winning gods cause for the fatherless by housework


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									Winning God’s Cause for the Fatherless

            1 Corinthians 9:24-27

                Jeremiah 5:28

                 August 8, 2004
             Harmony Baptist Church
              Harmony, Nova Scotia

                 Bill Davenport
                Winning God’s Cause for the Fatherless
My mother can tell you the story of when I was very young, I was given a double portion of
energy. I had to be put on a leash to protect me from getting into things I shouldn’t. (We put my
daughter Alanna on one too.) My mom would constantly be saying, “Billy Woe!” “Billy, Woe!”
to the extent that people who knew my mom began to think it was a nickname like “Billy Joe” and
would come up to me and say, “Hello, Billy Woe!”

Having all that energy, it was difficult for me to focus on just one thing. It’s like when I take my
daughters into a candy store and say, “Ok, you can have just one thing …” It’s really hard to
choose! It’s even hard for me to choose! It’s difficult to focus on just one thing when you have a
lot of energy. It was like that for me in Jr. High and High School as well. Even though I had
prayed to receive Christ when I was 6 years old at my mother’s bedside, I didn’t live like a
Christian during those years in school. My focus was on myself, and not on God until I had the
opportunity to take one year and go to the Baptist Leadership Training School (BLTS) in Calgary.
There, I was able to take a closer look at my life and my God.

At BLTS, we had week-long courses in things from quantity cooking to systematic theology to
puppetry. One of the courses was on Christian ethics which dealt with what was right or good
principles or conduct. In that class, we dealt with the issue of abortion and watched a film of an
actual abortion. God used that film and that class on ethics and that whole year to change how I
viewed the world and my purpose in life. I began to realize that there were more important things
to life than being funny or being accepted by others. There was a real God to deal with, and He
had moral truths that He would hold me accountable for one day. I began to see the world and my
own life not so much as what I wanted out of it, but what God had created me for. He had a
purpose for my life and by grace through faith, He was in me to perform that purpose. I was
gaining what is called a Christian World View.

Focus on the Family has a magazine they publish 6 times a year. In the last issue (July/August,
2004), it has a cover story on the topic of a Christian World View. In that article, it states that
there was a survey done by George Barna who asked people who called themselves “Born Again”
Christians some questions as to whether or not they had a Christian World View based on the
Bible. Some of those questions were, “Does absolute moral truth exist?” “Did Jesus live a sinless
life?” “Is the bible accurate in all it teaches?” “Do we find absolute moral truths in the Bible?” “Is
Salvation a gift from God that cannot be earned?” It says that only about 9% of these “Born
Again” Christians said yes to these questions. I am deeply moved that we as Christians need to be
encouraged in what God’s Word teaches.

The Bible, as understood in its totality, explains clearly what our world view is to be as Christians.
Having a Christian world view helps us to know what direction we should be focusing our energy
and resources that God blesses us with. Part of that world view, as Jesus put it, is loving our
neighbor as we love ourselves – and not simply the neighbors next door, but those we know about
who are in need. Two of the needy who are near and dear to the heart of God are both the widow
and the fatherless (those without a father’s provision and protection). Some day, I could return
and preach on God’s heart for the widow, but today, I want to focus on the issue of God’s heart
for the fatherless and God’s command that we who call Him our God defend the cause of the

Even with the issue of the fatherless there are many different levels – the single parent family, the
divorced family where the father is not helping out, the orphans in foster care who need an
adoptive home … but today I want to focus on the call of God to defend the cause of a less visible
case, yet no less urgent: the cause of the fatherless who are still in the womb of their mother, and
our call to defend these precious ones in such a way as to win their cause and to help people who
have been damaged by the experience of abortion.

