Three Things Sin Will Always Do

THIS WEEK Pampa held a gospel meeting with Guillermo Alvarez. His sermon, “3 THINGS SIN WILL ALWAYS DO,” inspired this article.

Hebrews 3:12-13 warns us of the “deceitfulness of sin” which can draw us into sin if we fail to watch. Sin looks enticing, but the pleasures pass quickly leading us to even more [Heb 11:25]. This brings us to the first thing sin will always do…

SIN WILL ALWAYS TAKE YOU FARTHER THAN YOU WANTED TO GO: No one who takes that first step into sin has the intentions of dying, but that is where sin leads according to James, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” [Jas 1:15]. Every alcoholic I’ve met had a first drink, usually without intending to get drunk, so too, the drug addict and the porn addict. The cool waters of sin look refreshing and so we dip our toes, only to find we’re soon up to our neck in sin. If you let the camel poke his nose under the tent, soon he’ll have his whole body inside.

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”

[Psalm 23:31-32]

SIN WILL ALWAYS KEEP YOU LONGER THAN YOU WANTED TO STAY: I met a man caught up in drug addiction from his youth up. After each high fell, he went back on the search for another, then another until the entirety of his life was spent in search of the next high. It moved him into homelessness, having destroyed trust with his family and friends. As each high required more drugs to achieve, his own life tumbled further down until he eventually hit rock bottom. For nearly fifty years of his life, and for the rest of his life, he will be an addict. Friends, heed the warning, sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay. Sin enslaves, it puts us into bondage.

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

[Romans 6:16]

SIN WILL ALWAYS COST YOU MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO PAY: Wouldn’t it be nice if every sin had a price tag to warn us of the cost? Most would probably ignore it anyway. The Proverbs are full of warnings of sin leading to poverty, broken relationships, poor health and the like [Pr 23:32; Pr 7:22; Pr 10:8; Pr 18:6-7; Pr 20:3; Pr 26:11]. How many families have been torn apart by addiction? How many lives have been taken? True paradise was lost because of a morsel of food that looked “good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” [Genesis 3:6]

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

[Romans 3:23]

THERE IS A SOLUTION: You read of it earlier in Romans 6:16, “OBEDIENCE UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS.” The only known cure for sin comes from the Great Physician, Christ Jesus [Mark 2:17]. We must ‘OBEY THE GOSPEL’ [2Thess 1:8]. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;” [Rom 1:16], and it must be obeyed [Rom 2:8]. The Gospel is the Death, Burial & Resurrection of Jesus the Christ [1Corinthians 15:1-4]. We obey the Gospel when we DIE to sin, are BURIED in a watery grave (baptism = immersion) and are RAISED up to walk in newness of life [Romans 6:1-6]. *see “What Must I do to be saved?” on the back of this bulletin.

Once we’ve obeyed the Gospel, we must continue to remain faithful and continue in the Doctrine of Christ. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” [John 14:15]. He commanded that His disciples be taught to observe His commandments [Matthew 28:20]. Paul, writing to Timothy said, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them,” “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” [2Timothy 3:14; 1:13; 2:2].

It’s a true saying, “all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” [Romans 3:23]. Therefore, we’re all in need of a savior. How true are the words of the Psalmist…?

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

[Psalm 1:1-2]

Is church a pill?

A couple of things first. I’m referring to the weekly assembly on Sunday when I say ‘church’, since that is how much of the world uses it. The scriptures clearly teach that the church is actually the people. [1Cor 12:14]

When I say ‘pill’ I’m referring to the idea of a prescription but could just as easily work as “something disagreeable that must be swallowed”.

Do we treat church like a pill? 

Many folks take pills to treat some illness, and in most cases, they seek the pill rather than change the underlying behavior that caused the condition. Take diet pills as an example. For many, rather than reduce their calorie intake, increase their exercise and eat better quality food they will take a pill as if it will solve their condition.

That’s what I mean when I ask, “do we treat church like a pill?” Do we believe we can act ungodly all week long, and if we take a pill (church attendance), that our sinful condition will go away?

Please understand what I am saying. The weekly assembly of God’s people is a necessity for continuing in the Apostles doctrine and shouldn’t be forsaken [Heb 10:25; Acts 20:7; 1Cor 16:2], but it is not a ‘pill’ one takes to offset our bad behavior and sinful heart.

