Friday, January 27, 2012

Look Out for the Bad Guys!

The other day one of our little boys came into my office and announced that he was going to the bank. They often play make believe, but I realized that we do not live that far from the bank, and they might actually decide to walk over there some day. We then had a long talk about the danger of getting run over by cars if you go near the street. - Because we live in a sin cursed world, we also had to have another discussion. I warned them about “bad guys.” No doubt, it is a blessing to live in a small town like Bancroft, but from time to time we hear news stories about children being abducted and abused and sometimes it happens in a small town area. I wish it was not necessary to warn my little boys, but because of sin it is. Thus a few days later when we walked up town, the two older boys were very careful to hold on to their little brothers hand so a bad guy did not get him. - I do not want my boys to live in constant fear, but I do want them to understand the reality of evil. Though I want them to be aware of the special dangers posed by a “bad guy,” I also want them to understand when they have done something bad. I want them to understand that they should always tell the truth and that lying is bad. I want them to know that they should not steal anything that belongs to someone else. - I do not just want to adjust their behavior though. As they grow older, I want them to understand who God is and His role in their lives and even in their sin problem. I do not expect them to understand all about Christ’s payment for sin when they are toddlers, but as they get older I want them to grasp sin’s reality not just in the life of the “bad guy,” but in all our lives. - Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” - Some people think that hell is just for those who have done something really bad, but the truth is, all of us have sinned, and even if you do not think your sin was all that bad, Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. As we consider the condemnation for our sin, listen to what God‘s word tells us about not believing in Jesus Christ: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) - Jesus is telling us that if you do not believe on Him, you do not have to do something really bad to be condemned- you are condemned already. The reason we are already condemned is because all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God and sin has passed onto all of us from the time that the first man Adam sinned. You see hell isn’t just for kidnappers and guys like Hitler, it is for all people who have not had their sin paid for. - That reality brings us to Christ. He is the only one who can pay for our sins. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Should I Wear Today?

My wife was all excited. She is able to fit into her jeans again after having our big baby boy. He weighed over 11 pound and at the end of her pregnancy she could not even fit into her maternity pants. Fortunately she had a couple of skirts she was still able to wear. - I am glad that I do not have to deal with the fashion struggles that she recently had. I still have shirts that I wore two decades ago, so I have to be careful not to continue to wear something that is totally out of style. I have a tendency not to be concerned enough about what I wear, while it seems that some people’s lives actually revolve around fashion. Though my wife is not preoccupied with fashion either, she can at least help me match my ties. - I get a lot of encouragement in reading about John the Baptist. He wore leather and camel hair. These were not the fancy clothes of the day. I once heard a preacher emphasizing how we should make sure and wear good quality wool suits. Though I have no objection to owning quality clothes, why should we judge someone who wears a polyester blend? In fact, the scripture condemns such judging. James 2:2-4 is quite direct on this matter when he says, “For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?” - As with so many things in the Christian life, people have a tendency to go to extremes in the area of clothes- either not caring at all about what they wear or becoming preoccupied with fashion. Though James gives a warning about judging concerning dress, Paul also gives guidance in the area of fashion as he specifically addresses women. I cannot help but think that the feminine gender had a great interest in fashion even back then. Consider what Paul had to say, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” (1 Timothy 2:9). - Much is said about clothes in this little verse. First, Paul is pointing out that women should adorn themselves with their clothes. That word adorn has the idea of decorating. In other words, there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to look nice- in fact she is told to take care to adorn herself, but she is also given guidance about how to do it. She is to do so with modesty. Typically when we hear of modesty we think of not being risqué, and though that would definitely be included, the meaning goes much further than that. - The Greek word translated “modest” here is only used twice in the Bible and the other time it is translated “of good behavior.” Strong defines it as “decorous“, which means “in good taste.” In other words though we should not be risqué, we should also be dressing in a manner that is culturally acceptable. For example my second cousin recently sent me a picture of our families together in the 1970’s and I must say the shiny polyester orange of that era is not as culturally acceptable now as it was then. Further it is not good behavior nor good taste to dress risqué. - I believe the point Paul is making is that we are to dress within our culture in an acceptable manner without having to have the most expensive and extravagant clothes, hairstyles, or jewelry. In other words we should dress nice, without being lewd or preoccupied by our wardrobe.