Monday, February 24, 2014

Reflections on Sunday, February 23, 2014

It was a good day yesterday.  I thought I would share some thoughts on the day while they are still fresh.

We looked at the subject of the Security of the Believer in Sunday School.  Looking through I John, it was interesting to see how much different John is than your average Christian today.  In my experience, most Christians today very much default to sin.  They say "when we sin", God will forgive us.  This is not what John says.  He says "if we sin."  

I commented that I think the big difference is that we talk about our tendency to sin because of our sinful nature.  John, though, points to the life which lives in light, abides in Christ, and avoids the love of the world.  These things, then, lead to a life of inward righteousness, where sin no longer is our default, but instead holiness.  This is true security in Christ!

As for my sermons, I'm preaching through Amos right now.  I'll just say this; preaching the prophets can be very difficult.  It's a wonderful book for our time, but that doesn't make it any less hard!  

The progression in the first oracle against Israel (Amos 2:4-16) is quite interesting, though.  We see Israel's sin against the poor and afflicted, and then see how God treated Israel when they were poor and afflicted, by defeating their enemies and providing for them during their time in the desert.  

Anyway, it's a good passage, and I'm glad God is teaching me a lot through it.  

Sunday evening I'm looking at the Psalms with our small prayer group.  Psalm 4 was where we landed last night.  It's interesting to see how David is reaching out to those who are accusing him.  It's a bit of an evangelistic psalm, which I think is a bit more rare than some other types of psalms.  David tells them how to deal with their need for God.

-          Care for their heart – don’t sin in anger
-          Care for their mouth – be silent
-          Care for their actions – offer sacrifices to God
-          Care for their mind – put their trust in God

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Society Can't Decide What's Right

If I could argue that abortion is good for society, would that make it right?  

What about slavery?  If I could definitively prove that slavery is good for society, would that make it okay?   

I don't know about anywhere else, but in the Western part of the world, we often decide what is right and wrong based on the good or bad it does to society.  Christians have, unfortunately, gone down this road far too often.  

We say abortion is wrong because it hurts society.  But is that true?  I would certainly argue that abortion hurts society, but that is not what makes it wrong.  

We say slavery is wrong, because it hurts society.  Is that true?  I would again agree that slavery is wrong, but not because of it's impact on the world.  

We say pornography is wrong because it hurts society.  Again, while I believe pornography is wrong, it is ultimately not about what impact it has on the family, society or anything else.  

Instead, as Christians we say that right and wrong are determined instead by the nature of God.  Abortion is wrong because it destroys the life of a human created in God's image.  Slavery is wrong for the same reason.

These things certainly hurt society, and I believe that is part of the reason God wants them out of our lives.  

As I've been thinking about this lately, I've come to realize that in my part of the world, Christians are embarrassed to say something is wrong because "God says so."  But isn't that ultimately what it comes down to?  God has created us in such a way that the best way for us to live is in line with His nature and will.  It's really that simple.  

But we don't want to seem judgmental or legalistic, so we argue our points from the view of consequences rather than right and wrong.  

Looking at it from the other side of things, there are those in the world who suggest that a healthy marriage is built often on a couple having sex before marriage, or living together in order to make sure they are "compatible."  I've even heard people argue that pornography in the marriage is a good thing, in order to "spice up" marriage a little.  

I could argue against this, going to statistic after statistic, showing you that couples who live together first don't stay married longer, and that the porn industry has destroyed far more marriages than it could help.  

I could show you that abortion has hurt women, and that they are scarred for a long time.

I could talk about how slavery affects not only the individuals being enslaved, but all the people connected, and therefore destroys a community, hurts a nation, and ultimately, somehow, affects us all.

But in the end, none of these things matter, and they could all be argued against.  You could present your facts, saying that sometimes women are just find.  You could talk about how healthy some marriages are that allow pornography in the bedroom, and even worse things, and are better because of it.  I would disagree with your stats, but in reality it's my stats against yours.

In the end, though, it doesn't matter what the stats say.  My stance on abortion, slavery, pornography, euthanasia, genocide, homosexuality, lying, and so many other things don't come from statistics and the difference they make in society.  I believe what I believe about these things because of how I see God and what I read in His Word.  That, ultimately, is all that matters.