I preached this sermon this week at church. Here are the images which are referred to therein:
Today is Tuesday, July 21. In recent times, 2 videos have been made public claiming to show that Planned Parenthood intentionally harvests human organs from the babies they murder and sell them. Christians are incensed and are hoping that this will be the turning point in the effort to convince our government to stop subsidizing Planned Parenthood.
I saw a tweet which I considered most poignant after the first video was released. The person (I forget who) said when they look at the eyes of the lady in the first PP video, they expected to see something demonic, or different. But he said what was scary was that all he saw were human eyes. How apropos.
I remember reading a story about the DaVinci painting, The Last Supper. Legend has is the Leonardo painted the Christ first, and in doing so, he passed over hundreds of models until he had found a young man who had the gentle, innocent and soft features which he figured represented the sinless Son of God.
As the story goes, DaVinci, 6 years later, visited the local prison to find a satisfactory model for his representation of Judas Iscariot, the man who would betray Jesus.
For weeks, DaVinci searched for a man with a hard callous face, with a countenance marked by scars of avarice, deceit, hypocrisy, and crime; a face that would delineate a character who would betray his best friend. 1
Finally, Leonardo found a man convicted of murder. While finishing his masterpiece, the young man began to sob uncontrollably. He said to DaVinci, “Do you remember me?”
“No, I have never seen you before in my life,” Leonardo replied.
“I am the man who modeled Jesus for you so many years ago!” said the young man whose life had been destroyed by his sin.
Of course, this story is generally considered mythical, but the human lesson is clear in a twofold way. First, anyone can fall into sin and become something they did not seem to be. Secondly, I would add that we can’t judge by appearances as DaVinci thought he could.
Despite that fact, we still try. We still lock the doors when certain “types” of people are walking by our car at a stoplight. We avoid that aisle in the grocery store, or that side of the street because of some of our preconceived notions of what evil resembles. I will note that sometimes you may be acting wisely – it just depends on what criteria you base your judgement upon.
But in the technology age, with facial recognition software and the ability to generate human images using computer programming I find it not surprising that Google has an image generator, however poorly publicize it is. It is this software which is used to help police to draw images based on witness testimony.
What is neat is you can create your own new face with it. You can enter criteria such as blue eyes, blond hair, etc., but you can also enter attributes like “beautiful,” “funny,” “outgoing,” or “party pooper.”
Google has analyzed over 5 trillion images and indexed the attributes associated with the file, including the comments made concerning that file. So you post a picture of your kid on Facebook and 179 people comment “Cute!” and you have a chance that your kids’ features will be part of the “Cute” algorithm. So using what must be a severely cool algorithm, Google is able to take features from its database of images and morph them into a “face” which personifies those features. With the amount of data analyzed, and taking into account the local proxy server you are using to connect to the internet, it is reported to be accurate over 99.99% of the time in producing an image which the person requesting “completely agrees” matches the attributes requested.
So I gave it a shot. I figured let’s see what our society has labeled the face of evil. Keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of PP supporters would have attributed to abortion providers like the ones in the videos mentioned earlier qualities like “successful,” “beautiful,” or “caring” so I didn’t really expect to see their likeness. Plus, I went with “male,” which I found interesting that there is still that option, but I digress.
I am a precise kinda guy, so I entered a whole number of attributes. I figured I’d just use a list from the Bible:
1 Cor 6:9 …fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers…
Couple of quick word searches and a click and here is what was generated after only about 4 seconds. Notice the eyes and the mouth. Obviously, if you see someone like this, avoid him at all costs. Click the link then you can close the newly opened tab.
Do you get it? Again, the interpretation is twofold.
1) Our ideas of what is evil are not only irrelevant, they are foolish. Clouded by our own sinfulness, we have no ability to really identify evil. Only God’s Word really gives us a basis for that judgement.
2) I’m evil.
Yes, that’s my mug shot. That’s the face of evil. That’s the face of a murderous, raping, thieving, God-hating, disrepecter of parents, filled with covetousness and reviling. If you can’t imagine your own face with those descriptors, maybe you don’t really believe in the depravity of man? I’m not asking you if you actually committed all those acts in the flesh, but if you know your evil heart is capable because you believe Jeremiah 17:9
Because no one is good. Not one. No one is righteous, not one. (Romans 3:10-12)
But there is hope. Continuing the earlier verse of sins which keep us out of the kingdom of God is the following:
1 Cor 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Look, instead of avoiding the face of evil, why don’t you give the gospel to that person? Tell the faces of evil in your life of the repentance and faith that is found in Christ alone and trusting His sacrifice and glorious resurrection for the forgiveness of sins.
I am glad someone did that for me.
1 – Text from http://www.truthorfiction.com/lastsupper/
P.S. #SorryNotSorry: The entire story about Google Image Generator was concocted to grab your attention.
Be content with God’s goodness toward you and be thankful for the abundance as it is not owed to you.
1 Timothy 6:6–8 (NASB95)
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
Goodness is that quality in us which the Holy Spirit produces whereby we desire moral purity and to give charity toward the brethren and the heathen; it is the heart attitude by which our outward behaviors must be judged.
Are you patient or kind or peaceful because you are Good? Or do you try to do those other things to make yourself Good? Your legitimate kindness toward others, your self-control, your gentleness and humility are to be tempered by your Goodness: your moral uprightness as defined by God’s statutes revealed in His Word.
Proverbs 3:27 implies that God, who is always good and knows our need before we do, may seemingly withhold some good thing from us, like a wife or a husband, a job, a position at work or the church. He may let you have a dead child or spouse. He may not save family members as quickly as you’d like, but He is always good and thus, does not withhold good things from them to whom they are due. Therefore, the goodness you expect is either not due to you or it is not what is good for you at that time in His infinite and perfect wisdom.
There’s a preview of today’s Sunday School lesson I’ll teach at Berean Baptist Church where my views may or may not reflect the views of the church :).
This week, the Lord allowed me to begin teaching a Sunday School series with the adults at my church. I have titled the series, “fruit.”
My intention is to dig into Galatians 5:22-23, inspecting each attribute listed, but before we can do that, I thought it wise to lay a groundwork concerning the relationship between good works and salvation in the intro.
My goal will be to have the audio edited and uploaded weekly so you can follow along. Here is the first in the series:
Click here for the notes to launch in a new tab.
Note, you can also view the notes and download the audio if you go to the Sermon Audio Page.
I believe from that page you can subscribe for direct updates when a new teaching is posted. Or you can try these links depending on the feedreader you use.
When the Bible says “God saw” or refers to “God’s eyes” what do you think that means? Is God like we are. I had an opportunity for a short devotion this Sunday at my church and decide to look into the “Eyes of God.”
Notably, I posted about Habakkuk 1:13 years ago here. That is one of the verses I teach about in the above audio.
If you enjoyed “The Eyes of God,” – check out “The Eyes of Man.”
We had an excellent night of fellowship and outreach to downtown Columbus last night after a really great day at a conference by Oikos Community Church where Emeal Zwayne was the keynote speaker.
Christopher Ledezma, Joe Conkle, Christian Duarte, Paul Martina and I traveled up and down High Street in the Short North and distributed hundreds of tracts, had several one on one conversations and the following open air where I used the fruit of the Spirit to try to bring sinners under conviction.