Listen to some of God’s Word as it speaks about God’s heart for the fatherless:
Psalm 10:14 “But You, O God, You are the helper of the fatherless.”
Psalm 68:5 God is a “Father for the fatherless.”
Psalm 82:3 “Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless.”
Psalm 146:9 “The Lord supports the fatherless.”
Deut. 24:17 “Do not deprive the fatherless of justice.”
Deut. 24 & 26 command over and over that ten percent of the harvest be left in the fields for the
widow and the fatherless (practical, economic support).
Deut. 27:19 “Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the fatherless.”
Jer. 22:3 “Do no wrong or violence to the … fatherless … and do not shed innocent blood in this
Hos. 14:3 “In You [In God] the fatherless finds compassion.”
Deut. 10:17-19 God says, “The Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great,
the mighty, the terrible God, Who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes [or carries out]
justice for the fatherless.”
Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of
the fatherless.”

The command to win the cause of the fatherless comes in Jeremiah 5:27-29 as God speaks
through the prophet Jeremiah about His coming judgment on God’s own people and says:
       they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have
       no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the
       rights of the poor. Should I not punish them for this?" declares the LORD . "Should I not
       avenge myself on such a nation as this?

Here we see that God commands not only that we defend the cause of the fatherless, but that we
defend the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win this cause … for we are defending a
cause that God Himself defends. It is not a losing battle. God is still working. As a matter of
fact, for those of you who remember Roe vs. Wade (the initial trials that ended in legalizing
abortion), did you know that the main person responsible for those trials, Norma McCorvey, has
since changed her mind and is an avid fighter against abortion on demand. The tide is turning,
and now is the time for the church to speak. But how can we do this in a way that wins? Look at
1 Cor. 9:24-27:
         24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in
         such a way as to get the prize.
         25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown
         that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not
         run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my
         body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be
         disqualified for the prize.

Again, we can feel like a child in a candy store not knowing just how to choose what to do to
actually win this cause. I’ve been involved in marches outside political meetings, being involved
in the life chain along the main street in New Minas … but are these really what it takes to win?
How can we defend the cause of the fatherless to win it?

1. The Welcoming posture of the humble heart:
        We approach the issue of abortion and those affected by an unexpected pregnancy with the
truth of God’s Word in love with an attitude of humility. We must acknowledge that abortion is
wrong. Ending a life is never a compassionate choice. We also must acknowledge that sexual
relations outside of marriage is wrong, but all of us have been in need of God’s grace, God’s
undeserved favor and forgiveness.
        I just love the way God has given us His Word. I am so encouraged by how “normal” the
people are in the Bible. They almost all mess up, and yet God’s grace is sufficient for them. It
gives us so much hope for our own lives. Take the Apostle Simon Peter for example: Peter was
so ambitious in his faith that when Jesus said he was going to die and that everyone would
abandon Him, Peter said he would stand beside Jesus and die with him. That’s when Jesus said
that before the rooster crowed (before the sun came up the next morning) Peter would deny Jesus
three times. And that’s what happened. As Jesus was being beaten by the Romans, Peter denied
he even knew Jesus three times.
        What was Jesus’ reaction to Peter? What did Jesus do? After Jesus had been crucified and
after Jesus rose bodily from the dead, Jesus appeared to many people, and in John 21:15-17, Jesus
appeared to Simon Peter and six other disciples as they were fishing in the sea of Galilee. Jesus
ate breakfast with them and turned to Peter and said, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me
more than these?”
        Remember, that this was written in Greek, and the Greek language has different words for
“love.” Two of these words for love are used here: “Agape” which means the love of God which
is perfect and complete and “Phileo” which means a brotherly, emotional, natural kind of love.
Here, Jesus is asking Peter, “Peter, do you Agape love me – do you love me with the perfect love
of God?”
        The humbled Peter replies and says, “Yes, Lord, you know that I Phileo love you (love
you like a brother).” Jesus says, “Feed my lambs.”
        Jesus asks again, “Peter, do you Agape love me?” as if to say, “Ok, I know you love me
like a brother, but I’m asking if you love me with the perfect, complete love God has.” And Peter
answers, “Yes, Lord, you know that I Phileo love you,” as if to say, “Lord, you know that my love
is a brotherly kind of love, not perfect. I’ve denied even knowing You.” Then Jesus says,
“Shepherd, or take care of, My sheep.”
        Then Jesus asks a third time, “Peter, do you Phileo love me?” as if to say, “Do you really
even love me like a brother?” and here in verse 17 it says that Peter was hurt or grieved because
Jesus asked him a third time if he loved Jesus even with a brotherly love. Peter says, “Lord, You
know all things, You know that I Phileo love you like a brother.” Jesus says, “Feed My sheep.”

