October 22, 2017

Show More Of You

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Show More Of You

By Al Diestelkamp

So says the tagline of a TV ad promoting a product claiming to combat the “heartbreaking” disease of psoriasis. It seems, however, that an increasing number of Christians have adopted this motto in the way they dress in public.

Many Christians are careful about dressing modestly when assembling with the saints, but many are not so careful when out in the world. There was a time not so long ago when Christians enjoying leisure activities could be distinguished from others by how they were dressed. Too often this is no longer true. When Christians dressed more modestly, their attire was not so drastically different that they drew stares from onlookers, but they didn’t follow the world in exposing their nakedness.

The trend even among Christians to “show more of yourself” is apparent when viewing pictures posted on Facebook. Past efforts to discourage the wearing of revealing shorts and rising hemlines have been ignored. The objection has been raised that the Bible doesn’t tell us where to draw a line between what is modest and what is not. While there is some truth to this assertion, not even those who use this argument really believe there is no way to determine what is modest. Otherwise, the logical end of that argument would justify any amount of exposure including total nudity. So, because we can’t “draw a line,” we occasionally see brothers going around shirtless and sisters wearing cleavage revealing tops and pants tight enough to leave very little to the imagination.

Though the biblical instructions regarding modesty are stated in a context mentioning women, this does not mean that principles of modesty are not applicable to men as well. I also recognize that the apostle Paul’s instruction “that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel” (I Tim. 2:9) is addressing an over-emphasis on external beauty. Yet, one can violate this teaching by wearing anything that draws undue attention to the flesh. The apostle says adornment is to be “with propriety and moderation” [NKJV]. Other translations use terms or words such as “with shamefacedness” [KJV], “proper,” “discretely” [NASB], “respectable” [ESV], or “with decency” [NIV]. The bottom line is that it should be that “which is proper for women professing godliness” (v.10). Peter’s instructions for wives to manifest “chaste conduct” (1 Pet. 3:2) would necessarily include wearing apparel that reflects an inner beauty. Immodest exposure of one’s nakedness is not consistent with “chaste conduct.”

To be guilty of nakedness does not require total nudity, as illustrated by God’s instructions to Moses regarding the altar that was to be built: “Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it” (Ex. 20:26). Throughout the pages of the Bible, the word “nakedness,” whether used literally or metaphorically, is usually connected with shame. Even in the case where Peter was only partially clothed [“naked” in KJV, ASV] while out on a boat, he “put on his outer garment” before coming ashore (Jn. 21:7). It seems quite unusual for one to put on more clothing before plunging into the sea unless there was good reason to do so. Shame and modesty are good reasons.

Without minimizing the need for men to dress modestly, it is especially needful for women to do so. It may be why Jesus’ words “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has alreadycommitted adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28) were addressed to men. Obviously, it would be just as sinful for a woman to look at a man “to lust after him.”

Finally, here is no excuse for looking upon others to lust after them, regardless of how they are dressed. Unlawful lust is always the sin of the one who is lusting. Always! There can be no blame-shifting. Sinners are always responsible for their sins. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the Serpent; but in the end each was guilty for their own sins. Yet, this truth did not absolve Eve or the Serpent of being complicit in causing others to stumble. As Christians, we must avoid putting stumbling blocks in the paths of others. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,” (Matthew 13:41; Cf.18:7)

Dressing modestly will not prevent all lustful looks, but it will absolve one from being a stumbling block for that sin. Immodesty is a contributor to lust. “Showing more of yourself” may involve eternal risks for self and others.

Adapted from an article published in

THINK On These Things

October-November-December, 2016 • Volume 47, Number 4

 

 

 

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October 15, 2017

Because You Did Not Know

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Because You Did Not Know

By Don R. Patton

“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’” (Luke 19:41-44)

Jesus approached Jerusalem, demonstrating evidence the He was the promised Messiah, dramatically fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9), riding into the city (not on a prancing charger) but on a donkey’s colt, (Luke 19:29-38). Matthew makes the significance unmistakable.

“This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘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.’” (Matthew 21:4-5).

But they did not know. They refused this and all the abundant evidence regarding their Messiah, and instead prepared to crucify Him. How sad. Jesus wept over the city, for He knew it would soon be destroyed, but Jerusalem “did not know…”

The history of God’s people can be written following this theme.

It described the ungodly in the days of Noah who lived confidently “until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away…” (Matthew 24:38-39 NKJV)

Hosea says of the nation of Israel, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge,…” (Hosea 4:6). “Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it;(Hosea 7:9).

Consider the similar description of the church at Laodicea which received, perhaps, the Lord’s most scathing rebuke.

“‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. ‘Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,’” (Revelation 3:16-17).

In spite of the tragic consequences of ignorance, demonstrated over and over and over again in the history of God’s people, many still seek refuge in their lack of knowledge. How often we hear attitudes similar to the foolish excuse, “God wouldn’t punish me if I didn’t know better.” This delusion obviously puts a premium on ignorance. Hold on to it, because if you learn the truth you will have lost your excuse. Studying God’s word becomes terribly dangerous with eternal consequences.

How different is the attitude of Jesus who admonished…

“…you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32).

Likewise , the Apostle Paul warned…

“…the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them…” (Ephesians 4:18). “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17).

 

October 8, 2017

Compare Ourselves To Christ

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

Compare Ourselves To Christ by Don R. Patton

“The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked.” (I John 2:6)

Several years ago I was engaged in a somewhat heated conversation with one I considered Godly, but in need of redirection on a particular point. I referred to an example from the conduct of Jesus, which triggered the indignant response, “Who do you think you are, comparing yourself to Christ?” I was a bit taken aback. Could a devout Christian not know that we should look to Christ as our example?

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” (I Peter 2:21 ).

I referred my assailant to I John 2:6, quoted above, and they walked away, hopefully to reevaluate the conversation.

I understand that the idea of walking as Christ walked can be intimidating. After all, the sinless Son of God, Himself fully God, gave up everything to serve and save rebellious mankind. He set an exceedingly high standard. Nothing short of perfection would suffice to be our perfect sacrificial lamb (without defect).

Nevertheless, recognizing that Christians sin and will never fully achieve Christlikeness this side of glory, that perfect life is to be our goal. As Paul put it, “…as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” (Colossians 2:6). Some may be surprised to learn, the New Testament has quite a bit more to say on this subject.

Fundamentally, comprehensively, we are told Christians must…“…walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us,…” (Ephesians 5:2).

Following perfect direction of the Holy Spirit from His complete revelation makes it possible for us to walk in this manner, worthy of, or suitable for God.

“…walk by the Spirit, …If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16, 25).

“… do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4).

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth,” (II John 4).

“…you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light,” (Ephesians 5:8)

“… walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light….” (I John 1:7)

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” (Ephesians 4:1-2)

Accomplishing this requires that we exercise diligent concern. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,” (Ephesians 5:15)

One of the reasons Christians can accomplish these lofty goals is that we do not walk as the world, with eyes on the mundane affairs of this life, rather we walk with our eyes on the goal.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7).

Jesus promised that those who walk as He walked here, overcoming as He overcame, “will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy.” (Revelation 3:4)

Adapted from an article by John Morris