James wrote; “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” [James 1:23-24]

Here’s a question for you, how long after assembling with the saints before you revert to your sinful conduct. 24 hours or 24 seconds? I must confess that I’ve been guilty of this as well. For my family, we had screaming car fights before arriving to the assembly, acting all lovey dovey during the worship, then picking up where we left off with the battle as soon as we got back into the car.

How to take a pill

When you’re given a prescription from a doc, he also gives you a list of things to change. The weekly assembly can be viewed in much the same way. The lesson, prayers, songs, our giving and the Lord’s Supper all have an ability to teach us and remind us what manner of person we ought to be.

The medications we take, very often, would be much more effective if we also modified our behaviors that caused the illness. Without the modification of behavior we will remain sick and possibly die. Paul said something similar to the church at Corinth; “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” [1 Corinthians 11:28-30]

Church attendance should remind us of the sacrificial gift of Christ, and the promise of His return when He will gather up the saints and destroy the world.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,” [2Peter 3:11]

 

2 Responses to every sermon Pt. 2

truth set you free

LAST WEEK, we began the discussion on the 2 responses to every sermon, WALKING OUT or WALKING FORWARD. We noted that these can be literal actions where a person really walks out of the building or comes to the front to confess sin, or it could be done mentally.

To recap WALKING OUT

We walk out on a sermon for a few reasons. We may be TIRED, we think it’s about SOMEONE ELSE or we just DISAGREE. Regardless the reason, we “check out” mentally or physically.

Now let’s look at…

Walking forward

It’s common for folks, when pricked in the heart by God’s message, to leave their pew and proceed to the front of the auditorium to confess the sin in their lives in a public way. This is good, it’s an accountability measure, especially for sin committed publicly. It’s not only good, it’s Godly for it is a confession of sin along with a vow of repentance. The Jews on Pentecost, upon hearing how they had been party to the crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, the text says; “they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” [Acts 2:37] These folks recognized their sin, recognized their need for forgiveness and made an immediate, public response.

If we’re paying attention to the message, and studying the Word of God, eventually we come to some area of our lives in which we’ve failed. We’ve sinned. I know this is true for John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” [1John 1:8] At this point we must either reject the word of God, or accept it and submit to it. What makes this difficult is when someone else comes to us and points out our error. [Matt 18:15-17; 1Corinthians] It’s in those moments that we’re most resistant to repentance. Honest folks choose the latter, as did those on Pentecost and Saul of Tarsus [Acts 9:1-19], they repent and “WALKED FORWARD.”

Whether the need is to make a public confession because of public sin, or a private confession which is a natural part of Christian growth, both require a Godly sorrow. When Paul wrote the 1st letter to the church at Corinth, he pointed out several problems, flaws and sins. His worry was that he had made them sorry in a worldly sense, but it turned out that it was a sorrow in a Godly manner [2Cor 7:9-10]. He wrote, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

Did you catch it? “Godly sorrow” produces repentance and this repentance leads to SALVATION! Did you also see the other kind of sorrow, “sorrow of the world?” To fully appreciate what the Holy Spirit wants us to hear, let’s break this verse down.

For godly sorrow – A RESPECT for God’s word. A Godly sorrow is produced by faith in God which seeks to please God. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. [Romans 10:17]

WorkethRESULTS in the heart. ‘Worketh’ means to produce, or leads to; the word of God produces an effect on our heart which produces something. [Matthew 26:75]

repentance – the REVERSAL of a decision. The respect of God’s word, working on our heart produces a change, first in our heart and then in our activities. I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. [Luke 13:3]

to salvationREDEMPTION. Godly respect of God’s word which produces the Godly sorrow and repentance gives us access to the ransom paid by Christ Jesus. [Ephesians 1:7]

not to be repented of – no REGRET. This kind of repentance brings about the joy of knowing you’ve been pleasing to God the creator. [Acts 8:39]

but the sorrow of the world – selfish REASONS that are carnal, and fleshly which elevates the concern for self over the concerns of God. [1Corinthians 3:1-4] For some, the only reason to change is a concern for how others perceive them. This is the wrong kind of sorrow. This is why some are ‘rebaptized.’ They recognized that the only reason they originally submitted to God’s will was to be pleasing to mom & dad or because that is what everyone else was doing. Folks, this kind of obedience to God will fail us in the judgment.

worketh deathRUIN. A sorrow of the world produces complete ruin of our eternal future. [Matthew 7:21-29] When we’re only worried about what others may thing about us, we’ve set our sights too low. We haven’t sought to be pleasing to God, instead we seek to be pleasing to man. [Luke 16:13]

Another way the Bible describes ‘godly sorrow’ is with the phrase, a broken and contrite heart [Psalms 34:18]. A broken & contrite heart is a heart of sadness and regret for failing to serve the Almighty King, the Loving Creator who gave Himself as a payment for our sin against Him. [Romans 5:8-10]

Are we sad when we sin against God? Does our heart break when we fail Him? If it does, it will lead us to find out how to have eternal life.

