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About this series
A Biblical Response to Today's Most Divisive Issues
Where do you stand on issues like: Truth, Sex, Homosexuality, Abortion, the Environment, and the Church and Politics? More importantly, what does God say? If there ever was a time for Christians to understand and communicate God’s truth about controversial and polarizing issues, it is now. More than ever before, believers must develop convictions based on research, reason, and biblical truth. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s equally important that you’re able (and willing) to communicate these convictions with a love and respect that reflects God’s own heart. This series will help you learn how to respond with love, even in the face of controversy. In the process, you’ll discover the power of bringing light – not heat – to the core issues at the heart of society today.More from this series
No one chooses prostitution as a profession by choice. No little girl in any country in this world, when they are five, six, seven, eight years old says, “Mommy, Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be a prostitute.” No one does that.
There are circumstances and there is great pain that has forced them to choose that lifestyle in a way that most of them, if they had an opportunity, would have never gone down that road.
And so we need to see it in its proper light. And we need to understand that so many of them, it does impact and it must be on the radar of our churches. For our children’s ministries, for our youth ministries, for our men’s ministries, because you need to understand, guys, we are driving the demand.
The lust, the pornography, the porn industry, that too is fueling the industry of sex trafficking. So this affects our men’s ministry, this affects our women’s ministry, this affects our single moms and single parent ministries. This affects our orphan care ministries.
You see, these places of darkness are in need of light to shine within them. And you are salt, you are light, you are change agents within society. And we must be God’s voice representing God’s heart to our city.
Saying to these women, to these girls, to these boys, and even men who are victim, that you are loved! That you are precious! That you are beloved! That you are not forgotten! That you are not trash! Who will speak the truth of God’s heart into the lives of these people? The government will not do it, the police will not do it. Even the rescuers of these NGOs they will not do it. It is the role of the Church to be God’s voice representing God’s heart, to speak truth into these lives so that the truth can set these women free.
They are not trash. They are not sluts. They are precious in the eyes of God. They are loved. They have a purpose. They were created for a reason. And they are beautiful. And so you and I, as the people of God, as the body of Christ, representing Christ, we need to be His voice to these people.
And that is not all. Another reason why we must lead this fight for freedom and justice, because this is the image of God. So everyone repeat: This is the image of God.
Another key reason why the Church must lead this fight is that this is what our God looks like. He is a defender of the weak, He is a fighter for those who are oppressed, Psalm 146, from verse 5 says, “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; He,” our God of Jacob, “who executes justice for the oppressed,” this is what our God does, “He gives food to the hungry. He cares for the poor, the Lord sets prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourner, the foreigner, the alien. He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked, He brings to ruin.”
This is our God! He loves the oppressed! He loves those who are weak and bowed down. So when we seek justice and show mercy and generosity and kindness, what we are doing is showing people what our God looks like.
Whenever I do go to a new place to speak, a lot of times they will ask, “How would you like to be introduced?” I teach in a seminary but usually I don’t mention that. I’m an editor for a devotional magazine, I usually don’t mention that. What I usually say, “You can just introduce me as a pastor of OEM: Onnuri English Ministry, which I pastor in South Korea, because that is my primary occupation. That’s my primary job in terms of what I do.
Now, there are a lot of other things that I describe myself as, but that is my primary thing. And if I were to ask, “What do you do?” A lot of times you will give me your business card and whatever is written on it, that is your primary role as well.
And how does God like to introduce Himself? All throughout Scripture, do you know how our God introduces Himself? As the One who is a defender of the fatherless, and the widow, and the oppressed.
Deuteronomy 10:17, “For the Lord your God is God of god and Lord of lords. The great, the mighty, the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow. He loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.”
For God, one of the main things that He loves to tell the world of who He is, is that He is a defender of the weak, that He cares for those who are oppressed, and for the vulnerable of our world.
And time and time again, Psalm 103, “The Lord works justice and righteousness for the oppressed.” Deuteronomy 27, “Cursed be anyone who perverts justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.”
