Let’s Celebrate Sin!

celebration

Two promising, young lives are traveling together down an interstate and are hit head-on by a drunk driver almost snuffing out both of their lives.  Due to this man’s inebriated state, he could not command a car, comprehend reality, or respond quickly to his error.  He was controlled by his alcohol which depending on what brand he drank was at some point celebrated via commercials, billboards, friends, and sadly even city/county commissioners who most likely voted for establishments like this to operate in their town.  The commissioners probably even congratulated this new store owner and wished him good success.

Friends, there is nothing to celebrate concerning alcohol!  There is no virtue in alcohol. Drunkenness is sin (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-35; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:18a).  How sad that anyone thinks they have to have some form of alcohol to have a good time, to have a celebration!

Not only do I have a disdain for any form of alcohol because of the warnings of Scripture, but also because those two young folks are my daughter and son-in-law.  They were hit head on by a drunk driver going the wrong way on Interstate 26 near Asheville, NC.  By his choice, he chose to idolize moonshine which took total control of him. This was his third offense, and he only received 45 days in jail!

I live in a town that glories in its craft beers, alcohol-laden festivals, and even has a city commission that gets more excited over a new beer establishment than they do standing to pledge to the American flag.

You want to celebrate sin?

A young couple chooses to have sex outside of marriage, and the young girl ends up pregnant.  How shameful, how sad . . . at least it used to be. Because they could not wait and because they believed the lies of the devil and their flesh, they’re now bringing into this world a child in a way that God never intended.

There are many passages of Scripture declaring sex before marriage to be sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). Yes, God demands complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).

Yet, how grieved to see announcements posted on social media as if it is a blessing from God!  I understand that 1 John 1:9 and Romans 5:20 are still in the Bible, but when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin and sin when it is finished brings forth death (James 1:16) . . . and we celebrate it!  Why when such sin is announced, born again believers who know the Word express notes of joy as if it is wonderful!  Please, do not misunderstand, I believe we should love this couple and their child back to the Lord, but my point is, how can sin be celebrated in any way shape or form?

You want to celebrate sin?

Ask Adam and Eve what they think about sin?  Ask Cain what he thinks about sin?  Ask Samson his perspective on sin? Ask King David what he thinks about sin?  And the list could go on.  Especially ask the Lord Jesus Christ Who bore the sins of the whole world, past, present and future in utmost agony, sorrow, and pain (Matthew 27:45-46; 2 Corinthians 5:21) while hanging on the cross.

You want to celebrate sin?

There are a host of other scenarios I could mention, but in closing, consider the following passages:

Sin is a reproach to anybody (Proverbs 14:26b).

By transgression an evil man is snared, but the righteous sings and rejoices (Proverbs 29:6).

I Could Punch Him in the Mouth!

Ephesians-4-26

Recently while listening to an angry man, those words were uttered and then ended with a bit of a smile as if it made his indignation acceptable.

Folks, we live in an angry world!  And you are asking me, “Did you just climb out from under a rock?!?!”

Well, truth is, in the past few weeks I have heard and seen the fruit that comes from that root.  Anger, wrath, bitterness from an evil heart destroys.

What does the Bible say about anger?  Please take time to read these passages and let them sink into your heart.

  • Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
  • Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
  • Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
  • Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
  • Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
  • Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
  • Ephesians 4:26-27, 31 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
  • Colossians 3:8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
  • James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Anger rooted in a selfish, sinful, deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) always produces fruit that damages and often destroys lives, homes, churches, marriages, and the world around you.

If you are person given to anger, please soak your soul in these truths from God’s Word.  Repent, be reconciled, and memorize these passages.  Better to think on truth that sets you free than on the offense that will eat you up inside and cause your heart to be outwardly exposed.

To be angry about trifles is mean and childish; to rage and be furious is brutish; and to maintain perpetual wrath is akin to the practice and temper of devils; but to prevent and suppress rising resentment is wise and glorious, is manly and divine. (Isaac Watts)

Go ahead . . . punch him in the mouth.  Then, who’s the fool?

The Greatest Tragedy

greatest-tragedy
slideshare.net

Almost every day, I scan through the headlines, Latest News and Watch Now sections of foxnews.com. Here are some of what made yesterday afternoon’s news:

  • An Execution: Hunt for criminal after sheriff’s deputy killed
  • At least 2 dead after magnitude-7.8 earthquake hits New Zealand
  • France remembers 130 killed in Paris attacks 1 year ago
  • Georgia prepares to execute man who killed ex-girlfriend 15 years ago
  • Pennsylvania inmate arrested in 2008 murder of New York teenager
  • 18-year-old charged with murder in road-rage beating
  • Father and son die in hiking accident near Northern California lake
  • Rocker Leon Russell dies in Nashville at 74
  • Four Americans killed by suicide bombing in Afghanistan

Wow! Deaths, killings, murders, . . . one tragedy after another.  The Word of God addresses these scenarios and gives us the root cause of them all.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man. (Matthew 15:19-20a)

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4)

The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a)

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27).

How sad to see an innocent life snuffed out because of a selfish, wicked heart.  How painful to see the effects of sin! How awful to watch men and women play out the defilement of their hearts.  And we say, “How tragic!”  My friend, none of things in the aforementioned news headlines rank as the greatest tragedy.  And before I go any further, I am not heartless nor belittling the agony or pain described in those headlines.  Nevertheless, the greatest tragedy occurs every day on earth when a man or woman dies in their sins, rejecting the person of the Lord Jesus Christ Who paid for their sins, and therefore slips into eternity never again having the opportunity to accept the free-pardon of sin through Christ.  In short, the greatest tragedy today is when someone dies and goes to hell . . . and they do so by their own choosing.  Jesus Christ came to earth, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins as our substitute, and rose from the tomb to prove He is Who He said He was and is, and . . . He did it all for you. No one needs to die in his sins and go to hell, a place reserved for Satan and his demons, because God so loved you, my friend, that He gave His only Son, the only one like Him, to die in your place so you would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

The greatest tragedy . . . an eternity in hell.

The greatest triumph . . . eternity in heaven.

If this post today has piqued your interest, has created within you a desire to know more, would you take 17 minutes to consider just Five Questions and their answers.

17 minutes vs. eternity?  Please take time to watch it now.

This-n-That: Living in These Last Days

Tuesday, I spent the better part of the day in the midst of the Tennessee Legislature.  As I met with our state senator and representatives, I left with an encouraged, but burdened heart.  These elected officials work in the midst of outright temptation of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). At times, I could sense the oppression just lurking around the corner.  Yet, that is the world we live in. How should we live in these days of apostasy, debauchery, and decline?  Jude 20-21 gives us a clear remedy:

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

  1. Build

Your most holy faith is the body of absolute truth found only in the plenary, inerrant, inspired Word of God.  All the enemies of Truth will tempt you to turn away from the Truth, to doubt the Truth and to become cynical of the Truth.  Just as tall superstructures are built upon a solid foundation, we as believers must build an edification superstructure of truth that will stand the temptations of Satan, the world, and the flesh.  This is a daily construction need until God calls us Home.

  1. Pray

What a great need this is—praying in the Holy Spirit!!  Just as building is present tense, so is this verb praying.  If we are to accomplish God’s work, God’s way, and in God’s power at home, church, school, government, and work, we must habitually pray according to the Scriptures as the Spirit prompts us (Romans 8:26-27; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 6:18).   There, we will find wisdom and direction in the face of this declension.

  1. Love

What does it mean to stay in the love of God when I know God loves me eternally and unconditionally (1 John 4:7-19)?  You keep yourself in the love of God by walking in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:9-10).   When you walk in His love, you will not be distracted by evil.  Love combats the cold onslaught of Satan and apostasy and keeps your heart warm, tender, and zealous for God, His people and the Truth (2 Corinthians 5:14)!

  1. Look

Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life reminds us to keep looking ahead, to keep our attention fixed on the soon return of Christ!  Mercy is me not getting what I deserve as a sinner (Romans 3:23), which is hell, because Christ is my substitute on the cross, the payment for my sins (1 John 2:1-2).  Therefore, I am not saved by my good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) but by Christ’s perfect work.  Therefore, I am secure in Christ and can look to eternity with great assurance (Ephesians 1-2).

So, in the midst of these last days of bad news, corrupt government, lawlessness, fear, pain, sorrow, apostasy and world upheaval, live out Jude 20-21.  You will exchange your burdened heart for an encouraged one.  Build, pray, love and look!

 

Additional study:  How is eternity in hell a fair punishment for sin?

This-N-That: Life In Despair

The title of Thursday’s blog posts is so named that I may share various things that are on my heart about life in general.  Hence, today, I ask the following questions:

  • Is there sin in your life that you have not been honest about before the Lord?
  • How do you handle sin in your life?
  • What affect does unconfessed sin have on your life, heart and body? Does it leave you in despair, with a sense of hopelessness?  What is the cause of that despair?
  • When you confess your sin, how does forgiveness affect you?
  • What is your view of God and His forgiveness?
  • What is different about you after you have confessed your sin?

Now, read Psalm 130, very slowly and meditatively.   Once you have read this psalm, take 30 minutes and listen to the following message by Dr. Steve Pettit:  Psalm 130 Sermon

When you are done listening; when you have confessed your sin, is Psalm 130:5-7 the song of your heart?

Spiritual Weight-Loss Plan

Due to three months of not being able to run plus all the good food of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have put some weight back on. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m more than ready to start hitting the country roads and pushing away from the table. Before surgery, I had run a 7K and the next weekend, a full 10K. The feeling of accomplishment was so great! I never dreamed that I could run without stopping for one hour. Due to constant exercise and a right diet, weight was not a burden to my life.

How about you spiritually? Is there a weight in your life that needs to be dropped that is hindering your spiritual growth? Do you need to change your diet? Be honest. Is it anger? Is it bitterness? Is it laziness? Could it be gossip? How about pornography? Perhaps unforgiveness? Whatever sin it is, you know what it is. The Holy Spirit has revealed it to you many times. And praise the Lord, you can by His grace, overcome any sin (Romans 5:20). So, what is your plan this new year to overcome the sin that clings so close to you (Hebrews 12:1)? The Lord desires for us to live in freedom, to be able to serve without hindrances, and to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

Here are some suggestions to help your spiritual exercise/diet plan:

  1. Get honest with the Lord and yourself about your sin (Psalm 139:23-24).
  2. Search the Scriptures for what God says about your sin. Compare what God says to why you like your sin. What’s the verdict?
  3. Choose a verse or passage to memorize and use every time you are tempted (Psalm 119:9-11).
  4. Work through the Scripture passages, one-a-day, for 40 days. Record in your journal what God reveals to you about your sin and the victory that He can give.
  5. Share your ups and downs with your spouse or an accountability partner. This is for help and edification only, not judgment. An accountability partner can be a real source of prayer support and a spiritual cheerleader.
  6. Remember Proverbs 24:16, For a just man falls seven times but he rises up again. If you fail, don’t stay down. Rand Hummel has said so often, “There are two kinds of men. Those who fight sin and those who give up.”

So, let’s run the race that is before us, dropping off the weights, and finishing strong! (Hebrew 12:1-2)