2 Responses to every sermon

I’ve found that there are two basic responses to every sermon. I’ve also spoken to other Gospel Preachers and they have come to a similar conclusion.

Walk out or Walk forward

These responses can be literally walking out of the auditorium or coming forward to the front to confess your sin in a public manner. They can also be done with your mind. So often folks, myself included, walk out or walk forward in our minds as we listen.

WALKING OUT

Walking out on a sermon, whether in your mind or physically getting up and leaving, happens for a variety of reasons…

You’re distracted – You’re sitting there, hot, tired and hungry thinking about lunch. Hoping the sermon is short, you begin taking steps to prevent yourself from falling asleep. If you’re someplace else in your mind, it matters very little whether the speaker is dynamic or boring. Sometimes you’re distracted by the goings on of other members shifting and squirming in their seats.

The remedy for this type of walking out is simple. Take notes. Engage your mind with the theme of the sermon. I have personally found this to be most effective.

Another tactic is to get some rest. So many of us stay up late and fail to plan for our Sunday morning worship. I’m guilty too. Saturday is a day off for most folks, and we just want to enjoy as much of our weekend as possible. I get it, I’ve been there. Eutychus in Acts 20 had the same trouble. If you’re going to stay up late, here’s a little tip that may help you feel more alert in the morning. Plan your sleep length in 90min cycles. 1.5, 3, 4.5 or 6 hours. Our bodies have up and down sleep cycles and we are at the top of the cycle [close to being awake] every 90 minutes. Do an internet search for sleep cycles and you’ll see what I mean.

Another reason we walk out is…

We think it’s about someone else – Yup, I’ve done this one too. While listening to a sermon you say to yourself, “self, I hope so-n-so is listening to this.” It reminds me of Nathan telling David about a man that had stolen a lamb in 2Sam 12:1-5. David became angry and demanded justice for the victim. However, look at what Nathan did in vs7, “You are the man!” Rather than trying to assign a lesson to another, we should be examining ourselves to see if it applies [1Co 11:28; 2Co 13:5].

Lastly, one reason we walk out is

We disagree – It’s ok to disagree, but be careful about HOW you disagree. Is your disagreement based on scriptures? Will you “try the spirits whether they are of God:” [1Jo 4:1]? Or, are you just disagreeing because you or a family member are committing the sin under consideration and don’t see anything wrong with it?

You might say to yourself, ‘that’s just his opinion’. Are we entitled to have an opinion on scriptural matters? Some people have said, “I know what it says, but I don’t like it.” When it comes to sin & doctrine, as enumerated in God’s word, we have no choice but to accept it and to obey it. Nothing in scripture is up for a personal interpretation that suits your opinion, [2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation].

If the speaker is wrong, then go to him about it privately. Perhaps he misspoke, or you misunderstood, but bring BCV [book chapter verse]. We can both be wrong, or one of us can be wrong and the other right, but we cannot BOTH BE RIGHT. I want to go to heaven and you would be a great friend if you show me where I was mistaken so that I could make correction.

It’s for this reason some folks church hop. They find the teaching to be contrary to their personal desires and go searching for a place of worship that suits their tastes. Or they stop worshiping altogether. This is not new, Paul warned that there are some whose ‘god is their belly’ [Philippians 3:19]. He also said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” [2Timothy 4:3].

There may be other reasons why folks “WALK OUT” on a sermon, but my desire is that we all “grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [2Peter 3:18].

Where is your mind when you “WALK OUT” on a sermon?

Next week we’ll examine ‘walk forward’.

He did not know the Lord had departed

THE PHILISTINES are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. That is the situation Samson found himself in after he allowed Delilah to cut his hair in Judges 16:20.

That’s the worst place to be if you knew…. (Which would be far better). Not knowing is dangerous and even spiritually deadly. You can and should repent

Sampson was not the only one, there were so many others…

David hid his sin and didn’t know until Nathan told him. And Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man” [2Sa 12:7]. David had committed sin, but as he tried to hide it is when things got so much worse, leading to lying, conspiracy, murder and ultimately giving occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme.