So time and time again, you will see throughout Scripture, these two put together: the fatherless and the widow. Why? Who were the fatherless and the widow? They were the most vulnerable in society. Because, unfortunately, all property and land, it went through the male line.
So that is why Naomi called herself “bitter,” because her husband and sons died and so now Ruth and Naomi, they were fatherless, they were widows, and they were vulnerable. So basically, the fatherless and the widow were the most vulnerable within society.
And one of the things that we learned about God’s heart in this, is that the more vulnerable people were, the more valuable they were to God’s heart. They were the ones who gained God’s attention even more. And so in our society as well, the more deeply vulnerable people are, the more deeply valuable they need to be to the heart of the Church. Amen?
So doing the good work of God shows others the goodness of God in this. “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds” – and then what? “glorify our Father in heaven.”
You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. “No one hides a lamp,” Jesus tells us. Meaning you don’t stay away from dark places, you shine into them. Trafficking today is one of the darkest things in existence and it is one of the most evil things the world has ever seen.
And I believe one of the key reasons why trafficking has become so huge, so widespread, and so evil is because the Church has been absent in this fight for far too long.
Because you and I have the only true solution through the person and gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is my firm conviction that if we, the Church, are not the preeminent leaders in this fight for justice, and in the demonstrations of mercy to the oppressed, if we are not the leaders in this fight, then we are allowing the world to look more like Jesus than we do.
Because for far too long, James clearly tells us, “Care for the orphan,” but we have left it to the agencies. The Word of God clearly tells us to feed the poor, but we have left that to governments. The Word clearly tells us to seek and help the fatherless, the widow, the oppressed, the marginalized, the victimized, the vulnerable. And we, as the Church, have left it to the NGOs, to the governments, to all these other groups. You take care of them. And that needs to end and we need to take up God’s mandate for the Church to be the Church, to be His body, to be His heart to the most vulnerable, to those who are deeply valuable to His heart once again.
That is our role. And we must stop giving it to the government and NGOs to take care of. And if you don’t like the word “justice,” because I found out that the Evangelical world, they get very uncomfortable with that word sometimes, even though it is very biblical, if you don’t like that word, that’s fine. Then we really have to see this as simply loving our neighbors as ourselves.
One of our key partners in Cambodia, AIM, they did a rescue of a young girl recently who was trafficked. And from the day that she was taken, the whole agency, they were looking for her in different brothels, different street corners, all these different alleyways they were looking for her.
And they found her twenty-two days later, which is not too bad, right? Because some victims, they are never found. Some people, they are not found for months or years later. So twenty-two days later, they found her, they rescued her. Not too bad, right?
But after they rescued her they interviewed her to find out what happened and within those twenty-two days, she had been violated one hundred and ninety-eight times. And that is when we discovered one girl is too many. And one day is too long.
And that is why we must end slavery in our lifetime. This is the image of God that the world needs to see.
But there is one more reason that I want to guide us through today as to why we must lead this fight. And that is because this is the move of God in this hour. So can we all repeat? This is the move of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” For every season of injustice, throughout the centuries, God has been calling forth faithful men and women who would respond to His call for justice in that hour.
In his book, Issues Facing Christians Today, John Stott reminds us that whenever God’s people have been effective and salt and light in a community there has been less social decay and more social uplift. In fact, in the United States, for example, after the nineteenth century awakening associated with Charles Finney, born again Christians were on the forefront of every major social reform throughout the nation. He spearheaded the abolitionist movement, the temperance movement, and the peace movement.
John Wesley, he was best remembered for his preaching. But through his preaching, he influenced the Church to challenge and change society. He fought to bring and end to cruelty and torture of animals, he fought against the African slave trade, he fought against the kidnapping of fellow countrymen, for the sale of men as slaves to other countries.
He was a voice against gambling and against corruption of government and many other evils of his day. He was called both a preacher of the gospel and a prophet for social righteousness.
William Wilberforce is best known for the ending of the transatlantic slave trade. But he was also a social reformer. He was nicknamed “The Prime Minister” of a cabinet of philanthropists. And at one time, he was actively pursuing justice for sixty-nine social causes.
