SermonPeacemakers: Jesus, Ethical Vegans, Animal Advocates
An all-creatures Bible Message

Peacemakers: Jesus, Ethical Vegans, Animal Advocates
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
13 April 2014
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Psalm 31:9Ė18
Matthew 21:1Ė17
Philippians 2:1Ė11

Over the years we have found a very interesting comparison between Jesus on one hand, and ethical vegans and animal advocates, including peaceful animal rights activists, on the other hand.
The example Jesus set for us leads us to do every peaceful thing in our power to free creation from its present corruption, and we have found that ethical vegans and animal advocates do the same thing, whether or not they know Jesus.
Jesus tried to lead people back into living in the heavenly will of God; if they had listened to Jesus and done this, we would have a much better and kinder world today, which is exactly what most ethical vegans and animal advocates are trying to do.
Jesus is supposed to make a triumphal entry into our hearts and souls, but from the way most people live, it appears that most people have failed to allow this to happen.
We have also seen most ethical vegans and animal advocates, including animal rights activists, try to lead people to live more compassionately; and like Jesus, they get ridiculed and ostracized, even in the churches, for their efforts.
And since this is Palm/Passion Sunday it seemed appropriate to show these similarities in the hope of waking people up to the harm most Christians do to Godís beautiful creation, including our fellow humans and all the other animals.
Letís use this parallel approach to living in the heavenly will of God as we look at Psalm 31:9-18Ö

9. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.

In many cases we have seen ethical vegans and animal advocates, who donít know or acknowledge Jesus as Lord, including atheists, being more Godly than most professing Christians, when it comes to living as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, who actively seek to end the corruption of creation, particularly when it comes to animals and the people who care about them.
And just as Jesus felt grief over the hardness of heart of the people that He was trying to reach, so do these ethical vegans and animal advocates feel the same kind of grief and frustration in our present time.

10. For my life is spent with sorrow,
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away.

We all sin and fall short of the heavenly will of God, but there are many truly compassionate people in the world who also feel they are somehow at fault because they canít end the horrible suffering of animals, and if they donít blame God for continuing to allow this to happen, they turn the suffering inward upon themselves and ďwaste away.Ē

11. Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.

Like Jesus, many of the sensitive people become a reproach to their neighbors and others.

12. I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind,
I am like a broken vessel.
13. For I have heard the slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.
14. But as for me, I trust in Thee, O LORD,
I say, "Thou art my God."

This is the way we feel, as do many of the sensitive Christians feel who care about animals.

15. My times are in Thy hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.

And most importantly, deliver the animals from the hands of their enemies.

16. Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant;
Save me in Thy lovingkindness.
17. Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon Thee;
Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.
18. Let the lying lips be dumb,
Which speak arrogantly against the righteous
With pride and contempt.

We all need to have this kind of encouragement from God, but at the same time we need to remember that only God can send someone to hell (Sheol). Thankfully, we donít have the right or power.
Letís go on and look at Matthew 21:1-17 as Jesus begins to make His entry into Jerusalem.

1. And when they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2. saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them, and bring them to Me.
3. "And if anyone says something to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." 
4. Now this took place that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying,
5. "Say to the daughter of Zion,
'Behold your King is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.' "

This prophecy is from Zachariah 9:9, which is part of the Hebrew Bible from which the religious leaders should have easily seen how Jesus was fulfilling it when He entered the city.

6. And the disciples went and did just as Jesus had directed them,
7. and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid on them their garments, on which He sat.
8. And most of the multitude spread their garments in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees, and spreading them in the road.
9. And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying,
"Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!"

Riding on a donkey or the child of a donkey isnít something that animal advocates would sanction, but we need to remember that in Jesusí day, this was a standard mode of transportation.
And in Jesusí day, a worldly king would not wear common clothes or sit on used clothing, as Jesus did.

10. And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?"
11. And the multitudes were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."
12. And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves.

Many people consider this act of Jesus to be an attempt to end the sacrificial cult in the Temple and animal sacrifice in general, but Jesus may have also had another purpose as we are told next.

13. And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a robbers' den." 

Jesus is also calling attention to the fact that this sacrificial cult is cheating the people by overcharging for the sacrificial animals, knowing that they had no other choice but to pay.
At the same time we are considering this cheating that Jesus denounced by cleansing the Temple, we also need to keep in mind that this cheating of the people is a direct result of the animal sacrifice business of the temple hierarchy.

14. And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.
15. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant,

No truly Godly person would ever be indignant because of seeing the works of God being displayed; instead they would praise God; nor would they say what they said to Jesus.

16. and said to Him, "Do You hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babes Thou hast prepared praise for Thyself'?" 
17. And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and lodged there.

Jesus was not going to waste His time on people whose heartís desire is to remain evil; He was going to take His message to the people who would listen.
This is also what we try to teach vegans and animal advocates; donít waste your time and effort on trying to change people who clearly donít want to listen to the truth; go on to people who will listen and change their lifestyles.
As we look at Philippians 2:1-11, letís also continue our discussion about the comparison between Jesus on one hand, and vegan and animal advocates on the other hand.

1. If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
2. make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

This is the same way we all should be, but unfortunately most people do just the opposite; for there is no love involved in the horrible things that happen to animals, except their love (lust) for the pieces of an animalís cadaver that is on their plate.
And no one who lives this way can be of one mind with Jesus Christ and united in His Spirit.

3. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;

We should feel this way about every other living being whether they are human or animal.
And the atrocious exploitation of animals is filled with selfishness and conceit.

4. do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

And again, this should include the animals.

5. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6. who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7. but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

This is the way He entered Jerusalem.
He asked for nothing for Himself; just as the vast majority of ethical vegans and animal advocates ask nothing for themselves, they just want to help the animals and the people to live more healthful lives.

8. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,
11. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is Lord of All, and even though He humbled himself as a servant in the form of Man, He is still Lord, while vegan and animal advocates remain in the position of servant to the animals and the people who care about them.
We can live this way, if we want to.
We can help free creation from its present corruption
We can help usher in Godís peaceable kingdom.

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