Sermon #2031 — Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The Newtown Massacre
Text: 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Subject: When Natural Affection is Gone
Date: Sunday Morning — December 16, 2012
Tape # AA-94
Readings: Romans 1:14-32
Like most of you, I have been numb for the past three days, as I have tried to get my mind around the horrific massacre at Newtown, Connecticut Friday morning. A 20 year old man (Adam Lanza) murdered his mother, stole three of her guns, and then drove her car to Sandy Hook School, where he slaughtered 20 children and six adults. What a horrific, senseless, cruel, inhuman slaughter! How I wish I could reach out to each of those mothers and fathers who lost their darling babies, those husbands whose wives will never again warm their laps, those brothers and sisters who have suffered such terrible, shocking loss, weep with them, hug them strongly in my arms, and point them to God our Savior!
My subject this is The Newtown Massacre. I cannot tell you how difficult it has been for me to prepare this message.
· I have a great fear of saying anything that might add to the pain of those families who have suffered such great loss.
· How do I deal with a subject so horrific?
· I want to help you who hear my voice, to “impart some spiritual gift to you,” to give comfort to you who know God, to help you to look to him, and to warn you who are yet under the wrath of God, persuading you to trust the Lord Jesus.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher this hour, for Christ’s sake. Let’s begin in 2 Timothy 3. ——— 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5)
We are witnessing strange, alarming things in our society. Living in a generation that has changed the truth of God into a lie, worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator, we are reaping the whirlwind of God’s wrath in the church, in society, and in our homes. Judgment, which rightly began at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17), has spread through the rest of society. Those who will not hear the alarms God is sounding are fools. Today, we (our culture, our society, all the Western world) defend…
· The worship the creature more than the Creator. — This entire “mother earth,” “green earth,” environmental consciousness” hoopla that has turned this generation into frog-kissers and tree-huggers, is nothing but worshipping the creature more than the Creator. — God did not make us for the earth. He made the earth for us!
· Will Worship in the name of Divine Worship!
· Sexual Promiscuity in the name of Moral Enlightenment!
· Abortion (the murder of unborn babies) in the name of Moral Freedom!
· And Sodomy in the name of Morality!
Rape, brutality, and murder are common things. They are even becoming common to children, preteen children! Sociologists tell us that many simply cannot discern right from wrong and that all deviant behavior must be explained by declaring everyone else guilty. We are told that we are all responsible because we have allowed so many to “fall through the cracks.” — Whatever that means. Every few months we read or hear about some horrific, inhuman act of barbarism that you cannot imagine being performed by a pack of rabid wolves. — But they are acts of intelligent, often brilliant, adults.
· Tina — A couple of years ago one of my nieces tried to murder her parents (my youngest sister and her husband) while they slept. — Just a few months ago she hung herself in her jail cell.
· 1989 — Eric and Lyle Menendez murdered their parents to get their money.
· 1994 — Susan Smith strapped her two babies in the back seat of her car in Union, SC and drowned them.
· 1996 — A 43 year old man walked into Dunblane Primary School in Dunblane, Scotland and murdered 16 children.
· 1999 — Two high school seniors murdered 12 classmates and a teacher in Columbine, CO.
· 2006 — A 32 year old man went into a small, one room Amish school and shot ten girls (6-13), murdering five of them.
· 2007 — A 23 year old student murdered 32 people and wounded 17 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA.
Now, we have the horrible slaughter of 20 innocent children (Kindergarten and 1st Grade Boys and Girls) and their teachers in Newtown, CT. We all want answers. We all want to know, how can these things happen? What kind of person does this? How can anyone account for these barbaric, inhuman acts of cold-blooded brutality?
Only one answer can be found that will explain deeds so evil, so horrifying. They are acts performed by people who have been given up by God, in divine judgment, unto the “vile affections” of their own depraved hearts, a people described in 2nd Timothy 3:3 as being “Without natural affection… incontinent, fierce, despisers of” God and all that is good. These acts of beastly barbarism are performed by people God the Holy Spirit declares to be — “Without understanding… without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Romans 1:31).
Really, such acts of cruelty as we have seen this past week should not be as shocking to us as they are. In fact, I am shocked that such atrocities are not more common. If, as our society teaches, it is okay for women in this country to murder over a million of their unborn babies every year by abortion, because it is not convenient to raise them, why should anyone be angered by the murder of 20 first graders? — Yes, we, as a nation, by law, murder over a million babies a year, brutally slaughtered in the womb, as a matter of convenience!
Proposition: Yet, the massacre at Newtown should be alarming to us, for this horrible evil is an exact fulfilment of that which the Apostle Paul told us would come to pass in these perilous times ———— (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
(2 Timothy 3:1-5) “1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
While this event is fresh on your mind and mine, I want us (before we become hardened to it) to learn from it. The only way we can do so is to go to the Word of God and see what God has to say about such things as this. If we would understand the events of time we must interpret those events by the Word of God, not the other way around. — We must never allow events to interpret the Word of God. So I want us to look into the Book of God for answers to this question: — What should we learn from the Newtown massacre? I will not keep you long; but I want to strike while the iron is hot. I have a quiver full of barbed arrows. With each one I am taking aim at your heart. I pray that God the Holy Spirit will cause each arrow to hit its mark.