He gave away twenty-five percent of his income to the poor. He fought for the right of young boys not to have to work dangerous jobs such as chimney sweeps. And he brought so much reform to help the poor, for the single mom, for the orphan and to establish Sunday schools throughout his city as well.
So for the Church, this is in our DNA and this is in our history. And this is another season that God is calling forth His Church to lead the way for justice and righteousness.
And in this hour, what you need to understand is there are more slaves today than in any other period in human history. And we are in another season and hour where God is calling forth men and women of faith who will respond to His call for justice in this season of injustice.
If you would have asked me just a few years ago about human trafficking, I would have looked at you like you were speaking a foreign language. But it is clear that God is bringing this issue in this hour like never before.
In his book, The Meeting of the Waters, Fritz Kling, what he did is he traveled around the world to different countries all around the world. And all he did is simply observe and want to ask and answer this question: What is the Spirit of God doing in the Church around the world?
And so he even went to North Korea, he went to Iraq, he went all around the world from South America to South Africa, everywhere in between, and all he did is visit the churches there and observe what is the Spirit of God leading the Church to do?
And so he compiled his data and he summarized it into seven key, what he called, “streams,” or “currents,” or “moves of the Spirit.” And the number one current that he saw the Spirit of God leading the Church into, globally, was a pursuit of justice, compassion, and mercy.
In places that are closed, not connected, not communicating, he saw the Spirit doing the same thing around the world. This is a new season of justice that God is calling His Church to pursue.
And we need to understand that this nation and this generation is under severe attack like never before. And we need to ask ourselves: Who will fight for this nation? Who will fight for this next generation? We must fight in the place of prayer. We must fight and pursue freedom and justice for them.
Because I do not want to leave these evils as an inheritance for my son’s generation. And I will not just stand by and let the enemy steal, kill, and destroy this nation and this generation any longer. Yes, these are dark and evil days. But “Jesus Christ came to deliver us from this present evil age,” as Galatians 1 tells us.
You see, we don’t have time to play make believe Christianity anymore. Not in this day. Not in this hour. Too much is at stake here. A generation is at stake. It’s time to take back what is ours. Psalm 2 tells us, “Ask of Me and I will give the nations as your inheritance.” So the nations belong to those who pray for it. They are our inheritance.
This nation of America does not belong to the enemy, amen? Its destiny is not for suicide; its destiny is not for abortion, abandonment, or imprisonment; this nation does not belong to the enemy. It belongs to the Church who prays for it and to Jesus who died for it.
So we must fight for this nation and this generation, and to take it back in His name. We are living in a special moment in human history and history records and remembers those who fight for the things of God’s heart in the place of justice and righteousness.
History honors and remembers men and women who have risen to that challenge. We honor the Harriet Tubmans of this world, who freed thousands of slaves through the Underground Railroad. We honor the William Wilberforces of this world, the abolitionist who fought to end the slave trade after a forty-six year fight.
History honors them, for they fought for the things of God’s heart. In a generation of injustice, they rose to the challenge and obeyed God’s call for justice in that hour. We need to ask ourselves: What if it were happening today? What if you and I lived in that time period? We always assume when we read history that we would have stood behind and stood next to the heroes of history. We always assume that.
During Abraham Lincoln’s day, yeah, when he fought for civil rights, yeah, we would have been there by his side. William, oh yeah, when we see the movies about Wilberforce, yeah, I would have been by his side! But you know what? What is happening today is far larger, greater, and more evil than the days of Wilberforce. What are we doing about it?
History records and remembers and honors those who fought for the things of God’s heart.
Something that David Batstone wrote woke me up to this situation like never before. And I want to read you the words that awakened this sleeping soldier.
There are times to read history, and there are times to make history. We live right now at one of those epic moments in the fight for human freedom. We no longer have to wonder how we might respond to our moment of truth.
It is we who are on the stage and we can change the winds of history with our actions. Future generations will look back and either be inspired or disappointed when they look upon our generation.
You and I have been given liberty, influence, wealth, power, knowledge for such a time as this. There is a time to read history and there is a time to make history. And now is the time for you and I to make slavery history.
There is a time and season for everything and the time for justice is now.