You and I are just like Peter. We do not have a perfect heart … not yet … not until He completes
His work in us one day in Heaven. We have all sinned and all of us fall short of God’s standard
for our lives. We all deserve God’s judgment and wrath, but if we have faith in Jesus, we know
we are forgiven because Jesus has taken our penalty upon Himself on the cross, and by His grace
we become partners with Him in changing lives around us as His Spirit works in and through us.

But we now live with humbled hearts. Like Peter, we know we do not love as we ought to love,
yet we are forgiven by grace through faith, so we approach the abortion issue and people involved
in unexpected pregnancy with the truth of God’s Word from a humbled heart. This humble
approach is welcoming to others, not cold and judgmental and condemning as if we have it all

We are like Joshua who stood before the Lord in filthy rags … (Zech. 3:1-5)
(This Humbled, Welcoming Heart is Inviting…)

2. “I” is for “Inviting” – Which flows naturally from the humbled heart. Our very lives become
inviting not because we are rich or popular or talented, but because we are hopeful. We have
found the source of hope, the source of help and the source of healing in Jesus Christ Himself –
and that same Jesus Himself lives in us since we have surrendered our lives to Him in faith. “I”
myself become inviting … inviting not to myself, but to Christ and my heart invites others to
know His compassion, to know His Grace, to know His Truth and to know His Love. We become
places of refuge for the confused, scared and the lonely (He makes a home for the lonely and puts
them in families).

What if a young lady became pregnant in this church? Would she feel that even though you may
be deeply disappointed, that if she was sincerely sorry, that you would forgive her and accept the
child as one of your own or help her and support her through the process of adoption? Or would
she want to run and hide and do whatever it took to try to cover up her pregnancy – even having
an abortion – ending a life? A young lady came to our Centre just this week and said that at the
age of 13 her father forced her to have an abortion – and that the memory of that horrible
experience continued to haunt her over and over.

What if someone here was involved in an abortion? What if someone had an abortion or told
someone else to have one? Would they feel that you could forgive them? Is this place a place of
help, hope and healing? It is our finding that those involved in having an abortion can experience
all sorts of complications and long term effects and they need the forgiveness, the healing and the
comfort of an inviting heart that has been softened with humility by the love and grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ.

“I” is also for Informed. If we are to win the cause of the fatherless, we need to be informed
about the issues involved. This morning, I want to share briefly one of the most important issues
involved in defending the unborn fatherless. To be inviting, we must be informed. The key issue
in the whole area of abortion is, “When does a human first become a human?”

The key issue involved in abortion is not the life or death of the mother. Only rarely is this an
issue. More than not it is an issue of convenience or mere choice. But if the unborn is a human
being, then it is not just the mother’s body that is in question. Another human would be involved.