We can do our best to hide sin, but shall never hide them from God. I’ve heard that certain practitioners of Islam build walls in their homes facing Mecca and allah is unable to see the sin they commit if done behind that wall. The one true God doesn’t have that limitation, He sees everything! David learned this the hard way and wrote a Psalm about it, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance” [Ps 90:8]. The writer of Hebrews said, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” [Heb 4:13].

Simon the sorcerer tried to bypass authority and didn’t realize The LORD had departed until Peter told him. “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money” [Acts 8:20]. We see this one all the time, folks thinking they can bypass the Authority of Christ [Mat 28:18].  None of us think we can buy the power of the Holy Spirit, but some do believe they can have power over the church through their contribution, dissensions or threats. This sin, sedition, is included with the list of the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-20. We must follow the instructions of Christ in all things, the church is not a democracy and we don’t vote on the doctrines of Christ.

Peter played the hypocrate until Paul told him – “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? [Ga 2:14]”

We decieve our friends and family in our own hypocrisy. In our attempts to “fit in” with the world, they see our double minded actions toward God. We do this so as not to lose any friends. When we act in such a duplicitous way, are we really being a friend?

Annanias when he tried to outsmart God. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? [Acts 5:3 ]” It’s impossible to outsmart God, but many attempt to do it all the time. W.C. Fields, when asked why he was reading the bible said, “Loopholes, looking for loopholes!” Can you ever out smart God? Amazingly, Christians believe they can fool God. And what’s worse, they believe they can outsmart Him! Minimal attendance or removing your “membership” without going to another congregation so as to avoid withdrawal. Building a team to “out vote” the leadership. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

Sapphira ignored her chance but didn’t take it. “And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much” [Ac 5:8]. At least David siezed on his opportunity to repent. Peter gave her opportunity but she had her story and was sticking to it. Learn from Sapphira and repent before it’s too late.

Nadab & Abihu wouldn’t heed the instructions of the Lord. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not” [Lev 10:1]. The commandments are clear, and their not burdensome [1John 5:3], but we think that our way is better. We say things like, “the Bible doesn’t say we can’t.” Look again at Lev 10:1, it says, “the LORD commanded them not.” Silence is prohibitive, we have permission ONLY when we have a command.

Lot’s wife didn’t know when she ignored God’s command. “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” [Ge 19:17-20]. Perhaps she had grown so used to sin that she didn’t believe God’s command. This seems to be the prevailing view among some. “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” [Ecc 8:11]. Folks, just because God is delaying punishment doesn’t mean He will never punish it.

We can know if God is with us, by learning and keeping His word. Read 1John and learn about a wonderful hope for the Christian who loves God. It’s a book of hope and assurance for our faith. Eleven times John writes about what “we know.”

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1John 3:18

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

bowie

THESE WORDS are in the chorus for David Bowie’s song “Changes”. I was inspired to write this article, not so much about Bowie and his life, nor about the droves of mourning fans of a music icon, rather because of the song “CHANGES”.

As the news of his death rang over the radio, this song was often played. It reminded me of how life is so full of change and also the changes of thought about God. There was a time, especially in our country, that most folks revered the word of God. It was included in our schooling. In not a few social media posts, a photo on the “rules for teachers” from 1872, “after 10 hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.”

Oh how the times have ch-ch-ch-ch-changed. News stories abound about children being sent home, suspended or even expelled for even reading the Scriptures on their recess. A child need never actually read the Bible at school, just wearing a T-shirt can elicit the same response. 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…. There was a time when certain words could never be spoken on TV. Words like toilet or pregnant, but today these words and worse are continually being spewed into our ears. I’ve been told that many Christians quit going to movies over the words uttered by one Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…. There was a time that to show a married couple, fully clothed, in bed with each other was considered pornographic, but now it’s the norm. BTW, the Brady Bunch was the first TV show to break this barrier. The days without even the mention of marital “bliss” has evolved to inference, then to creative cropping of the camera lens to unambiguous scenes of amorous activities. To top it all off, there is no need for the couple to be married or even of the same gender! All of this for public consumption of even the youngest of eyes.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…. Back in the day, whatever day that was, an out of wedlock pregnancy was taboo, and perhaps unhealthily, the young girl was hidden from view to ward off any embarrassment it may bring to the family. Today, Hollywood Celebrities are celebrated for their promiscuity and there seems to be no discouragement for bringing a child into a single parent home.

