So many times the ministry of today...preaches only on avoiding the big S word : Sin. It is as though sin is an amorphous something floating in the air and we must be careful to duck if it floats by us. There is very little instruction in righteousness going on. There are very few specifics addressed. Oh, of course, Murder, Robbery, Lying (the big 'black ones,' not the little "white ones") blatant Adultery, The biggies. But the Word of God is much more specific than that. Paul and others of the apostles weren't so mealy mouthed about the topic.
James really got down to the nitty-gritty when he said "...to him who knoweth to do good and doeth it not to him it is sin." James 4:17 Often today we say of things the Lord has led us to do, "yes I know I ought to.... but I just can't" or "I just don't have time" or "it's too much trouble" or even "I really don't think it is so wrong". Those things then become sin to us. And sin is what The Lord tells us is unacceptable if we are to enter heaven.
I talked a while ago with a young man who was truly shocked to find out that "fornication" was a sin! He thought that as long as one wasn't married, sex was perfectly acceptable. It was as though Ephesians 5:3 did not exist. "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;" No pastor, no evangelist, had ever brought the subject to the attention of his congregation.
The ministry is failing to point out exactly what sin is. Why is that? Perhaps it is due to the fact that so many members of the congregations they preside over are committing those very sins. If the subjects were addressed as Sin, they would possibly be offended and leave so the minister just uses the word "sin" and avoids the reality of calling sex out side of marriage a sin. That way, no one gets disturbed over pet sins.
We must not only be born again, but we must also be very much aware of what God considers sin. Not some in amorphous evil that pervades the universe. But in the everyday conduct of our lives. It is with the body we now serve God. Paul said: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, . . . Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey." (Romans 6:12, 13, 18) But in order to do this, we must discover what it is that God looks on as sin. Yes, God will be faithful to the honest hearts and show us the things that are sin in our lives if we don't know. However in this day and age, Satan is pacing constantly seeking to destroy Gods saints, he is constantly working to deceive us There will always be those friends even Christian mentors, who will tell us, "That's okay." "God didn't mean that." "It isn't sin." "You have misunderstood what that verse says." And pretty soon Satan has talked us out of obeying that soft quiet voice of the Spirit that is leading us.
Happily, this is not something that is hidden and only understandable by a wise clergyman, but it is available to us personally. We can study and find it out.
Let us bury our faces in the Word of God and seek out the things we can do
that will bring our walk into one worthy of His Kingdom and Glory.
Just Use Me!
"And as they were going down to the end of the city,
Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before
us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while,
that I may show thee the word of God."
Most of us resent being "used," but here is something which could change the world, and it is crying out to be used:
Just use me ~ I am the Bible. I am God's wonderful library. I am always ~ and above all ~ the Truth.
To the weary pilgrim, I am a good strong staff. To the one who sits in gloom, I am a glorious light. To those who stoop beneath heavy burden, I am sweet rest. To him who has lost his way, I am a safe guide. To those who have been hurt by sin, I am healing balm. To the discouraged, I whisper glad messages of hope. To those who are distressed by the storms of life, I am an anchor. To those who suffer in lonely solitude, I am a cool, soft hand resting on a fevered brow.
O, child of man, to best defend me, just use me! (Author Known to God)
The Bible must always be at the heart of our preaching, teaching, and way of living. If the Scriptures do not guide our lives, we have no guide better than ourselves. No human document can compare in the least with the Word of God.
There is no comparison: The Bible is the best guide, and the believer's life is the best guided through its use. Don't be deprived of the Bible's rich blessings. Read it daily. Study it often.
And if you have not yet discovered that wonderful
Book we call the Bible, it's time you did.
In the words of Samuel to Saul,
"Stand thou still a while, that I may show thee
the word of God."
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Years ago, when I served on staff at a large church, one of my duties was to oversee the ministry of small groups. In addition to training the leaders of those groups, I often had to step in to lead a group when the leader was unable to attend a meeting. One evening, as I filled in for a group leader who was ill, I asked for prayer requests from those in attendance. One woman, who was notorious for showing up late and offering excuses of being “too busy” to complete the week’s assigned reading, asked for prayer for a notorious celebrity who was on trial for a serious offense. The trial was being carried daily on TV, and this lady never missed a minute of it. Though she had to work during the day, she taped the proceedings so she could watch them as soon as she got home.
Bingo! As I listened to her, I realized why she was always late to the group and never seemed to find the time to prepare by reading or memorizing the assigned scripture verses. It also helped to explain why she seemed to have so many problems in other areas of her life.
Sadly, though this woman’s case may be extreme, I don’t believe she is without company in her poor choice of prioritizing. We all have the same amount of days in a week and hours in a day, and we all have to choose what to do with the time allotted to us. Yes, we have jobs and other responsibilities that, for the most part, aren’t always negotiable or even flexible. But we also have at least a few hours every week that are. So what do we do with them? Do we wisely redeem the time, or do we waste it on personal pursuits and activities that have no eternal value?
As one who spends much of my time at my computer, writing and editing and preparing to speak and teach at various functions, it would be easy to justify using what little spare time I have to indulge my personal whims (none of which, by the way, would be consider “bad” or “sinful”). And yet, because I am known as one who writes, speaks, and serves that Name above all names, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—the very Son of the living God—it is even more incumbent on me that I wisely redeem that time by daily conversing with the One I claim to serve. How can I purport to express the words of the Most High God to others if I am not in communion with Him? If I don’t have time to pray and to read and study and meditate on His Word, and yet I pass myself off as a communicator of that Word and a representative of Christ, I am the worst kind of hypocrite.
Ephesians 5:15-17 tells us that to redeem the time God has given us we must not be unwise, like the fool who says in his heart that there is no God. We must instead walk “circumspectly,” in a manner befitting one who has been purchased by the blood of Jesus, and spend time in serious study of His Word so that we may understand the Lord’s will and purpose for us—and then do it.