Is an unborn child a human? Or do they have to wait to be born to be human?”
What arguments are there for the unborn not to be human and how can we respond to them? I
learned a good memory tool about this while listening to a tape recently (see
It’s simple: just think of the acrostic “S. L. E. D.”
1. S (size) Some people will ask how can something so small be called human?
        a. But does size make you more or less human? Do I have more rights than a shorter
            person? The unborn heart is beating by the time it is the size of a grain of rice. (18 to

          20 days after conception) I remember going with Joanne for an ultrasound when she
          was pregnant with Breanna. Breanna was only the size of a grain of rice, and the
          ultrasound audio was turned on and we could hear Breanna’s heartbeat …
2. L (level of development) Some people say that the unborn is not fully developed, so it is not
       a. But is a 5 year old girl who does not have her reproductive organs developed yet less
          of a human than a 20 year old?
3. E (environment) Some people will say that it is not out in the open where we can see it, so it is
   not human.
       a. Does your environment or location make you more or less human? When you turn a
          corner or get out of bed, does it change who you are? Then why should six inches of
          the birth canal change whether or not the unborn is human?
4. D (dependency) Some people will say, “But the unborn is still drawing nutrition from the
   woman’s body. It can’t live on its own! So it can’t be human!”
       a. Those of you who are dependent upon medication or medical treatment from a doctor
          or a machine for your life – are you less human or of less value than those who are not
          dependent upon those things?

It wasn’t too long ago that blacks and even women themselves were not regarded as persons under
the law and men could do what they wanted with them. They had no protection. Abortion is
merely another carry over of an old way of thinking that we can choose who to call persons and
who we don’t.

3. The “N” in WIN is for Nerve. Winning takes nerve. It takes sacrifice. During the world
wars, people went without so much because of the War Cause. Why? Because people’s lives
were at stake. In the four years of the First World War, on average each year, Eight Million
soldiers died. There are no statistics for how many civilians died. In the six years of the Second
World War, on average, 3 Million soldiers died each year. In WWII, if we included both civilian
and military casualties, the total comes to an enormous 10 million people who died on average
each of the six years.

Compare this to The Alan Guttmacher Institute of New York (The Institute's mission is to protect
the reproductive choices of all people) estimates that there are over 46 million abortions
worldwide each and every year.

In the Second World War, Canada lost an average of Seven Thousand lives each year. Today, in
Canada, every single year, over 100,000 lives are lost through abortion, and there are no laws in
Canada as to how late you can abort your baby – right up to delivery. This is serious business –
we are accountable to God for defending the cause of the fatherless.

Making a difference will take nerve, it will take courage. Some people will be afraid of these
issues and want to ignore them. Some are afraid of conflict. Some are afraid of having their
reputation hurt. Some are afraid of being fined and losing money. Some institutions are afraid of
losing their charitable status from the government, so they steer clear of the issues. Some are
afraid of going to jail.

In war, a people usually join in when the war touches their own country and then they get
involved. The US did not get involved in WWII until when? Not until Pearl Harbour was

bombed. If this issue has affected your life, God didn’t allow it to happen for nothing, You can
help do something about it. It is my prayer that God will use these feeble words to bring this issue
to your heart and life so that you will join in the God’s cause for the fatherless.

Those who are forgiven much, love much. So how can you step out in faith with courage? Try
supporting causes that defend the unborn, like the Valley Care Pregnancy Centre. They need
your support! Right now they are having a campaign looking to find 100 people who will give
$25/month. You could consider this – or give your time and Volunteer. Or you could open your
heart or home and become a sponsor for someone from this area who comes to our Centre looking
for help. You can be introduced to them and befriend them and learn how to share Christ’s love
with them and be a bridge to your church family for them.

In conclusion, I’d like to share that the gospel itself is the exact opposite of so many of the
abortions performed today. In most abortions, a person tries to save their own way of life or their
own plans for their life by ending another life. In the Gospel of Jesus Christ (the Good News of
what He has done for all who believe in Him), Jesus gives up His own life to save the lives of
those who naturally want to destroy Him. After He gives up His own life He rose again and offers
to adopt those who killed Him to be in His own family.

In Christ, there is help. There is hope. There is healing.

God says that those who would try to protect their lives instead of trusting in Him will lose their
lives instead. But in Jesus, those who would surrender their lives to Him are called to lay down
their lives for Him and by doing so He promises that they will actually find their lives in Him.


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