Shall we continue to describe the moral decline of our society? We could speak about the pride of men, hedonism, disrespect of authority and the like. Should we be shocked or surprised of all these ch-ch-ch-ch-changes? No. The very book that so many have now come to reject has warned us about all of these things and so much more.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. [2Timothy 3:1-5]

fin

Outsmarting God, so we can continue to sin

W.C. Fields once told someone who caught him reading a Bible that he was “looking for loopholes”

This seems to be the approach to Bible study among denominations, and I fear among some Christians. Sin has crept into the religious world disguised as “enlightenment” or “modernism”. Folks are tearing down the Bible by calling it “out dated” or “mythical”, AND THIS IS AMONG THOSE PROFESSING TO BE CHRISTIANS!!

I recall a friend that was invited to speak at a denomination about Noah’s ark and the flood. Moments before giving his presentation, the pastor of that denomination pulled him aside and said, “Just so you know, we don’t believe those events to be literal, nor the first 11 chapters of Genesis.”

Is it any wonder that many of the major denominations no longer teach the commands of our Lord, allowing all sorts of sinful behaviors to be allowed to exist inside their churches?

It should also be no surprise that they’ve changed the commands of God and are now teaching for doctrine the commands of men by allowing women preachers, organizations that deprecate the work of the church and many other innovations. Calling these changes “fitting in to the times” or “expedients” to reach out to the world.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [Mt 15:9]

We all know, and are on the watch, for those outside of the body to attack the validity of the Bible, but we need to be on watch for those who are INSIDE the body doing the same. Paul warned us that wolves would enter the church…..
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. [Ac 20:29]

Where did Paul come up with this? From Jesus the Christ our Lord Himself. He warned us, even before the church began, that there would be those among us that would attempt to destroy us.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [Mt 7:15]

Jude had the very same warning;
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [Jude 1:4]

Please brethren, understand that I am not pointing my finger at any of you in particular. Nor am I suggesting that this is going on here. I simply write this as a warning for us as I witness what is happening among the denominations. It’s for this reason that we are involved in a study on “How to determine Scriptural Authority”.

An Answer to the Problem

And that is the answer to this problem. We must study our Bible.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [2Ti 2:15]

A diligent study of our Bibles is essential for us get to heaven. Let us read the next few verses….
16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Did you see it? Without study we are susceptible to error, which increases ungodliness and potentially overthrows our faith. Losing your faith, your salvation, can occur by letting someone lead you away from the truth. If anyone tells you that you can never lose your salvation, that person is one of those wolves.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation; [Heb 2:3]

Let us shun (take no part) in profane (wrong) and vain (foolish) babblings (fruitless discussions). We must be diligent to present ourselves approved to God. I didn’t bring this up, He did.

He is the one that commands us to rightly divide the word. [2Tim 2:15]

He is the one that commands us to observe all things that the Lord has commanded. [Mat 28:20]

He is the one that said add to your faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and Love. [2Pet 1:4-11]

And He is the one that said…
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [Heb 5:9]

 

spencer is the evangelist for the Franklin St. church of Christ in Borger Texas

Whatever happened to sin?

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! [Isaiah 5:20] 

For the past few years it seems that our culture has been calling sin good by renaming it. What do I mean? Here are just a few ways that today’s society and mainstream media are elevating evil….

Abortion is called “the right to choose”. It’s legal, free and promoted through oxymoronically named organizations like Planned Parenthood. [95% of the women served by Planned Parenthood have an abortion]
*The source of this statistic is Planned Parenthood’s own annual report. If you take the number of services listed in the report, excluding the ones that don’t apply to women who aren’t pregnant.

Drunkenness and getting high has now become medicinal. Often the news cites studies extoling the virtue of drinking, while hiding the fact that

At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” [Proverbs 23:32]

We must now accept the alternate lifestyle which has been normalized by TV and many music artists. The popular phrase after the Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage was “Love Wins”.

Profanity has been called “freedom of speech.” Stealing has become “situation ethics” and lying is “your perception of the truth.”

The scariest of them all; Preaching is currently being redefined as “hate speech.”

There are other sinister ways that the culture normalizes sin. I believe that Satan is behind them all.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” [1Peter 5:8]

They Popularize Sin. The old phrase, “Everybody’s doing it”. That didn’t work when I was a kid and it won’t work with God. What becomes popular soon becomes normal.

Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:” [1Peter 4:4]

They Legalize Sin. They say that drug use is too difficult to stop so they must legalize it. “At least we’ll be able to tax it.” Then, if you oppose sin, if you speak out against the legalization of it, you are called a bigot, a racist and all kinds of names. It’s ironic that a culture that is on a campaign to eliminate bullying in our schools, uses the very same bullying tactics in our culture to silence the voice of opposition and reason.