Divisions: The Newtown massacre…
1. Displays the utter depravity of the human heart.
2. Should cause us to give thanks to our God for the blessed restraint of his holy law.
3. Ought to remind us of the absolute certainty of divine judgment.
4. Ought to cause us to give thanks to our God for the blessedness of his sovereign, distinguishing grace.
5. Has caused me to think and meditate upon the glory of the world to come more fully.
1st — The cold-blooded massacre of those little children at Newtown displays the utter depravity of the human heart. —— I began the day Friday morning giving thanks to God for his goodness and grace in Christ, asking him to keep me from the evil that is in my heart, praying that he would keep our grandchildren from the evil around them and especially from the evil that is in them. How I thank God for that restraining grace by which he keeps me from all the horrid evil that I know is in me!
Adam Lanza was cut from the same bolt of cloth as you and I were. He was made of the same stuff. There is not a person in this room who is not capable of doing the same thing he did Friday morning. Don’t ever imagine otherwise.
· In Jeremiah 17:9 the Lord God tells us by his prophet that — “The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
· We read in 2 Timothy 2:26 that the wicked are taken captive by Satan at his will.
The heart of man is totally depraved (Matthew 15:19). God says “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). — “Frowardness is in the heart. It devises evil continually” (Proverbs 6:14).
(Matthew 15:19) “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”
When God saved us by his grace this is the condition in which he found us: — lost, ruined, spiritually dead, and totally depraved at heart (Ephesians 2:1-5; Isaiah 51:1; Ezekiel 16:6-8).
(Isaiah 51:1) “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock [whence] ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit [whence] ye are digged.”
(Ephesians 2:1-5) “1 ¶ And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
“4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.)”
(Ezekiel 16:6-8) “6 ¶ And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee [when thou wast] in thy blood, Live. 7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: [thy] breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou [wast] naked and bare. 8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time [was] the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.”
Though we are now saved by the grace of God, every child of God in this world is still, by nature, a totally depraved sinner. — We must never, for a moment, forget that fact or even temporarily overlook it!
· The blood of Christ has put away our sins, all our sins.
· The Lord God has made us the righteousness of God in Christ. — His righteousness is our righteousness!
· God the Holy Ghost has made us “partakers of the divine nature,” given a new nature, sanctified us, and made us holy by the new birth.
· But the old nature of flesh is unchanged. We are sinners still. — “That which is born of flesh is flesh!” — Adam is still Adam (Romans 7:14-24).
The Newtown massacre ought to remind us of the utter depravity of our hearts. — Anything you are capable of thinking you are capable of doing!
2nd — How thankful we ought to be for the blessed restraint of God’s holy law! —— When I think of such horrifying things as we have seen these past few days, I see and give thanks to God for the restraint of his law upon the consciences of wicked men. We rejoice to know that believers are entirely free from the law. It has absolutely no power over us for anything. — “We are not under the law, but under grace!” — We are dead to the law by the body of Christ! — “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth!” —— But that does not mean, and I do not suggest, that the law has no use. Indeed, “we know that the law is good if a man use it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8).
What is the lawful use of the law? What purpose does God’s law serve in this gospel age? According to the Scriptures the law of God has four specific uses that are lawful.
A. It identifies sin. — “I had not known sin, but by the law” (Romans 7:9). — “By the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).
B. The law of God condemns men and women for sin by exposing our guilt. — “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God” (Romans 3:19).
C. The law points guilty sinners to Christ, showing us our need of a substitute. — “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).
D. And the law of God is useful, by the threat of judgment stamped in the consciences of men, to restrain lawless rebels from committing all the evil that is in them (1 Timothy 1:8-10).
“8 But we know that the law [is] good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;” (1 Timothy 1:8-10)
Can you imagine what it would be like to live in this world if men and women were not restrained from doing all that is in their hearts by the law of God written upon their consciences? It is a God consciousness that gives men and women a restraining conscience (Romans 2:14-16).
3rd — The massacre of those innocents at Newtown, according to what we read in Romans 1 and 2nd Timothy 3, are direct results of divine judgment upon a generation that lives with its fists in God’s face. These things are forerunners of the wrath of God which ought to remind us of the absolute certainty of divine judgment.
When men and women are given up by God to their own reprobate minds, to do what they (we) are capable of doing, words have not yet been coined to describe the evil that can be done. Read the Bible. Then read your newspaper and understand these things. ———
A. There is a judgment that falls upon obstinate sinners, a judgment that precedes death (Proverbs 1:23-33; 29:1).
“23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:23-33)
(Proverbs 29:1) “He, that being often reproved hardeneth [his] neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”
B. There is an appointed Day of Judgment yet to come (Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Hebrews 9:27).
