In this issue:
There was a time in this country when Sunday worship and kid’s sports did not conflict. There were no soccer leagues playing on Sunday morning. There were no football or baseball games set for 10:00 a.m. on the first day of the week. I remember that time, but many readers of this article do not. The youth of today have not grown up in a society that, generally speaking, reserved Sunday for worship and family.
Some churches have tried to accommodate this societal shift by having services late on Saturday afternoons, thereby freeing up those members who have conflicts on Sunday: “No need to attend on Sunday – we went Saturday night!” Not that there is anything wrong with worshipping God on Saturday night. But that does not remove the scriptural responsibility of worship on Sunday. If it were up to men to change first day of the week worship to another day, then eliminating Sunday as the day of worship would be fine. But, it has not been left up to men and to do so does not please God (who calls us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, Jno. 4:23-24; Matt. 15:7-9; Col. 3:17). “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” are valid questions to ask (Matt. 21:23).
Whether or not people in the world respect Sunday as the day to worship God, Christians are commanded to do so (Heb. 10:25; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). It is not a matter of “just pleasing men” to attend worship services on the Lord’s Day. When worldly men arrange events that conflict with worshipping God, the Christian is called upon to “seek first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness;” to “deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Matt. 6:33; Lk. 9:23). Such is not easy, because friends and associates will “think it strange that you do not run with them” to participate in activities that conflict with worship (1 Pet. 4:4). Living for Christ will involve sacrifice whether we are young or old.
All of this ultimately boils down to choices. How will we choose to use our time? What will have priority in our life? Sometimes conflicts can be avoided by rearranging the secular event; sometimes they cannot. When conflicts cannot be averted, Christ wants you to choose Him. Where is your heart? It is where you lay up your treasure (Matt. 6:19-21). It is where you decide to be. There will be times on the Lord’s Day when we must choose between God and men. When the choice is yours, choose God (Josh. 24:15).
We live in a unique time period. While there may be nothing new under the sun, there seems to be much more change in our lifetimes than has been experienced in any previous generations. Today, the newest and most advanced products seem to become obsolete in a matter of months. This rapid change in technology and information has resulted in some values being turned upside down in comparison to most other time periods in human history. Today, youth is idolized and age is a curse. The young are seen as the ones with the knowledge and the older members of our society do all that they can to mask their age. Watch the presidential election next year and you will see this principle in action. The presidential candidates will strive to act youthful and hip (some have argued that an appearance on a late night show and a lively tune on a saxophone won the presidency not too long ago). This reversal of ideal may seem normal now, but this is not normal, nor is it good. Churches have fallen for these new ideals and are striving to have more lively services that better serve (or appeal to) the youth of our nation. Have we forgotten, that religion is not about appeasing men, but about pleasing God?
The young may be more capable of adapting, thus having a better grasp of certain newer technologies, but they lack so much. The older people may have less understanding of technology, perhaps they are even frightened by it, but they have so much more. Proverbs declares, “a gray head is a crown of glory” (Prov. 16:31), yet today we use dyes to conceal the gray hairs as if they are shameful.
In a society filled with change those who change the best are likely to be put on a pedestal, but not everything changes quickly, and some things should not change at all. The wisdom that leads to long life is found in the parents not the children (Eph. 6:1-3). The parents and the older generations are to be the teachers and instructors not the children (Eph. 6:4; Titus 2:3-5). It is often said that the older generations are too traditional, but let us keep in mind that the word of God has proven to be unalterable (Heb. 2:2). The word of God stands as a guide forever that clearly marks the will of God. Remember, “do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set” (Prov. 22:28). Keep in mind that the traditions of the past may, in fact, be wise choices or even the unchanging will of God. Indeed, some things must not be tampered with at all.
Make no mistake, being young has its advantages, but let us not follow the trends of society and look down on the elderly as inferior and out of date. Foolishness is bound up in the young (Prov. 22:15), should we glorify that? While youth is not to be looked down upon, it is to be overcome by self-control (II Tim. 2:22) and a proper example (I Tim. 4:12). The elderly, on the other hand, are not to be mocked or considered out of date. Instead, we are to submit to our elders. For Peter says, “you younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders” (I Pet. 5:5).
May the church be the pillar and support of the truth (I Tim. 2:15) rather than trendy and youth oriented. May the older generations not be ashamed of their age, but rather share their wisdom and train the young. May the young be humble and respectful toward their elders. That may not be this country’s way, but God’s way is always the best way!
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Why the Walls Fell
Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 30:11-20
1. Walls: Signify strength, protection
& security (cf. cities of ancient world – cf. Num. 13:28; Deut. 3:5.
· WHY DID THE WALLS OF THESE TWO CITIES FALL?
A. Jericho: Faith, Heb. 11:30;
Deut. 7:1; Josh. 1:5; 1 Jno. 5:4; Eph. 6:10-11.
1. Deut. 11:26-28: Like Israel, a
blessing & a curse are set before us (Rom. 11:22).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Journeys of the Apostle Paul - #7
Scripture Reading: Acts 20:17-27
As we consider his 3rd preaching journey, we continue to be amazed at & encouraged by Paul’s urgency, unceasing devotion & tireless faith – 1 Cor. 15:10.
I. THE TRIP
– Acts 18:23-21:17.
II. LESSONS FOR US.
1. There is room in
the kingdom for workers (the value of fellow-laborers, 1 Cor. 3:5-9):
Abercrombie & Fitch: Selling Sex to America's Youth
(The following article by brother J. S. Smith, originally entitled “Ready Recollections: Proverbs 11:22” in The Woodmont Beacon, Dec. 14, 2003, is worthy of consideration. -Joe)
Abercrombie & Fitch, a clothing company popular with teenagers and young adults, recently decided to cease publication of its quarterly catalog after a quiet firestorm of controversy over its content and images.
“The Christmas Field Guide,” targeted at 10-13 year old children, contained “forty-five specific portrayals of sexual imagery in the first 120 pages. The 45 images include overt portrayals of group sex, lots of teen and young adult nudity, men kissing, and teens /young adults frolicking in a river engaging in sexual activity in multiple group settings” (Kevin McCullough, “Abercrombie & Fitch to your kids: Group sex now!” 11/14/03, WorldNetDaily).
The layout was so extreme that even people comfortable with various states of undress objected and the company relented like a pouting baby by canceling the catalog altogether. The attitude seemed to be, “Either we get to publish smut for kids or we won’t publish at all.” Good riddance.
The sexualization of our children by clothing companies, television and movie producers, and singers is despicable. As inexperienced, highly suggestible consumers, they are bombarded with advertising that lures them into the world of the sinful adult, bent on fornication and loose on morality. It truly must seem that everybody is doing it when publications like this one are so popular. Even the most devout young person can be drawn in by images of the opposite sex dressed immodestly and posed suggestively.
What should be our attitude toward the person flaunting his or her sexuality, with disregard for others’ souls? The Proverbs offer a ready recollection for those circumstances: “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” (Proverbs 11:22)
Rather than praising her fashion sense, admiring his abs or lusting after the both of them, our response should be more disciplined and filled with pity. Pity for the ignorance or meanness that would permit such a sensual public display of flesh. Pity for the lack of parental standards and discipline. Pity for the lack of genuine, active spirituality that inspires modesty, shame and concern for the souls of those who see us (1 Tim. 2:8-10, 1 Peter 3:1-7).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 12/13/2003
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA