WHO OWNS THIS DEAD BABY?
1 Kings 3:16-28
16 Then came there two women, that were harlots, unto the king, and stood before him.
17 And the one woman said, O my lord, I and this woman dwell in one house; and I was delivered of a child with her in the house.
18 And it came to pass the third day after that I was delivered, that this woman was delivered also: and we were together; there was no stranger with us in the house, save we two in the house.
19 And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it.
20 And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom.
21 And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear.
22 And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son. Thus they spake before the king.
23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.
24 And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king.
25 And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.
26 Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it.
27 Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof.
28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.
THE STORY OF THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON
The story that I just read to you is a true story. This is not fiction. Two harlots gave birth to two sons around the same time. They both lived together. One night one of the women rolled over on her baby and smothered it. When she realized what she had done she traded babies with the other sleeping mother. When the other mother awoke in the morning she discovered that the dead baby she now had was not her own and she accused the other woman of the switch and an argument ensued.
The argument was so intense that eventually it was brought to the king for judgment. The king listened carefully to both of their stories. The first said, “She rolled over on her baby and it died and then she traded with me during the night. That living baby is mine! The dead baby is hers!”
The second mother replied to the accusation, “No the living baby is mine and the dead baby is hers!”
“Mine! Mine! Mine!” They went back in forth in an argument.
During this argument the Dead Baby was cast to the side. No one wanted to claim the Dead Baby. Everyone wanted to claim the live one.
Solomon solved the problem by proposing to cut the living baby in half and giving half to each of the women. We know the rest of the story. The real Mother offered to give up her rights to the child in order protect her baby. The other harlot said to go ahead and cut the baby in half and thereby killing it. The way they responded revealed to Solomon who the real mother was and he commanded that the child be given to the mother that cared for the life of the child. What an example of Godly wisdom!
WHO IS TO BLAME?
This is the question I want to ask tonight, “Who owns this Dead Baby?” Everyone was fighting over the ownership of the living baby. No one was fighting over the Dead Baby. In the rush to claim the living baby everyone forgot the dead baby. Everyone wants to claim the living baby but it seems that no one ever wants to claim the dead one.
Someone has to take responsibility for the Dead Babies in our Pentecostal Churches. Someone has to take responsibility for the problems in our Pentecostal Churches. Everybody wants to claim the Live Babies. No one wants to claim the Dead Babies!
No one wants to take the blame. We like to shift the blame for the problems in our churches and our lives on to others. The Congregation blames the Pastor. The Pastor blames the Congregation. The Pastor blames the Evangelist. The Evangelist blames the Pastor. The Youth blame the Elders. The Elders blame the Youth. No one wants to take the blame!
We all want credit for the good. No one wants credit for the bad. You let the song service go good in a service, or the preaching, and there is always someone to stand up and take credit for it. You let it flop and no one wants to admit that they did not pray that week for the service – no one wants to admit that that they have not fasted for the Church. While everyone is fighting over the Live Baby, the Dead Baby is cast over in the corner somewhere. No one wants to fight over dead babies.
THE DEAD BABIES IN OUR CHURCHES
We must take responsibility for the Dead Babies in our Churches! We must take responsibility for the problems, the mistakes, the errors, the faults, and the sin! The old song says, “It’s not my Brother, it’s not my Sister, but it’s me O’ Lord standing in the need of prayer.” How true those words are and the Church is never going to experience a restoration until she owns up to the dead babies in our midst.
If the song service is dead, nobody wants to claim the Dead Baby! If the preaching is dry, nobody wants to claim the Dead Baby! Have you prayed for your Pastor lately? If we are not having Revival then who is to blame? We blame it on the times we live in. We will not admit that we do not pray like we used to! Who is going to admit they are wrong? Who is going to stand up and say, “I own the dead baby”?
Here are some things we like to blame our troubles on:
1. Wicked World
2. The Youth
4. No prayer in Schools- We like to blame Madelyn Murray O’Hare but it was easy for her to remove prayer from the schools because so few were praying in our churches and homes. I grew up in a small town in Texas and back in the 70’s and 80’s they continued to pray even after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Every day they would selected a student to pray over the public address system. Most of the ones selected were chosen because they were popular, such as cheerleaders, football players, and class officers. I knew most of those praying because it was a small school and later in the day you would hear some of them talking about the girl they had slept with over the weekend, or the kegs of beer they drank at a party. I carried my Bible to school with me everyday and they never asked me to pray. It was a popularity contest! The Bible says in Psalms 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me”. The prayer that God is looking for from the sinner is the prayer of repentance not a religious prayer.
8. Our Government
11. A Great Falling Away
It is not the World’s fault our Pentecostal Churches are dead! It is our fault! We own the Dead Baby! It is time we quit blaming every thing else for our problems and start looking for the dead babies in our own lives.