(Acts 17:31) “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
(2 Corinthians 5:10-11) “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”
(Hebrews 9:27) “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
C. There is a place of refuge from the wrath of God in the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 32:2).
(Isaiah 32:1-2) “1 ¶ Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. 2 And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
Illustration: The Cities of Refuge
4th — Perhaps above all else this horrible act of beastly brutality, violence, and cold-blooded murder teaches, reinforces, and causes me to give thanks to our great God, the God of all grace, for the blessedness of his sovereign, distinguishing grace. —— The only hope there is for this vile, depraved race of ours, the only hope there is for you who are yet without Christ, the only thing in this world that can keep you out of hell and keep you from acting out the hell that is in your heart is the grace of God!
Oh, how I pray that God almighty will break down the door of your heart, force his way in with the holy violence of his omnipotent, saving grace, take possession of your heart, and make it a place wherein his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is enthroned as King!
This much I know: — The only difference there is between regenerate sinners and reprobate sinners, the only distinction there is between you and me and Adam Lanza is the difference and distinction made by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 4:7).
(1 Corinthians 4:7) “For who maketh thee to differ [from another]? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive [it], why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received [it]?”
Let me remind you once more of the ways in which our God has distinguished his own elect from the rest of Adam’s fallen race. He has done so by his free, sovereign…
· Electing Grace (John 15:16).
· Redeeming Grace (Revelation 14:3-4).
· Prevenient Grace (Romans 8:28-30).
· Regenerating Grace (Acts 13:48; John 3:8; Romans 9:16).
· Preserving Grace (John 10:27-30; Jude 1).
The World to Come
5th — Thinking about the murders of those little children, 20 little children, Kindergarteners and First-graders, I have again been caused to think and meditate a little more upon the glory of the world to come. —— I have no hesitancy at all in saying this and no fear of it being repudiated: — While the murder of those children was an act of horrendous evil on the part of Adam Lanza, it was an act of great mercy on the part of their heavenly Father, for it was by this means that the Lord God was pleased to call 20 more of his elect home to glory (Isaiah 57:1-2).
(Isaiah 57:1-2) “1 ¶ The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth [it] to heart: and merciful men [are] taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil [to come]. 2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, [each one] walking [in] his uprightness.”
I do not understand everything I know about this, but I assert without reservation or fear of contradiction that all who die in infancy or imbecility are chosen of God the Father, redeemed by God the Son, born-again by God the Holy Ghost, and enter into glory with Christ when they die. — I make that statement for three reasons.
· David’s Inspired Statement (2 Samuel 12:23)
· The Law of God (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20). — No one goes to hell for Adam’s sin. You will go to hell for your own sin!
· The Gracious Character of Our God.
One of these days our great and gracious God will sit those slaughtered babies before wondering worlds as monuments of his mercy, trophies of his grace, jewels of his crown, and shining lights of his love!
They have entered a world of bliss and glory and peace, for they have entered into a world in which there is neither sickness, nor sorrow, nor pain, nor death, because there is no more sin! —— For that I envy them!
If I could speak to those parents whose children were slaughtered at Sandy Hook School on Friday morning, I would say to each of them — What a great blessing God has given you by this horrible, painful, bitter experience of his providence. You have children in heaven, elect, loved of God, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, born again by God the Holy Spirit, perfect, holy, eternally blessed.
1. I urge you who hear my voice to flee to Christ for grace and salvation, salvation from yourself and salvation from the wrath of God!
2. I call upon you who are God’s to always seek to view the events of life with a firm confidence in God, trusting his wise, unerring, good providence. Our great God is too wise to err, too good to do wrong, and too strong to fail!
3. Don’t ever forget the debt you owe to the grace of God in Christ Jesus.
Illustration: John Bradford — “There but for the grace of God go I.”
“When this passing world is done,
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When we stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o’er life’s finished story,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know —
Not till then — how much I owe.
When I hear the wicked call,
On the rocks and hills to fall,
When I see them start and shrink
On the fiery deluge brink,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know —
Not till then — how much I owe.
When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then Lord, shall I fully know —
Not till then — how much I owe.
When the praise of Heav’n I hear,
Loud as thunders to the ear,
Loud as many waters’ noise,
Sweet as harp’s melodious voice,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know —
Not till then — how much I owe.
Even on earth, as through a glass
Darkly, let Thy glory pass,
Make forgiveness feel so sweet,
Make Thy Spirit’s help so meet,
Even on earth, Lord, make me know
Something of how much I owe.
Chosen not for good in me,
Wakened up from wrath to flee,
Hidden in the Savior’s side,
By the Spirit sanctified,
Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
By my love, how much I owe.
Oft I walk beneath the cloud,
Dark, as midnight’s gloomy shroud;
But, when fear is at the height,
Jesus comes, and all is light;
Blessed Jesus! bid me show
Doubting saints how much I owe.
When in flowery paths I tread,
Oft by sin I’m captive led;
Oft I fall — but still arise —
The Spirit comes — the tempter flies;
Blessed Spirit! bid me show
Weary sinners all I owe.
Oft the nights of sorrow reign —
Weeping, sickness, sighing, pain;
But a night Thine anger burns —
Morning comes and joy returns;
God of comforts! bid me show
To Thy poor, how much I owe.”
— Robert Murray McCheyne
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