And it’s working. Christians are afraid to speak out about sin. Our jobs are jeopardized. We’re afraid our cars will be vandalized for displaying an “abortion stops a beating heart” bumper sticker, because it will be. And lastly, I fear, we shall be jailed for speaking the truth.

But we still have hope. Our Lord and Savior warned us about these things.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”[John 15:18] 

            Take comfort, brothers and sisters, knowing that we’re in good company and that company is the greatest of all and the only opinion that matters.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  [John 15:15]

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” [Revelation 2:10]

By Spencer Blackwelder

5 ways to overcoming Sin

Throughout the Bible, we’re warned about the effects of sin. The problem is less about the knowledge of sin, rather on how to overcome it in our lives. Paul wrestled with this himself saying, “O wretched man that I am!” [Romans 7:24]

How do we overcome sin?
  1. Sin is overcome by Faith – Joh 8:24 except ye believe;
    1. 1Jo 5:4-5 For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, even our faith.
  2. Sin is overcome by obedience – Heb 5:9 and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation;
    1. Conduct worthy of the Gospel – Phil 1:27; Rom 12:17-21; Eph 5:22-6:4
  3. Sin is overcome by faithfulness to Christ – 2Ti 4:6-8 [7] I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith:
    1. Re 2:10 Fear not …. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.
  4. Self-control – Prov 16:32 ruleth his spirit; 2Pet 1:5-6 add to faith; James 1:19 swift to hear; 3:2-10 bridled tongue
  5. Fruit of the Spirit – Gal 5:22, 23

There’s a very good reason we need to remove sin from our lives……

To obtain an incorruptible crownAnd every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. [1Corinthians 9:25]

 

we need to talk

You’ve heard it before, some one needs to “talk about stuff”. Have you ever noticed that when people want to talk about something good, they seldom tell you “we need to talk”?

Certainly, if we’ve done something wrong, we do need a good talking too. For the salvation of our souls, if we’re in sin. (Mat 18:15) But, often folks want to talk and it has nothing to do with sin, rather PREFERENCES.

How are we to handle it?

We need to recognize that we are all bound to the commands of God, for He has all authority, (Mat 28:18), and we’re to observe all things that Jesus has commanded, (Mat 28:20).

However, we are not God. We have no authority to…….

  • write laws for God (Mat 28:20)
  • bind laws that He has never bound (Mt 16:19)
  • enforce commands He has never given (Mt 15:9)

People mistake preferences for commands. We’re all different. We have different backgrounds, parenting styles, haircuts, clothing etc.. Because of that mistake, “we need to talk” comes around.

There’s another problem that occurs even before the talk, Gossip. Even before researching whether a matter is sin or not, we talk to others about it. Stirring up strife, fanning the flames. (1Ti 5:13) If a person has committed sin, the last thing you need to do is tell everyone else. You also want to keep it private for another very important reason, YOU MAY BE WRONG!

Before we have a talk with anyone, let’s ask 3 questions.
  1. Is it Sin? (James 1:15)
  2. Will I be allowed time to study the issue?(2Ti 2:15)
  3. Will I be allowed time for prayer and repentance? (Ac 8:24)

If you can answer yes (especially the first one) then a talk is likely a good idea. If you are unable to answer “yes”, definitively, then you may want to leave it alone altogether.

Is it sin?

If you believe there to be some sin, make sure. Bring the passage of scripture. Study it yourselves to make sure you understand the passage. Then approach the person in love and humility. Follow the process our Lord prescribed in (Mat 18:15-17)

Then, give them time for study and repentance. The person may be learning these principles for the first time. They may not know what you know about the meaning of these passages. Give them time. Time to study and time to repent.

Do it with love. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” (Ga 6:1) (1Co 10:12; 2Ti 2:25)

What should you do if you’re approached?

If you’re approached, you can nicely ask these questions…

  1. Is this regarding a sin in my life? Jas. 1:15
  2. Will you be discussing the doctrine of Christ (scripture) in this conversation? 2Jno.9
  3. Will you produce a passage(s) of scripture to indict me of sin? 1Jno. 3:4
  4. Will I need to repent, or be marked (withdrawn from) as one that walks disorderly? Rom 16:17

If no to any 1 of these say, “I would rather not discuss the issue.” This will help by preventing unwarranted conversations, or hurt feelings over matters of style.