DEAD BABIES FROM THE BIBLE
Achan had a Dead Baby buried under his tent. It was his un-confessed sin! He disobeyed the command of God and stole treasures that were forbidden. Then he took that Babylonish garment and the treasure of silver and buried it under his tent. His disobedience cost the lives of good people. The dead baby buried in the ground underneath his tent brought judgment. It was only after the dead baby had been revealed that God could bring restoration to Israel.
Adam and Eve had a Dead Baby. Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the Serpent. The blame was going around to everyone and even indirectly they blamed God. The human race still follows that pattern. We will point our fingers at everyone else but we cringe at having to admit that we have a dead baby in our lives.
Ananias & Sapphira had a Dead Baby and they died for lying to the Holy Ghost. Once again we see here that the dead baby, the sin, brought destruction and threatened to stop the outpouring of God’s Spirit in the early Church. Once the dead baby had been dealt with then the Church could move forward.
King Saul had a Dead Baby. He brought back the spoils of the battle after God had clearly told him not to. He passed the Dead Baby to the people:
1 Samuel 15:13-15
13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
We like to point out other people’s Dead Babies but not our own! David had a Dead Baby and Nathan the Prophet said to him, “Thou art the man!” Once David was confronted with his sin, he fell to his knees and pleaded for forgiveness. Despite the fact that David was guilty of adultery, lies, and murder God saw fit to forgive him.
Aaron had a Golden Calf and he blamed it on the Children of Israel. This was his dead baby. The sin was his as the leader. Yet he pointed a finger at the people and accused them. The dead baby belonged to somebody but nobody wanted to own up to it.
LIVING ON HALF OF THE LIVE BABY
How would you like to live with half of your joy? How about half of the peace that Jesus offers? What about love? This is what Solomon proposed in his royal court. His proposal was to cut the living baby in half and give half to each of the arguing women. This would have game them part of what they were arguing about but would it have been a good solution?
While the Church fights over bragging rights of the live baby we are seeing our joy cut in half. The Church, for the most part, is operating only on half (½) of what it could have! We have sacrificed the living baby for the dead baby! We have killed the living baby just because we were unwilling to go to the altar and claim ownership of the dead. Now there is only half as much joy in Churches that should be filled with the joy of the Lord. There is only half as much power! Only half as much glory!
We may hide the dead babies for a while but there something you must know about them:
1. Dead Babies stink! You can see it already in churches. The world knows that something is wrong in most churches. They cry out about hypocrites in our churches – that is the cry of someone that has smelled a dead baby.
2. Dead Babies swell! If we do not deal with our problems they will only grow! No problem every got better by ignoring it. One preacher friend of mine says it this way, “If you don’t deal with the monkey, eventually it will turn into a gorilla.”
WHO OWNS THIS DEAD BABY?
We come back to our original question, “Who owns this Dead Baby?” Would anyone like to admit that they are not praying enough? Would anyone like to admit that they have not prayed for their Church? Have you prayed for your Pastor? Are you fasting and praying for Revival? Is there hidden sin in your life that you have yet to repent of? Are you bound by habits that you know the Lord is displeased with? Are you to blame? Is this your dead baby?
Back in 1998 I was called to preach the final night of a Campmeeting in another state. I was honored to be asked to preach this service for this would be the final word that people would take home from this meeting – it was the big night. The Pastor, who I had preached for one other time, told me that the theme of the Campmeeting was “Holy Ghost Power”. After hanging up the phone I thought, “Being a Pentecostal, I can preach on that.” The next few months I prayed and fasted for the Lord to give me a message for that service. I had a revival message on the power of the Holy Ghost that I was just itching to preach entitled, “Dynamite Comes in Small Packages” and though, “That is the message that will go with his theme”. I kept this in the back of my mind but every time I would pray God would lead me back to, “Who Owns this Dead Baby?”, which I had preached before. I thought, “Oh, no, that cannot be right for it would no go with the theme of his campmeeting.” To make a long story short I went to that campmeeting and the Lord had me preach this message on the dead baby. It seemed so out of place with all of the other thrilling messages I had heard all week on the power of the Holy Ghost, but it was what God had commanded and therefore what I had to do. I remember pointing my finger in the face of the Pastor and asking, “Who Owns this Dead Baby? Is it yours?” When the meeting ended the Pastor was very distant from me and I wondered if I had overstepped my bounds. Little did I know but that Pastor was having an affair with another woman and a few months after that Campmeeting it all came out. It seems there had been dead baby in that Church all along and that dead baby was stopping revival.
Someone owns this Dead Baby? We need some Funerals in the altar! We must bury our sins under the Blood of Jesus!