE.
3. The Very First Murderer In History (CAIN), Heard these words from God's Mouth, recorded in Gen. 4:11: "So Now You Are CURSED From The Earth, which has Opened its Mouth to Receive Your Brother's Blood From Your Hand."
4. All Sensible People are Incensed By the Taking Of Innocent Human Life. (Who Among Us are Not Angry Over the Abduction and Murder of the Nine-Year-Old Girl in Texas recently?)
But When It Comes to the Most Innocent, and Most Vulnerable Lives Of All . . .
Where are the Liberals?
Where are the Animal Rights Activists?
Where are the Feminists?
Where are the Environmentalists?
Where are the Christians?
All Too Often, They are NOWHERE TO BE FOUND.
* The Second Thing We Must Do, In Dealing With Modern-Day Herods, is to Understand Their Desire To DESTROY Human Life, and to Seek to Expose the Wickedness of Their Deeds.

I. We Must Recognize Their HATRED Of God
II. We Must Recognize Their DESTRUCTION Of Man
III. We Must Recognize Their JUDGMENT From God, vv.19-21 These Last Three Verses Reflect The GOOD NEWS in this Sermon, More than Anything that has Preceded. The SALVATION of the People Of God (in the Bible) is Very Often Linked to the PUNISHMENT, or Death, of the Enemies of God. You Might Recall the Interesting Text, taken from Prov. 11:10, which says: "When It Goes Well With The Righteous, The City Rejoices; And When The Wicked PERISH, There Is JUBILATION."
III. We Must Recognize Their JUDGMENT From God
A. God's Enemies Will DIE, vv.19-20
1. Herod Died, To No One's Regret, Bringing Some Liberty to the People of God. Notice Here that Joseph and Mary had Taken Christ to Egypt (from v.13)--Now They are Free to Return to Their Homeland.
2. I Think that there are Some Important Principles that We Ought to Glean From these Two Verses. Consider these with me . . .
a. First, God's TIMING Is Always Perfect--v.19: "Now WHEN HEROD WAS DEAD, behold, An Angel of The Lord Appeared in a Dream to Joseph in Egypt"
b. Secondly, God's PLAN Is Always Perfect--v.20a: ". . . Saying, 'Arise, Take the Young Child and His mother, and Go To The Land of ISRAEL [The Promised Land]'" This Action, of course, Would Coordinate Perfectly With God's Plan For The REDEMPTION Of The World.
c. Thirdly, God's PROVIDENCE Is Always Perfect--v.20b: "For Those Who Sought The Young Child's Life are Dead." We Ought to Take Great Encouragement From These Facts As We Look Around at the Evils All Around Us.
3. Our God Takes No Pleasure In The Death of the Wicked (Ezek. 18:23)-- But those Who Insist On Their DOOM, Will Meet With It--Especially Those Who Harm Children. For Jesus said this in Mt. 18:10 & 14: "Take Heed That you Do Not Despise One Of These LITTLE ONES . . . It is Not The Will of your Father who is in Heaven that One of These LITTLE ONES Should Perish."

III. We Must Recognize Their JUDGMENT From God
A. God's Enemies Will DIE
B. God's People Will Be DELIVERED, v.21
1. Whereas There Is NO FUTURE For The Wicked--There IS HOPE For The Children Of God. These Words, to me, Exemplify the Truth that WE ALSO Are DELIVERED From All Our Enemies, and Placed Securely In The Promised Land of God's Blessing and Protection.
2. Joseph Performs THREE ACTIONS in this verse that We Would Do Well To Follow. They are These:
a. "He AROSE"--We Need To "Rise Up," Individually and Corporately, and Take The Banner of the Lord to a Dead World.
b. "He TOOK The Young Child and His mother"--We Need To "Take Christ" Into EVERY AREA Of Life, be it Personal, Professional, or Political.
c. "He CAME Into The Land Of Israel"--We Need to Enter The Promised Land of Blessing Through FAITH and Repentance Toward Jesus Christ.
3. [GOSPEL]--Perhaps You Have Blood on your hands.
Maybe You have Been a Party to an Abortion.
Perhaps You've Had One.
Maybe You Encouraged Someone Else to Have One.
Maybe You have Blindly Supported Those who Promote This Lifestyle.
Perhaps You've Even Voted for Politicians who do.
Whatever may be the Case--There is GOOD NEWS For You (and Me).
There is a Savior Whose Precious BLOOD is Able to Cleanse Even the Deepest and Most Awful Stain on the Human Heart.
Jesus Christ Himself said this, in Jn. 3:17: "For God Did Not Send His Son Into The World to CONDEMN The World, But That The World Through Him Might Be SAVED."
* The Third Thing We Must Do, In Dealing With Modern-Day Herods, is to Understand Their FINAL END, and, Through Faith and Repentance, to Live a Life That Pleases The Lord.

Conclusion:
Beloved,
* God is Sovereign. He Can, and Does, USE Modern-Day Herods--Ultimately For His Own Glory. Remember that Even Herod BUILT The Last Temple In Jerusalem!
* One of The Reasons We Need a "Sanctity Of Human Life" Sunday--(Something that would have Seemed Incredible Thirty Years Ago)--Is Because TOO MANY Christians Have Abandoned Ship.
They have Left the World to the Devices of the Pagans.
They have Chosen "Not to Polish the Rails on a Sinking Ship."
They have Become Retreatists.
They have Adopted Satan's Definition of The So-Called "Separation of Church And State."
What was Said So Long Ago has Become So True: "All that is Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is For Good Men To Do Nothing."
* The Bottom Line is that Much of the Responsibility For America's Abortion Holocaust Must Be Placed at the Feet of America's Evangelicals.
* The Good News is that You and I Can Begin to Turn Things Around Again.
* Let's Do So By Developing a Biblical Attitude Toward Our Own Modern-Day Herods . . .
--Recognizing Their HATRED Of God;
--Recognizing Their DESTRUCTION Of Man; and
--Recognizing Their JUDGMENT From God.
* HOW TO HANDLE MODERN-DAY HERODS . . .
--PRAYER--

Rev Mark Henninger

Email:  markjhenninger@gmail.com

Read more Pro Life Sermons .


Contact At :
First Presbyterian Church of Pottstown
4127 W. Southport Road
Peoria,  IL  61615
(309)676-5917
Web Site:  www.jcalvin.bradley.edu

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